Simply put, if you don’t have some sort of EDM strategy in place, then you’re not utilising the full potential of your online marketing efforts. EDM, which stands for electronic direct mail, involves the use of multiple forms of communication to reinforce campaign messages. One of the main reasons marketers love EDM is because of the instant, reliable and usable data it provides, because as we know, data is key. Analysing data helps us inform future strategies and understand trends. Communication forms that are often implemented include online advertising, PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, social media, offline advertising, and email marketing.
Though it seems like the least exciting form of communication, emails are just as important as ever in marketing efforts today. Email technology has been around since 1965, making it older than the internet itself. However, in its early implementation, its features were limited; users could only send files to other users of the same computer. Then internetworking began—this allowed computers to communicate with one another over networks. So, files could be sent from one computer to another, but how would one computer know where to send such a file?
Welcome, the email address. In 1972, Ray Tomlinson, the man credited for the invention of the email, came up with a simple solution. Utilising the ‘@’ symbol, he created an email address system. The name-of-user@name-of-computer system still exists to this day, with over 600 million addresses registered internationally.
The next digital advancement that enabled ordinary citizens to send emails efficiently was the introduction of the commercial emailing system. The first on the scene was called Eudora and was created by Steve Dorner in 1988. His system became popular due to its usability—as we all know, a friendly interface can do wonders. Then, with the progression of the World Wide Web, popular systems that we use today, such as Outlook, Hotmail, and Yahoo emerged. What ensued was a generation of chainmail, e-cards, spam and sharing funny cat videos.
Fashionably late to the game, but not unnoticed, was Gmail which launched in 2004. Despite its late arrival, Gmail made a great impact. Today, it’s the most popular emailing system on the market holding 29% of market shares. In a close second we have Apple iPhone mail with 27%, before a big drop to 10% with Outlook. So, what makes Gmail so popular?
It seems Google has pervaded many aspects of people’s lives—including email—and it’s honestly made our lives easier. Gmail is easy to set up and use, contains enormous storage (15GB), and takes some of the ground work out of email sorting by classifying emails as primary, social, promotional, and updates—if you’re one for organisation, then Gmail is a dream. Of course, this all comes down to personal preference.
Despite your preferences, one thing is for certain—email is just as important as ever, as is email marketing. If you’re not utilising email marketing to promote your client, then there are many reasons why you should start right now. The first being, it’s not as hard as you think, especially if you’re using an email marketing software. There are many easy-to-use systems available for marketers—we’ll touch on these later. Another benefit is that it’s one of the most effective forms of EDM, sometimes more effective than social media. According to Optinmonster, email marketing has a potential 4400% ROI. Some other benefits include:
- It can cultivate relationships with potential customers
- It can keep existing customers loyal
- It keeps customers informed of promotions and new products
- It’s low cost
- You can reach an already engaged audience
- You can deliver targeted messages
- It’s easy to measure success
- It has an instant impact
If that has just about convinced you to start your email marketing campaign right away, then we suggest taking a little more time to read through our marketing tips. To really boost your marketing efforts, we’ve put together a little advice to help you get started. Read on for our 10 best tips for email marketing.
1. Use Software
As mentioned, there’s a lot of software out there that can make your life easier when planning and implementing your next email marketing campaign. Undoubtedly, the most beneficial aspect of email marketing software is the data and analytics it provides. Emailing software can help users track certain analytics such as click-through rates, open rates, bounce rates, and conversions. This helps users adapt their strategy as needed to maximise their ROI.
One of the most popular email marketing systems is Mailchimp. Mailchimp is easy to use, reliable, and you can use it for free—to a certain extent. For those who have a small clientele, that is, fewer than 2,000 customers to reach, Mailchimp’s free service is a great way of growing your client’s business. There are limitations, however. Your customers will be automatically grouped into one audience, and you won’t get to customise your email template. Plus, you will have the Mailchimp footer attached, so it does pay to move up to the ‘standard’ plan. The ‘standard’ plan is currently A$22.05 a month and is ideal for managing email for multiple businesses with a total of 100,000 clients or fewer.
2. When To Email
Deciding when to email is one of the great burdens of email marketing, especially with the ubiquity of smartphones. Smartphones and wearable technology have meant that emails are always in reach. No longer are we counting on people to check their emails before or after work; they can do this any time of day. So, suddenly our options have widened considerably. Deciding when to email can vary across industries. Ultimately, it’s best to evaluate your analytics to check when customers are opening emails. Otherwise, a universal guideline is ‘midday and midweek’. Specifically, Tuesday to Thursday are key days, and 6am, 10am, 2pm and 8pm are key times. This follows the common routine of early morning and late night email checks and includes key times workers are distracted. Who’s not guilty of a late afternoon social media break?
