5 Key Steps to Implementing Your Next Email Marketing Campaign

Social media may be the hottest medium right now, but business owners and CMOs alike know that email remains a tool that can be relied on to deliver exceptional results. Industry-leading email marketing service MailChimp disseminates benchmark statistics, which demonstrate that nearly one quarter of subscribers still open (and presumably read) email communications. However, if your business wants to beat this average with its own email marketing campaigns, your team needs to understand what makes this platform unique.

The audience for email is not the same audience for your business’ other digital assets.

Individuals who have signed up to receive email communications from your business have already made a commitment that Facebook or Twitter followers have not. And since email list subscribers have already exhibited a certain amount of customer loyalty and buy-in, those choices should be acknowledged and rewarded in email communications. When crafting email content, emphasize the specific value you are offering this audience. Regardless of whether the goal of the campaign is to gain new customers (e.g., by incentivizing referrals and forwards) or simply to share news, your email’s personalization tokens and dedicated landing page for the campaign should reinforce the sense that email recipients are “insiders” who have earned special access to your conversion points.

Email no longer lives exclusively on desktop.

Your email marketing campaign should proceed from the assumption that a sizable portion of your recipients accesses their email via tablets and mobile devices. In fact, Litmus Software, a company that specializes in email optimization across platforms, estimates that more than 30 percent of users interact with their email clients via their cellphones. The implications for campaign lead times are significant; your team should budget additional time for responsive design and testing for client compliance, especially for content which relies heavily on images and video. Moreover, while additional research conducted by MailChimp suggests that desktop users are more likely to click-through than users on other platforms, the ever-growing dominance of mobile is transforming the marketing world’s notions of how to most effectively time their campaigns. If users are constantly checking their emails on phones and tablets, does the old advice “Tuesday, after lunch” still apply for email blasts?

Your subject line is your headline.

For that reason, your email subject line cannot bury the lead. Your email’s No. 1 goal is to guarantee that its recipient opens it. But crafting subject lines that compel an open means thinking beyond making promises and selling sizzle. Email subject lines that deliver opens are typically succinct (six to 10 words, according to a study conducted by Retention Science), relatively transparent (call a special offer a “special offer”) and use direct language to set user expectations. In other words, your marketing emails are not advertisements in the traditional sense and should behave as much like “regular” emails as possible while adhering to professional standards of communication. Virtually every email client allows users to mark messages as “Spam,” and a too-clever subject line might lead users to suspect the provenance and intent of your email.

Remember that email is a gateway.

As important as your subscriber list, subject line and responsive content are, remember that your email communications are still about delivering a CTA and driving further engagement. If you cannot articulate the customer desire that your CTA is responding to, you probably need to rethink your CTA. You also need to ensure your email’s landing page is consistent with your email, in terms of copy, design and deliverables. Creating opportunities for feedback and follow-up that convey the extent to which your business values keeping in touch — a classic example being the double opt-in by which users may subscribe to your business’ email newsletter — can help more fully integrate email communications into your master marketing strategy.

Be meticulous in your metrics, but don’t silo them.

Your marketing team is probably well versed in tracking deliveries, bounces, opens, click-throughs and unsubscribes. Remember that these are not simply rates; they are specific user behaviors. However, you may need to dig deeper, especially if your email content typically features multiple links. Email tags, such as those generated via Google Analytics, can help you better assess the effectiveness of specific attributions and objectives. Regardless of how much data you collect and analyze, your marketing team should also be making every effort to understand your email marketing metrics within the context of your master marketing strategy. Gauging the performance of email against social campaigns, SEO, Web session time and app traffic can be vital for future marketing efforts.

As the marketing solutions group of The Dallas Morning News, Inc., we offer a wide range of marketing solutions, including digital, print, mobile, email marketing, direct marketing, social media, research and creative services, promotions and events. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you help solve your marketing challenges.