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Email Marketing – Why You Need It and How to Get Started

In DemandWave’s 2016 State of B2B Digital Marketing (available for free here), there is one crystal clear conclusion about email marketing — it’s the most effective form of marketing for today’s world. Not only is it cheaper than any other, but it also offers a significantly more substantive ROI. In fact, Entrepreneur.com reported that the average ROI in 2015 was $44 for every $1 spent.

What other marketing campaign so successfully allows you to send targeted messages based on what your customer or client does?! Email marketing allows you to interact with them in various ways, from reminding them about their abandoned shopping cart to encouraging them to click a webinar link, and so much more. And, if an email marketing campaign is set up correctly, it only takes one person to manage thousands of client communications, freeing up market resources and saving you time so you can focus on the more important aspects of running a business.

We want you to take advantage of this effective marketing strategy so you can get the most out of your business. That’s why we’ve laid out step-by-step instructions to get you started on your own email marketing campaign. First though, you need to know how to build your email list. Then you can get started on the basics of email marketing strategy.

How to Build Your Email List

Before you can start reaping the benefits of email marketing, you have to get an email list going first. Otherwise, it’s like trying to make a living as an influencer without having any followers. Don’t worry though, there are several ways to build an email list.

1. Email Capture with a Lead Magnet

In layman’s terms, offer something special in exchange for their email. You’ve seen lead magnets before. They’re those special offers that pop up when you visit a site. All the customer has to do is put in their email address and they get a discount, free item, webinar access, or whatever the offer is. Now, you have just what you need to market to them again and again.

The only downsides to this method are that you have to be willing to offer something in return for the email, which means giving up some of your resources, whether it’s your profits, time, or products. It can also take a while to generate a large email list. So if you’re in a rush to grow your email list, you may want to keep reading to find out about faster options.

2. Renting Email Lists

If you don’t have as much time to wait and don’t mind paying extra for it, there is also the option to rent email lists. Don’t get this confused with purchasing email lists. Renting and buying are very different in this case. Buying may be tempting because doing so is cheaper than renting and you can use the email addresses you get as many times as you want. However, the sources of these lists tend to be less reputable and less audience-targeted. So the unsubscribe rates on purchased email lists are very high. Plus, buying lists can actually get you in trouble with some email marketing platforms because it’s against their terms and conditions.

On the other hand, email lists that you rent are likely going to be from more reputable sources and more targeted for your audience. So for example, if you’re selling to medical professionals, you could rent a list of 5,000 doctors. Renting email lists only allows you to send one email to the list. However, hitting your target audience is more effective in keeping people on your email list and picking up new customers than sending multiple emails to random people.

Renting email lists can be a bit pricey, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to wait for option #1 to succeed on its own.

3. Social Media Contact Forms

Another way to generate an email list is to run an advertising campaign on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that encourage people to sign up for what you’re offering through a contact form.

Contact forms are a fast and easy for customers to learn more about you and what you’re offering – without having to do any internet searching. All they have to do is enter their contact information and you send them more information.

In return, you get their email address so you can regularly advertise to them through one of today’s most successful marketing strategies.

The Golden Rule of Email Marketing: Make Every Line Count

Now that you know how to build an email list, it’s time to make the most of it. Email marketing is highly effective – but only if you have the right content.

An email marketing campaign can be highly successful if you follow one rule: make every line count.

In other words, the golden rule of email marketing is to make each line serve a singular purpose.

So what does that look like? We’ll explain what you should do for each part of an email.

Subject line

This is the single most important part. The purpose here is to get the reader to open the email, so if you fail here, you’ve failed with the rest of the email too.

How you do this can vary greatly depending on your target audience and the tack you want to take, but giving them a reason to be excited or curious is always a good idea.

Greeting

Your greeting should make the reader want to read the next part of your email. Since it’s the first thing they read when they open it, think about how you can make a good first impression and make them want to read on.

Hook

This is when you introduce their reason for opening the email. Why are they here? What is it you’re offering them? Keep it short and sweet and give them a reason to want to learn more.

Final Paragraph

Think of this as your Call to Action (CTA). You’ve told them what you’re offering. Now, how do they get it? This is when you persuade them to click to buy, join, etc.

By following the Golden Rule of Email Marketing through this simple outline, you’ll be ahead of the game in creating a highly effective strategy.

