However you look at it, no relationship matters more to an eCommerce entrepreneur than the one between their company and its customers.
That’s why it pays to devise an e-mail marketing strategy to hook potential customers and supply loyal purchasers with useful content. That way, you can build a true community of people who value what you do — the kind of community that brings reliable sales and steadily improving brand visibility.
The question is, how can online marketers make their e-mail marketing as effective as possible?
Get the Front End Right
Before considering what actually goes into a successful e-marketing campaign, it is vital to create the architecture to support it. A clearly laid-out web page with forms to submit personal information is essential.
Try to keep the number of fields to a minimum, as first time customers won’t appreciate companies asking them for large amounts of personal details. All you really need is fields for their name and e-mail address, placed on a simple landing page. Calls to action on this page are useful, as are bold colors, but keep things nice and simple if you can.
On other pages such as product descriptions, placing a “subscribe” button in a relatively unobtrusive location will lead some customers to seek it out, and be sure to mention your newsletter when customers click through to make a purchase.
Choose the Right Way To Send Your Mails
Now you will need to decide how you want your bulk e-mails to be sent out to customers. Many people reach for familiar tools like Gmail or Yahoo to get the job done, but that’s a mistake. Far better are bespoke e-mail marketing providers like Mailchimp who specialize in bulk mail-outs, and you can be sure that they will get the timings and formatting right.
These firms feature campaign management dashboards, allowing you to maintain your subscriber database and analyze your customer base. This makes it much easier to divide your customers into segments and to deliver personalized messages that really reach them.
Impress Your Subscribers From the Start
Soon, you should have built up a list of subscribers who are waiting with baited breath for your next message. Well, maybe they won’t be quite that enthusiastic, but they will be happy to read what you have to say, and you need to be ready to impress them.
That’s why the initial e-mail is so important. This is where you introduce your marketing campaign – giving a flavor of how customers can benefit from staying engaged. Give them details about subscriber discounts and previews of what you have in the pipeline. Customers will respond well to exclusive information or expert views, particularly if you are trying to position yourself as a trusted expert.
You will also need to think about how often to contact your subscribers. Resist the urge to e-mail too often. You don’t want to become associated with spammy communications with little value, and alienating customers is a real no-no. A couple of times a week will usually do fine. It’s also worth experimenting with different times in the day, as this can have an impact on how customers respond.
Don’t Break Any E-Mail Marketing Rules
Whatever you send to customers, some things are unavoidable. The law mandates that all messages need to include an option to unsubscribe and that customers need to be removed from the list within 10 working days of a request. Your messages must also include a real-life address for customers to contact.
In any case, it is good practice to be up-front and transparent about how to disengage from the list, and how customers can make contact. Include a phone number for enquiries and process an unsubscribe requests quickly. Aside from ensuring you are legally compliant, it contributes to a strong reputation for honesty and customer service.
Hone Your Content Structure
Most e-mail newsletters have a similar structure, even if their content varies wildly. The most obvious feature will be the subject line or title. This should be the prompt that entices readers to click on the e-mail. You could include your business name, an eye-catching discount or make a reference to the unique content on offer inside.
When it comes to writing your content, make it useful, relevant and positive. Good newsletters leave readers feeling that a purchase will benefit them in some way, and that the products that have been mentioned will enhance their lives. Don’t hammer away at your selling points. Keep things short and sweet – with key features and prices at the forefront.
Readers also respond far better to newsletters that blend readable text and attractive graphics. Make sure that your images and text are in proportion, so that the message doesn’t seem wordy or insubstantial.
One useful tip about images. Often, e-mail readers will block images, so be sure to include a well thought out alt-tag to describe what readers would see, if images weren’t blocked.
Add a Personal Touch For Better Click Throughs
There is no doubt about it – e-mail marketing campaigns that personalize their content are more effective than generic campaigns.
All of your messages should begin with a greeting using the customer’s first name. However, not all newsletters follow on from that. The rest of the text also needs to have a personal touch. It should communicate directly to your customer as if speaking only to them, not to an abstract crowd. Use humor, and create a sense of complicity by offering exclusive information that others don’t have. That way, you will make your language much more powerful.
Depending on your e-mail campaign provider, you may also be able to segment your e-mails into different demographics. With this tool, you can send different newsletters to men and women, or to middle aged and millennial customers. It’s worth the small amount of extra work to tailor text about discounts or the graphics you use to different groups, as customers really do respond to a personal touch.
Link Your E-Mail Marketing Campaigns to Social Networks
This is vital if you want to multiply the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing strategies, which should be a top priority. In every newsletter provide links to ongoing blog content that discusses your products or services. Add buttons to subscribe to your Twitter account and Facebook group, and be sure to run regular offers for people who sign up.
Your newsletter should never be seen as a standalone marketing tool. Instead, it is part of a wider campaign that could include everything from physical fliers to Youtube videos. The overarching aim is to encourage a community to develop where people talk about and buy your products. When you have reached that point, you’ll see sales and profits rise substantially.
Creating a killer e-mail marketing campaign is essential in the online economy. You might feel skeptical about the value of regular newsletters, but people genuinely do click onto them. If the content inside is strong, then these people will help to build a nucleus of reliable customers, which is the basis of any sustainable business.