Simple Ways to create an effective email marketing strategy

With every pound of investment leading, on average, to £51 in revenue, email campaigns lead the way in marketing ROI. Here are some simple ways to create an effective email marketing strategy.

What we will cover

The case for email marketing

Social media and SEO may hog the limelight when it comes to trendy marketing channels but the humble email still leads the way in terms of marketing efficiency. 

Despite alternative communication channels opening up all the time, email use is still predicted to grow. The Radicati Group forecasts that global email users will pass the 4 billion mark this year with messages sent exceeding 300 billion (and continuing to rise for the foreseeable future).

So the question for business owners is: how can they create an effective email marketing strategy?

Our old friend Mailchimp

In our previous article, we introduced Mailchimp as a popular tool for businesses who want to build an email marketing list and set up email campaigns. As Mailchimp Partners, we will plug Mailchimp again, especially for smaller businesses, because its free entry price provides clear benefits in terms of ROI and ease of use is great for getting stuff done.

If you are planning on attending our upcoming Email Marketing Training Course, a Vu marketing specialist will give you an in-depth grounding in Mailchimp so we highly recommend you book a spot while places remain.

Either way, Mailchimp builds four out of the five strategy tips below into its free plan.

It pays to get personal 

Personalising your email marketing campaigns can boost open rates and revenue. Even just adding the recipient’s name to the subject field has been shown to increase open rates by an average of 16%.

Yet only 70% of businesses use personalisation when trying to craft an effective email marketing strategy.

A possible reason for this is that they are equating increased personalisation with increased time setting up and running campaigns.

In fact, effective personalisation doesn’t take much time at all. In Mailchimp, for example, you can use ‘merge fields’ to automatically add names and other personal details into every email you send.

Personalisation also relates to our next tip: segmentation of your email list.

Slice and dice

If you read through our previous article on Mailchimp automation, you will have already come across segmentation and tags as two ways to divvy up your marketing list. But why would you need to do this?

Segmentation enables you to personalise your campaigns by sending news, events and offers to those who would benefit the most. Just as important, you are NOT sending emails to those people in your list who would not benefit from an event or offer.

This helps you to collect more meaningful statistics (e.g. open rate, click-through rate, etc.) while avoiding sending annoying emails to other people in your list (who might well react by unsubscribing or reporting you as a spammer!)

How do you get the information needed to segment your list?

If you already hold rich customer data via a CRM system, you could look into integrating this information with your chosen email platform. Otherwise, the trick is in designing your email opt-in form to gather the information you need.

For example, asking for a B2B subscriber’s email address, first name, town and business type will enable you to segment by location and industry. If you add an option to select the size of their business (by revenue or number of employees) you can use account-based marketing campaigns to better pitch events to the relevant audience.

There is so much more to designing opt-in forms and we will go into much more depth on this in our upcoming Email Marketing Training Course.

Think ‘mobile first’

You probably already know that the digital world is becoming ‘mobile-first’ by design but this is easy to forget when you’re still knocking up email campaigns on a desktop or laptop computer. 

It is obviously more practical to use a big screen when designing a campaign but you must drill into your mind that the person opening your email is likely to be using a mobile device. 

To begin with, you must use responsive email templates so that your email content will adapt to the device and browser that your viewer is using. As this feature is built into most email marketing platforms, including Mailchimp, you probably don’t have to worry too much about that.

Responsive emails are only the starting point though. Anything which is difficult to read or see on a desktop computer will be even more obscure on a smartphone. That includes unformatted blocks of text and poorly defined call-to-action (CTA) buttons. 

The best way to check whether your email design is mobile friendly is to run a test campaign directed only to you and other members of your team. Use a variety of devices to open the email and check that everything looks nice and clear.

Embrace automation

Through the power of email automation, you can ‘set and forget’ an email campaign, using various trigger events to generate a series of emails based upon the goals of your email marketing strategy.

Mailchimp includes several preset automations for reaching out to subscribers on their birthday, when they join your list, when they abandon their shopping cart and more. You can also create your own free custom campaigns.

However, to set up an email series you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.

For more detail on automating campaigns using Mailchimp, see our previous article.

Test to Perfection

Once you have set up one email campaign, it is possible to test every aspect of its design using A/B split testing. This is where different versions of an email are presented to different recipients, usually on a randomised basis.

The open and click-through rates can then be compared and the better performing version of the email adopted as the new standard. The process is then repeated with another element of the design.

Examples of elements that you could test include:

  • Email subject line
  • Email ‘from’ address
  • Email title
  • Length of email text
  • Images used
  • Layout
  • CTA text
  • Colour or size of CTA button
  • HTML v plain text delivery

A/B split testing is available on any of Mailchimp’s paid plans and stands to highlight its great to get started with something, over time you will refine, do better and have an effective email marketing strategy. If you need help building an effective digital marketing strategy or deliver campaigns then get in touch today.

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