Ever heard people say that email marketing is dead? Well, they are dead wrong. In fact, email marketing is very much alive and kicking.
After all, can you imagine a day where you didn’t look at your email inbox at least once? There are many marketing forms that can help communicate your brand message, but email marketing is a crucial medium you should use to enable business growth.
2018 Email Marketing Statistics
According to the 2018 study by The Radicati Group, there are around 3.8 billion email users in this year alone, and by 2022 that number will rise to 4.2 billion. Gmail, the worldwide email service provider, claimed they had one billion active users in 2016, with their rising growing as well.
As a communication medium, email has existed since the 1990s, and the number of users and emails just keeps increasing. The same report 2018 report claims that around 281.1 billion emails are sent per day.
That equates to around 102 trillion emails a year, expanding the communication platform into lead generation and sales conversions as well. As such, a strong email marketing strategy is something a business should consider when thinking of ways to expand its influence.
You might as well take advantage of the potential reach email marketing strategies offer. According to both the Direct Marketing Association and Campaign Monitor, email marketing can bring in around $40 for every dollar spent on email marketing. That is a return on investment in the ballpark of 4000 percent -- something that can’t be said about other marketing strategies.
Now, there are good and bad ways to go about crafting a great email marketing strategy. (And no, sending a ton of emails to every address you get is not a good idea.)
We’ve compiled a useful list of best practices and top examples, gathered from various sources, gurus, and our own email marketing experience, to help you on your way. After all, if you are throwing yourself into the world of marketing, you need to be aware that you should constantly learn new things because trends change fast -- especially in the digital space.
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Successful Email Marketing Campaign Examples
Before you attempt to bring your own email marketing strategy to life, it's a good idea to look at some successful email campaigns from the past and familiarize yourself with baseline best practices and trends.
In order to partner with a marketing agency and make a successful email marketing strategy, you need to know how the experts craft effective subject lines, what the body of the email should look like, how long your email needs to be, what you can include in the content, and so on.
Here are a few stellar examples of companies correctly using email for their marketing campaigns.
1. Charity: water
Transactional emails are automatically sent to registered users when a certain action is performed on a website. Whether it's purchasing a product, hiring a service, or filling out information on a web form, you can program an email response to reach your public.
However, this email is not optimized for consumers to enjoy reading, as most companies just choose to send the same old copy-paste text to every user without giving it a second thought.
Therein lies the mistake, one that Charity: water avoided. The organization collects donations for clean drinking water projects in developing nations. Charity: water decided to use automated email responses as another way to interact with people and show the progress of the project, where supporters' money was going, and how their donations were making an impact.
However, each email showed an element of personalization in addition to monetary value. What's more? Transactional emails also get opened eight times more than any other type of email. Additionally, they can increase revenue six times more than other types of emails.
There are a few things worth noting when it comes to emails from PayPal. They exemplify a simple and straightforward design that is concise and to the point, even through imagery and copy.
But PayPal also combines a psychological element in their emails. They think of the problems, wants and needs of that their customers face and how that can relate to their services -- like the example of going out to with friends and attempting to pay your portion of the rideshare. By creating this relatable moment of shared experience or pain, PayPal is able to capture the interest of its audience.
You’ve probably already heard that calls-to-action are a necessary part of any email marketing strategy and that you somehow need to create a sense of urgency when using them. But now begs the question, If everybody is doing it, how do I make my call to action better?UncommonGoods gave an interesting solution to their communication.
They designed their emails based on data collected from their users, such as what they typically purchase and when they shop online (like special holidays) but also added a sense of urgency by promoting the value of their deals. So instead of them saying “Buy this book for Father’s Day NOW while you have preferred shipping!” they would instead say “Wouldn’t your father appreciate a faster delivery?”.
By thinking of your audience's wants and needs, you can engage them far better than with in-your-face demands and harsh CTAs.
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How Digital Marketing Agencies Create The Best Email Marketing Strategy In 2018
Now that we’ve seen some great examples of email marketing best practices, we can discuss the items you need to keep in mind when work with an email marketing company to craft your own strategy.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Subject lines should be interesting, a little clever, and even a little humorous. You want to attract people’s attention but you don’t want to come off as too stuffy or mysterious -- that discourages people from opening your email and reading your content.
