Email marketing has been around for more than two decades, but despite that lengthy history, marketers are still struggling with it. Why? Because it is continuously evolving and marketers find it tough to keep pace with changing trends. Though adopting new tactics is essential but what is more important is knowing the rules of email marketing on which your long-term success depends.
This post will outline seven commandments you should be following to get good results from email marketing in 2018. They are based on my own experience as well as a lot of research on the topic.
1ST COMMANDMENT: Your list quality is more important than its size.
List building is the most crucial aspect of an email marketing game. If you want to grow email as a channel, you need to have a quality email list. Building a good email list can be a prolonged and arduous process. Once you get there, the rewards are great, but there is a lot of impatience. Too many email marketers invest a lot of money in building their email list quickly only to sit there without any opens.
Spending money (offering discounts and incentives) is probably the fastest way to grow your email list — but only if you do it the right way.
It’s a mistake to chase volume. Having hundreds of interested subscribers is better than having thousands of non-interested ones.
2ND COMMANDMENT: Knowing your customers is a must.
Make sure your list has right customers. Then learn everything you can about them.
Know your audience (Who are they, where are they from, what do they like, what makes them take action).
You need to have a good understanding of your subscribers so you can send them highly targeted messages that are relevant and valuable to them. For example, if you’re selling fitness products, you may have customers who want to lose weight as well as ones who want to increase muscle and gain weight. When you understand them, you realize they have very different requirements and, you can create highly relevant messages for them.
The problem with email marketing is that literally, everyone is doing it. The only way to distinguish yourself from the pack is to put in the work to know your customer’s. But most won’t do it because it’s much easier to send a batch and blast email than to send a highly personalized message. But the gains go to those who understand their customers and don’t treat them as an email address.
Understand your subscribers and deliver value.
3RD COMMANDMENT: Being consistent is vital.
When people join your email list, they want to know what to expect. They may be looking for more information about your brand. But if they don’t get what they expect—perhaps you are not emailing them regularly, or maybe you’re emailing them daily, but your copy and pattern are so predictable that you’re boring—the subscribers lose their interest, and they likely won’t check your future emails.
In the email marketing world, being consistent and delivering value is essential in building a long-term relationship.
4TH COMMANDMENT: Relevance improves engagement and conversions.
You must be relevant. Inboxes are already cluttered. Don’t add more to the noise.
A relevant email earns permission to sell. If you’re not sending relevant and personalized emails, you’re wasting your time. Though it’s easier to send batch and blast emails and it’s tough to create deeply personalized emails. But I can tell you that deep drives engagement.
Always remember that in email marketing, relevance is more important than creativity or cleverness.
5TH COMMANDMENT: Subject lines are the door to your email marketing world.
A subject line is a crucial element in email messages, but it’s often the most ignored one. Too many email marketers invest a lot of time in designing their email and crafting their email copy only to sit there without any opens. It’s like decorating your home for a party and having no one show up because you forget to send the invites. And it can be incredibly frustrating. To avoid this scenario – pay attention to your subject lines. You have to invest time in writing subject lines. They are as important as your email copy.
If you want to improve your subject lines but don’t know how to do that; here’s an excellent primer on how to do exactly that: 8 Battle-Tested Ways to Increase Email Open Rates.
Law of better opens: Good subject lines lead to more opens. Bad subject lines lead to less opens as simple as that.
6TH COMMANDMENT: Know your goals and set metrics to measure it.
Monitoring the email messages that gets the most opens and clicks can give you insight into what’s resonating with your audience. Measuring how subscribers respond to different copy and offer can help you deliver more value to them and, at the same time, increase your engagement and conversion. So don’t forget to pay attention to what’s working.
If you’re not clear about you campaigns goal from the very beginning, you’re not going to achieve it. I guarantee it.
7th Commandment: Email deliverability matters.
Do you know 20% of the emails never reach your recipients’ inboxes? If you’re not paying attention to your email deliverability the hard work you’ve put into creating your email campaigns will not pay off.
This means improving your email deliverability is a must. Now the question is how? Here’s a step-by-step process to do that:
1. Take permission: Don’t send emails to people who haven’t permitted you to enter their inbox. It would seem like a no-brainer to avoid buying an email list, and yet the e-commerce businesses have been slow to adopt the standard.
2. Update your email marketing database regularly: Don’t just ask for permission once; periodically ask your recipients if they’re still interested in staying on your email list and update your list regularly. This will decrease the chance of them marking your email as spam.
3. Keep an eye on your bounce rate: No matter what you do some of your emails will bounce back. Pay attention to your bounce report and remove hard bounces from your email list to prevent your sending reputation from going down.
4. Avoid spam folder: To learn how to keep your emails out of the spam folder check: 5 Ways to Keep Your Emails Out of the Spam Folder.
Deliverability can make or break your email marketing; pay heed to it.
To achieve more success with email marketing, you need to keep an eye on new trends and tactics and implement them in your email marketing strategy as early as possible.
But before attempting to take your email marketing to the next level, remember that you can not reach to the next level until you get your basics right first.