Ready to run your first email marketing campaign or are you thinking of an email marketing strategy that will help boost your results? At least 269 billion emails are sent every day, and the competition for your audience’s attention is very strong.
These numbers keep rising, and that is why it is very important for you to master email marketing to enable you to connect with your target audience and get their attention. In this article, I will show you how to run a successful email marketing campaign even as a beginner, the right steps to take, and also teach you how to develop a working email marketing strategy that will bring you lots of engagement, attention, leads, and even sales.
But first, we need to understand what an email marketing campaign is!
What Is An Email Marketing Campaign?
An email marketing campaign is simply an email sent from a business or individual to one or more customers or prospects. A successful email marketing campaign will compel the recipients to take action, engage with your business, and help you to generate more leads and sales.
One of the benefits of email marketing is that people still use email widely. In fact, this article on why email marketing isn’t dead revealed that, 90% of adults and 74% of teenagers still use email regularly. This makes email marketing the ideal tool for building customer relationships to help you acquire more leads and sales.
However, running a successful email marketing campaign requires some bit of work to ensure everything is set in place for your success before you finally tap the send button.
Let’s check out the steps you need to take for you to have a successful email marketing campaign below;
How To Run A Successful Email Marketing Campaign
Choose the right email marketing software
The first step is finding an ESP to send and manage your email campaigns and email subscribers. Popular email tools include Sendiio, SendPulse, Getresponse, Sendpulse, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Convertkit, Mailjet, Mailerlite, and HubSpot — to name a few.
With hundreds of ESPs on the market, it’s hard to know which one is right for your business. And it’s easy to get sucked in by shiny bells and whistles you probably don’t need (not yet, anyway). However, in terms of pricing and effectiveness, SendPulse and Sendiio are the go-to names. They are affordable and pretty easy to use, even for the less tech-savvy people.
Evaluate your needs. Distinguish between must-have features and nice-to-have features. Make a list.
Here are some questions to help you make the right choice:
- What’s your budget? If it’s very limited, then cheap email marketing services should be your starting point.
- What kind of emails do you plan to send, and how often? This will give you an idea of your required email volume (i.e. number of emails you plan to send).
- If you’ve already got a list of opt-in contacts, how many are there?
- What’s your skill level when it comes to designing emails? If you’re a complete beginner you’ll want a drag and drop email editor as this is easiest to use. Email templates will also come in handy. On the other hand, if you prefer to code emails from scratch, you’ll surely be on the lookout for an HTML editor.
- Do you plan to set up automated email workflows? See what the potential ESP offers in terms of email marketing automation. Some solutions only offer basic autoresponders.
- If your business communicates with different buyer personas, what segmentation capabilities are offered?
- Will your business be sending transactional emails (note that these are not considered email marketing). Some folks like to manage these emails with a separate service, others prefer all emails under one roof with a tool like Sendiio.
It’s also a good idea to consider your future needs. Found an ESP you like? Do some simulations: Ok, if my list grows to X, how much will this ESP cost? If I want to add X to my strategy, does this ESP have the feature set to support me?
Pricing by email volume vs. pricing by subscribers
As you’re exploring different options, you’ll notice most providers base their pricing on the number of subscribers. Lots of email marketing solutions will try to lure you in with cheap entry plans for a small number of subscribers (often 250 or 500). The catch? The prices tend to jump significantly once your list grows beyond these limits.
Hopefully, your list will grow because that’s kind of the point. But it sure would be a shame to end up overpaying for a pricey email autoresponder in the long run. Sendiio, on the other hand, structures its pricing according to email volume rather than the number of subscribers. That way, you grow your email list infinitely and it won’t impact the pricing. Same with SendPulse.
Build your email list
To send email marketing campaigns, you need an email list. It’s practically impossible to send email campaigns without anyone to send them to. Time to start building a list of engaged, opt-in subscribers. Most ESPs like SendPulse allows you to create subscription forms that be embedded on your website. When creating a subscription form, be super clear about your signup promise — what kind of email content will the subscribers receive and how often will you send emails to them?
If you promise a bi-weekly email newsletter with blogging tips, stick to that. If you start sending unrelated promotional content, expect people to unsubscribe (or worse, mark your emails as spam!).
Always Remember: People trust you enough to give their email address in the first place, don’t abuse that trust.
Add opt-in forms to your website and other places
Place your email subscription form in highly visible places where people will definitely see it. Typical subscription form hotspots include blog posts, the homepage, and the contact page. Share forms on social media by including a link in your bio or posts.
If you have an e-commerce store? Include a signup option as part of the checkout process.
Supercharge your list with content upgrades and lead magnets
Nothing makes a list grow faster than premium content. Create an exclusive ebook, video tutorial, free course, report, checklist, or infographic. Offer the user to download it for free in exchange for their email address. Special offers and discounts are a great way to get people onto your list. Check out more tactics in our exclusive step-by-step guide to email list-building.
Set up a welcome email for new subscribers
When someone signs up to your email list, you’ve got their attention. Now’s the time to engage them even further with a welcome email. A welcome email is an automated message sent to new customers and subscribers. The idea is to introduce your brand and any content that’ll help establish your relationship with the subscriber. A welcome discount links to the latest articles, useful information, or a free download.
Email deliverability tip: Get subscribers to add or “whitelist” you to their contact list so they never miss an email.
Define the goal of your email marketing campaign
Now that you’ve started building your email list, it’s time to think about what you want to achieve from this first campaign. Every email marketing campaign needs to have a clear goal.
