5 Dos and Don’ts to Create Awesome Email Marketing CTA Buttons

In any type of digital marketing campaign, some form of Call to Action (CTA) is always necessary. Calls to Action make your campaigns purposeful for both for the consumer and the brand advertising. One area in particular where I’ve seen the importance of a strong CTA is in email marketing.

In my naïve days as a novice digital media account manager, it wasn’t entirely clear to me that a CTA was necessary within an email. I just thought a similar “Visit our Website” tag would simply get the job done. But boy was I wrong. After testing several different types of email strategies using Call to Actions, I have come to the conclusion that sometimes a bold, clickable button is the best way to increase click-through rates.

Questions we here very often are: “What makes an email marketing campaign successful?” “What are good open-rates and click-through rates?” The short answer: it depends. A lot of factors come into play. MailChmp offers the most comprehensive benchmarks for opens and clicks and break it down by industry and company size. Click here to learn more.

You may think this epiphany is pretty silly, but you would be surprised at how many big brands aren’t utilizing this simple idea. Don’t fall victim to low click-through rates. Follow my Do’s and Don’ts for foolproof clickable email call to action buttons.

1. Do: be big, bold and clear

The whole point of your email is to have your audience take action and click. When creating your button go big or go home. It’s important that people know that they are supposed to click, so make the button stand out by using colors and bold fonts.

Email marketing CTA buttons drive cheap conversions!

2. Don’t: overwhelm your audience with too many CTA buttons

Don’t confuse your email subscribers! They trust you. Be sure to narrow down what you would like the user to click or you risk no click whatsoever. This will be made evident by the click results at the end of a deployment.

3. Do: use Google URL Tracking

This habit has almost become second nature to me. Trackable urls that are linked to your Google Analytics account are extremely important for reporting and measuring success. Doing this two minute URL tracking setup will absolutely make a difference. You can create Google URL tags here.

4. Don’t: use the same color button over and over

The greatest thing about marketing is the ability to test different methods to see what works best. Try using different colored buttons to see which receive the best CTR among your audience. You may be surprised!

button2

5. Do: be specific

Nothing can be more frustrating than a vague message. Let your users know exactly what their getting themselves into when they click your button. Here are a few examples:

  • Book Now
  • Download Now
  • Buy Now
  • Learn Now
  • Find A Store Near You
  • Get Directions
  • Shop Now
  • Speak to an Expert

In the end, the difference between being tacky with your CTA buttons and being strategic all depends on the deliverable and goal tied to the campaign. A great button is well thought out and has a specific purpose. I urge you to always be testing your use of Calls to Actions and use that information to build even better campaigns. I also urge you to not miss out on the opportunity to use clickable buttons!

Want more tips on creating top-notch email marketing campaigns? Check out this post on 5 Email Marketing Tips to Help You Increase Engagement.

Or, if you’ve read enough and are convinced we are email marketing experts, contact us today to talk strategy. Click below to get the conversation started!

Managing email marketing campaigns can be time consuming.

5 Email Marketing Tips To Help You Increase Engagement

Email marketing - low cost, high return.

[section_dd][column_dd span=’12’][text_dd]Email marketing is a medium I hold near and dear to my heart. Without sounding too sentimental, it’s how I cut my teeth in digital marketing and to this day, there’s nothing I love more than working on an email campaign. From writing, to image placement, to list segmentation, and analyzing engagement rates, the whole process from start to finish moves me. So, I liked to share some tips I’ve learned along the way. Why? Because knowledge is power and there’s nothing like feeling confident in a solid email marketing campaign.

Read More

Case Study: Restaurant Grand Opening

Creating Buzz in the Community and Building an Email List for Restaurant Opening

At StrataBlue, we work with lots of restaurants. And when it comes to the recipe for a new restaurant’s opening, creating buzz via social media and using email to acquire and communicate with customers are key ingredients it the success.

Problem

The proprietors of a new restaurant came to us just four months prior to their targeted open date. They didn’t have a logo, let alone a website. They were still planning the menu. And even though they’d signed up for social media profiles, they had no branding or content up.

