It could be argued that today, email marketing is more important than it ever has been before. With every day that passes, the web becomes a little noisier and more crowded; pitches, advertisements, tweets, promotions; among the barrage of information we encounter, it is rare to find a place of solace online which we can retreat to.
What was once essentially just a way to send and receive electronic notes, email is now that place of calm amongst the storm—a place in which we can escape from unsolicited information and take solitude in ingesting the chosen few pieces which have warranted our approval.
In order to kick off a successful email marketing campaign, it’s important to first understand the importance the inbox symbolises, and that you are trying to gain access to a place many deem to be sacred. In a way, getting into someone’s inbox is like being invited into their home for dinner—so remember, you’re in their house, playing by their rules.
Getting an Invite
Before you can play, you first need to be granted an invite. If we stick with the going to dinner example, we can see there are some common questions going through the mind of the host:
What will I get out of this?
Are you going to offer good advice or conversation?
How often will you hound me afterwards?
Will you give me honest information or just more junk?
Asking for someone’s email is much like trying to start a new relationship: It’s the first impression that matters most. A good way to approach this is by offering something of value for free. It’s dependent on your audience what that is, but here are a few ideas that seem to perform well across the board:
- Email Series
- Free Downloads
- Free White Papers or eBooks
- Update Lists(Service Updates, New Releases)
There’s no definitive answer when it comes to choosing what’s best, just make sure whatever you offer has a clear purpose and fits in with your audiences’ preferred style of consumption.
Here’s something that can either be learnt the easy way, or the hard way: Always under promise and over deliver; never the other way around.
Keep in mind an email address is a permission asset, and it’s therefore best to stick to what works and has been agreed upfront, instead of trying out high risk tactics and taking the reader by surprise.
That means ensuring you have a strong and clear call to action (CTA), along with effective copy on your email opt in. Let people know the specifics—the what, why, when and how: What they are getting, why they should get it, when they are going to get it, and how they can sign up.
Everything stems from having a good opt in. From then on you can use each email as a way to further your relationship with the reader, rather than being the annoying dinner party guest who only ever talks about themselves. A mutual relationship makes it easy to pitch and send announcements when the time comes, but until then you shouldn’t be treating them as a potential customer.
Once you’ve got this pinned down, you can take your efforts a step further by optimising your click through rate, split testing opt in boxes, setting up autoresponders, and using segmentation to target certain groups within the list. All of which are tried and tested ways to boost the success of your email marketing campaign!
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