In 2012, US companies spent about $64 billion on TV advertisements, $34 billion on print ads, and $39 billion on internet ads. How much did they spend on email marketing? Forrester estimates about $1.5 billion.
Yet, it could be argued that email marketing is a better and more effective form of marketing. Unlike TV, print, and internet ads, email marketing is opt-in, so people are willing and want to read your email messages.
The only thing your company needs to do is send valuable content to your reader’s inboxes. Sending newsletters that barrage readers with company press releases is not effective. It must be actionable content or something that people care about.
Unfortunately, many companies get overwhelmed and abandon their email marketing efforts. It’s really easy to try to take on too many email marketing initiatives and get buried in a sea of work. This can result in a complete breakdown of the email marketing campaign – which is the worst thing that can happen.
How can you set up an email marketing initiative that is relatively easy to undertake and maintain?
Let’s discuss some ideas!
Don’t Over Think Your Messages
Remember when crafting your email message that there’s only one goal – to give people valuable content that matters to them. It’s difficult to write valuable content, and it can lead to over thinking and exaggeration. That’s why you should first source content that has already been created.
Instead of worrying about where to source your content, you can now focus and brainstorm on your subject lines (some would say this is more important!). Remember what makes them tick. Let’s look at a couple of examples:
If you have a Quora account, you receive their “Weekly Digest” emails. These contain the most intriguing questions from the past week. It is personalized toward the user, with questions and answers from people the user follows:
Some of the emails contain content from people the user doesn’t follow. This helps the user discover new content:
The beauty of these emails is that they are incredibly engaging and they are easy to source since they are user generated!
Do you have awesome user generated content that can be easily packaged for email marketing? It might not be that hard to find: try checking your blog comments!
Copyblogger emails are for people who want to be kept up to date on the latest from the Copyblogger blog. Here are a couple of emails from them with a promotional email:
Example of a promotional email they send:
What’s so simple about what Copyblogger is doing?
Well they are simply sourcing their own blog content for email marketing – effectively killing two birds with one stone. Most email marketing providers allow you to connect your blog RSS feed into an automated email campaign.
This is an easy way to keep your email marketing momentum going without ever having to worry about it shutting down.
Simple Tweaks to Headlines, Timing, and Sender can Keep Your Campaigns Fresh
During the 2012 election, President Obama sent out an email to his supporters that turned out to be the most successful fundraising email of his political career.
The subject line?
It helped him raise millions of dollars for his campaign. All of the emails referenced him being outspent by his opponent. And one was after his convention speech.
This particular timing of one of his “Hey” emails is important, too. Certainly, emailing his supporters after a nationwide speech would encourage them to donate.
It’s also unique to receive an email from “Barack Obama.” A number of other companies have done this as well, alternating who the email comes from. The environmental advocacy group 350.org has its emails come from different senders:
Sometimes, people will get used to seeing emails from the same people. This redundancy can grow old with people and they may no longer open the emails, seeing that it’s the “same old, same old.”
So did the Obama campaign raise millions of dollars because of the subject line “Hey”? No, as we’ve discussed, there are many factors involved. As Brian Clark points out, specificity wins over time.
When formatting your emails, keep these questions in mind:
- Is the headline specific? Does the message fulfill the promise of the subject?
- Is there an optimal time we can send this email? When does everyone else send out their email newsletters? Let’s work around those times.
- Have we changed the sender recently, or will people keep seeing emails from the same person and/or company?
Addressing these questions from time to time can provide easy wins to keep your campaigns fresh and effective.
Update Customers on Product News
If customers have signed up for your newsletters, they clearly have an interest in what you do and the industry you’re in. It’s not harmful to send customers information on product updates. Copyblogger sends these “product update” emails at a ratio of about 1:8, meaning for every 8 content emails they send, they send 1 for a “product update.” This reminds customers of the products they offer.
Here are a few sample emails from Buffer. They email customers about product updates and invite feedback:
In these product update emails, remind customers of why your product or service is awesome, and you also may want to reiterate your unique value.
In the email, remind them why they chose you and the success they’ve had.
The easy thing about product updates is that you only should be doing them every once in a while. So when it’s time to put some icing on the cake, think about what promotion you can include in your upcoming email blast.
That’s Wasn’t Too Hard Right?
Before you get too overwhelmed with many email marketing initiatives, cover the basics first. Make it easy on yourself. Automate what you can and what makes sense. Monitor your results. When you are ready and you have the bandwidth, attempt more intensive campaigns.