Create a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Like any campaign or marketing effort, there are certain ways you can maximize your ROI. Follow these tips to ensure your email marketing campaign is engaging your audience and providing successful marketing results.

PART I: DESIGN

The design of your email campaign affects your consumer perception as well as the potential engagement from recipients. Some key areas to focus on are:

Theme: The overall look & feel should match your brand image. Any fonts, PMS colors, or graphic elements used in your logo or other marketing pieces should be carried over into your email design.

Style: Use images and ample white space to break up copy and make the message easy on the eye. Images should support content by providing a visual representation of your message. If you’re using a colored background, be sure the contrast between the background color & the copy is dramatic enough to provide clear legibility.

Format: The layout of your email can impact the comprehension of the over all message. The format should be clean, simple, and easy understand.

* Header: You may be inclined to place your logo or an event logo at the top of your email, however, some email clients auto disable images or the reader may be viewing your message on a smart phone that does not enable images. If you’re logo or event title is an image file, it will be lost on these readers. To avoid this problem, write your message title and business name in text at the top.

* Body: Using a side bar menu or too many additional links will clutter your message and confuse your reader about the call to action. Keep the body of your message clean and clear. If you’re creating a newsletter, define different articles or events with graphic dividers and bold title fonts.

* Footer: This is a good place for your logo image as well as contact, subscriber info, and disclaimer.

PART II: CONTENT

The most important goal of your campaign content is to create a message your target audience wants to read about. Your message should be worth saving and or sharing with others. Follow these steps in order to create clear & valuable content.

Determine the Objective: In general there are 3 types of objectives with email marketing-

* Promote: motivate purchases or increase event attendance

* Inform: increase awareness among potential or current customers or for differentiating your brand among competitors

* Relate: build relationships, loyalty, & referrals

Determine the Form: Again, there are 3 types of forms used in email marketing and each has it’s own frequency, content focus, and call to action.

* Newsletters: Regular intervals (weekly/monthly), education info provided in bullets or summary, soft CTA (learn/read more).

* Promotions/Invites/Surveys: Frequency follows sales cycle, limited & direct content, hard CTA (call/sign up now)

* Announcements: Event driven, news, holiday, or thank you oriented, soft CTA.

Valuable Content: The key to a successful campaign ultimately lies in how worthwhile the content is to the audience. Be sure the immediate benefit is clearly defined for your reader. Some ideas for valuable content include:

* Knowledge: Sharing your expertise, use facts & testimonials, give guidance & direction

* Advantage: Discounts & coupons, exclusivity or VIP status, contests & giveaways

* Attention: Acknowledge and response to audience

Keep it Concise: This goes along with ease on the eye- Presenting too much information at once will overwhelm your reader. To prevent burn out and ensure the reader can easily access the information s/he is interested in, follow these guidelines:

* Host large bodies of content elsewhere- link to website or blog, PDF attachment

* Limit to essential info- use bullets, summaries, or links to more info elsewhere

Structure: Getting people just to open, let alone read your emails can be strongly impacted by the external appearance of your message. Key areas to focus on are:

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* From line: Use a name your audience will recognize. For more targeted lists, this could be a personal name. For broad lists use the brand for both the name & email address, i.e. “[email protected]”.

Subject line: Keep it short and simple, limit to 30-40 characters (including spaces) or 5-8 words. Identify the immediate value/benefit of reading the content. Avoid “spammy” grammar such as all caps and multiple punctuation marks.

Permissions: Always be sure to ask people before you send them your campaign. This can be done with a sign-up sheet on location or an opt-in on your website. You can also verbally confirm permission. Be as specific as possible about the content your reader can expect to receive. It’s generally helpful to provide a preview or past email. Also provide an unsubscribe option; this will prevent you from unnecessary aggravation should a reader no longer wish to receive your emails, as well as show your respect for privacy.

PART III: ANALYTICS/TOOLS

Whether your using your own service provider or a marketing agency to develop your campaigns, reviewing the analytics is an important part of measuring success as well as using the information to grow and improve future campaigns. These are some areas to check regularly to optimize your campaign.

Bounce Rates: A bounce rate is the immediate return of your email. There are two types of bounces which can occur. The first is a hard bounce which indicates a permanent error with the email address, i.e. a spelling error or deleted address. If the address no longer exists, the contact is most likely no longer there. This provides an opportunity for you to create a new contact with that company as well as find the old contact and acquire business with his/her new company. Alternatively, a soft bounce is a temporary server issue, i.e. recipients inbox is full or the message was identified as spam & blocked. Generally if the email is re-sent at a later time the message will get through.

Open Rates: Open rates track the interaction with your email, not the delivery. It’s tracked by two codes hidden in your email. One is placed in the body, the other is in the embedded image you might have (i.e. logo). A key note here is if images are not enabled by the user- whether the function has been turned off by the email provider or the reader is viewing the email on a text only phone- the email will be marked as unopened.

Click-Through Rates: Click through rates identify how many people have clicked a link provided in your email and arrived at the designated page. You can use this information to determine which article or topics are of the greatest interest and which you may want to eliminate in the future. You can also create a list of contacts interested in a particular topic, so that you can direct future emails on that subject toward them in the future.

Function Scan: This is a great preventative tool to use before you send out your campaign. It scans your message to test for link and image functionality, as well as evaluate your subject & content for “spam-like” properties, so you can prevent errors which may deteriorate your message.