Despite new marketing channels, like Instagram or Snapchat, email remains a great marketing tool. It’s fairly low-cost, highly measurable and provides swift feedback on your audience. These traits have made it a resilient channel in the face of emerging options.
Despite its power and popularity – and the many, many guides available – email marketing can still be tricky. To boil it down, here’s a handy checklist to keep nearby. Like a preflight checklist for pilots, it’s nice to review the basics, no matter how pro you are.
9 Important Things To Consider Before You Hit Send
- Track Results. This seems painfully obvious, yet it needs to be said. It helps to be prepared. Consider ahead of time what you want to know, and what’s most important. How many people opened the email? How many consumed content? How many clicked through to your site? How many of the visitors that clicked through went on to take a desired action on your site? Be aware that setting up tracking goals and tools in your email software and on your website take time and forethought.
- Hook ‘em Fast. Give your reader a good reason to open your email. Imagine that your audience is sitting with their finger hovering over the delete button, eager to condemn any new email to the trash – because they are. Use the subject line to grab attention and always try to establish a) the purpose of your message and b) why they should care.
- Mobile Matters. Be sure that your email is compatible with being read on a mobile device as well as on the computer. Most emails are now read on mobile. If you’ve ever opened an email on your phone and had it render poorly, you know how annoying it is. Make sure you’re not making a bad impression.
- What Do You Want From Me? Make the call-to-action (CTA) clear, relevant, and pain-free. Don’t have too many CTAs. Be straightforward about the main thing you’d love for your reader to do next. (And yes, make sure that the content, landing pages, or site pages that you link to are also optimized for the mobile experience.)
- Be On Time. There are days of the week and times of day that perform better than others, but be sure that you’re tracking and analyzing results based on the time of day of the recipient, not of the email service provider (ESP).
- Make A Plan. In particular, create a content plan for your email campaigns. You can think of the content plan as needing to address seven main marketing factors: Who, What, Why, Where, How, Frequency (How Often), and Volume (How Much). You can always make modifications to the plan based on results or regional influences.
- Be Patient. Building a strong reputation and growing engagement with your audience takes time. There’s no good way to rush things, you’ll only hurt your progress. But consistency is important. Your email marketing can flourish if you stick with it. Multiple and steady impressions generally achieve better results than a “one-off” or “stop-and-go” approach. Success is achieved by steadily building an email presence and reputation with your audience over time.
- Target, Target, Target! Email provides quick results on things like opens and click-throughs. Maximize results by testing email variations to a portion of your audience (enough to get statistical significance) and roll-out the winners. Testing email is fast and cost efficient, so don’t skimp on testing against various segments and sub-sets of your audience.
- Be Cool. Email is regulated by the FTC and it is in your best interest to learn and follow the rules set out by the CAN-SPAM Act. CAN-SPAM applies to all commercial email messages, including those to your own database or to any lists rented, purchased or otherwise acquired. The rule makes no distinction between B2C and B2B; if you’re including email in your marketing mix, you need to be knowledgeable. See the main requirements below, or you can get the complete guide on the FTC’s website.
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you’re physically located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf
Regardless of tactic, marketers looking to acquire new customers must build accurate profiles of current and past customers, as well as identify prospective future customers. Thankfully, technology is dramatically improving this part of the puzzle.
In particular, datadecisions Group has developed automated predictive models that, for the first time, let B2C marketers understand their customers and find prospects – faster, easier and more accurately than previously possible.