  • Our Challenge: How do you create word of mouth and buzz when the restaurant is still months away from opening?

Our StrataBlue team made it our mission to aim for massive, targeted reach and to build and educate an audience that included local foodies and social media influencers, who could help us serve up the maximum amount of online reach and digital buzz.

CS3

Solution

Cooking up the Foundation:

While the eventual goal was to grow a social media following, generate and amplify buzz, and build a foundational email list, we had a lot of work ahead of us before we could begin posting content and amplifying it throughout the social sphere. Our graphic design and social teams worked hand in hand with the restaurant proprietors to create the overall voice they wanted to convey through their branding and digital presence.

Our graphics team started from scratch to design the following:

  • logo
  • website
  • branding materials
  • menu design
  • social media profile branding (Facebook & Twitter)
  • social media display ads (Facebook & Twitter)
  • email marketing templates

 

 

Meanwhile, the social media team worked to set up and brand the following digital channels:

  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter Profile
  • Instagram Accounts
  • Email Marketing Account

Digital Buzz Building:

StrataBlue took care of the social media before the restaurant was open for business, so this created a fantastic opportunity for us to tell the story right from the start about the development and vision. It also allowed us to involve the local community from the outset.

Our goals were to:

  • Announce the restaurant to the community and begin educating them about the concept, menu development, and plans for drink specialties and weekend entertainment.
  • Build a climate of anticipation around the launch.
  • Connect with the locals and foodies to create excitement and buzz within the foodie community.

Action Plan:

Even before the time came to open its doors with a promise of delicious food, StrataBlue ensured the restaurant was an aggressive user of social media channels to connect with potential patrons, and grow its digital footprint.

  • We began posting teasers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, cross-promoting content between the various platforms three months prior to a September opening date.
  • To increase the number of social media impressions, both Facebook and Twitter advertising were used to drive awareness, while connecting and engaging with more followers.
  • Appealing to a customer’s eyeballs is where Instagram came in, and we were able to show off what the restaurant would bring to the table (pun intended). We also used all social profiles to chronicle the evolution and construction of the restaurant, posting photos of both food and interior progress.
  • Socially shared and promoted content was also dedicated to staff Q&As, specialty cocktails that were planned, and entertainment acts that were being booked to perform.
  • While the website was being designed and built, we set up a landing page to announce that the new concept was coming. An embedded lead capture form was used to gather subscribers who wanted to be the first to know all the launch details, including opening week festivities.

Measurement & KPIs:

We defined KPIs to measure our performance, which we carefully measured over the course of the campaign:

  • KPI 1: Growth of the social following across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • KPI 2: Overall digital media impressions and reach
  • KPI 3: Email list subscriber growth
  • KPI 4: Increases in website traffic (the landing page went up two months prior to launch and
    the full website was launched several weeks before opening)

The restaurant’s grand opening was a massive success! During the first five months (three months prior to opening and two month after), the restaurant’s website received 49,000 visits by nearly 35,000 users, and the brand now has a database of 2,100 email address with which to send targeted e-newsletters.

Prior to opening night, Social Referral traffic and Direct traffic made up 19.14% and 25.33% of website sessions, respectively. After five months, the client was able to attribute nearly 10% of their website traffic to StrataBlue’s social media efforts. Direct website traffic, which demonstrates brand awareness and also includes some email and social media traffic, made up 21.43%.

The social media strategy achieved fantastic results within the first five months: 7,100+ Facebook Likes, nearly 1,250 Twitter Followers, and 960 Instagram fans actively engaging.

CS1

Overall, the multi-channel campaign drove well over 2.5 million digital media impressions across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Two months post-opening, the StrataBlue team continues to use social and digital marketing to generate traffic to both the client’s website and brick-and-mortar location. Business is booming!

Would you like to see what we can do for your new business? Get in contact with us today!

