Noreply: Email marketing basics
We’ve been doing a lot of strategising at Pomegranite about how we want to represent ourselves online, and, of course, we’re constantly looking into different and better ways we can assist our clients with their websites and social media.
But what about email marketing?
It can be a tricky topic with many nuances, and is sometimes overlooked. Below I’ve listed an overview of the elements you can pay attention to to level up your strategy.
- In 2022 alone, 333.2 billion emails are expected to be sent and received each day (Statista, 2021).
- 81% of small and medium businesses still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% for retention (Emarsys, 2018).
- For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42 (DMA, 2019).
- 50% of people buy from marketing emails at least once a month (Salecycle, 2022).
- 19% of consumers reported that they read every email newsletter that they receive to see if “something is on offer.” (Forrester research).
Segment your mailing list
This first and most important aspect of marketing emails is having a segmented mailing list. Emails are a great way to get in contact with your target audience, not only because you can fit in a lot more information than you could in a social media post and guarantee it gets served to your audience, but because you can make it really personal, which is what a lot of people are looking for from brand interactions.
Why is audience segmentation so important?
- If you’re able to send an email directly to a user advertising something you know they like, they’re much more likely to make a purchase than if you were to guess.
- Audience retention. Email marketing is such an important “in” into your audience’s online experience, you need to keep on top of being relevant to each audience member, or you risk getting unsubscribes.
What can you do to stay personal?
- Find out more about your audience with topic signups.
- Use different mail signup forms, which sort users into different groups.
- Use the full range of what’s available for the particular email software in order to maximise audience retention and engagement.
The goal of audience segmentation is to build up an audience who are interested in a specific topic, so you are confident that any email you send will be relevant to them.
Making your emails accessible doesn’t just make it possible for people with various disabilities to engage with your content – it also accounts for things like type of device and internet connection, so you can reach a broad spectrum of users.
What you can look out for in order to remain accessible:
- Don’t feature any clashing or badly contrasting colours together, so that those who are visually impaired, colourblind, or who have small devices can read everything easily.
- Ensure you’re using alt text on all images featured. This is important for anything web-based. Including alt text on each image describing what’s in the image helps screen readers for the visually impaired, and those without the best connections can still be aware of the content.
- Avoid sharing important information in images only to ensure none of your audience misses out because they can’t see the image for any reason.
- That’s not to say it’s not allowed to feature important information in an image, just that the image shouldn’t be the only source of that information in the email.
- Use a legibly-sized font, especially on mobile versions of the email.
- Make sure the information layout is clear so that screen readers can read and make sense of the content in the intended order.
Look into results
When creating newsletters it’s important to analyse the results like you would for your social media content. This way you can see what did well and what didn’t, and adapt the next email according to what you’ve learned.
A great time to review this is a week after the email is sent, as nearly 22% of all email campaigns are opened within the first hour of sending (GetResponse, 2020).
Best time and day
This is a tricky topic, as the best times and days to send newsletters can vary depending on the type of audience.
The best thing you can do to discover what your audience prefers is to set up a testing schedule using these times and days as examples:
- Tuesday at 10am
- Thursday at 8pm
- Wednesday at 2pm
- Tuesday at 6am
- Thursday at 10am
- Wednesday at 8pm
- Tuesday at 2pm
- Thursday at 6am
- Wednesday at 10am
- Tuesday at 8pm
- Thursday at 2pm
- Wednesday 6am
What you would do to determine the success of the various times is to analyse the open and click through rates, and check Google Analytics for website traffic from the emails.
It’s also important to analyse the best day and the best time of day as separate data points. If you’re seeing a lot of Wednesdays and a lot of 11ams, despite this exact metric not being on the testing list, then that time and day is worth considering for your audience.
Stick to a single topic
Touching again on the idea of personalisation, it’s best to stick to a specific topic for a single email, rather than having a few different topics which may lose the attention of your audience.
While sticking to the single topic, it’s really important to keep reiterating what the topic is, in order to keep users on track. This is especially important as, often, users will be reading your email in between doing other things.
To do this you can break the email up into a few sections following this kind of guide:
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
- Tell them what you told them you were going to tell them.
- Tell them what you told them.
