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Tips for getting the most out of email marketing

Sara Howard
Smarter Writer

As a business owner and writer, Sara Howard has first-hand experience in marketing, cash flow management and technology

Sara Howard
Smarter Writer

As a business owner and writer, Sara Howard has first-hand experience in marketing, cash flow management and technology

Highlights
  • Email marketing campaigns can generate better returns than any other channel, including social media. 
  • Having strong landing pages can emphasise the value your business provides to visitors from the get-go.
  • Marketing software can respond to unsubscribe requests, ensuring your business does not breach anti-spam laws.

To make sure you’re maximising your email marketing campaigns, we’ve compiled a list of the best email marketing features – and why you need to start using these now.

With 79 per cent of Australians using social media, according to the 2017 Sensis Social Media Reporti, and consumption continuing to grow, there is an emerging belief that social media marketing is the leading way to convert new customers. But, when used well, email marketing can still be far more effective in generating a return on investment (ROI)ii than any other channel, including social.

Building a community

At the start of your email marketing journey, you may think, “We have no one in our database – why would we use email?” But, using the right email marketing software, you’ll see your list growing before you know it. Here are some top list building tips:

  1. Discounts: When customers visit your site, create a pop up or header offering a small product discount for first-time customers to subscribe. You’re not only winning them over with your generosity, but you’re getting some key details to start building your database.
  2. Free content: If you sell services, you might have some advice or tips that your customers would value – and a future customer may be willing to provide their valuable data in exchange.
  3. Prominent sign up box: Placing a strong call to action for visitors to sign up on your website seems simple, but it’s very effective. Test the navigation bar at the top and a bold button on the home page. 
  4. Have a strong landing page: If a visitor to your website likes what they see from the get-go and can see value in your product or service then they’re more likely to sign up.

Once they’ve signed up, subscribers should receive an automated email so they feel like part of your community. Keep it short, warm and, of course, welcoming.

Best practice email design

Most of us receive a deluge of emails each day and there’s just not time to read every one. Think of how many emails you delete without even opening them. A lot! So here are some tricks to help you stand out from the crowd:

  1. Strategic subject lines: What makes you want to open something? Chances are, if your name is mentioned, you’re more likely to engage. And you’re not alone: According to 2017 research conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, emails with personalised subject lines have a 50 per cent higher open rateiii. Creating a sense of urgency or FOMO (fear of missing out) is another key strategy – and did you know that posing a question is also an effective technique? Also, be sure to keep your subject lines to 50 characters or less.
  2. Use mobile-ready templates: You only have to look around on your morning commute to see how popular mobile is. This is why it’s essential to use a layout optimised for a variety of screen sizes. If your images and layout are only suited to desktop screens, your message will become skewed and your potential consumer will get frustrated and move on. With 50 per cent of AustraliansIV checking email on mobile first, followed by 28 per cent in a web browser and 22 per cent on desktop – mobile optimisation is a must.
  3. Layout and readability: We’re in the age of short attention spans and scan-reading so use beautiful imagery and focused (minimal) copy. The best email marketing software will include a number of templates to keep you on the right track. 
  4. Increasing click through: Apply the call to action as quickly as possible and make it clear. Don’t confuse readers by being coy. Use a click button to really draw their attention.

Understanding your subscriber list

One of the most important benefits of using email marketing software is the data and analytics available to help you understand your customers. This should not be ignored. In fact, this valuable information can ensure the success of future email campaigns.

  1. Managing unsubscribes: Australia has strict anti-spam laws so familiarise yourself with these to stay out of legal hot water. Every email must have a clear unsubscribe option that, if used, will unsubscribe the recipient within five working days. To make it easy, use email marketing software that adds a clear unsubscribe link to your marketing emails and then automatically processes any unsubscribe requests. Removing their details from your lists so they don’t receive any future emails will avoid agitating customers.
  2. Segmenting your list: I’ve already mentioned the benefits of personalisation in your subject line, but this is also relevant for the email content as well. For example, if you’re an online store selling a range of gender or age-specific products, then you might segment your list into male versus female, or according to age, and target each demographic with content and products suitable for that audience.
  3. A/B testing: For a major email marketing campaign, performing an A/B test can make a huge difference to its success. By sending variations of the same email to a sample group of subscribers, you can test the effectiveness of the subject line, ‘from’ name, content and even the send time. Your email platform can then measure open and click rates to help you determine which combination of these variables is most likely to result in sales. 
  4. General analytics: As well as A/B testing, a good email marketing platform lets you view open, click-through and unsubscribe rates for every email you send. You can also check whether your ‘from’ and subject lines are effective, and whether your body copy and call to action is driving engagement or sales.

The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report
ii  For Many Marketers, Email Is Still King, eMarketer
iii  Subject Line Benchmarks, Yes Lifecycle Marketing
iv  The Ultimate Guide to Email in Australia, Litmus and Vision 6
Spam legislation and enforcement, ACMA

To find out more about email marketing software, check out CakeMail in the Telstra Apps marketplace today.
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