The trick to having an effective online marketing strategy is to use a multi-pronged approach, where you use several different strategies at the same time. The reason this works exceptionally well is that the different strategies have different advantages and disadvantages. By using several different strategies at the same time, you can cancel out the disadvantages and make the advantages even more effective.
In the case of email marketing the disadvantage is getting people to actually sign up. The advantage, in the meantime, is that once they are signed up they are far more likely to actually click through when you do send out an email. This is because email marketing has a much higher rate of engagement than other forms of marketing.
For that reason, the best strategy to use for your email marketing is to:
Use other marketing techniques to pull people into your email list
No doubt you’ve already run into multiple strategies to actually get people to sign up for your newsletter. The lightbox – which pretty much amounts to a pop up on websites – is a common strategy that is used. This is because it has proven very effective in getting people to sign up. A Crazy Egg article suggests that they can get up to 1375% more signups.
They’re also evolving (fortunately) so that most people now no longer hit when you just arrive, but instead pop up when you’re done with an article or when you’re planning to exit the page – this makes them far less obtrusive and also makes it far more likely you know if you actually want to sign up.
Another common strategy is to share newsletters across your social networks. This strategy manages to combine the greater reach of your social media with the greater ability of email marketing to have people click through.
Then there is reminding people everywhere that there is a newsletter. For example, in the bottom of standard emails you send out. This won’t create a flood of new signups but will certainly help. What’s more, as you generally email people who are more likely to be interested in what you’re doing, you’re reaching out to the right audience.
The importance of trust
Email marketing is a long-term strategy, where you build up trust with the people in your list, who then chose to engage with your emails. For this reason, it is always important to remember that it is essential you deliver what you’ve promised. In this way, as Niel Patrick explains, you build trust. A lot of email marketers break this rule. They are so focused on their subject line, that they end up creating clickbait titles, where the body of what they’re saying does not deliver what they’ve promised.
That’s a dangerous strategy to pursue. Sure, it will get a lot of people to open that email, but the emails you send are never seen in isolation. If people have a sense that you cheated them in the past, they are less likely to open your emails in the future. The idea of ‘once bitten twice shy’.
On the other hand, if you create emails that actually give people interesting insights and useful information, the reverse will happen. They will grow to trust what you’re delivering and as a result will be more likely to actually open the content you send their way – even if the subject lines don’t necessarily capture their interest.
So does that mean you shouldn’t sensationalize your subject line? No, that’s not what I’m saying. It is incredibly important to have a high quality subject line and that you follow the advice out there. That is, after all, how people decide if they’re going to open your email or not. But those subject lines do have to be honest to be effective.
This trust also extends to the body of your text. Though your goal when sending out email marketing campaigns is to sell more of your product, this shouldn’t appear to be the main thrust of the emails you send out. Most people did not sign up to your newsletter to receive yet more advertising.
Instead, they signed up to get value added to their lives. This means that they want to learn new things, get new insights and get good deals. If, in the process they also get advertised to, they’re willing to accept that as part of the bargain. If they only receive the latter and none of the former options, however, then they will drift away.
Follow the numbers
The great thing about modern email marketing is that once you’ve got a bit of a list, it’s very easy to run experiments and find out what your users are or aren’t interested in. There are many ways to run such experiments. You can write about different topics on different emails and thereby get a general idea of what is more interesting to most of your readers.
Of course, this is rather a crude instrument. After all, there might be a lot of other factors which determine why people open an email this week and not the next despite the fact that they’re the same.
For that reason, you should consider using some more advanced strategies to see what works within your industry. One of the best is variations of the A/B test. The idea here is relatively straightforward. If you create an email marketing campaign then, by creating two slightly different versions and sending each to a different half of your mailing list, you can figure out how your own audience reacts.
In this way, you can try out two different subject lines. Or you can see if people in your industry prefer plain-text emails or like it more if you send images (note that many email browsers have images disabled and so even if you have a funny gif like the one below, nobody will be able to see it).
Other things you can experiment with is that all important call to action that gets them to click through and how it should be constructed. You can even experiment with the name of the sender, to see what kind of names your audience prefers.
You can even explore how effective using an outside or specialized editor is by creating a text yourself and then having such an outside editor – like say Essay Supply writing service – take their hand to it. Then, by comparing results, you can figure out if the extra financial investment is worthwhile.
Yes, there are a lot of websites out there that claim to already have run such experiments. The only thing is, people in different industries and different parts of the world don’t react the same way. For that reason, it’s better to take what they say as a guideline and run experiments to verify their results for yourself. This will not only give you a better insight into your audience, but will also give you a much better idea about which of the email marketing gurus actually know what they’re talking about.
You might be tempted to send out blanket emails that are the same for your entire audience. The thing is, that form of marketing – known as spray and pray – is highly ineffective. This is particularly true as it’s now possible to actually know a great deal about your audience and use that as a way to create more engagement.
One great way to do that is to use trigger marketing. This form of marketing is where you reach out to people when certain conditions have been met. For example, if they’ve put things into their basket a while ago but did not buy them. Or, if they haven’t actually opened one of your emails for a long time. Or if they’ve spent a certain amount of money on buying your products.
In this way, you can re-engaged people that are starting to drift away, perhaps by offering them some kind of discount or a voucher to buy products with. The great thing about such a strategy is that only those people who would otherwise quite possibly never have bought anything from you end up using these vouchers.
Even better, because you only approach a specific group to meet a specific condition or problem, they feel that the message they’re receiving is far more personalized than it otherwise is. And we always like it when we feel we’re more than just a number.
Naturally, as you experiment with dividing up your marketing list in this way you’ll come up with your own ideas about how you can subdivide your audience. This will allow you to approach your list in entirely new ways and allow you to boost engagement.
The death of email marketing has been highly exaggerated. Almost all of us still engage on a regular basis with this slightly dated email technology, especially for things like our work. And as long as we keep giving it so much attention, it will remain a useful area to market in – particularly as when people have willingly signed up for an email list, they feel more committed than they otherwise would.
For this reason, it’s important that you have a good strategy set up to build the biggest list you can and make the best use of the list you have. This can significantly boost sales and interest for a tiny amount of extra effort and time.