Examples of common goals include:
- Promoting a new product
- Sharing a discount with loyal customers
- Getting more downloads for your latest ebook
- Updating subscribers on some important piece of company news
Your goals can either be hyper-specific or broad — as long as they align with your business and your audience. With a clear goal in mind, it’ll be easier to create your email content. This brings us to the next step:
Build a responsive-design email template
You might be thinking, do I need to hire the services of an email designer? If you’re cash-strapped and on a tight budget, then the answer is no. You don’t need one. To make things easy, most email marketing services like SendPulse have some form of Drag & Drop email editor. These are great for producing clean, simple, hassle-free designs.
Of course, that’s not to reduce the value of having a dedicated email designer, especially for e-commerce. An email designer will help you stand out from the crowd with custom templates. It’s definitely something to consider down the line — or even now if you have the resources. However, if you’re going full-on DIY email marketing, just play around with your ESP’s editor until you’re satisfied with the end result.
Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t get hung up on creating a fancy design for the first email newsletter. Keep it simple. You can always build upon this later on as your skills grow. Of course, one way to go faster is with customizable email templates.
Save time with ready-made email templates
Email marketing templates are the perfect cheat sheet to a standout email design. If your email marketing service offers templates, pick the one you like and customize it to match your brand colors and font. You can also Re-use the template over and over for future email newsletters. All you’ll be doing each time is updating the content, easy and stress-free.
SendPulse has over 70 templates in its email template gallery. There are also plenty of free email templates available from other sources.
Craft your email copy
You know your goal, you know your target audience, now let’s fill that template with words. Your email copy needs to offer value and speak to topics that interest your audience, this is very important. You also need to nail down the tone of voice.
To write persuasive, engaging email copy, keep these tips in mind:
- Ask yourself: What does my audience need from me? How can I help?
- Imagine you’re writing to one person
- Show your personality
- Tell a story
- Write to instill curiosity (starting with the email subject line — more on that below)
- Use a conversational tone, i.e. write the way you speak
- Break up the copy with short paragraphs and use bullet points where possible
The email signature should be the name of a real person. This is more personal than a faceless brand logo. Don’t have much copywriting experience? Don’t worry. Writing emails is something you can practice and improve with time, consistency is key.
Optimize your email open rate, clicks, and conversions
There are a number of ways to boost your email open and conversion rate, starting with your email sender name, and one of them is by using an easily recognizable sender name and address.
When you get an email, what’s the first thing you look at? Who it’s from, of course. The sender’s name answers the recipient’s first subconscious question: Is this genuine or is it spam? The best way to reinforce trustworthiness and brand recognition is to incorporate your brand name into the sender name. There are several ways to go about this:
- Your company/brand/newsletter name on its own
- A combination of brand name and your first name (e.g. [email protected])
- A distinct sender name to differentiate specific types of email content (e.g. Nettpreneur Product News)
To be easily recognized in the inbox, use the same sender name and address for all campaigns. Also, avoid no-reply email addresses as these diminish trust in your brand and prevent subscribers from reaching out with questions. You want engagement from your audience — why close off a potential means of communication?
Write an engaging email subject line
The email subject line is the most important element of your email marketing campaign. This one sentence pretty much determines whether your email will be read or not. And with so much competition in the inbox these days, it needs to stand out.
Aim to create intrigue or a desire to open in just a few words.
- Limit yourself to 50 characters
- Highlight your most interesting offer
- Appeal to your subscribers’ emotions and ambitions
Some of my best subject line resources to boost open rates:
- How to write fantastic email subject lines
- 24 of the best email subject line examples
Optimize your email preheader/preview text
The email preheader (or preview text as it’s also known) is the snippet of text that appears after the email subject line on certain email clients and devices. The preheader adds valuable context to your subject line and can significantly boost your open rates. The subject line and preheader should work together to start telling the reader a story.
Again, it should instill enough curiosity to make the reader want to open the email and learn more. Fail to set a preview text and the email client will pull the first line of text.
Test your email campaign before sending
Always send a test email before officially hitting send. Small mistakes can easily slip through the cracks and harm your brand image. Keep your eyes peeled for:
- Forgotten or incorrect links
- Text formatting errors
Have some team members proofread and check the test email on both desktop and mobile. If you’re with SendPulse, use the email preview feature to test different screen sizes and email clients. And when all’s good to go, double-check that you’ve selected the right email list.
Schedule your campaign for the right time
Rather than choosing a random day and time, be strategic. Choose a time that makes sense for your audience, based on what you know about them. Most people tend to only visit their inbox a few times each day. Find a time that’ll put you on top of the inbox when subscribers are checking their emails. This is sure to increase your open rates.
Email marketing campaigns tend to perform better when sent on Tuesday or Thursday in the mornings around 10:00 AM or in the afternoons around 2:00 PM. It makes sense: Many people check their emails in the morning when they get to work, as well as after returning from lunch. But, what works for most may not work best for you. It’s important to test different times to see where the sweet spot is with your audience.
Monitor the campaign results
Analyzing key email marketing metrics will teach you how to do better in future campaigns. As a beginner email marketer, there’ll always be areas of improvement.
Most ESPs have an analytics dashboard with at least the following metrics:
- Open rate: The ratio of the number of people who opened your email divided by the total number of recipients.
- Click-through rate: The ratio of the number of people who clicked on a link in your email divided by the total number of recipients.
- Unsubscribe rate: The number of people who unsubscribed divided by the total number of recipients (hopefully, as close to zero as possible). If this number is high, you need to review your email frequency and segmentation — we’ll look at this in more detail shortly.
- Bounce rate: The number of emails that failed to deliver divided by the total number of emails sent. Soft bounces are due to temporary issues like the recipient’s inbox being full. Hard bounces, on the other hand, are due to permanent issues (e.g. an inactive email address).
Are you new to email marketing and would like to learn more about email marketing? Check out our previous article titled “how to get started with email marketing for beginners”, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.