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How to make email marketing work for you

The common mistake with email marketing is not to plan your campaigns out properly. As it’s very quick and easy to send email marketing, the common pitfall is to do it quickly, without sufficient planing.

Sending out campaigns in this way often leads to duplication or emails that don’t really engage with your target audience. As much as it’s very easy to make email marketing work for you, it’s also equally easy that fall into the pitfalls that mean your marketing falls flat and fails to engage with your target audience - this means fewer sales conversions and a high rate of unsubscribes.

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Having seen thousands of email marketing campaigns, we’ve put together a handy selection of points to help make sure that your email marketing campaigns really work for you, achieving good viewer engagement and ultimately consistently high sales conversions. We also have a full guide to avoiding email marketing mistakes.

  • #1 Avoid using purchased lists

    As it’s quick and easy to send out email marketing, often the temptation is to send out as many emails as possible and purchasing email lists offers a way off adding lots of addresses to your lists.

    Often, though, these lists cause more harm than good. None of the addresses contained within these lists will have asked to receive your email, this means that when they receive your email marketing, they will (in high numbers) often unsubscribe. If they click on unsubscribe, this causes your sender reputation to decrease - ultimately resulting in poor delivery of all of your other email marketing.

    These lists often have very high instances of dead addresses and duplicates - sending to dead addresses can also cause reputation damage, these delivery failures are called ‘bounces’, they are split into hard bounces and soft bounces (permanent and temporary delivery failure). If your email marketing software doesn't have a de-dupe tool, then you may miss duplicate email addresses contained within your purchased lists, sending the same email to the same person multiple times is a sure fire way to generate complaints from your mailing list.

    Purchased lists really are best avoided as they are fraught with issues. This is why pretty much all email marketing software providers nowadays will not permit their usage. Whilst these lists lists may seem like a shortcut to increase your data - they are best avoided. Only send emails to people who have asked to receive them.

  • #2 Segment your data

    Segmenting your data is the most effective way to ensure that you are sending the right email to the right people. When you send out email marketing, if you look at your campaign analytics you’ll start to see trends. This could be in terms of groups of people registering as ‘reads’ within different time windows. So, by segmenting your data you could split these people into groups that may prefer to read in the evening and groups that prefer to read during the day. This really helps to ensure that you are hitting these inboxes at times when these groups are most receptive to reading.

    If your company markets more than one product, you’ll also see trends in terms of different groups looking at different products. By segmenting your data, you can then market similar products to people based on their preferences.

    Another trend that you could see is a split between subscribers that react more to information based email marketing, rather than sales/offer focused. This is a great way of ensuring that future email marketing campaigns use a tone and language that has shown to work well for each group.

  • #3 Use automation with your email marketing

    Good email marketing will provide an automation app, this will give you the ability to automate the sending of your email marketing, based on a trigger such as a specific date/time or when a new subscriber joins your list.

    Using automation ensures consistency with your email marketing, if you’ve got an automated chain of emails set up, this means that they will go out at predetermined times no matter what. This is really advantageous for small business, it means that if your resources are stretched (as they often are for small businesses), then no matter how busy you become, your email marketing will still go out at the perfect times/intervals.

    Email marketing automation also means that you can create dynamic campaigns that can be geared towards the click decisions that your subscribers are making. This means that for the people that click on product ‘A’ rather than ‘B’, they can be sent further email marketing based on their previous choices.

  • #4 Cleanse your email database regularly

    At the heart of any successful email marketing campaign is good deliverability, as we’ve discussed previously, good deliverability is achieved through maintaining a positive sender reputation.

    Your email marketing sender reputation can be damaged by high bounces and poor interactions. You should ensure that any send failures are removed from your list of email subscribers, your email marketing software should be able to automate this for you - removing any hard bounces in their first instance and soft bounces after two failed attempts.

    If subscribers aren’t opening, reading or clicking on your email marketing consistently, then they should be removed. Low interactions will also cause harm to your sender reputation. So it’s good practice to regularly audit your email marketing data and remove subscribers who are not interacting.

  • #5 Use a Double Optin method to collect new subscribers

    Ensuring that your email marketing database is full of people who have genuinely asked to be there is one of the key cornerstones to email marketing success. Double opt in ensures that your web sign up form is not polluted by automated bots and bad data.

    So what exactly is ‘double opt in’? - If you use a form on your website for people to enter their details to join your mailing list and you are using a two step procedure, then this is double opt in. It means that when they enter their details, they will then be sent an email asking them to confirm their email address in order to be added to your email subscribers database.

    By using this two step verification, it stops your data becoming polluted with bad data, it means that only genuine opted in subscribers will be opted in. Double opt in ensures that your email bounces are minimised dramatically.

  • #6 Personalize your email marketing

    When your recipients receive your email marketing, they want to feel like you are familiar with them and valued. In it’s simplest form, personalizing your email marketing means making sure that each email is addressed to the recipient by name.

    Email marketing software will offer the ability to use a mail merge feature to ensure that each email goes out, addressing the recipient by name. As recipients, none of us like to feel that we are part of a huge blanket email marketing send.

    In this digital age, it’s easy to forget that ‘people buy from people’, so always ensure that your marketing addresses each recipient by name and it’s sent from a real person - not a faceless marketing department. So always send your email marketing form your own email address i.e john@ - as opposed to marketing@. Personalizing your email marketing really helps to increase both engagements and sales conversions.

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