You could easily stop here and have enough information to pull off a successful campaign. But we’re going to give you the special tactics that make or break whether you or your competitors win out. And we’ve made them super easy to accomplish with 7 simple steps.

Step 1: Know who you’re targeting

Knowing your target audience can be difficult. Ask yourself, who is this for? What do they do? What do they like? If you were them, what would you want to hear? These kinds of questions can provide incredible insights into your target audience and how to speak to them.

Step 2: Craft your message carefully

Once you know who your message is for, it’s important to also make sure your email matches your corporate messaging and overall brand.

Wording and framing are both very important here. Remember that you need to make every line count. So no filler, no fluff, no bad stuff. Stay clear and concise, all while matching the message you want to convey about your brand and offerings.

You also need to know what your goal is. What is it you want the reader to do? A great way to write your emails is to write your CTA first and then work backward from there. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want your reader to do, then they won’t either.

Step 3: Design several versions of your email templates

Effective email designs do 3 things: engage the reader, tell a story, and have a clear message.

Visuals such as pictures, icons, and infographics are great for reader engagement. Make sure that you stay relevant. Visuals won’t help you if they don’t have anything to do with the message you’re trying to convey.

Also remember that the goal is not to just make a pretty email template. While it should be visually pleasing and attractive to your target audience, remember that “pretty” and “effective” are not the same. You can easily have a pretty template that does nothing for your conversions.

A great way to make sure you don’t fall into the “pretty” problem is to make sure that every visual matches the message you want to convey and plays a part in telling a story. You can also use copy to help make your message clearer. Images without context are never a good idea, so including copy along with it never fails.

You’ll want to create several templates because chances are you’ll find elements that you like from all of them and you can use them to create a final design. You can also use multiple designs to run A/B testing, which we’ll get into more later on.

Step 4: Assemble your components

Now that you have your email list, copy, and design, it’s time to assemble it all! You can do this easily with an email marketing program. Most offer templates that make creating emails super quick and simple. All you have to do is plug in the content and it generates the rest.

Other great options to add are the recipient’s first name in the greeting, as well as links to your social media accounts.

Step 5: Test the quality of what you’re sending

Remember earlier when we mentioned making multiple designs? Here’s where that will come in handy. To test different marketing strategies, you can do what’s called Split Testing, or A/B Testing.

Split Testing works by sending one strategy to 10% of your list, and another strategy to another 10%. Whichever strategy performs the best by the end of the testing period automatically gets sent out to the rest of your email list.

The first strategy to perfect through A/B Testing should be your Subject Line. After all, if your Subject Line doesn’t have them opening the email, you won’t even have the opportunity to see if the rest of the email is effective.

Once you’ve reached your goal with the subject line, you can move to testing other aspects of your email marketing strategy.

Step 6: Get the timing right

You have the perfect email marketing campaign, but when do you initiate it? When your email goes out to your list can have a big impact on your conversion rates.

To help you determine the best times, think about when your target audience will be checking their emails, interested in your offers, or will have time to read them. You should also think about what times other emails are going out. The last thing you want is for your email to get lost in their inbox and never even be seen.

Step 7: Always improve your methods

Marketing best practices go through a major change roughly every 18 months. So how do you stay on top of shifting practices? This is another area where Split Testing comes in.

Over time, you might notice that the tactics that were performing the best don’t work as well as they did before. So the best way to avoid running into steadily dwindling conversions is to Split Test new strategies every quarter.

In the beginning, you Split Test to find out what works best. Then you should refine your tests at the end or beginning of each quarter. Then you can also compare your results against your lifetime results. If they’re lower, don’t use that technique again. If they’re higher, start incorporating the newly tested technique more and more. This is important for headlines, subject lines, body copy, images, types of emails, and more.

But keep in mind that you can only test one aspect at a time in order to draw any real conclusions. For instance, if you did a Split Test with two different types of subject lines and two different types of body copy, you couldn’t know whether it was the change in the subject line or body copy that created the positive results.

All that’s left is to get started

Now that you know the ins and outs of how to start up and run an effective marketing strategy, it’s time you got started. Follow the simple steps we’ve outlined for you, and you’ll be on your way to effective marketing and fantastic conversion rates in no time with one of the best marketing strategies of today’s world. The only thing holding you back is you!

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