April 03 2013

Email Marketing: Use It Effectively Within Your Marketing Plan

example html emailEmail marketing is one of the original digital marketing tactics. Yet, over time it has significantly decreased in popularity among businesses. But why? Is it a result of emerging social media platforms? Is it because it has a reputation for being spam? Perhaps. Regardless of the reason, it is essential for businesses to recognize the social and financial benefits that email marketing offers. More importantly, businesses must understand how to use email marketing effectively within their existing marketing plan.

Form a quality distribution list

In other words, don’t just throw wet spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. Segment your audience in any applicable way you can, whether it’s by geographic area, demographics, or any other characteristic. Also, if your content management system enables personalization, take advantage of the opportunity. These initiatives will increase the probability that your message will resonate and potentially result in a substantial lead or even conversion.

Focus on the subject line

After composing an amazing email, it’s easy to get lazy when it comes to the subject line. Don’t do it. Often, the subject is the sole reason someone opens, or conversely, doesn’t open your email. In fact, 47% of consumers make their decision about whether or not to open emails from businesses or nonprofits based on the content of the subject line (Source: Constant Contact). Subject lines should be compelling, action-oriented, devoid of any common spam-like words (e.g. free, offer, credit), consistent with the topic, and short (45 characters or fewer). As a suggestion, write the subject line before you compose your email to ensure it receives the attention it deserves.

Direct recipients to a powerful page

So, you got them to open the email (nice job with that subject line!). Now what? Ultimately, you want them to take action. If the link you provided brings them to a boring, directionless page, you’ve likely lost a conversion opportunity. Consider investing in a landing page or microsite to better support your marketing goals.

Reevaluate your email design templates

In some ways, the design of your email is even more important than the content. If your design makes it difficult to understand what your goal(s) are, your click-through rates will plummet. Your best bet is to design an email that is on-brand, light on imagery, and simple and compelling in its messaging. For example, if you want people to download a white paper, provide a brief synopsis of it along with links to download in several places within the email.

Build and manage relationships

You don’t always have to offer something tangible. Demonstrating to customers that you truly care about them and encouraging conversation can be more valuable. Not only does this reveal insight about your customers’ opinions of your business and its products, but it establishes a rapport that is essential to developing a solid, lasting relationship. Happy customers will continue to give you their business (and they’ll tell their friends about you, too). 

Provide links that make your content sharable

This seems simple, but it is incredibly important to the success of your email marketing efforts. Including links to various social media platforms creates more dynamic emails and significantly extends your reach. As recipients share your message with friends, family members and coworkers, your business’s credibility increases and your reputation is enhanced.

Define your goals & measure results

You’d be surprised, but this is something businesses forget all too often. You can’t determine how successful a tactic is if you don’t define what you are trying to achieve. Outline your objectives and establish a system that allows you to appropriately measure your outcomes, and thus, accurately evaluate the performance of your efforts. 

Perform A/B testing

Naturally, some emails will perform better than others. Success depends on a number of factors including the design, subject line, and copy. Try varying these core elements and monitor your analytics to determine what resonates most with your audience. Then use this information to develop best practices for future emails.

Although email marketing provides valuable benefits to businesses, it’s just one tool in your tool box and it should be used in conjunction with your overall marketing plan.

For help integrating email marketing with your existing marketing plan, contact ZAG Interactive.

  • Email Marketing

posted by
Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown
VP of Sales & Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.