McClatchy Jul 10, 2023 1:30:00 PM

Tips for Building an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

tips-for-creating-effective-email-marketing

With its ability to reach a targeted audience directly in their inboxes, email marketing offers a unique opportunity to engage customers, nurture relationships, and drive conversions. However, to harness its full potential, it's crucial to have a well-crafted email marketing strategy in place. Email marketing allows businesses to deliver personalized messages, build brand loyalty, and generate a higher return on investment than other marketing channels.  

A well-executed email marketing strategy can be a game-changer for your business. By setting clear goals, building a quality email list, creating compelling content, and continuously improving your approach, you can unlock the true potential of email marketing and drive meaningful results.  

So, let's dive into the essential steps and best practices for building an effective email marketing strategy that will help you connect with your audience, foster engagement, and achieve your business objectives. 

How to Conduct Effective Email Marketing 

To ensure the success of your email marketing campaigns, it's essential to follow a strategic approach – but these are well within reach for small businesses. Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs, at a $36 return for every dollar spent. It’s one of the most direct channels to reach your customers because email is so personal and requires significant attention from your customers. That makes email a highly accessible and effective marketing channel to grow your business and create long-lasting customer relationships. 

Here are some tips for creating exceptional email marketing campaigns that engage your audience, drive conversions, and help you achieve your business objectives. 

Determine Your Email Marketing Goals 

To build an effective email marketing strategy, it's crucial to first determine your specific goals. Clarifying your objectives will help shape the direction of your campaigns and guide your decision-making process, letting you create emails that work for you by furthering these goals. Remember, your email marketing goals should align with your overall business objectives, and use SMART goals by being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

To nurture customer relationships and keep an informed customer base, you can create emails that provide helpful information and establish your brand as a trusted authority. Your emails can be lighthearted, informative, and treated more conversationally with your audience to increase your credibility and foster loyalty. Ensuring email content is personalized and tailored to your existing customers also helps you engage and retain your base, helping to improve your customer lifespan. 

However, for businesses looking to drive sales and increase conversions through email marketing, your goals may be promoting products or services, showcasing special offers, and enticing subscribers to purchase. In this case, your email campaigns should focus on persuasive copy, compelling visuals, clear calls to action (CTAs), and personalized offers tailored to the recipient's interests and preferences. 

Build and Segment Your Email List 

Sending relevant and helpful emails also relies on knowing who you’re sending them to and ensuring that those people are interested in what you have to offer. Building and segmenting an email list helps you take control of your email marketing and improve customer relationships because you’re putting your efforts primarily into the people more receptive to them. Regularly updating your email list also helps you ensure your email health, where you can increase the ratio of people opening your emails, improving your bounce rate and preventing people from reporting them as spam.  

Customers must opt-in to receive emails, prompting people to opt-in at various points of your website to encourage them to do so. You can also launch this as part of a larger lead generation effort, from content marketing through blog posts, landing pages, and gated content. Blog and video content also gives you more items to share in your emails and on social media, where you can send helpful information to customers for them to read. Adding pop-ups on these pages and gated content helps people seamlessly give you their information.  

From there, you want to segment your email list based on: 

  • Demographics 
  • Purchase history 
  • Engagement levels  
  • Any other criteria relevant to your business  

That allows you to send targeted, personalized content that resonates with each segment, increasing engagement and conversion rates. You can send emails with more relevance to give people the information they want, based on their demographics and buying stage. For instance, you want to send re-targeting emails to past customers with emails encouraging them to buy related products – but you don’t want to send that to prospective customers. Similarly, you don’t want to send emails advertising things like lawnmowers to people likely to live in an apartment or city since they likely don’t have a yard, but they may still benefit from other tools, like power drills or appliances. 

By focusing on building a high-quality, segmented email list, you can tailor your messages to address their pain points, offer solutions, or provide insights.  

Create Compelling Emails 

It's crucial to create compelling emails that capture your recipients' attention and drive them to act. Here are some key features that will help you craft compelling emails and gain customer attention: 

  • Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines: The subject line is the first thing recipients see in their inbox. Make it concise, intriguing, and compelling to entice them to open your email. Personalizing subject lines, including emojis, or letting people know that something is back in stock or stock is low can entice them to follow through with opening or purchasing your email.  
  • Engaging and Valuable Content: You want your content to have value, often with no strings attached. Providing relevant, helpful, and engaging information about your industry or offering advice to your audience makes your brand feel more trustworthy and credible so that even if someone isn’t ready to buy when they are and they find your product, they’ll think of you more favorably.  
  • Compelling Design and Layout: Create visually appealing emails that align with your brand identity. Use professional and eye-catching design elements such as color schemes, fonts, and imagery that reflect your brand. Ensure your layout is clean and easy to navigate, with clear sections and prominent calls to action. Your design doesn’t need to start perfect – play around with it and see what works best! 
  • Persuasive Call-to-Action (CTA): Every email should have a clear and compelling call-to-action that prompts recipients to take the desired action. Whether it's making a purchase, signing up for an event, or downloading a resource, make your CTAs stand out and clearly communicate the value and benefits of taking that action. 
  • Mobile-Optimized Design: Mobile devices make it easy for people to check their emails anywhere – 46% of smartphone users prefer it to check email – so optimizing your email design for mobile responsiveness is essential. Ensure your emails are easily read and navigated on smaller screens, with legible fonts, well-sized buttons, and a responsive layout. 

Continuously Improve Your Design 

Email marketing is an ongoing process of improvement and optimization. To maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns, you need to continuously evaluate and enhance your design. Regularly review your email analytics to gain insights into the performance of your campaigns. Pay attention to metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates.  

As you identify patterns and trends, you can understand what elements of your emails resonate with your audience and what areas need improvement. Experimenting with different designs through things like A/B testing lets you see which differences resonate better with customers and put actual numbers to show which designs work best.  

Continuously checking and seeing what works helps you improve your performance by learning as you go or further capitalizing on your success by adjusting your emails to reach new audiences. Regardless of your reasoning, making consistent updates keeps your email marketing as more of a living entity that can adapt to changing trends amongst your customers.  

Take Control of Your Email Marketing 

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, building an effective email marketing strategy is essential for businesses looking to engage their audience, drive conversions, and achieve their marketing goals. A successful email marketing strategy begins with clearly defining your goals. Whether you aim to inform and nurture customers, drive sales, increase brand awareness, or expand your subscriber base, having a specific objective will guide your decision-making and help you tailor your emails to meet those goals. 

For small businesses that want to stay in control of their email marketing, McClatchy's AdManager has many features to design and schedule marketing emails, helping you streamline your email campaigns, track performance, and gain valuable insights to make data-driven decisions. With a well-crafted email marketing strategy and consistent refinement, you can foster meaningful connections with your audience, drive engagement, and achieve remarkable results for your business. Embrace the power of email marketing, and start building your strategy today. 

New call-to-action