Increase Holiday Sales with Social Media

It’s that time of year again! Halloween candy is now 70% off and Christmas lights and garlands have taken over the shelves. This year it’s predicted that November and December sales could hit almost $617 billion, which is a 4% increase from last year’s holiday sales. As for online sales, they are expected to increase as much as 11%, a 3% increase from 2013 sales. So what are you doing to help increase your sales this season?

As we’re finding with our StrataBlue clients’ campaigns, social media advertising is key to any company’s efforts to reach large, targeted audiences in order to increase holiday sales. Below are some ideas we recommend to help increase holiday sales with social media.

Create a Pinterest “Gift Idea” Board

Millions of people every day are flocking to Pinterest for ideas on what to get their loved ones for the holidays. Make their search easier by creating Pinterest boards specific to whom the gift will be given. Giving your holiday Pinterest boards creative and engaging names is paramount to increasing traffic. Try some of these titles:

  • 50 gifts under $50
  • Gifts for The Person Who Has Everything
  • Last Minute Gifts
  • Gifts Your Boyfriend Will Love
  • DIY Christmas Gifts

Be sure to keep in mind the pain funnel when creating boards and pinning your products. What might your potential customer’s challenge be when shopping this holiday season? This could include:

  • Trouble finding the right gift
  • Shopping on a limited budget
  • Shipping costs
  • Gifts for the right occasion

Last, and most importantly, remember to link your product pins to your website for fast and easy access for your potential buyers. (And once they get to your site, consider having remarketing code in place so that when they continue on their search quest, you can re-appear in order to stay top of mind.)

holiday3

Steve Madden pins their gift guide on Pinterest.

Run Facebook Ads

Running Facebook Ads is a must this season if you are wanting to increase your holiday sales with social media. As for which type of objective to choose for your Facebook Advertising campaigns, I would suggest either a Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Offer Claim or Local Awareness campaign.

Don’t forget to include a call to action in your ad!

holiday4

Target advertises free shipping for online orders on Facebook.

Exclusive Deals with Email Marketing

Give your email subscribers the upper-hand this season with exclusive deals, coupon codes and offers right to their inbox. Not only will your current subscribers be thrilled to receive special offers, but this will also open to the door to increasing your email list subscribers with those who want the same deals. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your email marketing this season:

  • Consider Cyber Monday, December 1st– the biggest day for online shopping
  • Don’t spam your lists!
  • Personalize messages to increase brand loyalty
  • Consider sending emails on the weekends
  • Use creative subject lines to entice opens
holiday2

TJMaxx gives a sneak peek to subscribers.

Create Twitter Cards

The recent roll-out of Twitter Advertising cards makes targeting online shoppers a breeze. Be sure to include an engaging card image along with a catchy headline. Remember Twitter cards appear on your audiences’ Twitter feeds, so step out of the box with your Twitter card and catch the eye of your potential customers.

holiday1

Choose the “Shop Now” button as a call to action.

Deck the Halls with Data

To make sure you are getting the most out of your social media efforts, be sure you are tracking and assessing your performance throughout the entire campaign. This way you will be able to tweak and re-target to see what’s working and what’s not working. Consider these tracking systems:

Whether it’s pushing in-store sales or online sales, running several social media campaigns across several different platforms can be very effective. Don’t be afraid to hand the reigns over to a digital media marketing firm to help you reach your highest potential this year.

Best of luck this season and Happy Holidays!

Write Engaging Headlines that Lure In Readers and Get Them to Take Action

In December of 2013, a study found that more than 92,000 articles were published on the Internet every day. We are in the era of information overload and our content must break through the “noise” if we want our content to be read, especially on social media. Wondering where to begin? How about at the beginning: your headline.

Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 ebook is a how-to guide on getting your headlines, and content, read by the right consumer. The first tip in this ebook is quite simple: get your headline read. Whether a ‘headline’ means a tweet, Facebook post, or even an e-mail subject line, it must do two things:

  1. Benefit the reader
  2. Entice them to read more

 

That’s easier said than done. According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will actually continue to read the rest of your message. Below, I share some key tips from the ebook about constructing engaging headlines in order to attract targeted readers and get them to respond to your calls of action.

