Building a successful email marketing strategy and campaign for your startup is important now more than ever, but the problem is that most people don’t know how to get it done right.
Email marketing, according to Email Monks, is 33 percent less costly than other lead-gen mechanisms, as they generate sales worth 50 percent more.
The challenge is how to outperform other email campaigns and get your startup brand some attention, despite the fact that people get inundated with emails daily, some of which annoy them.
Ultimately, email marketing still has the best return on investment, which Hubspot reports stand at a whopping 4,300 percent ROI, so it still is the best way to build an audience of clients or customers that are responsive.
This guide will show you how to set up your email marketing system, and run your startup’s very first email marketing campaign.
1. Set up your email marketing system
To start with, you’ll need a mailing list so as to direct conversations about your brand and what you do to the visitor’s personal inbox.
This is the best method of moving visitors who sign up to their lists from simply being interested, to a definite conversion.
2. People consider emails from brands useful
However, there’s more to email marketing than just converting visitors, because about 95 percent of people consider emails from brands useful, and they sign up to stay informed about your brand, offers or discounts, and any upcoming giveaways.
3. Foster relationships using your buyer persona
Others sign up just to learn some tips and tricks from you, so the best way to foster relationships with people is by building them using your buyer persona; people buy from familiar people.
This is why email is important because it lets you warm up to your visitors and possible leads which can also lead to a 20 percent increase in sales compared to cold emailing or selling to cold leads.
Invest in content personalization. It allows you to nurture your leads, connect on a more personal level with prospects, while showcasing your credibility and expertise through value provision with your communication tools.
4. Email integrates with and complements your other marketing strategies
The first step is having a solid content marketing plan.
Visitors read and/or access your content before deciding whether or not to buy from you.
Email integrates with your other marketing strategies and helps keep subscribers informed on updates, blog posts, promos, giveaways or even online training.
5. Select an email provider
You’ll also need to select an email provider, which you’ll have to consider based on your specific needs, like ActiveCampaign, Mailerlite, Drip, and ConvertKit among others.
6. Get people to opt-in to your mailing list
Next, get people to opt into your list after landing on your site, by making sure they sign up to your mailing list.
The best way to do this is to have a strong lead magnet and strategically display the sign-up form.
Your lead magnet should speak to your buyer persona, enticing them to want to invest in your brand.
You can even provide offers or incentives upon signing up; something perceived as valuable to your audience.
These can be anything from a free course, free e-books or guides, access to a private community, or a free toolkit.
Use content upgrades such that visitors read your posts and see offers related to the information, and may end up signing up to your list.
As for where to display your sign-up form, some of the best high-converting spots, according to Social Triggers, include your home page, about page, the top of your sidebar, a popup, at the tail end of a blog post, or exit intent.
7. Which type of opt-in?
A single opt-in means the visitor signs up and hits the submit button, and instantly get the incentive, and becomes a subscriber.
The double opt-in means the visitor clicks submit, waits for an email confirmation, clicks on the confirmation link, and gets instructions to receive the incentive upon clicking the link to subscribe.
Despite the decreased conversion rates that double opt-in offers, it has a higher click-through rate and open rate, with fewer unsubscribes compared to the single opt-in. It also means higher chances of getting sales over time.
8. Deliver your campaign
Some of the things to consider here are whether to automate your campaign, generate high open or click-through rates, and the creation and design of a campaign that will be enjoyed and acted on by subscribers.
Of note is the fact that email is the primary lead generation source for 89 percent of marketers, with up to 61 percent of customers enjoying promo emails on a weekly basis.
9. Creating an effective email campaign
The most effective way to do this is by crafting an effective email subject line.
This is the first thing they see in their inbox and decide whether or not to open your emails or trash them.
Highly effective subject lines are personalized, for example inserting a subscriber’s name to the subject line; they’re also short, clear, and create a sense of urgency.
Use lots of white space, short sentences, and legible fonts. You can also use bullets or numbered lists, bold or italicized words and/or phrases, and a sizable font.
10. Another creative way to be effective is by storytelling
Most subscribers want to hear more about you and your brand, so brand storytelling helps you form that connection with them while building brand loyalty.
Humanize yourself and be more relatable to your subscribers because people remember the stories. This gives you a better chance at conversions than using other marketing strategies.
11. Use an auto-responder
The benefits of automating emails using auto-responders is that your subscribers get to know and learn more about your brand, you get to promote your products, and it helps set up a funnel for your business.
