A successful email marketing campaign is marketing gold. You are speaking to prospects who already have purchased or used your product, and your conversion rates should be pretty high — at least in theory.
However, many companies have a misunderstanding of how to use their email lists and what exactly, a successful email marketing campaign looks like. Organizing a successful email marketing campaign is more than just about putting your blog posts together and sending them out in a newsletter form to all of your lists.
In fact, just like any other marketing effort, you need to customize your topic and the funnel depth of your newsletter content to the right audience. As one of the basic elements of marketing touchpoints, you need to use the right call to action for the market segment you are targeting. A targeted email campaign will produce solid, predictable results. A shotgun approach will garner random responses, and measuring ROI will be almost impossible.
Determining the success of an email marketing campaign depends on what matters to you and your business. What are your goals? What do you want recipients to do? How easy do you make it for them to initiate those actions?
Here are some important steps to organizing a successful email marketing campaign.
Choose the Right List
No matter what program you choose to use, from MailChimp to Constant Contact, your email program allows you to organize your contacts into different lists. It is very important that, besides topics (if you have more than one product or service), you also organize your list by where they are in their customer journey with you. This has to do with two things: funnel depth, as mentioned above, and current customer status.
Much of this process can be automated by your newsletter software, but you will need to manually perform some of these functions as well. Establishing email rules will help make the process less complex, but here are the different aspects for you to consider.
This is related to where a prospect is in the sales funnel. While the parts often have different names, the funnel essentially looks like this:
- Awareness: The user is searching for a solution to a want or a need — one they are already aware of or are just being informed of by your top of the funnel content.
- Engagement: This is the point at which you are engaging a prospect with your specific product or service as a solution for their problem.
- Conversion: This is the stage where the user becomes your customer by purchasing your product, subscribing to your service, or even entering a free trial, whatever you count as a conversion on your website.
- Advocacy: This is where the customer now becomes an advocate or an ambassador for your product or service through a review, social shares, and referrals.
This is, of course, an abbreviated version of the sales funnel, and there are a lot more intricacies to it than these. The point is that no matter what the funnel looks like to you, your email newsletter needs to either have elements for each stage of the conversion process or you can have individual newsletters for each level.
As the prospect moves through the sales funnel in your CRM, the newsletter they receive should change to reflect that. Depending on the length of the buyer journey, this may involve only one or two changes, but for some prospects they will need to be coaxed through every stage.
Your current customers, if you have a consumable product or ongoing service, may be in different stages as well. They may be current, engaged, and active. They may also be “stale” in that they use your product or service but are not actively engaged in your community of customers, and then there are customers who stop using your product or service.
There can be a number of reasons that a buyer travels through these stages, and it may be a part of a normal life cycle, but one you want to break if possible. One way is to specifically target these customers where they are in the buyer’s journey with your email campaigns. For example:
“Hi Jane Doe,
We haven’t heard from you in a while. Hopefully that is because things are going great, and our product meets all of your needs and expectations. However, if for any reason you are not satisfied or if you have questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out.”
This can be sent if your last few emails have been deleted without being opened, or it can be delivered if the customer has simply not clicked on your email and taken any action in a predetermined amount of time.
Essentially the idea is to target your emails, and instead of one general message for your entire list, you customize them to specific audiences at specific places in the prospect and customer journey.
Subject Lines Matter
If you are like the average person, you receive around 90 emails a day — some relevant to your work but many from lists you have subscribed to for one reason or another. There are probably industry blogs and updates you pay attention to, but also probably a ton you simply delete when you see the sender.
Think of these staggering statistics: Over 49 percent of people open emails based on the subject line alone, but more devastating is the fact that 69 percent report emails as spam based solely on the subject line before they even look at the sender or the content of the email.
A part of this is analyzing your email data and that of your competitors and your industry in general. What are open rates with certain words in the subject line? What are delete and unsubscribe rates? Proven words are things like:
- Last Chance
- Please Read
- Action Required
- Time to _____
There are many more words that work well in an email subject line, and a quick Google search will reveal all kinds of lists of suggested subject lines.
Just be sure these are subjects relevant to your industry, and your customers will be more likely to open. Not every topic or subject line works for every company, so do your research both internally and within your niche. In most cases there are some great suggestions out there — you just need to act on them.
Tell Me a Story
Once your customer opens your email, you need to hook them, and the best way to do that is through a story or a series of stories. People love stories much more than an information dump, and the more entertaining your tale, the higher your conversion rate will be.
Remember that a good story, whether fiction or nonfiction, has certain elements.
- A Beginning: Where does your story start? It should start where the customer begins their buying journey.
- A Middle: This is really what happens in the story.
- An End: The end of your marketing story is your call to action. What does the reader take away from your story.
- A Hero: In marketing, this is often the customer. You want them to be the hero of their own journey.
- A Conflict: This is the need or want of the customer.
- A Resolution: Your product or service is what will equip the hero to save the day.
There are many ways to tell a marketing story, and it does not have to be a long one, and can in fact be a simple testimonial and review. The real point is that people learn and buy through story more than any other method. Tell your customer a story they can relate to and watch conversion rates skyrocket.
Writing the End
Perhaps the most important part of your story is the end, and this is the call to action. What do you want the reader to do? Your story should have led up to this moment, and by the time the reader gets there, they should feel compelled to work with you, buy your products/services, or reach whatever your desired outcome for them.
The ideal end is the conversion, but for that to work you must start with a good subject line and a good story.
Organizing a successful email marketing campaign is about more than just the content. It is about the right list at the right time, telling a good story, and writing a good ending. Your email is your representation of yourself to a large part of your audience and a built-in revenue stream. Use it wisely, and it will be one of the greatest tools in your toolbox.
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