Email marketing is an incredibly powerful way to engage with prospects and customers, and build meaningful relationships with them.
But first, you need to get the basics right.
One: Choose the right Email Service Provider (ESP). With built-in AI, powerful content capabilities, customizable Salesforce templates, A/B testing and many more cutting-edge functionalities, Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is a comprehensive solution to create memorable email campaigns.
Next: Hire the right team of dedicated resources.
Finally: Stay connected with customers. Email marketing is about making nurturing conversations and building relationships for mutually-beneficial outcomes. And staying connected can help with all these aims.
So if you are an email marketing manager or SFMC email specialist, here are 5 hacks to help you stay connected with subscribers from the moment you hit “Send”!
1. Send out a fortnightly or monthly newsletter
Newsletters that are not too promotional, and include great content that resonates with the audience help marketers deliver ongoing value and strengthen engagement over time. That’s why a newsletter is a great way to stay connected with the audience.
Consumers want to connect to the brands they like. Since connecting to every customer in person is not possible, newsletters provide the next best means to be personable, presentable and professional. Moreover, people today don’t buy because you sell; they buy because they trust you and are loyal to you. With a newsletter, if you get the design and content elements right, you can garner this trust and loyalty, and even convert subscribers into super-fans.
Here are some tips to create newsletters and make your audience go “Oooh! I want that in my Inbox!”
- Give them a reason to “opt in”. Pitch them with value and provide an incentive to sign up.
- Pick one goal and design your newsletter around it:
- Boost sales
- Drive traffic to a landing page or store
- Promote new products
- Increase social media presence
- Download a resource, etc.
- Personalize the content and make it interesting to that subscriber
- Craft an enticing subject line
- Keep body content organized, succinct and “chunked”
- Include white space for easy readability
- Add visuals to support the copy
- Make sure the links work and that every image includes ALT text
- Create urgency with a well-crafted CTA
- Maintain delivery consistency – don’t send more newsletters than you promised or they asked for
2. Create copy that wows them
Email marketing has a very high RoI and virtually every brand invests time and money in it.
So how can you differentiate your emails from the crowd?
With great copy!
People read emails only if the copy is interesting or relevant to them.
To send emails that connect you to your audience, keep these tips in mind:
Don’t just sell – give value
Most people don’t like to be sold to, especially if the pitch is too aggressive, preachy or condescending. Email is a great way to “pull” customers toward you, instead of “pushing” yourself on them. And to do this – your copy must provide some value in terms of:
- Giving information
- Addressing a question
- Easing a worry
- Solving a problem
Ultimately, every email should have one purpose – to help the audience.
Make it human
Your subscribers are humans. But is your copy?
The COVID-19 crisis has created opportunities for email marketing managers to develop their “create-more-human-emails” skills.
But even in general, your email marketing copy should reinforce the human connection with your audience, and not just overwhelm them with brand messaging. You can definitely encourage subscribers to take a certain action with your CTAs, but content should always be empathetic and sensitive, never tone-deaf or inappropriate.
Make it personal
No one likes to feel as if they’re generic, cardboard cut-outs like millions of others. And yet, this is exactly what too many brands do with their email marketing!
No matter the size of your subscribers’ list, every email should be written as though you’re sending it to one person at a time. Considering subscribers as unique individuals is one of the most powerful ways to stay connected with them.
Some ways to include personalization in your emails:
- Address them by their first name
- Include special offers or promotions
- Create bespoke copy based on their unique persona, demographics or purchase history
- Provide product recommendations
- Acknowledge special days like birthdays or anniversaries
3. Create HTML, plain-text and mobile-optimized emails
The HTML versus plain-text debate has raged for years.
Which one is better for staying in touch with subscribers?
Answer – BOTH!
HTML emails are rich in visual, interactive and media elements. With these emails – especially if you use Salesforce email templates – you can create beautifully-formatted content; add images, animated GIFs or videos; embed social media links; and even implement attention-drawing CTAs. They also allow for personalization and real-time email marketing, and deliver better analytics.
The disadvantage is that HTML emails sometimes don’t render properly, say because of low Internet speeds. This is where plain-text emails can be a game-changer. With a plain-text email, you can still share information and provide value to customers – albeit without the bells and whistles of an HTML email.
By creating both kinds of emails, you have a greater chance of reaching more subscribers – those who can open HTML emails, as well as those who can only open plain-text emails. Some ESPs automatically create both versions, so make sure you check!
Also, do create mobile-friendly emails. A majority of subscribers check emails on mobile devices, so if your emails are not mobile-optimized, you’re missing out on some great connection- and relationship-building opportunities.
- Stick to a single column layout with easy scrolling and navigation
- Keep content brief and well-organized
- Include images; make sure they load properly
- Use short subject lines
- Include white space
- Test all links, especially the ones that lead to a sales page (e.g. store)
4. Don’t overdo…well..anything!
If you want to focus on long-term connections and not just short-term sales, it’s important to not overdo a few things:
Don’t be their Inbox pest
Don’t bombard people with multiple emails if all they asked for is one email a week or three emails a month. When you send too many emails, your engagement rates will fall, and unsubscribe rates and spam complaints will likely go up.
Don’t be the brand that peddles “spam”
Anti-spam engines are getting smarter and people are getting more impatient. If your emails consistently contain spammy words, there’s only one place they will go – into the Junk folder! Keep your emails spam-free with these tips:
- Always create relevant and personalized content
- Never buy email lists; build your own list organically
- Provide an Unsubscribe link, and make it visible
- Never use ‘No reply’ in the sender’s email address
- In SFMC, use Content Detective to check for spammy words before email sends
Don’t mix up your messages
Ideally, every email should have one key take-away:
- Download this eBook
- Thank the subscriber
- Read this white paper/article
- Explore new collection
- Take advantage of this offer
- Share this with your friends
If you overdo the messaging, you will only confuse your readers. And confused readers will not be open to staying connected with you.
5. BE PATIENT
In real life, building a meaningful connection with other human beings takes time, effort and lots of patience.
Why should email marketing be any different?
We live in a hyper-energized world, where customers are low on concentration, and high on brand-switching. To stay connected with them, it’s important to be patient.
Building your email list takes time. If you don’t already have an email list or an established brand, you will have to start out small and slowly climb your way up.
You will have to pay attention to customer segmentation and email list hygiene. You will need to identify disengaged customers, and shoppers who abandon their carts. And you should reward loyal customers to keep them connected and engaged. All of this requires planning and consistent action – one of which is designing specific and targeted email marketing campaigns. Another is analyzing every campaign’s performance, and adjusting your future email marketing strategy, design, copy or layouts.
Do these tasks consistently and patiently to stay connected with customers today, tomorrow and always.
Your subscribers want to know they matter. Let them know that you appreciate them and that they’re important to you by making an effort to stay connected with them. Try sending a few emails using the tips we have shared. And do reach out to us for support if you get stuck along the way!