  • A “How to…” headline for a blog post never fails! People are searching for specific topics on how to do things. Give them what they want and they will read.
  • Power words persuade. Using the word “You,” or a person’s name in content, instantly makes users more engaged and trusting in a brand’s message.
  • Apply the K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid) principle. Adjectives and adverbs are great for lengthy copy, but keep it direct and specific when developing headlines.
  • Numbers don’t lie. If you are stating a fact or claim within your headline, tell your story by providing numbers.
  • Write content that is straightforward and conversational, even if that means breaking a few grammar rules you were forced to learn in elementary school or college.
  • Lists are easier to read than chunky paragraphs. As a matter of fact, this entire post is designed to be visually appealing and quick to read. What do you think?

In fact, using “you” is more powerful than you’d think. A study conducted by BI Norwegian Business School found that using “You” in a question headline generated more clicks than a headline with a declarative headline. In addition to the Norwegian Business School’s study, Buffersocial shared a study analyzing the top power words used in viral headlines from Buzzfeed, ViralNova, UpWorthy and Wimp. “You” or “Your” ranked #5 on the list and appeared in 16% of all the headlines in the case study:

Most Popular Words in Viral Headlines via buffersocial

Most Popular Words in Viral Headlines via buffersocial

Another great way to see which headline performs the best online is to run split-tests on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail subject lines. Analyze which headline performed the best during a set period, and circle back to promote the ‘headline’ that performed best. Interested in learning more about how StrataBlue can generate power headlines for your brand and lead consumers to a call-of-action? E-mail me at [email protected].

Managing Emails like a Rock Star with Marketo

Marketo is an extraordinarily versatile web-based marketing automation tool. It can help you run email campaigns, create landing pages, capture data from forms, integrate with webinar and CRM software, and nurture leads throughout their entire lifecycle.

It would take us several more articles just like this one to cover everything that Marketo marketing automation software can do, so we’ll stick to the basics: using Marketo to create and run a simple email program with associated email and audience.

Launch Marketo

First, start up Marketo and log in. If you don’t have an account on there, Marketo offers a free trial. Keep in mind that you have to request the trial, and it’s usually only offered to companies with 10 employees or more.

Create a Campaign Folder

A campaign folder is where everything in your campaign will reside. In this case, we’ll be putting an email program, an audience, and the email itself in here. If you were sending a series of emails, you’d put them all inside a single campaign.

    • Right click on Marketing Activities and click New Campaign Folder
    • Call it Test.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Call the new campaign folder Test.

Create an Email Program

A program is another type of folder, which contains assets like emails and leads.

    • Right click on that folder and click New Program
    • Make sure it’s in the Test folder and call it Test Email Program
    • Under Program Type, select Email
    • Under Channel, select Email Send

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose Email for Program Type and Email Send for Channel.

Define an Audience

If you’ve got a pre-existing set of emails in a spreadsheet, you can import those emails into Marketo.

    • Click the Test Email Program, then under the Audience panel, click Import List.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Under the Audience panel, click Import List.

    • Click Browse and locate your CSV or XLSX file with your contacts. Click Next.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Find your comma delimited file or Excel file and click Next.

    • You’ll need to map each of the fields in the spreadsheet to an existing field in Marketo. Most of the time, the fields will match on a 1:1 basis. If you’ve got full names in a single column, match it to the Full Name field, for example.
    • Click Next again.
    • Enter a name for your list, or click the dropdown to add it to an existing list. Click Import.
    • Click Leads, and you can see the leads you imported.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
See all the leads you imported in this list.

Create an E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Click New Email under the Email pane.
    • Make sure the program matches. Call it Test Email. Select the Blank template for now.
    • Click Create.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Enter a program and name and choose a template, then click Create.

    • The email editor will open. Choose who you want the e-mail to be from, and what email you’d like to handle them. If there are a large number of leads, this address will get a lot of unsubscribes, bounces and so on, so you may want to create a new email in your email app just to handle these. Write a subject.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Determine who the emails will reply to, even in the case of bounces.