The email itself needs to be clear and concise. Research by Campaign Monitor tells us that more than half of all emails are opened on smartphones. This means that people expect to be able to read something quickly and easily while they are on the go.
Emails should be two to five paragraphs long, and the paragraphs themselves should be two to five sentences long.
You can organize your emails using a mix of pictures and test, or even embed animated GIFs and embedded catalogs -- it all depends on your goals and target demographic.
Pro Tip: Using too many pictures or multimedia increases your likelihood of landing in Gmail’s promotional inbox instead of a user's main inbox, which could decrease your open rates.
Marketing Companies Gather Email Addresses For Marketing Purposes
Before you can send anybody anything, you need to think of a way to get someone’s email address or your email marketing strategy will be dead in the water from the start. Great email and marketing automation companies can help brands build a strategy that will capture valuable email addresses from potential customers in their target audience.
This can be accomplished by having people register as users and asking them to confirm via a checkbox that they want to receive emails and offers from you.
Another way to get people to give you their emails is by including an exit popup on your website. By using the exit popup strategy, you can also include a GIF in the background showcasing how people can use your product or how simple it is to use your website, thereby inciting the audience to give them your email.
One more tactic to grow your email list is to simply buy email lists online, but this action is not recommended -- in fact, it’s even against the law. The reason for this is simple: If people haven’t opted in for information about your business or consented to receive emails from you, it is a violation of their privacy. Plus, how often do you think they will actually open your emails?
The best way to get an invitation to someone’s inbox is to be straightforward about your intentions by telling the people what exactly they can expect from you. By following this simple advice, you build a strong trust and rapport with your audience. And the more they trust your brand, the more they will be inclined to buy your products or services.
An easy way to get a person’s address is by giving out a free copy of your catalog, an interesting and relevant newsletter, free downloads (like mp3s or eBooks). You may also want to look into boosting the traffic on your website. The more traffic you have on your website, the more email subscribers you can get.
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Email Marketing Agencies Help Brands Get Whitelisted
The spam folder is the doom of all email marketing -- this is something you want to avoid at all costs. After working hard to attain consumer email addresses, you then need to take the correct steps in order for your precious email to arrive in the right place.
Email marketing best practices dictate that you can do your best to get a high approval score from Internet service providers (ISPs), but the best way to ensure your email gets delivered properly is to get them whitelisted, meaning that you are marked as a friend by the user.
This is accomplished by having the owner of the account add you to their address book. To achieve this, marketing companies may suggest that you include instructions on your website, in the form people check to receive your emails, or by pasting the instructions into every email you send.
As you begin formulating a regular email marketing strategy, it is very important that you correctly manage the expectations of the people.
If your call-to-action is strong and you follow-up with consistent action, then your campaign will see success. But if you do something like promise an email every week and instead deliver an email each day, then you are probably going to fail.
It’s all about the perspective of the audience. We spoke about building a bond with your audience. Well, keeping your word is an effective way of doing so and is an email marketing strategy that will bear fruit. However, being inconsistent with your actions and words can only foster distrust from your audience.
Email marketing agencies will ensure that your brand (and promotions) are represented consistently and accurately, which will build trust with consumers.
Why Type Of Email Marketing Campaign Should You Send?
Depending on your business needs, you can employ more than one version of email marketing. You can send offers, discounts, catalogs, questionnaires, or even newsletters. Email marketing best practices of already-established companies can (and should) serve as an example of what you can do.
Amazon, for example, has a very comprehensive email marketing strategy. They send their users offers that are relevant to the user based on things they have bought or shown an interest in, combined with additional information from users who have similar shopping history.
While Amazon provides value in their emails in the shape of discounts and deals, you may have to show the value of your email in a newsletter or by providing relevant links to blog posts or other websites that again lead back to you.
Every time you communicate with your audience it is an opportunity for you to work on your relationship with them. Finding a good balance for your content in your newsletter can be a sink-or-swim test for your email marketing strategy. Aim for an ideal mix of updates and news about your products or services, combined with a personal story, message, or general content.
Choosing the moment to send an email is another important question. For example, if people don’t enjoy getting a call from a salesman at two in the morning or while they are eating dinner, chances are that they will respond the same way when getting an unsolicited offer via email.
Luckily, the best email marketing companies can conduct the research and gather the data necessary to determine which type of email campaign you should send and exactly when you should release it.
Partner Agencies Monitor These Email Marketing Analytics
Once you start your email marketing strategy, you will, of course, need to track your progress. There has been a discussion regarding what data is more relevant than others, but most marketers agree that click-through rate (CTR), unsubscribes and open rate are the three most important data points.
Your CTR shows the clicks on the links from your email. If the number is low, then your message may not be targeted enough or your audience is simply not connecting to your content.
If your unsubscribe rate is higher than your opt-in rate then you are then you are no longer building up value and a rapport with your audience. You are in a problematic situation where your pictures, copy, and GIFs aren’t helping. You need to reevaluate your email marketing strategy and find out what is driving the people away.
The open rate tells you how well you’ve done in building your relationship with your audience. If the rate is high, then people are opening your emails and you have done your job well. If your open rate is low, then your emails are getting deleted and you need to refocus on managing expectations and what else you can do to raise it.
The average open rate for businesses was 25 percent in 2016.
Bonus Tip: 56% of businesses had an increase in email open rate because they used emojis in the subject line of their emails.
There are of course many other metrics you can use to track your progress and if you are using email marketing best practices. The best way to get access to these metrics is by using an Internet service provider (ISP) to fulfill your needs. Google Analytics is held as the ultimate analytics platform that performs well with other tools such as Benchmark Email and MailChimp.
Successful Email Marketing Tips & Tricks
Some quick tips -- like those below -- will help you work with your email marketing experts to create effective email marketing campaigns and garner better results.
Test different "sender emails" on your audience. People respond differently towards names, and maybe using a person’s name is better than using a cold corporate one or vice versa. By A/B testing different emails and analyzing the results, you'll find the right tone your consumers crave.
Instead of writing standard marketing copy, try a narrative. After all, storytelling has kept our attention for thousands of years.
If you want to increase your click-through rate (CTR) include a few more links in your email. However, try not to extend past two or three, or else you might land in the dreaded promotions inbox.
The anchor text you use for your link shouldn’t be the title of your email, it should be parts of the sentence that read “to learn more, click here,” “Follow these steps,” or “use these strategies” – basically language that makes people want to click on the links because it is benefit driven.
Clean out your email lists once a month. Once you start collecting you can easily get to dizzying numbers such as 100,000 email addresses. However, if they are not producing results due to the metrics you are using, then they need to be removed and replaced with new ones.
The Best Email Marketing Tools In 2018
There are plenty of services that offer help in covering all of your email marketing strategy -- from design to sending campaigns to analyze the return. Some services include MailChimp, SailThru and Google Analytics.
MailChimp, in particular, is a popular service as it offers a more complete solution for email marketing at low cost. Simply put, it is a well-rounded email marketing tool. Their streamlined system allows users to set up your campaigns with the help of dozens of drag-and-drop templates.
The platform also allows users to automate every step of your email campaign strategy. Brands can target users, schedule campaigns, and even send emails in a scattered manner, based on when certain consumers are more likely to open and read the email.
Meanwhile, other platforms like SailThru offer high-tech personalization and machine learning about users. This helps brands send increasingly tailored email campaigns, which generally improves open rates and increases revenue.
Google Analytics, unsurprisingly, is an excellent platform for tracking how much traffic and revenue email campaigns are driving to your site and online business. Most major email providers can be seamlessly integrated.
Of course, there are tons of effective email marketing tools out there -- you just need to find the resources that suit your brand's needs. The good news? Top-rated marketing companies have access to the latest tools and a team of experts who can easily execute campaigns.
Plus, DesignRush created a how-to guide to help brands create an effective digital marketing strategy. Check it out for the latest tips, tricks, and insights!
While creating a successful email marketing strategy may now sound like a time-consuming and difficult task, well, it's because it is.
But, as we also know, an effective marketing campaign can drastically increase business growth, brand awareness, and revenue. Making the most out of every interaction is the foundation of every email marketing strategy. And the best email marketing agencies can craft and execute a customized campaign that will grow your business.