On Tuesday, Boot Camp Digital hosted the June Lunch & Learn, which was focused on Email Marketing That Gets Results. I was not at all surprised by the big turnout, because when you think about it, people really don’t know how to successfully use email marketing.
A lot of people just resort to sending out useless emails every other day, because the best thing to do is to broadcast as many emails as possible. Right? Wrong. Think about how many times you have logged into your email account at the start of a long work day and wanted to punch whoever keeps sending you irrelevant newsletters about their vitamin store.
What people don’t understand is how much you can increase the success of your business just by handling your email marketing the right way. Krista started out with listing some of the most common questions she is asked about email marketing:
- How often should I send an email?
- How long should my email be?
- Should my subject lines be descriptive or provocative?
- What time of the day should I send my email?
- How much content should be in an email?
The answer for every single one of these questions, and probably the 10 other questions you’re thinking in your head, is the exact same: it depends. What works for one company doesn’t always work for another, so don’t just refer to the emails you get from your favorite online shoe store and copy exactly what they do.
Although Krista could not give a specific answer for each of these questions, she did offer some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- For most companies, a newsletter is typically sent out biweekly or bimonthly.
- If it comes time to post your newsletter and you have nothing to say, don’t send it out.
- Some very effective emails are very, very short, even though standard practice is to try and put in a lot of content.
- The best times to send emails are at 9:30 in the morning or between 1:30 and 2 in the afternoon.
- For a consumer audience, the best time to send an email is after 4 pm.
- Don’t bother on Friday. Think about it: would you rather start your weekend meeting your friends at happy hour or do you want to sit down and read about how a diet pill will help you shed 10 pounds in 6 hours?
So now the ultimate question: what can you do do achieve huge success for your business with email marketing?
Step 1: Get Emails
- Remember that you always need to be collecting emails, everywhere. Whether it’s offline at a tradeshow, or online via a web form on your website, you need to constantly be asking people for their emails. Think of all your existing touch-points: trade shows, phone calls, networking events, your store, seminars, events, post cards, and a one-time email ask (so that if you were to create a newsletter, send one email telling them when and how often you’ll be sending it, and give them an option to opt-out if they’re not interested).
- Remember that it’s really important that you don’t have people marking you as spam, because it will impact the overall deliverability of your emails with Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
- Ask for as little information as possible, and give people a good reason to give you their email. For example, if you sell golf supplies, offer them a free report on how to improve their swing if they sign up for your email list. Then deliver on it.
- Finally, use social networks like Twitter to get the word out. Send out a few tweets (and spread them out) telling followers where to sign up for your emails if they aren’t getting them. The key is to be active and energetic without being overly aggressive.
Step 2: Get People to Open Your Emails
- Send the right message to the right person at the right time.
- What makes a good subject line? It depends on audience, the offer or incentive, how they view you and your brand, and if you usually have something useful or relevant to say.
- Just because something worked, don’t do it every time. Have variety to keep people interested
- For businesses offering coupons, the more direct headline the better (ie our 15% back to school savings pass is here!)
- Be consistent with who you send the email from each time
- Think about your first 6-10 words in the email, they should be prompting people to continue on with you
- You should always deliver on what you promised in the subject line.
- Build trust over time; you don’t always need to sell. Sometimes, you can send out a newsletter with just useful info.
- Email when you have value, not because of the day of the month.
Step 3: Get Them to Do Something After They Open Your Email
Use a strong Call to Action: a lot of emails miss a clear purpose of what they’re there for. What do you actually want someone to do from your email? If you want them to book you for a catering job, give them a link to your website and a special discount. If you want them to spread the word about your business, provide social media buttons in the email so that they can share your information on Twitter and Facebook. The bottom line is that people are lazy when it comes to this sort of thing, so tell them exactly what to do and make it easy for them to do it.
One last bonus piece of info… Certain words that you use in your email can impact your deliverability rate, because email providers would think they sound spam-like. So be careful and limited with your use of words and phrases including: free, 50% off, earn money, amazing, loans, get paid, act now, call now, cash bonus, order now, time limited, no cost, serious cash, save up to, all new subscribe now.
The Bottom Line? Email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re not having much success with it now, all it takes is a few simple changes and smart moves to get the results that you want.