You may ask yourself, what could be simpler than an email? After all, email marketing in its most basic form consists of sending messages to prospective and existing clients with a relatively straight forward aim: to promote your brand and communicate with the recipient effectively. But to convey your message in an engaging way, there are many tips and tricks to take into account.
In our most recent Go! Digital talk in collaboration with Go! Southampton, Matt Kerley, Blue Frontier's Business Development Executive, shared his insight into how you can hone the enormous potential of email marketing and use it to open up your business to far more possibilities.
Stood in the fabulous surrounds of the newly restored God's House Tower in Southampton, Matt touched upon the science of every element of effective email communication, including when to send emails, what format to use, and how to work around a spam filter. Matt also explored how to use visual cues within your emails to encourage the reader to take the action you desire, such as heading over to your website or signing up to an event.
Matt was eager to stress that email marketing is a multi-faceted tool and when handled well, can have the single biggest marketing impact for minimal financial investment.
As the most cost-effective form of direct marketing communication in the digital realm, email marketing brings with it a very favourable return on investment, with a wide reach and low cost of implementation. Matt pointed out the potential for a £39 return on every £1 invested.
Businesses with active email marketing campaigns are often on the lookout for more people and businesses to add to their list of email addresses. This often comes via a sign-up on a website with the incentive of a discount or introductory offer. Another means of expanding your reach is to buy a targeted list of email addresses of people who are likely to be interested in your brand, which reportedly comes tailor-made for your business.
The second method is undoubtedly more expensive but is likely to bring a quicker return. This cost will depend on the scale of that list.
Choosing between plain text and HTML formatted emails is a significant consideration for businesses starting up their email marketing campaigns. Matt mentioned that at Blue Frontier we do a split test of text vs HTML for most campaigns and occasionally opt for text versions if we feel a more personalised approach is required.
"When opting for an HTML approach, it's recommended you arrange the layout to have some text content before the use of images. By default, email software will not automatically download images and there is a danger that the use of images at the top of an email will give the appearance of a blank message. It's not ideal, but you can include a link to an online version of the email as this automatically resolves the blank screen problem and ensures the email displays as intended."
While plain text emails may not be the most sophisticated looking form of communication, they are readily accessible, and more importantly, can be read.
The use of certain words, such as ‘donate’, will more than likely result in an email being blocked by spam filters. Repeated use of words or phrases which trigger a company’s spam filter may cause your domain to be blacklisted and this can have a knock-on effect on your website’s SEO performance and should be avoided.
If you are interested in trialling a campaign and don't want to make a significant investment on software straight away, many companies offer an email marketing tool with a basic template that is free up to a certain number of emails. As an incentive to sign up for a better service with better templates and greater segmentation, a tiered service fee is introduced.
MailChimp is the service provider which most often springs to mind. Other solutions like Campaign Monitor, Drip and Constant Contact also offer CRM weighted analysis to help with marketing data on segmented campaigns.
For a very basic test on email success, Matt recommended a simple strategy: Set up a page on your website where the only way people can navigate to it is via an email offer and then watch how successful that offer is. It’s a proven and quick way of seeing how your campaign is running.
Business-to-business emails are always best between Monday and Friday, whereas business-to-consumer communications vary and we recommend you test when people are more likely to open those emails.
With 3.9 billion email users currently active, the question you should be asking yourself is not 'if' you are going to implement emails into your marketing strategy, but ‘when'.
Did you miss the talk? Watch the video below: