Essentials of an Effective Email Marketing Strategy
By Katie Parr
Public relations professionals are great at telling stories and forming relationships, which is exactly what email marketing is all about. Email marketing is about the long-term, so you can’t send out one email and expect to have a lot of return. The goal of email marketing is to turn prospects into clients and maintain relationships with your company’s current clients.
Here are the six basic steps to ensure that your email marketing strategy is effective:
Start with Existing Contacts
You can start your email marketing strategy by adding your customers, past customers, business partners, prospects, event attendees, webinar attendees, etc. to your database. These are all valuable contacts that your business already has, which can immediately be uploaded to an email platform and segmented to different lists so that you can craft your message to each target audience.
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Build the Foundation
A newsletter is an email that you send out on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, etc.) which should serve as the foundation of your email marketing strategy. This is the perfect platform to share your new content—blogs, videos, infographics, etc.—and your old content, like your best performing blogs and articles. If a blog post is five years old, but still maintains relevance and adds value to your subscribers, why not use it? Or, give it a refresh!
You can also use your newsletter to share industry news and leverage your platform to position your company as a thought leader by adding your take on it. This is a great way to supplement if you don’t have the resources to constantly produce new content on a regular basis. By curating and sharing other content and writing a small blurb with your thoughts, you’re saving time and resources while still positioning yourself as the expert on industry trends.
Find the Balance
It’s important to find the balance between giving—educational content, entertaining content, useful content—and asking—promotional content, call-to-action, when you want people to do something such as reserve their spot at an event, buy a product. If you’re always asking, people who are not ready to purchase will not gain a lot of value from receiving your emails, leading them to unsubscribe.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you only share and give useful, educational and entertaining content and you never have a call-to-action, you may find that email marketing is not working for you because you don’t have a return on investment. A good email marketing strategy will have a good mix of both types of content.
Grow Your Subscriber List
If you want to increase your results, you need to constantly increase your subscriber list. You can facilitate this by adding a form on your website to subscribe to your company’s newsletter. It’s even better when there’s a bonus in the call-to-action such as, “Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our best tips and tricks to…” Then upon completing the form, the subscriber receives a free eBook. It’s always smart to exchange premium content for email addresses. So, if your company has educational videos, whitepapers, etc., use this content to your advantage!
It’s never enough to just say, “Please subscribe to my newsletter.” We’re all so inundated with emails that this request is not enticing enough on its own. You have to sell them on it a little bit by telling them what’s in it for them and what they will miss if they’re not subscribed to your email list.
Send Targeted Emails
Once you have a newsletter going and you’re able to maintain it with new content, you can focus on sending more targeted emails. These emails contain content of extraordinary value and have a focused message with one call-to-action.
If you really want to push a new product or want to make sure as many people as possible attend your event, you’ll want to send a targeted email. This strategy combats scrolling fatigue as it only has one message that is clear and concise, so you can ensure that it’s the one message your audience pays attention to.
Set Up Automated Emails
Once you’ve established your initial email marketing strategy (by mastering steps 1-5), it’s time to take your strategy a step further with marketing automation. The best way to initiate automated emails is with a welcome email. When someone subscribes to a list by filling out a form online, or when someone buys a product, they would then receive an automated email to say thank you. This is one of the most effective emails that you can set up and send out. Welcome emails are some of the most opened and read emails because they make sense. Someone just had an interaction with your company/brand. Then, automatically and right away, they receive an email from you. They will go to their inbox and see your name and will remember that brand because they just had the interaction, making the open rate very high.
Knowing this, you need to first set up welcome emails, but also have crucial information within the content along with a call-to-action. If you thank people for buying a product, it might make sense to suggest complementary products within your email. If there is a next step that you’d like people to take, you’ll want to put it in the welcome email because it is opened and read by a lot of people.
Email marketing isn’t simply about marketing your company’s products/services to others, but rather about finding more effective ways to connect with and inspire them. The more effective your email campaign, the more pronounced an impact your outreach efforts will have on your company’s bottom line. The benefit of email marketing is that you’ll receive direct feedback from prospects and clients, which can then help you adjust your overall marketing strategy to improve results.