For brands who want to consistently build their fan base, nurture their existing customers and increase their conversions, email marketing provides a lot of opportunities. We reached out to 17 digital marketing experts and asked them to share their best email marketing tips for brands. From your very first cold-email, to following up after a sale, these email marketing tips will help you take your email marketing efforts to the next level.
1. Provide unique value to your subscribers
Derric Haynie, Rebrandly, @SixPeppers
Give your email list something special for being subscribed, something that they can’t get by just reading your blog or website. Rather than sending quick emails that just forward people to your blog post, consider using long-form emails that provide unique value related to your product. Try to add value on top of your blog content and encourage your email list to respond to your emails with questions, and share the email with friends. Just be human and be available… It’s the most important thing you can do.
2. Acquiring prospect leads through email takes time
Lisa Chu, Black n Bianco, @BlackNBianco
Acquiring customers via email has been proven to be a very viable marketing strategy for many online retailers. In order to boost your brand and acquire new customers you must put your best foot forward. In order to get potential customers interested in your products you must provide value. Showcase something compelling about your business or give an incredible deal to entice them to visit your website. Emails provide a very limited opportunity to showcase your brand message so remember to construct your message in an articulate and simple manner. Try to be creative with the subject lines.
The first email you send may not be viewed so don’t be afraid to reestablish your brand with another email. Acquiring prospect leads with email takes time and a lot of people will not open the email until one of the subject lines resonates with them. Once they view your email message the conversion and click rates increase by over 50%. However that does not mean spam will be an effective strategy, remember to limit your brand emails to 2-3 times per week. Nothing is more detrimental to a business than being associated with spam. When done in the correct manner, follow up emails are by far the most effective way to develop an authentic relationship with your new positional customers.
3. Focus on writing the best subject lines
George Schildge, Matrix Marketing Group, @GSchildge
Did you know that approximately 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone and that 69% of email recipients will report an email as spam solely based on the subject line. So if you want higher conversion rates, more leads, loyal customers, and an above-average ROI on marketing efforts, you’ve got to be using the best email subject lines.
Starting out and writing cold emails? Less is more. The template that gave me my highest conversion rate had less than sixty words on it (signature included). The email should contain everything that will impress the recipient, help them understand what you have to offer, and most importantly a call to action. Don’t forget to consider how your email will look on mobile devices.
4. Craft your emails with your customer in mind
Bryan Clayton, GreenPal@BryanMClayton
The biggest mistake we were making with our emails was using company logic as opposed to customer logic. You really need to put yourself in the mind of your customer when crafting your emails. Run your email copy by friends and get feedback.
Then, split your email up:
- Write captivating subject lines to increase your open rate
- Tease your product or service in the sub-head to peak curiosity
- Utilize the header to convert your subscriber’s curiosity into interest
- In the body of the email quickly point out how you are helping your subscriber
- Finish with a CTA (call-to-action) that gets your subscribers on your landing page
5. Create a lifecycle campaign
Haley Gong, Webpower Asia, @Haley_Gong
The most essential and effective way to engage your customers via email is to create a lifecycle campaign. A lifecycle campaign contains different mailings; they are sent out at different times, so as to follow customers along their journey. If you are in the travel industry, for example: send a thank you email after a purchase, tips about the destination city two weeks before departure; weather forecast 3 days before departure; a survey when the trip is over. It’s important to communicate with your customers whenever it is necessary so that you can gradually nurture them.
6. Be simple, clear and helpful
Nick Braun, PetInsuranceQuotes.com, @PetInsQuotes
We email everybody who uses our pet insurance quote system and opts in for email follow ups. We’ve tested every different type of email campaign, template, etc. What we’ve found that has the best response rate and best results is being simple, clear and helpful.
For example, don’t bombard people with sales pitches, but instead say, “Hey, let us know how we can help you.” Ensure that your emails aren’t sent from a generic address, this will create goodwill and allow you to learn about your customers’ needs.
7. Ask for customer feedback
Kim Kohatsu, Charles Ave Marketing, @KimKohatsu
One email hack that has been successful for us is a re-engagement effort. Using data, we were able to create a campaign to reach out to users who hadn’t used our software in several months. We asked them a one-question poll: Why not? Not only were we able to get useful feedback from past users, but those who participated received a discount on their next purchase. Our email campaign was a win-win, and highly successful.
8. Use humor to grab your customers attention
Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, @BluSkinCare
Humor is a great way to instantly connect with people and get their attention. Sending a funny email an excellent way to stand out from the many other emails your customers receive daily.
Below is an example of one of my most successful emails:
I tried to contact you regarding Blu Skin Care’s amazing Valentine’s Day skin care sale and haven’t heard back. Let me know if:
You’re interested, but will respond within the next few days.
You received my emails but aren’t interested right now so I should stop emailing you because frankly you’re annoyed.
I should follow up in a few months.
You’re too busy playing with your kitten to care about skin care right now.
9. Understand email frequency, cadence, and unsubscribing
Sam Wheeler, Inseev Interactive, @InseevTweets
The best email marketing tip I can provide is to make sure you have a great understanding of email cadence, frequency, and what causes users to unsubscribe. If you know how often you can reach out to your audience without them unsubscribing, you can maximize your campaigns. There is a point where too many emails causes a large number of potential customers to unsubscribe and unless you are operating exactly at the perfect frequency, there is opportunity to improve.
Cadence on the other hand, is more about the pattern of your emails. No one wants or will even open a promotional email that is sent out in the middle of the night. The best time to grab someone’s attention is when they are already in their inbox, which usually happens sometime after work and before dinner. If your emails are sent in the right pattern at the right time of the day, you are far more likely to get the attention of the end user.
10. Include social deals in your CTA
Wesley Flippo, Buy The Best Drone, @BuyTheBestDrone
Include a social deal in one or more of your call to actions on every email campaign geared towards new customers. Modern consumers, especially millennials, love to purchase social deals with their friends. In an email marketing campaign, a call to action that includes ‘a friend’ is more likely to be forwarded and purchased with a group of potential customers.
You have to be careful with how you word this call to action. The best way to go about crafting this is to write a call to action that connects with a basic ‘Social Deal’ landing page on your site that a potential customer can share with others. This not only helps to drive more traffic to your site, but can also help with link building and SEO.
11. Avoid flashy email marketing tricks
Abbey Brown, FM Outsource, @FMOutsource
One of the more successful email marketing tips that I’ve seen recently is the email campaigns that deliberately don’t look like marketing emails. They present themselves in more or less plain text, include a couple of links, and then they sign off. These non-marketing type emails are very simple, personal and obviously effective. They’re not trying to sell too hard and surprisingly that gets a lot more clicks than any flashy email marketing tips.
12. Start a conversation
Gavin Bell, Blue Cliff Media, @MrGavinBell
The number one email marketing tip businesses need to think about when using email is to create a dialogue with the other person. Typically, if someone has signed up to something, you’ll try and sell to them instantly, but that person isn’t ready to buy. It’s important to build a relationship with your subscriber, and the only way to do that is to provide value and by starting a conversation.
13. Resend the same email to everyone who didn’t open it the first time
Steven Macdonald, SuperOffice, @StevenMacd0nald
At SuperOffice, we’ve built resending the same email a second time into our email marketing program. The way it works is simple: Send an email campaign to your email list, as per usual. Then, 24 hours later, create a second campaign, but remove everyone who opened the email the first time, and resend it to your list using a slightly modified subject line.
It’s one of the quickest and easiest email marketing tips, and not only do you reach the people that missed your first email, but you can also double the amount of opens and clicks you get for your email campaign!
14. Get to know your audience
Alexander Grosu, inSegment, @AlexanderGrosu
Get to know your audience, learn to understand what they like and how they behave on the Internet. Write attractive and short subject lines. The longer your subject lines are, the more likely it is that people won’t actually click on your emails. Be brief and to the point right from the first sentence. Nobody opens emails to read thorough reports or intricate articles. Start to create you emails based on prospect’s previous behavior. Analyze how people have interacted with your emails in the past to know how to do it better the next time! Lastly, be creative and innovative. Thinking out of the box will pay off.
15. Unsubscribe passive leads
Jason Roberts, My Handyman Services, @JasonRoberts328
No doubt leads are vital for your business. However, in reality some of the leads are completely passive. They never open emails and don’t interact with you at all. So, we can’t expect any purchases from them. Having 5,000 high-quality leads is much more powerful than having 50,000 passive leads.
Track when someone does not open your emails for a while and then send an email that notifies them that you will not bother them any more. Like this one:
We noticed you haven’t opened our evening sales emails in a while, so we have gone ahead and opted you out of them. We don’t want to clutter your inbox anymore.
Click here to opt back in or to change your email preferences.
It’s an effective technique because it shows you care about people. If your customer is no longer interested in the brand, this email leaves them with a good impression. If your customer is still interested, but were unable to open the emails for some reason, the email will make them like and trust your brand even more.
16. Advertise your email campaign as a mini course
Simon Slade, Doubledot Media, @SimonSlade
When soliciting email addresses on your website, advertise your email campaign as a ‘six-part mini course.’ Consumers are much more intrigued by a ‘course,’ which promises useful information, and specifying the number of installments tells potential customers what to expect. Focus on excellent content for the first six editions with the occasional soft sell, and then go for the sale on the seventh email with a hard sell. Make the hard sell simply irresistible by throwing in a bonus, such as a free sample, trial period or e-book.
17. Bloggers & Podcasters: Nurture subscribers by sending weekly media leads
Blair Nastasi, Media Moguls PR, @MediaMogulsPR
The one trick I use to nurture leads and engage with prospects via e-mail is sending weekly media leads. This trick can work for anyone who has a blog or podcast. Essentially I send out a topic list/editorial calendar of what I’ll be writing on or reporting on over the coming weeks and give my opt-in list the first crack at weighing in. It gives them the opportunity to get noticed and really participate in the conversation.