Email marketing is a staple for any business today. Most companies have some sort of email marketing strategy in place, yet not all companies are managing and implementing in a way that is most beneficial to them or their clients and prospects.
Email is a very useful and cost effective tool to build long-term relationships, but often abused and used incorrectly. There are many simple tips and best practices that can be followed to change all that.
Tip Number 1: Identify Your Target Audience
This may seem simple, but there are actually many people who skip this part of their email marketing campaigns. DO NOT SKIP THIS! It is important to your overall success! To narrow down your target audience, you will need to answer these main questions within each set of criterion:
1. Answer Basic Demographic Questions About Your Product/Service
- Age – what is the age range of the people who need/want your product or service?
- Gender – which gender would be most interested in your product or service?
- Income – what is the average income of your potential clients?
- Education – what is the average education level of those in search of your product or service?
- Marital Status – what is your potential client’s family situation or marital status?
- Geographic Location – where do they live?
- Profession – what type of professions do your potential clients have?
- Language & Ethnicity – what languages do your prospects speak and what is their ethnicity?
2. Determine the Values & Needs of Your Ideal Customer:
- What does your target customer value most?
- Where do they search for decision-making information?
- Are they followers or leaders?
3. Conduct Marketing Research:
Once you start to grasp who your target audience really is, it is time to research them. Basically you are creating a cross section of the target audience to see how well they are matched to your product or service.
Market research dives deeper into the people you believe to be in your target audience.
The goal is to use surveys and other research methods to gather even more information about your target audience.
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4. Create Buyer Personas:
Take the information above and create buyer personas. Personas are a great way for you to take the data you have learned and putting names and faces to the segments you discover. Personas give you and your team a better understanding who they are targeting and why.
Tip Number 2: Create an Easy Subscription Process and Landing Page
A dedicated landing page (learn about creating high converting email marketing landing pages with these tips) with a subscription form should be created. In addition to the form, there should enough information about your product/service to make the user understand what they are signing up for and also with a clear way to unsubscribe as well.
The subscription process should not be a painful one, it should be clear, concise and quick to complete. Do not ask for everything under the kitchen sink on the form either; people do not want to give all of their personal information away until you have earned their trust. You can do that through your emails, newsletters and the overall quality of the content you will be sending via email.
Tip Number 3: Write Entertaining Content that Solves the Needs of Your Target Audience
Once you have gone through the steps of completing a buyer persona and profile, you should be able to write content that will solve a need for your target audience. In addition to solving a problem or need for your prospect, you need your content to entertain them so they will subscribe to your emails and keep reading them. Part of this task is creating a subject heading that interests them and grabs their attention and the other is setting realistic expectations about when to expect your emails and what your topics may be.
Tip Number 4: Make Content Sharable & Analyze Your Results
I’ve talked about it before, in my past blogs, but it is important to touch on again. Always make your content sharable by adding social networks to your emails and landing pages. Incorporate social sharing options such as; Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. This not only gives your site credibility and functionality, but also makes your content viral and at a much lower cost than older, more traditional marketing strategies.
After you have mastered your content and social networks you need to be sure to test your results. Set up A/B testing and analytic tracking to see how your subscription process is working, track open rates, links and videos, conversions and sign-up form results. You can also experiment with different styles, colors and content in order to narrow down what is working best.
Final Thoughts on Email Marketing
There are 20+ more tips that I could share to improve your overall email marketing campaign, but these are some basic ones that should keep you busy for a while. Bottom line is you should be thinking about your target audience, their time frame, needs and wants. You don’t want to be sending out emails at all hours of the night, nor do you want to be discussing topics that have nothing to do with what your target audience is searching for.