24 May 2018

How to optimise your email marketing

We have become efficient at using tools for our email marketing but have we forgotten our audience in the process? Perhaps it is time to bring back our old-fashioned skills of communication.

A little backstory

Pulling out a notebook and penning a letter, it's something we have all done, albeit, rarely today.

The mere act of thinking of someone and writing to them made you focus on them. You wanted to give them all the news that they wanted to hear and ask questions about what you wanted to know more about.

Then came the word processor allowing you to replicate that letter to hundreds of people. Aside from labels getting stuck in the printer, this seemed the way of progression.

The email came next, an efficient way to send to thousands at a time, get read receipts and real-time reports all with no postage cost! Let's send direct email campaigns we thought.

Marketing revolution, buzzwords galore and HTML newsletters appeared everywhere. Click me, read me, mark me as spam...things got a little out of control.

Soon we forgot the recipient by focusing on automation and the low touch model.

We have forgotten what it means to communicate, by making it easier for us to communicate. 

Now is the time to bring back those old-fashion communication skills. 

We've already spoken about how to make your content sing. Here are some key pointers for how you can achieve greater success at email engagement.

Double opt-in

Implementing a double opt-in sequence will increase your chances of having a conversation with an individual interested in your business, leading to a conversion of more visitors to leads and leads to sales.

A double opt-in email subscription works like this: when a visitor on your site submits an email to subscribe to a newsletter and then receives an email detailing what your communications are all about, asking them to opt-in again - confirming that their email is valid, and they are in fact, interested.

Double opt-in ensures higher engagement as your open and click-through rates increase. You'll also majorly reduce the chances of spam emails, which will save you money AND you'll be dealing with people that are genuinely interested in your business. 

When exploring double opt-in methods also think about how you're building your list. If you're asking on a website, use cookies to ensure you don't ask again if someone has declined. Decide if you'll have a subscribe option in your article or a pop-up box and if you choose pop-up, make sure it's smart, so it doesn't bother people more than once. 

Segmentation

According to the data and marketing association, 

77% of email marketing return on investment in 2015, came from segmented and targeted campaigns. 

There are so many different ways you can segment your email list depending on your goals and content. Think about:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Industry
  • Interests

Why is this a game changer for email optimisation? You're providing unique users with unique content, going back to the roots of why we communicate. And like all else, it'll increase your engagement, opens and click-throughs. There's nothing worse than a generic email that provides you with nothing of interest or value. Segmenting will help you stop that. 

You can segment your email list by prompting users to give you small amounts of information about their life; likes and hates. Knowing where they are, what they do and what piques their interest will allow you to create more meaningful engagement. 

Spring Cleaning

Dusting off your email list and doing some spring cleaning is another way to ensure the validity of your subscribers and increase engagement. There are a few ways you can consider doing this:

  • Check for misspelled emails and any double ups
  • Send a check-up email to ask if your subscribers are still interested in your content
  • Remove anyone who hasn't engaged in 6 months (opened an email)
  • Ask all subscribers to reaffirm their subscription 6 monthly or yearly, ie. opting in again. 
  • Look at your statistics on each send and have a policy on how you deal with non-deliverable emails.

You can try time your spring cleaning communications in with an occasion, End of Financial year for example. If you make a conscious effort to view your email statistics and establish how people are reading and engaging, spring cleaning won't be a big task. 

Advantages of optimisation

  • You get to know your audience really well, they, in turn, help your marketing by word of mouth and forwarding your content
  • People die and cannot respond from the other side, save yourself embarrassment from irate bereaved loved ones
  • Builds your brand equity and trust
  • Quality always wins over quantity in the longer run

Comments about, 'the death of email' are no longer relevant. Email is a highly sophisticated and streamlined method of communication you can use with your current and potential customers. It's just time to do it in the best way possible. 

Remember, a big list should not be the goal. An engaged list should.

The number of subscribers as a key performance indicator on its own should be irrelevant. 

Think about a time you went to write a letter. Why were you writing it and who to? What did you want to gain in the response and what were you excited to tell them? Think of your email subscribers as your old school pen pals and don't forget the purpose of communicating.

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