    • Look below the subject. Notice there’s a text box already created. Double click this box. You’ll get a new edit screen, where you can design an email in HTML.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Design the email in HTML here.

    • If you’d like to add a company logo or other graphics, you can drag and drop them from the Insert Elements box on the right. Then, choose the image, and it’ll be inserted into the HTML.
    • When you’re done designing the email, be sure and click Copy from HTML so that there’s a text version. Not everyone likes HTML email, so having both integrated into the same email is wise.
    • Click Save when done.
    • You’ll then need to right click on the Test Email and click Approve. Nothing goes out from Marketo without you approving it first. You’ll see the approval marked by a check box.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Right-click Test Email and click Approve.

Schedule the E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Choose a date and time to send the e-mail under the Schedule pane.
    • Click Approve Program.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose a schedule and click Approve Program.

You’re all done! Your email will now go out at the scheduled time. Now you’ve learned how to set up a new program, a new email and a new list. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Marketo can do.

Read up in Marketo’s tutorial section for more advanced features, like landing pages, email campaigns, YouTube videos, webinar integration and more. There’s really no limit to what you can do with Marketo.

Gain New Email Subscribers with a Rafflecopter Contest

Get Off The Email Subscriber Plateau

Have you hit a plateau in acquiring new email subscribers? It may be time to implement a new marketing strategy: contests. Contests are a great way to get your fans sharing content, liking your Facebook page (or wait, maybe not so fast… be sure to read the footnote to this post!), tweeting at your Twitter handle and exposing your brand name to their friends. Not to mention, if you have the right ‘carrot’ to dangle, contests are an excellent way to break through the content clutter.
Dangle a carrot

Dangle a Juicy Carrot

I’m not talking Bugs Bunny here. Offer an incentive, or carrot, that will actually interest your fans and incentivize them to enter your contest. Don’t let your contest flop by offering the wrong type of carrot! For instance, running a contest with the carrot of GenCon passes to your teen-focused boutique probably won’t resonate well. Your fans already like your brand, so offer something that will drive them into the store, like a gift card or free swag.

And of course, requiring contest entrants to submit their email addresses in order to win said carrot is an ideal way to breathe life into a stagnant email subscriber list. If the carrot is juicy enough, people will have no problem forking over their direct email contact information. Just be sure to keep the prize relevant to your target audience and be sure to double opt them in to your list; otherwise, they are not going to be happy campers when they begin receiving your monthly email newsletter unless you are very targeted with your offer, double check on their permission for you to contact them again, and of course, endeavor to provide them valuable and relevant email content in the future.

Research is Key

After you’ve figured out the best carrot to offer, it’s time to research software programs that gather and transfer your contest email subscribers. Jay Baer lists several of his preferred contest software programs in his blog “13 Ingredients in the Perfect Social Media Contest,” but you should select a service based on the objectives you want to accomplish for a campaign. For me, Rafflecopter was the obvious choice for three reasons: affordability, user friendliness and most importantly, emphasis on email subscribers. (Note: Rafflecopter is compatible with Constant Contact, AWeber, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Campaign Monitor, iContact, Mad Mimi, Mailjet and GetResponse.)

Get your ‘Copter Going

If you decide on using Rafflecopter, the hardest part of getting started is selecting a plan that best suits you. After getting your account started, Rafflecopter makes it easy as pie to get your campaign off the ground. After creating your new giveaway and sharing what your carrot will be, you can then select what participants will be required to do to enter. If email subscribers are indeed an objective you are after, select the option that says “Subscribing to a Mailing List.” There are numerous other options, however, including tweeting something, pinning an image and even commenting on a blog post.

E-mail Subscribers

Next, create a name of the specific mailing list you’ll be storing contestants under and select your preferred e-mail service. There are different steps for required for the different email services offered, but rest assured Rafflecopter will automatically sync all of the entries into your new list. Most importantly, check the box that says “This option is mandatory.” Users will not be able to proceed without providing the most important information you want from them: their e-mail addresses.

