Maybe you've thought about email marketing but haven't made a plan yet. Or maybe your first email marketing campaign didn't work out. Email has already proven itself to be a viable way to engage directly with existing and new customers—with fine tuning, it can be invaluable to your business. This guide reveals the most effective ways for email marketing to engage customers, promote activities and thereby increase revenue.
Whether you want to encourage current customers who haven't signed up for an activity in a while, interest people in activities that aren't selling fast enough, inform people of special offers or reach contacts who haven’t become customers yet, email has proven to be one of the best tools for the job.
“Time has shown that email marketing campaigns have an incredible return on investment: $44 for every $1 spent“
How email marketing helps you reach new goals
Email marketing can lead to revenue generation in three distinct ways. If you’re sending out an email for promotional purposes, choose one of these avenues, depending on the audience for your email campaign.
Finding new potential customers
Collect emails from people you know are potentially interested in what your organization offers. Contacts can be collected through:
- Community events you’ve been involved in
- Your website
- Your social media accounts
The next step is to keep in touch with people by informing them of your organization’s latest activities and offering promotions that increase the incentive for new customers to sign up.
Upselling existing customers
Selling to existing customers is the most efficient way to increase your return on investment. Stay in touch with customers by sending them special offers and informing them about events, workshops, new classes and merchandise that relate to their interests. Instead of simply selling to customers, celebrate their personal successes and put the spotlight on them to build an emotion connection with your email community.
Re-engaging former customers
Sometimes customers become inactive, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of your journey with them. Stay in touch with them through email campaigns that speak to their interests so you stay top of mind—they may decide to return.
Time has shown that email marketing campaigns have an incredible return on investment (ROI): up to a 4400% ROI and $44 for every $1 spent. Email marketing tools and technologies have evolved over the past decade to boost the success of campaigns, whether they're focused on selling a product or service, building loyalty with established customers or stronger relationships with new customers.
That’s one of the reasons Amilia has partnered with email marketing organization Constant Contact, one of the leading email marketing platforms for growing businesses. To increase the success rate of every email you send and grow your business in the process, targeted email campaigns are essential.
But before you start outlining an email campaign strategy, get familiar with email marketing best practices. They'll provide a foundation for your campaigns and point the way to what works best for you and engages as many customers as possible.
The top 5 best practices for email marketing
1. Craft emails that are relevant and actionable
The biggest question for organizations today is how to strategize and construct email marketing campaigns that work best for the company and its customers. In an era of increased personalization, connecting on a more human level matters. Email can’t make an impression if no one reads it: every email you send needs compelling content from subject line to signature. Know your customers and speak directly to their interests.
To increase engagement, make sure that your email:
- Has a well-designed template and interface that fit with your branding
- Features to-the-point written content and relevant images
- Has a clear and enticing call-to-action, optimized for your audience
- Includes a personalized subject line—emails with a personalized subject line have 50% higher open rates
- Features links to web-based content that is appealing as well as links to sign up to your newsletter
- Offer readers a unique benefit: a targeted deal, coupon, new product or new information on a topic will pique their interest and inspire them to act
2. Divide your lists and keep them clean
You're more likely to connect with customers if they're already interested in a subject. Target them more directly by building segmented lists, then customize your content for each list. Segmentation just means that the persons in a list have enough in common so it will feel like the email was written specifically for them. With Amilia and Constant contact you can use filters to create lists of customers who used the same programs, activities, memberships or bought the same merchandise.
- Divide your lists: Segment by existing customers, new prospects, former customers with interests related to new activities, and so on.
- Combine users: Create new lists by combining existing users from your Amilia database with prospects such as your social media followers and newsletter subscribers.
To ensure your lists are clean, do a visual check of your lists for common technical problems, making sure that first name and last name are separated and in the right order and that email addresses are in the correct format.
One of the most common oversights in email marketing is sending your campaign out to an unwieldy list—a list that only includes people who want to see your emails gets a better return. Keeping your email lists clean, small and customized for each campaign increases the chance that people will respond and the campaign will be a success. It’s also worth the time to examine why people unsubscribe from lists and include an unsubscribe link to acknowledge the possibility: looking into who unsubscribes may give you more insight into what customers are looking for.
