Creating the perfect email is the first step. Putting those emails to use to achieve your marketing goals requires use of proven strategies. The email marketing strategies we discuss in this guide have helped millions of brands reach the pinnacle of their business.
In this chapter, we will look at both, technical and functional email marketing strategies to get a credible return on your email marketing investment.
Technical email marketing strategies are more about how to use your email list and less about how to design and write content in the emails. It includes steps that help you make the most out of your email list.
Many startups fall into the trap of buying someone’s existing email list to save time. As naive that approach is, it is also an incredibly quick way to land your sender email address into the junk folder. It affects your email sender reputation in the long run. It could make all the other email marketing strategies useless.
There are many perfectly legal ways to grow your email list. You must spend time and resources in setting up email capture forms on your page. You should also set up a second level confirmation email to let subscribers confirm their opt-in. This way the customer remembers signing up for your email. Such a user is more likely to positively receive your email without considering it as spam.
Secondly, you must ensure your email reaches the right audience and that you don't have dead or inactive leads in your email list.
Quarterly de-activation campaigns are often used to ensure that your emails only go to interested users. If someone is not interested in your emails, they can unsubscribe during one of these campaigns. Because the email will not be delivered to uninterested people, the conversion rate won’t be affected by such dormant users in your email.
An email preferences center will also help you in keeping your email list healthy. It gives your subscribers a way to self-tune their email preferences. They can directly make changes to your email list. This ultimately helps you in better segmentation and more effective personalization.
No one would want a stranger’s email in their inbox. You should not try to collect your visitors’ email without offering them anything. You will find a lot of resistance from visitors this way.
The easiest way to smoothen that friction is to offer the visitors something for free in exchange of their email. It could be an ebook on a hot topic for the visitors, a detailed report, or their personalized analysis. The idea is to offer anything that genuinely adds value to your prospects’ lives which they might not get elsewhere.
It is important to take care of the nitty-gritty, the small things when it comes to sending mass emails. Everything should be perfect.
There may be many such checklists available, just pass your email through them. These checklists are based on best practices and are highly valuable.
The implementation of these checklists should be intense and comprehensive. It may even need small modification after the email is finalized by marketing department. If there are major loopholes, it can take more time to implement the check list fully.
Therefore, it is important that a decent amount of re-work duration must be allocated as a part of your marketing calendar.
As the time grows, your email list will also grow. It is natural for some to lose interest in receiving your emails. It could be something that is in your control, or maybe they are just not as involved in your niche as they were before. Sometimes, their singular goal which they had set before subscribing to your mail has now been fulfilled.
Such users tend to stop engaging your mails shortly after they lose their interest. If you keep a constant watch on their engagement metrics, you could segment these people as a mini-list and then run an “Unsubscribe” campaign.
This is a special type of email campaign that asks the receivers if they want to keep receiving your emails. If they want to, they are prompted to take some action (click to obtain a new report or receive a special discount) to demonstrate their interest. If not, they’re automatically unsubscribed from your email list.
This helps keep your email list clean and your engagement stats in a healthy range.
IP Address is a unique numerical address given to each computer. When your email service provider sends email in bulk to your list, it attaches the senders IP information. The users’ ISP will read this IP and monitor the sending patterns and give it a reputation.
In your email campaigns, you may send
Typically, marketing emails acquire a lower reputation due to a high frequency and peculiar sending patterns. If you send all emails from the same IP address, even the more important ones (transactional and content emails) may be perceived as marketing emails. This is because, to an ISP, they are all coming from the same source.
For this reason, explore the option of multiple IP addresses with your email marketing service provider. They may be costly but they will also be worth spending that money.
Functional strategies are the techniques you would use on an operational basis. They are your everyday decisions about email campaigns.
Some brands do it daily, some do it few times per week. Some have a frequency of as low as one email per month.
There are two different approaches every digital marketer should consider. One is a static one – it presets the frequency based on proven strategies. The second one is a more dynamic approach; it applies a process of discovery to understand the suitable email frequency for every different type of business.
When the customer signs up for your email list, that is the point when the probability of a sale event is the highest. As the customer is new, he is excited to know, explore, and learn more. After a while, this enthusiasm starts to wane. Customer starts understanding your offering and figures out your overall approach (i.e. your “brand voice”) after consuming your content a few times. He fits you into a box.
Jeremy Reeves , a seasoned sales funnel specialist, termed it as the “hot potato” approach. Here, a new subscriber is a “hot potato” i.e. an excited lead. As the time goes on, his liking for your brand goes down gradually. This is the “cooling phase” of the potato.
To take advantage of this “hot potato” situation, Jeremy suggests an order of email frequency as follows:
Of course, this has to be customized for your own business through A/B tests. This is not an ideal course of action; it is just a way to get started if you are in any non-seasonal industry where the competition is high. This is also a suggested approach to try out if you have many products / services to sell.
For seasonal businesses (based on Christmas or other holidays), the durations mentioned above have to be compacted. Instead of 6 months, the entire cycle may be squeezed within the duration of the season.
Consequently, you may also reverse this model. This means send emails more frequently towards the end of the season to take advantage of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
We have talked about email marketing throughout this guide as a “conversation”. Advancing the same train of thought, you cannot have an effective sales conversation with a person you don’t know. So, knowing your audience beyond the basic demographics is imperative.
A comprehensive customer persona is the backbone of every successful marketing strategy. Inputs from this persona form the base of personalization decisions that will be used in your emails.
The deeper you know your audience, the better you will be able to personalize your emails. The more personal your email gets, the higher are its chances to persuade the lead to buy something.
Users identify brands visually through a single, uniform color scheme. It creates trust and promotes credibility.
A brand’s visual identity dictates how all of its digital assets (website, emails, ebooks, and others) look visually. Consistency is the key to good design. Therefore, before designing emails, you must work on your brand’s overall visual identity, if you don’t have one.
If you have a specific visual identity for your brand, but the colors change just for email, it is bad design. Users may get skeptical looking at the colors as it ends up looking like a cheap knock-off of the original brand. It becomes hard to trust.
Once you have your visual identity ready, your email design then becomes a much simpler process. You can hire a deisgner to design the emails based on your brand identity, or you can customize an existing template.
How well users engage with your emails is directly related to their effectiveness. Most email marketing platforms help measure basic engagement stats like open rates, and click-through rates (CTRs). If these numbers are high, it means users are finding your email relevant.
Your campaign goal should be to keep these numbers high consistently. If you notice these stats dropping, it means user may be losing interesting in your brand. Consequently, he may take more interest in a competitor’s brand.
In such cases, a new re-engagement campaign often does the trick. You could re-use existing content and push it in a new email campaign, or you may create fresh content for the same.
You would be sending them different types of emails at varied frequencies. However, consuming the same content repeatedly over time may make consumers immune to the brand and the information flow. This pattern is similar to any addiction - the need for it grows over time, and the same level of intensity doesn't excite you for long.
You don't want your consumers to get addicted because then they may want to get de-addicted too. This requires smart, careful planning for the email campaign.
Another important step towards helping consumers deal with email fatigue is an email preferences page. You must provide them with a central panel where they can control the frequency of each category of emails you send.
Simply building an email list is not the end; it is just the start. You still have to use this list to get the most out of it. Email marketing is a process and this process has a lot of moving parts.