Email marketing beginners frequently complain that the process of building a list and producing conversions seems mysterious or even magical to them. You may have images of marketing sorcerers waving their hands over popup windows and chanting incantations to spur sales.
Once you get started though, you’ll find that the whole process is much more simple and straightforward than you may have imagined. With a little patience and thoughtfulness, you can make email marketing the most cost effective tool in your advertising arsenal.
Step 1: Look Inside Yourself
First, you should spend some time thinking about your own motivations for starting an email marketing campaign. What’s the basic direction you want it to develop in? Is there some sort of action that you want your messages to induce?
You may be thinking you just want to build a list and promote one product with it. And that can work out very well for a lot of different types of products. But does that squander your list-building work? Would you be better served by building your brand over time?
It’s not easy to build up trust, but once you do you can build up to some really impressive conversion rates. Of course, that’s usually quite difficult if you’re not sure exactly what your recipients need. Which brings us to Step 2.
Step 2: Understand Your World
Basic market research is essential. You have to develop a model of the specific groups of people to whom your solution is appealing, and why that is the case. What is the problem that your product solves for them. Also keep in mind that markets are not homogeneous.
Recent studies have shown that even within specific geographic areas, populations are increasingly diverse. The way to manage this is by splitting up your lists into smaller segments based on the individual traits that emerge over time. Modern newsletter software such as ActiveCampaign’s Email Marketing software package makes this trivially easy.
Step 3: Conjure Your Shadow
The next step is developing a visual layout for your message. The appearance of each message should be appropriate to the type of action you’d like to see your recipients take. This sounds complex but is pretty simple.
Just think about a message that you hope will result in getting the reader to click a link and arrive on your site. It will only confuse the reader if they click through and find a website that looks nothing like the email. You want there to be very little doubt in the reader’s mind that they have landed at the right site.
Step 4: Cast Your Spell
The type of content that you develop for your email messages should also be consistent with your overarching strategy. One-off sales letters should be just that. They should be punchy, involving, and focused. But if you’re taking a more long-term approach, then you need to develop a little more nuance. Also consider that people will get used to receiving a certain type of message from you over time.
So, for example, imagine you’ve been sending out a monthly newsletter for a while with some industry-specific tips and information. You won’t just want to throw a sales letter at your mailing list all of a sudden. It won’t convert as well because it doesn’t fully leverage the trust you’ve established. Instead, try to be consistent with your format and to weave your promotional content into the informational content.
Step 5: Develop Your Grimoire
There are a lot of tricks that will end up being very specific to your particular industry, market segment, and mailing list. For example, you need to figure out how you can get most of your recipients to open up and read the messages you send to them. That brings a lot of different variables into play.
Right away you should be thinking about the headline. It has to give the reader a reason to open your message and hear what you have to say. Essentially, the headline is an advertisement for your advertisement.
After the headline, the most important part of your message is actually the first sentence. And it may not be for the reason that you’re thinking. You see, most email-reading interfaces display the first 50 characters or so of your message as a kind of teaser for your message. This is your hidden opportunity to really cement your readers’ conviction that the message has something to offer them.
One final suggestion: don’t forget to look into the hours that readers in your market segment will likely be ready to open up and read your message.
Finally, you should never hesitate to try new things with your email campaign. The more you do, the more you’ll develop an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Over time, you’ll find that it all begins to come naturally to you. Your email campaign becomes a natural extension of your knowledge about what people need. You’ll be able to implement viral email marketing strategies. To an outsider, your tactics will look like pure magic.
Guest author David works for ActiveCampaign, Inc., developer of the industry standard Email Marketing software package, as well as enterprise solutions for online surveys, web based helpdesks, and live support chat.