- Tell them what to do next.
Using this type of method you can stick to a single topic, make the topic and the value of the topic clear to the audience, and tell them what they can do to get involved.
Link it to current trends or topics
This is the kind of content that will assist in getting a lot of opens. Plugging in to trending topics is something that we talk about in the context of social media quite often, but it can apply quite nicely to email marketing as well.
The trending content doesn’t have to be generally trending either, it could be a theme or topic that you notice is picking up steam in your industry or business, and is worth capitalising on.
It’s also important to couple email marketing with your social media and website, in order to create a cohesive ecosystem of related content for your audience to tap into and feel part of. At the same time, it’s important to make sure that some of the content within the email is exclusive to the email, so that, for users who are part of your ecosystem of current and topical content, there is value in visiting each of your platforms.
Images vs text
An important point to consider when creating newsletters is ensuring that there’s a good balance between written content and images. It’s not recommended to overload your emails with images because it may lead to slow load times, email clipping, and also interfere with the accessibility of the email.
At the same time, we also don’t want to send out an email that features too much text, because most users will shy away from too much reading.
Some factors to consider when thinking about images within an email:
- Test out either 80%/20% or 60%/40% text-to-image ratios.
- Ensure all images that are featured are relevant, and serve a purpose within the email.
- Try to use stock images as little as possible to ensure that your audience engagement remains high, since emails with low engagement can eventually be flagged as spam.
- Try to avoid product images, because if Google specifically picks up any product images, then your email is more likely to be sorted into the “promotions” tab on Gmail, which may not be ideal as emails can sometimes be lost.
Repeat your CTAs
Another thing you’ll want to do is repeat your calls to action, as we know that audience attention spans are short. In the same way that it’s important to repeat information, it’s worth repeating CTAs to drive home the point.
Why we want to do this is because:
- Some people don’t like buttons, and prefer to click hyperlinks, or vice versa, so by repeating the CTA in different formats you can make it more likely to get more clicks.
- You may have captured the user’s interest lower down in the email.
Inbox (Email settings)
Make it skimmable
When crafting content for an email, the first thing to keep in mind is to structure it in such a way that users can skim it in order to get the gist of what the email is telling them. This, once again, comes back to the idea of users’ short attention spans, and you can almost guarantee that a user won’t be 100% invested in an email from the get go. By making the content skimmable at first, it creates an opportunity for your content to still be relevant by providing value at a glance, and then if the user is invested enough they can get sucked in and read more, or come back to the email at a later stage.
Source: Feel Good Newsletter
Pick a good sender name
People usually know a marketing email when they see one, but if you pick something like a person’s name or your team name it makes it a lot more appealing to open the email, as it feels like a more personal interaction. Rather than seeing something like “Pomegranite”, “The Pomegranite team” or “Sarah from Pomegranite” is a lot more compelling to see in your inbox.
What this does is add to the personalisation aspect which is so important in email marketing, and helps your audience get to know your brand. This can also be utilised in circumstances where different emails are being sent around specific topics. So for example, Pomegranite subscribers know that when they get a mail from “Nicole from Pomegranite” it’s going to be about social media, and if they get one from “Melissa from Pomegranite” it’s going to be systems related.
Automate where possible
Automation is quite a tricky task, but it’s a great idea for organisations who are keen to use their mailing list as a key marketing tool. It takes a lot of initial setup, but once that’s done it takes a lot of pressure off of the task of maintaining a relationship with the audience. This way, to the audience, it seems like you’re paying a lot of attention to them personally, but in reality a system is seeing specific activity and reacting to it in a preset way.
An example of this is using a marketing CRM system to set up some sort of workflow that picks up if a user clicks on a thought-leadership link within a newsletter. They’re then enrolled into a workflow which waits 24 hours, and then sends an evergreen email featuring exclusive thought-leadership content that they may not have found on the website. This keeps the brand top of mind, adds value for the user, and drives more traffic to the website.
As strong a tool as email marketing is, the methodology of its use needs to be carefully considered within the context of your organisation to ensure it works for you as best it can. Do you have capacity to implement this?
If you’d like to chat with us about your email marketing needs, get in touch: email@example.com.