A successful email marketing strategy is vital to achieving your marketing and sales goals. Here are a few key steps to take before you begin any email campaign.
Evaluate and segment your audience
While it may seem obvious, start by deciding who’d you like to email and why. The goal is to perform a thoughtful analysis using both qualitative and quantitative data. Evaluate job titles and responsibilities. What goals do they want to achieve? What problems or barriers are they facing?
Segmentation is key because everyone has different challenges and obstacles they face during the workweek. One group might want more detail while others may be too busy and would prefer bullet points.
Divide your email list into segments based on the type of messaging you’ll be sending and the unique value you can deliver to each segment. Your messaging should convey how you can help them achieve their goals and tackle challenges with the solutions your association offers.
Determine how often to email
Next, email frequency depends on multiple factors; this is why step one’s evaluation and segmentation is so crucial. If you send an excessive number of emails, you risk aggravating your audience, which can result in a filter being applied to your emails or unsubscribes. However, if you send too little, you may fail to stay top of mind.
Ask yourself, what does a typical day in the life of your audience look like? What times of day do they typically respond to emails? Are there any trends you’ve noticed that can inform the optimal time to send your emails? Consider seasonal factors too. Is it a busy season or a lull?
Lastly, don’t forget to look at your historical email data to see if there are any patterns in the open and click rates for your emails on a particular day or time. If you don’t have historical data, a general rule of thumb for email marketing is to send emails early in the morning, as the majority of individuals check their email immediately upon starting their workday. Additionally, industry data also shows the highest open and click-through rates in the morning.
Have a goal to deliver value every time
Use your research to pinpoint topics that your audience would find most valuable. Take the time to generate engaging and informative content that meets your audience where they’re at. For an audience facing a challenge, the most effective content provides value by relating with that challenge and offering helpful solutions. For audiences that need information, you can excite readers with valuable insights or news.
Focus on the needs of the audience, not your pitch
The majority of people don’t enjoy an unsolicited sales pitch (imagine the mall kiosk that everyone avoids), and most people don’t like listening to someone talk about themselves and why they’re so great. Email copy is subject to the same aversions. A marketing email received in the middle of a busy workday that focuses on a sales pitch will likely be skipped, but an email offering immediate, attainable value can be a welcome surprise. Consider a busy manager receiving an email entitled, “5 Tips To Help You Achieve More Today.”
It can be tempting to shout a fantastic value proposition from the rooftops, but the best communication involves listening and responding with empathy. Not every email needs to push a sale; your audience wants to know that you understand their needs and can be a valuable partner. Build a relationship through giving and becoming a trusted source of information.
Test, measure, and optimize
If you are unsure of what to say or how to say it, do not be discouraged. Analyze various messages and let the data guide your decision. Analytics are a critical component of your messaging strategy. Be sure to track and report on your email results to optimize your content strategy moving forward. Look for trends in the messaging that resulted in higher engagement and expand upon those topics. The answers to what you should write about often lie within the numbers.