In our “five tasks for online marketing in 2015” series, we’ve covered at third-party websites and at paid advertising and social media. The fourth topic I want to look at is email marketing, which remains a cornerstone activity for most businesses, but one which is still badly done.
There are four pieces of advice which I can offer when it comes to email marketing. Transform your company’s activities by investing time in these, and you’ll see some real results by this time next year.
Firstly, give your email list the care it deserves. You should have several classes of recipient, representing customers, prospects and simply people who’ve asked to hear from you. With any luck, they’ll be part of a CRM system which will enable you to segment them much more deeply. If you don’t have a database like this, start building one today. Make sure your list is constantly updated, and that you’re always offering customers and prospects the chance to join it.
Secondly, email them frequently, and with simple messages. Don’t wait weeks (or months) to collect enough items to form a “newsletter” which contains so much that nobody will read it. You’re not a magazine publisher from 1985. If they know your emails are going to be brief and to the point, they will open them and read them. Even better, if you can tailor the messages so that they appear to be doing the recipient a favour, rather than them doing you one by reading it, you stand a fighting chance of getting through. If you think anyone’s face lights up when they see “This month’s newsletter from…” in their email inbox, you need a reality check.
Thirdly, make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. A massive amount of email, possibly even the majority, is read on mobile devices nowadays. Recipients are reluctant to zoom and scroll to read messages at the best of times, and even less so if they suspect they’re going to be sold to.
Finally, measure the response. Everything you can click on in every email should be tagged so that you can measure it in your website visitor analytics. If your lists are a decent size, you’ll be able to test different designs and messages to see which works. And of course one thing you’ll find is that brief, one-subject emails work better; that mobile-friendly layouts are important; and that if you segment your lists and send to the right people, you’ll get better response.