3. Use email marketing tools that suit your business
Email marketing tools like Constant Contact are more flexible than ever, allowing you to quickly customize your email to suit each campaign’s purpose. Beyond that, email tools solve several common small business problems related to time and resources.
- Design: If you don’t have an in-house designer, find an email marketing tool that features flexible templates and a variety of designs to choose from.
- Simplicity: If you’re new to email campaigns, opt for a tool that is simple and intuitive to use. Many tools don’t require you to know how to code and instead use a drag-and-drop interface for each section of the email, letting you easily arrange text, images, video, link buttons and action items such as polls.
- Automation: Some email marketing tools feature options that automatically send welcome emails to new leads, send email at specified times to targeted lists, and offer customers a choice of how many emails they receive from you in a month. Automation can result in more regular contact between your brand and your customers, without any added workload for your staff.
- Scheduling: An integrated calendar gives you the big picture on events relevant to your customers alongside the details of your email marketing strategy, so you can schedule email during optimal dates and times of day.
Email automation Dashboard
4. Test emails before you send them
Before you send a campaign email, test it out on yourself and a select few people in your organization. However formal or informal, this kind of testing is essential for weeding out errors that could leave customers with a bad impression.
When looking through your email with an eagle eye, be sure to check that:
- Layout and images load properly
- Each and every link works
- Video content plays correctly
- The email text and subject line are free of spelling errors
- The email, including all images, loads properly on both a computer and mobile device
- Email not only is readable on mobile devices but is optimized for mobile
“49% of consumers prefer weekly emails from brands they like“
5. Check your metrics and adjust
Email marketing services let you track how many people open the email you've sent (a percentage known as “open rate”), what links they click on (the “click rate”) and how often people unsubscribe from your list. From that information, you'll be able to measure the success of the campaign and identify what people responded to most.
If an open rate for a campaign is low, consider these five main culprits:
- Bounced emails is usually measured in percent, it represents how many emails did not reach the sender, due to a bad email address. It is a good indicator of the health of your list: if a high percentage of your emails are bouncing back to you, you need to do a better job of keeping your list up to date.
- Subject line: Your email’s subject line might not be as relevant as it could be to your contacts: change the subject line for different segments of your list according to customers’ known interests.
- Preview sentence: The email’s first sentence should catch customers’ interest immediately and include keywords relevant to the campaign and your company.
- Look into your data on open rates to see how it correlates to customers’ schedules: do more people open the email if sent on a Monday morning or on a Wednesday afternoon?
- Examine how often you send emails and at what time of the day or week. Are people unsubscribing right after you’ve sent a third email in a week? That may indicate a frequency problem. With “inbox overload” becoming a real problem for many people, your email not only has to capture customers’ interest through its content, but should offer quality over quantity—49% of consumers prefer weekly emails from brands they like.
To improve click rates:
- Investigate what links readers are opening and what links are left unclicked. If a certain blog post link gets more clicks, focus on links related to those interests in your next campaign.
- Check if the link text appealing to segmented audiences and their interests. For example, a link that says “Read More” might be less enticing to click on than something like “Discover 5 Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer”.
- Feature more than one link to the same webpage. This can effectively double or triple the chance for your readers to click.
- In your email tracking software compare the success of your different email campaigns over time. Try out different approaches and use what works for your audience as standard practice.
What will you achieve with email marketing?
Send great-looking emails that drive big results. Amilia partnered with Constant Contact to get our customers a special offer.
Experience email marketing’s ROI
Investing in a customized email marketing solution can open up your marketing strategy and lead to new goal setting for your business. The more engaging and targeted your email campaigns are, the more you can reach out to new and existing customers who want exactly what you’re offering. Email gives them a direct line back to you and a clear reason to get in touch.
Try email marketing directly through Amilia
Amilia has integrated with email marketing experts Constant Contact to provide businesses with a seamless email marketing experience. Rather than exporting emails in the form of an Excel list, administrators can send their contacts list directly to Constant Contact through Amilia, secure in the knowledge that all contact information (such as changes to email addresses) will be updated instantly.
Constant Contact offers customized options for several industries and provides marketing advice and product support. With over 100 templates and a drag-and-drop editor so you can easily design emails for maximum engagement. Real-time reporting and analytics let you track each campaign's progress. This is exactly the kind of flexibility you need when you're a growing business.