This week our Digital Strategist – Erica Nistico – presented to the Australian Marketing Institute (SA) about strategic email marketing.
In addition to providing an overview of email marketing best practices, the presentation included discussion about integrating email marketing with social media, and considering the rise of mobile internet and email usage, and what this means to your email marketing strategy.
We’ve summarised some key points and resources from this presentation to assist you with your own email marketing.
Social media has not killed email marketing
Contrary to popular belief, social media has not killed email marketing. In fact, used strategically, the two are powerful, complementary – not competitive – marketing channels that both have a place in your overall digital strategy.
The above snippet from a recent infographic by Get Response puts into perspective the quantity of email users in comparison to the “big 3″ social media networks.
Some other interesting email versus social media marketing statistics include;
- 42% of social media users check their email more than four times a day, compared with just 24% of non social media users, and those social media users are likely to share email-delivered content with their personal networks. ~ 2011 survey by Merkle.
- Adding “social sharing” buttons to email messages increased the reach of an average email by 24.3%. ~ Study by email service provider Silverpop.
So one easy way to integrate your email and social media marketing is by adding social sharing buttons to your email template, ensuring they are relevant to your business, audience, and overall digital strategy.
The impact of mobile on email marketing
According to recent studies;
- Half a billion people check email “on the go”
- 20% of email is opened on a smartphone, and
- 60% of smartphone users check their email first (over other applications)
Also, when talking about “mobile” we’re not just referring to iPhones , your email should render on ALL major mobile platforms.
The best way to achieve this is by developing a “fluid” layout email template, that adjusts to suit the recipent’s device based on percentages rather than being fixed width.
For mobile-friendly email marketing, also consider;
- Using larger typefaces,
- Allowing adequate space between links and buttons (for fingers to click them), and
- If your email links through to a website, that the website or page is also optimised for mobile devices.
Email marketing best practices – an overview
Unfortunately we can’t cover all the ins and outs of email marketing in this blog post, but here are a few extra things to consider with your email marketing;
Have a strategy for how to use your email marketing
- Who do you want to reach?
- What do you want to share?
- And more importantly, what are they interested in that you can offer?
There are many other businesses and brands competing for inbox attention, make sure your email not only stands out, but that it is targeted, relevant and timely.
Complement email marketing with other marketing channels
Offer slightly different content across all of your marketing channels rather than publishing the same messages out on all of them. This will give your audience a reason to follow you on different platforms, and allow you to convert fans and followers to subscribers and vice versa.
Reinforce your brand
Ensure email templates reinforce your brand visually, as well as through their use of content, language and tone – all of this information represents your brand.
However due to the quantity of devices that your email needs to render on, avoid complex layouts and typefaces etc, simple is best.
Segment your contact list
Spend the time upfront to segment your list to allow you to send targeted information to people who are interested.
Different email marketing segments include;
- Geographic (country, state, region, city)
- Product/service type
- Position in sales lifecycle
- Demographics (gender, age, interests)
- Customer profile, e.g. VIP, sales shopper, brand shopper
- Email activity, e.g. active, passive, inactive
Consider each segment individually, and what content is of interest to them.
You must have permission to send bulk emails, and offer unsubscribe/opt out options. Here is a link to the Australian Spam Act.
Avoid spam trigger words in your content. Here is a link to the Ultimate List of Spam Trigger Words. Some email marketing software include spam review features; use these to test your content before you click send.
Create a calendar and plan for email marketing, give yourself adequate time to plan, prepare and review them, and don’t rush! Get someone else to read over it before you send.
Reporting and refining your strategy
There are lots of recommendations for the best time, day, order etc, but what is most important is to experiment and see what engages your audience.
Also, review email campaign analytics post-send, and use this information to assess your initial strategy and refine it if necessary.