10 Things You Need To Know About Email Marketing

We first think of social media and ads when we consider digital marketing. Many people believe that email marketing isn't as effective as social media. There are a number of misconceptions about email marketing, so a lot of businesses fail to see its potential.

Despite what people think, email marketing can actually be even more effective than social media. If done right, businesses can enjoy more customer engagement and sales. Incredibly, one of the oldest forms of digital marketing is still effective to this day. 

Email marketing continues to be one of the best marketing strategies that can yield the highest return. Whether you're just getting started or you want to improve your email marketing, here are 10 essential things to know:

Start with a plan

All successful email marketing campaigns started with a plan. They may not have been perfect plans, but they were plans. 

When preparing your campaigns, you have to answer specific questions that will lead you to your ultimate goal. Figure out factors such as who should be reading your emails, what they should be reading, what you should be achieving, why you're doing it in the first place, and how you'll get it done. Executing your campaign will be easier with these points in mind.

Remember that you don't need to make a perfect plan. It's always better to work on it and improve it as you move along. The key is having a plan to guide you and keep you on track. You never want to stray too far from the line you’ve drawn when working on your email campaigns - but keep modifying that line with conscious intention as you go. 

Focus on one thing at a time

For each campaign that you launch, only focus on one goal. Having more than one goal for each email campaign doesn't work. Instead of being clear and straight to the point about the message you want to deliver to your subscribers, you risk confusing them. 

When your subscribers open your email, they should already know what to expect. They don't have to think about what the email is about, where they should look, and what they should do. These things should be clear. 

Emails should be optimized for mobile

More than half of the people viewing their emails are opening them on their mobile devices. This fact is critical to email marketing. When people view something on their mobile phones, and it doesn't load or appear as well as they want, they'll quickly move on.

Your email is doomed to go straight to the trash without a responsive email design. Your emails shouldn't feel like a chore to your subscribers. When they open an email, they want it to be presented to them in the easiest way possible in terms of navigation. A responsive design isn't optional anymore. It's essential, especially given the fact that desktop opens are steadily declining. 

Test it on yourself if you want to ensure that your email will still look appealing on other devices. Send the email to yourself, and then view it on as many different devices as possible. This way, you know what's not in place in a certain device so you can fix it before you go live with the campaign.

You don't need many subscribers

"A small list that wants exactly what you're offering is better than a bigger list that isn't committed."

Ramsay Leimenstoll

When you think of email marketing, you may be compelled to believe that a longer email list is better. It seems to make sense if you go by the logic that the more people you send your email to, the more chances of someone opening it and doing something about it. However, that's not what you should be focusing on. 

You don't need a long email list. You only need an email list with interested subscribers. If there are inactive people on your list who don't even bother opening your emails, you should have the initiative to narrow your list down. At regular intervals, go over your database and remove anyone who didn't open any of your emails. You should be focusing on the customers that really have an interest in what you offer. 

Many emails don't see the light of day

Many emails don't get to see the light of day, and by that, we mean that they go straight to spam. There's a 13% chance that an email will be sent to the spam folder and many factors come into play. Sending an email to a person who didn't subscribe, using spam trigger words, not including an opt-out link, and incorrect spelling and grammar are the most common reasons that an email goes to spam. Most people already know this. 

Too many email marketers don't know that email design contributes greatly to where emails end up. Emails with garish background colors are associated with spam. Image-heavy emails often go straight to spam (or they don't load properly on your subscriber's side). Look at your spam folder, and you'll notice that beyond the usual reasons emails go to spam, design plays a big part. 

Personalization is key

"Personalisation – it is not about first/last name. It's about relevant content."

Dan Jak

Surprisingly, most email marketers use generic email content, making it dull and unappealing. Emails that look generic go straight to a recipient's email bin. Many don’t even take the time to unsubscribe. If you give your emails personality and strike an empathetic note, making it seem like you're talking to that specific person, your subscriber will be more likely to be enticed to engage with your email. 

By personalization, we don't mean using your subscribers' first and last names. Believe it or not, it's actually not the most personal thing you can do. 

Segmentation is one way to create content related to your audience. Segmenting your list means that you group your email list into different categories. You can divide your list by their location, age range, gender, or other demographic important to your brand. You can create content that caters to that certain group by segmenting your list. When they see your emails, they will be able to relate better to them. 

It also helps to factor in important anniversaries and birthdays. By sending triggered emails on special days, subscribers will feel more special because you're taking the time to celebrate special milestones with them. 

Personalizing your emails beyond the name provides customers with a new experience. It also helps you improve your relationship with them, which gives you opportunities to gain more information that will help you give them an even better experience. 

Open rate isn't everything

Most email marketers are tracking the wrong metrics. Many are focused on their open rate, but that doesn't mean a whole lot on its own. A high open rate doesn't guarantee that the goal for your email campaign is being achieved. It also doesn't ensure that the email is reaching your optimal audience. 

Don't only focus on getting people to open your emails. Focus on getting their attention and compelling them to take positive action. What really matters most is how your subscribers engage with your email and brand, so work on designing your email so that there’s minimal reading involved, meaning that they can click where you want them to click and do what you need them to do. 

Focus on the design, but remember it's not a website

Designing an email to make it more personal and appealing provides a higher engagement rate, but always remember that emails are not websites, don't go overboard with the design. The purpose of emails is to get to the heart of the content efficiently and effectively. Over-designing emails creates confusion for customers and risks costing you the interest of your subscribers. 

It might seem tricky to find the balance, but you should always aim to design a simple though effective email to grab someone's attention. There shouldn't be too much happening because people don't as a rule spend that much time on one email.

And beware, designing your email too much can even get it consigned to spam. 

Emails don't have to be formal

It has been a staple to construct emails professionally, but as younger generations filter into the corporate world, we should expect the way we communicate to change. Don’t treat your emails as conventionally ‘professional’ and formal if you want to achieve a successful email campaign.

Your subscribers don't want to be bombarded with emails that are too transactional. They will lose interest fast. What you should do is have a friendly tone that’s appropriate to your brand. 

One thing that's gaining popularity in email is the use of emojis. Emojis are attention-grabbing and relatable. If you want to appeal to a younger audience, emojis can help. When you're able to grab your subscriber's attention, you can expect a higher open rate. Don't be afraid to use emojis because you consider them to be unprofessional or too informal. You should only be cautious about how often you use them, but by all means, as long as you don't overdo it, emojis can make your emails friendlier and livelier. 

The subject line isn't the only trick

Some email marketers tend to focus too much on the subject line. Although it's a crucial part of the email, it's not the only trick to get people to open an email. According to Olivia Tan, co-founder of Cocofax, the preview text is the chance to give your audience a sneak peek of what your email is about. 

You're already basically winning at email marketing if you can create compelling copy for your preview text - consisting of around 100 characters - that reels your subscribers in. Think of the subject line as the bait and the preview text as the hook. 

Final thoughts

Email marketing definitely isn't easy, but it certainly isn't impossible to master as long as you put in the time to create emails that always have your customers' best interests in mind. It's okay to stray from what is considered the norm if you know that it will help your email marketing efforts become more fruitful. But first you have to be familiar with the fundamentals.

Always remember that email marketing is about building a relationship with your customers by sending them content that is demonstrably relevant and undeniably useful to them.

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