Mandatory

 

And the rest, is up to you! To finish, set any additional contests requirements, along with your start and end date, and you are ready to install on your page. Ahhh, but if you are setting up your contest after November 5, 2014, one of these optional requirements for contest entrants will no longer be available.

Facebook Soon to Ban “Like Gating” on Contests

In the graphic above showing the different contest requirements, you’ll see brands are currently allowed to require a user to Like their Facebook page in order to enter a contest. Yet, according to an August 7th post on the Facebook Developer Blog, this opportunity is about to go away. The announcement tells us that, as of November 5, 2014, what is commonly known as “Like Gating” will no longer be allowed on the social network. It’s a long post, and you have to hunt to find this particular paragraph, so allow me to direct your attention (it is listed under Changes to Platform Policy):

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

To be honest, this news doesn’t upset those of us at StrataBlue. Having run numerous Facebook contests for our clients over the years, we’ve learned that requiring someone to Like a Facebook page in order to enter a contest is a tactic that can often backfire. You know why? Because as soon as the contest is over, the overwhelming majority of those who Liked your page to enter either un-Like the page, or simply ignore the brand in their feed from that point forward. These fans are not engaged, and in fact, you can leave a bad taste in an otherwise potential customer’s mouth if they end up feeling duped or tricked into Liking your brand. They become turned off by what you are selling, especially if that initial carrot stood on its own.

And the good news is, as the title of this post suggests, there can be real value in bringing these prospects onto an email subscriber list… Just make sure the content you choose to share with them there is valuable and relevant, or just like the Facebook backfiring mentioned above, you can get a lot of disgruntled contest entrants unsubscribing, marking your email as Spam or simply ignoring your messages altogether. To prevent this, it’s wise to keep your initial contest carrot relevant to your target audience.

Do you have any thoughts around Facebook’s upcoming ban on Like gating for contests? Or do you have any clever contest ideas you’d like to share? Comment below or start a conversation with me on Twitter at @whatupTUT.

 

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Email Opt-Ins

Marketing to a permission-based email list is a proven, cost-effective way to increase revenue and improve customer loyalty. How do you grow your own email opt-ins list? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind from the minute you start building your list.

DO: Leverage Marketing Programs you already have

No one can opt in to receive emails if they don’t know you have information to share. Include a line in your emails that links to the sign-up page on your website. You can also bring a computer to tradeshows and ask visitors to your booth to sign-up for your emails. Remember to keep sign-up cards at your location so you can make your customers aware of your mailing list and have them sign up there.

DO:  Make it Easy to Opt In

Once people are on your website, make it easy to opt-in by having a link on the homepage to subscribe to the mailing list. Signing up should take as little time as possible, so don’t ask for too much information at this point. Only ask for the basics, such as full name, email address and birthday.

DO: Consider the 4 Cs

Clear. Concise. Compelling. Customer-centric. When you write an email, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Ask yourself how valuable this email is and why someone would want to read it. Your readers are not opting in because they want to hear a sales pitch. They want to save time, money and effort. They also want to improve productivity and success. Your message must be compelling enough to convince, be valuable and useful.

SEP2

DON’T: Offer Fabulous Prizes for Signing Up

While this might seem like a good idea at first, you’ll end up with subscribers who are just in it to win a prize. Your prize should be the useful information you provide so offer them a newsletter or more information about your products & services instead. If they stick around long enough, give them a coupon or a discount on their next purchase to show them that they are a valuable customer.

DON’T: Spam Your Subscribers with too Many Emails

How much is too much? Let people know what they’re in for before they hit the submit button. After they’ve had time to digest the information, poll a sample from your list, and ask them what is the right number of emails. Otherwise you’ll find out the hard way through an unsubscribe request.

DON’T: Spend Too Much Money Acquiring Names

An email opt-ins list is a valuable asset and that means an investment on your part to build and maintain it. But budget appropriately and ahead of time, find the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience and know how much each name will cost. Keep in mind potential revenue, lifetime value of each customer, and choose accordingly.

