Email marketing remains one of the most important communication channels, although it is often underestimated. Despite the rapid growth of new marketing channels, the email was able to hold up and has survived serious changes such as the GDPR. The long lifespan of advertising emails also shows that this will probably continue to be the case in the future.
Also, email marketing enables you to establish a relationship with your customers on a personal level and expand and deepen it through the targeted use of newsletter marketing. The aim is not to spam your recipients, but to provide them with relevant content from start to finish on their way through the customer journey.
This guide explains in detail how you can incorporate email marketing into your strategy and how you can benefit from it. We want to focus on the essential points that should form the framework for your own strategy.
- Setting goals
- Generation of email addresses
- Creation and adaptation of email campaigns
- Evaluation and optimization of email campaigns
- Legal aspects
- Delivery quality
1. Setting goals
First of all you have to define the goals you want to achieve with your mailings. Do you want to boost purchases? Win new customers? Strengthen the loyalty of your existing customers? Do you want to increase website traffic or attract more readers to your company blog? Depending on how you answer these questions, different types of content will be required for successful newsletters.
Once you have defined your goals, you need to set sub-goals for each campaign. In order to have approximate guideline values, it is best to take a look at how the email campaigns perform in your industry and to orient yourself on the average values. Now that you know roughly what you want to achieve with your campaign, it is time to identify the right target group for your email activities.
As for all of your marketing activities, you should create a buyer personas to target your mailings. Therefore, enrich the persona with all the necessary data, such as demographics, job, step in the customer journey, etc., which are based on real data from your customers. You should also know what content the persona prefers and what it requires from your company so that you can design your newsletter campaign in a targeted manner.
2. Generation of email addresses
Even if you already have email addresses, you want to expand your address base and gain new contacts. There are many options, including:
- social media campaigns
- blog posts
In social networks and on your blog in particular, you should definitely draw attention to your newsletter and mention what subscribers can expect if they register for it. It is also advisable to ask how often they want to receive news from you and which topics are of particular interest to them. For this purpose, you can use different newsletter types. This also reduces unsubscriptions, because subscribers will have the option to unsubscribe either from all your newsletters or only from those who are irrelevant to them.
In addition to relevant content, you should create attractive incentives for your subscribers. Make resources available for free download, such as a guide or white papers. Discounts or exclusive offers are also popular in newsletters.
You should definitely refrain from buying email addresses! On one side you cannot be sure if this is even legal, on the other side there is no use in forcefully delighting recipients who are not interested in your content at all.
Furthermore, it is essential that you always keep the quality of your address data up to date. If you send to invalid or outdated email addresses, it can happen that mail providers classify your emails as spam. You should therefore always clean up bounces and, for example, correct obvious typing errors in email addresses immediately.
Segment your subscribers in target groups. This enables you to provide the information that your recipients need. No other channel is as suitable as email to address target groups in segments. There are different criteria that make sense:
- job title
- preferred send frequency
- newsletter type
- phase in the customer journey
How you segment your subscribers depends on the data available or your goals in email marketing.
3. Creation and adaptation of email campaigns
We recommend using templates for your mailings to ensure a uniform appearance. Your newsletter should also go hand in hand with your corporate identity.
It is best to think of a main topic that your newsletter should be about, so it will be easier for you to create the content. When choosing a topic, you should definitely consider where the target group is currently, i.e. in which phase of the customer journey. For someone simply looking for general information, discount codes or specific product information are not necessarily relevant.
The length of the newsletter texts is also essential: use only short teaser texts and link to blog posts or your website, where you can provide interested readers with more detailed information. Nobody reads a newsletter that requires to scroll a couple of times – especially not when you receive it on mobile devices.
If you have sufficient data on your recipients, you can also address them personally. You can use text modules for this, which are then filled in with the stored subscriber data.
4. Evaluation and optimization of email campaigns
The statistics of your campaigns show how interesting the content is for the relevant target group. Key figures such as reading time and click rate show which topics are perceived as particularly relevant, and therefore should be taken into account in future mailings.
In the following we want to talk about the key figures you should consider for your mailings and some ways you can improve them:
#1 open rate
This metric indicates how many of the subscribers who received your email have opened it.
Adapt your content to your target group. Content relevant to the recipient is also reflected in a higher opening rate. Use personalization in your mailings and address your subscribers personally. Pay attention to the basics, such as the subject line, time and frequency of sending and the sender.
The click rate shows how many of your recipients clicked on links or buttons in your newsletter. It indicates whether the campaign goal has been achieved, since it is considered a reliable figure.
Use calls-to-action in a targeted manner to induce your readers to click. Use so-called “snackable content”, like short teasers on certain topics, which are further deepened on your blog and link to the corresponding post. Ask yourself regularly whether the content is still relevant for your target group or whether the preferences have changed.
#3 delivery rate
It shows how many of the emails you have sent have actually reached the subscribers’ mailbox. This is directly related to the bounce rate, which shows how many emails returned for different reasons. A distinction is made between hard, soft and spam bounces, depending on the error that leads to a return.
Clean up your address lists, every time you register returns. This will automatically lower your bounce rate and enhance the delivery rate.
#4 unsubscription rate
This key figure tells how many of your subscribers have unsubscribed from your mailings.
Let your subscribers decide for themselves. For example, about the send frequency or the topics on which they would like to be informed.
#5 reading rate
The reading rate shows how intensively your subscribers are concerned with your emails. Newsletters that the recipient has dealt with for at least 8 seconds are deemed to be read, between 2 and 8 seconds are considered overflown and under 2 seconds are not read.
Use segmentation to send out relevant information. Rely on storytelling to prepare the content in an exciting way and to induce the recipient to read.
To make your email marketing conformable to law, you should definitely get the consent of your recipients, preferably via double opt-in. The subscribers confirm that you are allowed to send them promotional emails and their consent is saved with the corresponding date and time. In this way, you have also documented the proof of consent precisely. Consent is usually obtained via an email, which is automatically sent as part of the double opt-in process. By clicking on the corresponding link, subscribers confirm that they want to receive newsletters from you for advertising purposes.
You should respect your subscribers’ rights. They can withdraw their consent at any time and you should not make this process difficult for them. Integrate a “unsubscribe” link into each of your mailings – it does not help you if you complicate the unsubscribe process. Disgruntled subscribers may thank you by reporting your sender as spam.
Since the corresponding responses of the recipients are also part of the personal data in email marketing, you should consider the possibility of anonymized statistics. The responses of your subscribers are still recorded, however, the data is presented anonymously in the statistics.
SPF Record (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKey Identified Mail) and the DMARC Record (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) are technical measures that ensure that your emails are classified as authentic and therefore will be delivered in the inboxes of your subscribers.
You should also note whether some of your recipients are listed on so-called black lists. People who sign up on these lists do not want to receive emails for advertising purposes. You can ask your subscribers to add you to their whitelist, e.g. in the welcome email that you send to new contacts.
You need help with your strategy? Please contact us – we’d be glad to assist you in achieving your goals!