3. Know Your Client’s Audience
Or audiences, rather. Don’t use the same messaging strategy on everyone; chances are, you’ll lose the interest of prospective customers. Emails should be tailored to each audience’s relevant interests for maximum impact. Email personalisation has proven to be more successful than the use of generic emails. In fact, personalised emails deliver six times higher transaction rates than non-personalised emails. To help marketers segment audiences, many marketing software systems allow users to divide their clients’ email lists based on age, gender, geographical location, and buyer persona.
4. Email Consistently
Many of us have a fear of spamming customers’ inboxes. After all, we know how annoying it is seeing our inbox inundated with numerous promotional emails, especially from the one company. We’re trying to uphold the reputation of our clients, but at the end of the day, they need to get noticed. It’s important to take into consideration how frequently many modern users monitor and organise their emails. It is perfectly acceptable these days to email daily, especially if people have willingly joined your client’s mailing list. And considering the average customer sees 600 messages a day, it’s important to remind customers of your business and products or services.
5. Keep It Short and Simple
More often, people are reading messages from their phone screens these days, rather than computer monitors. This is because we are busier; between work and our social lives, we don’t have time for lengthy emails. Tiny screens make shorter texts seem longer and larger texts seem enormous. Therefore, it’s critical to cut your messages down to a few simple lines. Edit your messages so that they’re clear and concise. Let the audience know what you want them to do.
6. Make It Personal
We already mentioned how beneficial it is to understand your client’s target audience and tailor messages accordingly. Take it further by personalising content to each customer. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with a personalised subject line have a 26% higher chance of being opened compared to generic, non-personalised emails. In addition to your subject line, include a personalised welcome message to your customer in the email. This special touch will make customers feel like they are being personally catered to and feel more appreciated.
7. Don’t Overlook The Subject Line
We’ve all been the target of a deceptively attractive subject line and know how frustrating it is opening the email to the disappointment of false promises. In the case of subject lines, it’s best not to “oversell and under-deliver”. Avoid trickery, embellishing the truth, and definitely avoid all caps—no one wants to feel like they’re being yelled at. The goal is not to get your email opened but rather to build a solid relationship between your client and their customer base.
Do use transparency and short, concise messages. Keep your subject line natural and use language that the audience understands. When possible, use questions and numbers—these are proven to get a higher click-through rate. And if you’re client’s brand is based on humour, use humour. Always check your open rate to see how subject lines are performing, then adjust based on these analytics.
8. Split-Test Emails
A/B testing, or split-testing, is a great way to find out which email marketing campaign is the most effective out of two. To split-test an email, you need to set up two versions of the same campaign to deliver to different audiences. There are three things most marketers test in email marketing: the subject line, the sender details (by changing the sender name and email), and the email content. Vary only one item at a time to effectively test which performs better. Many email marketing software systems let users perform these split-tests. Using these, you can choose the recipients, define the test settings, and schedule each test run. Click here to see how Campaign Monitor lets you split-test.
9. Design Matters
When constructing a promotional email, it is important to consider design elements. After all, you want to send something that is visually appealing and easy on the eye. You can do this by avoiding busy-looking email templates. Use white space to guide the reader’s eye and make your emails more scannable. Provide key information in a digestible format using short paragraphs, headings, and dot points. If there’s more information to share than what can be condensed into your email, then you can always direct your reader to a “read more” link.
10. Use Psychology
As humans, we’re pretty predictable beings. Our motivations can be easy to analyse and manipulate. Therefore, it makes sense to base marketing efforts on human psychology. If we know we can elicit a certain response or emotion through proven techniques, then why not use them?
Common appeals marketing campaigns cater to include:
- FOMO (Fear of missing out)
- Emotion through colour choice, symbolism, and images containing faces
- Influences on decision-making through the use of social proof theory
So, those are our top ten tips for email marketing and optimising EDM strategy. Remember, don’t neglect your emailing efforts. In combination with other marketing efforts like SEM, social media marketing, and advertising online, email marketing can help you reach more customers for your client and bring them a greater ROI. More importantly, unlike other forms of marketing, email lets you communicate with your customers on a personal level each day, which is why it’s one of the most effective online marketing methods.