Finally, ensure you share content regularly, because email marketing is about expectations, and you are the one to set them. Have strong calls to action, with consistent follow-up.
Having done all the above, the numbers will tell you whether you’ve built a strong relationship, or you’re not managing people’s expectations.
Your open rate is a strong indicator of the relationship you built with your subscribers.
A low number means people delete your emails upon receipt, so you have to provide more value or manage their expectations more.
Low click-through rates mean your message isn’t getting through or isn’t targeted enough, so work on your copy.
A high unsubscription rate also indicates that you need to focus more effort on retaining customers because people are leaving more than they are joining. A web analytic tool will help to keep an eye on what’s happening around.
Check the weak spots and re-work them.
This is simply splitting up your list of email recipients into groups that are more targeted. Some of the popular ways of doing this are by-product updates, by customer list, newsletter or daily list (compared to weekly, monthly, or bi-weekly), and by text (some prefer this).
By dividing your email list using such categories, or segments, you are able to send communication that is more targeted.
There are recipients who would want updates for both sales and products, and others who just want updates on what is new like versions of your products and/or services.
When they don’t have a chance to choose for themselves, you risk losing your customers altogether.
What you want is to keep them subscribed to your mailing list.
Now some tips to run a successful campaign
There are five main things you need to take into account when creating your email marketing campaign.
- Be specific about what you’re asking for
Having a clear ask is one of the major things you’ll learn from any email marketing campaign because audiences respond to direct and strong language.
If you want to support it, ask for it specifically.
One of the best ways to do this, and the most successful brands do, is by having a clear call to action like ‘read now’ or ‘donate now’ or ‘buy now.’ It doesn’t have to be a button, sometimes all it takes is a clear subject line that is specific on what you want.
In fact, about 64 percent of people, Hubspot says, open emails because of subject lines.
- Keep emails on the short end
Don’t stress too much about adding a few more words to your email.
Keep it at a reasonable length.
The faster you can get the clear ‘ask’ on what you want your audience to do, the better for you.
Shorter email messages have higher response rates, while longer ones have declined response rates.
Keep it short, simple, and specific.
- Ensure your design is clean and responsive
The design of your email matters to your recipients.
Visuals are important, but if you’re going to work with text only, ensure your content is short, sweet, and snackable.
Keep the email design related and specific to the first ask. If you want to use a button for your call to action, let it be in a color that stands out.
As for responsive designs, your email design needs to work on mobile devices because almost everyone today accesses emails from their mobile phones or tablets and other devices.
This also means your paragraphs have to be short, and images can fit the screen of a smartphone.
- Get your timing right
Each day, people get loads of emails on their inboxes, so you want to get your email messages to their inboxes at the time they’re looking at it.
CoSchedule found that the best day to send out emails was Tuesday, based on a review of studies on email marketing.
And if you have to send two weekly, try sending on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
As for the specific time slots, the same study revealed that most clicks and responses are realized late morning from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m, and at 8 p.m in the evening up until midnight. Early morning checks are done at 6 a.m., and late afternoon at 2 p.m.
Email marketing is about expectations, and you are responsible for setting them.
A strong call to action coupled with consistent follow-up will lead to a positive campaign. However, if you renege on your promise to send one email a week, and start sending per day, then you’re almost guaranteed to fail.
The same goes for when recipients expect daily email updates, and you fail to deliver on these, they’ll be just as upset in this case.
- Get Permission in their house, regularly
Most emails, if not important to audiences, get stashed away in people’s spam folders, or the social and/or promotion folders.
While it is hard to fix this issue because it is entirely up to the recipient, it still makes a huge difference.
You can ask your recipients to whitelist your email by adding it to their contacts, and it’ll regularly appear in their inboxes.
Getting whitelisted is akin to being added as a friend.
You can also give instructions to recipients at the very beginning of your email, for example, from the initial thank you email, or your first follow-up.
These five tips will help you send better, stronger, and more effective emails that will lead to more responses. They’ll also help you know how to tweak and/or adjust your emails, get customers updated and informed, get leads and increase your conversions.
Next time you’re thinking of sending a marketing email, consider these five tips. Be conversational and professional in your tone; this shows your recipients that you value their time and their inboxes.
Has email marketing worked for your startup so far? What do you do to keep your readers engaged, and the numbers growing?
Share with us in the comments section below.
Sam Zaman –
Sam Zaman loves to write on technology & related stuff. E-commerce, mobile and internet marketing equally drive her interest. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and absolutely mad @bout donuts She has long been associated with Mofluid.
Facebook – @mofluid