What do you think are some of the important do’s and don’ts to follow when expanding your email opt-in list? Let me know in the comments below.

8 Tips for a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

According to eMarketer there will be around 236.8 million US email users by 2017!

With the average return rate of $44.25 for every dollar spent on email marketing, you better start implementing this in your marketing plan if you haven’t already. Let’s go over some do’s and don’ts of email marketing before you jump in and start creating your first newsletter.

  • DON’T buy an email list! First of all, you will probably be violating your Terms of Service (ToS) with your email service provider. If you go back and read over the ToS again, you will see most providers don’t want you spamming or using purchased lists. Using a purchased list can also hurt your IP address reputation as mentioned in one of my earlier blogs.
  • DO put a subscribe box on your website, as well as a Facebook tab, allowing people to sign up to receive your newsletters. Also, put a link in each email that brings people back to your website or Facebook.
  • DON’T overlook the importance of subject line. The shorter, the better. Email topics with 10 characters or less have over a 55% open rate. Frame the subject line as a question that your customers might have.  Avoid a subject line that reads as an advertisement. MailChimp says it perfectly: “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”
  • DO make your emails mobile-friendly. No text-only newsletters. Make sure you have an eye-catching graphic to grab people’s attention. People are busier than ever these days. 66% of Gmail checks occur on mobile devices according to Litmus.

mobile-email-marketing

  • DON’T think of this as a quick way to success. Building an email list with loyal followers takes time and patience. It might take months before you start getting higher open rates and better responses.
  • DO make a schedule of when you are sending out a newsletter each month. You don’t want to bombard your followers with too many emails, but you also want to regularly remind them of your brand. I recommend two a month. This gives you the freedom to add another on here or there for special occasions without overloading your subscribers.
  • DON’T make your newsletter a sales pitch. Just like in social media people will quickly tune you out or unsubscribe if you are constantly trying to sell them your products or services. Use these emails to educate and inform your email followers while giving a clear call-to-action.
  • DO pay attention to your analytics and track your links. Constantly testing out different strategies will help your open rate improveu over time.

What have you found works best when sending out newsletters?

Email Marketing Strategies You Often Overlook

Email marketing strategies usually lead to great debates among marketing teams. How often you send an email, how often you try and sell them something and what type of subject lines are a few of the discussions you will likely have along the way. Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300% (Direct Marketing Association).

In the past, almost every email contained some sort of sales pitch, but times are changing rapidly and so is your consumer’s tolerance. Developing a well-balanced email strategy is the key to building and maintaining a list that will drive sales in your business. Here are a few strategies that are often overlooked but are working well today.

Personal Email Campaign: Every company should have a campaign set up that sends out personal emails on birthdays, holidays and any other special day of the year. This is very easy to set up. Be sure to change the message every year to keep it fresh and current. Never sell on this campaign. For best results and maximum effectiveness, give them something valuable such as a coupon or discount.

Engagement Emails: Getting your customers to engage with you over emails can be a challenge. However, it is important to keep and encourage an open line of direct response communication between you and current and/or future customers. People love voicing their opinions and thoughts, so create email marketing campaigns that solely serve the purpose of customer involvement.

Coming out with a new product or celebrating an event? Whatever the reason, get your customers’ input. Ask them to participate in polls or actually respond to the email. This is very rarely used by most marketers today but can be very effective. If you want, you can throw in an incentive like a special discount on their next purchase to those who fill out the survey.

Consistency: None of the marketing that your business conducts should be too spontaneous. The only exception to this should be current events that affect your readers. To keep your email marketing scheduled and organized, add the blasts to your content calendar. Once you decide how often your company should send out an email, stick to that schedule so your audience has a sense of consistency. Over time, your readers and their reactions to your emails will help you to dictate the frequency of your emails.

Suppressing anyone in your list who hasn’t engaged with your emails in over a year increases your deliverability rate by 3-5% immediately. What do you think are some great email marketing strategies that people don’t use as often anymore? Let me know in the comments below.