If I were to ask you what your email marketing strategy is, what would you say? Wait, wait. Let me guess. Is it one of these three things?
1. Get more subscribers.
2. Send out emails on a regular cadence.
3. Make sales from emails.
If one or more of these were at the top of your list, I will tell you that’s fine, but you’re not going to get far. If your strategy is purely to build, blast and repeat, it’s likely that your email list is going to churn faster than you can build it, which is ruining your email reputation.
Wait, Email Reputation?
Yea, this is a thing. Have you ever crawled through your spam folder, found an email from a brand that you actually like and thought “how’d this get in here?”
Well, there are a variety of reasons this will happen. The Email Sender Reputation is a quality score that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns which critically can impact your email deliverability.
Scores are based on factors such as:
- How many people have marked you as spam to the ISP
- How many emails you send regularly
- How often the content in your emails trigger the spam trap
- Whether you’re on blacklists (meaning, you’ve done this spam thing before, haven’t you?)
- How many people open, click, reply to, forward and delete the organization’s emails
- How many people unsubscribe.
Out of all the points above, it’s likely that you’re in a position where we need to focus on the last two. Engagement is everything so if your blast is one of the emails that someone immediately deletes, you’re not going to get far.
Creating an email strategy is more than just building up a list and creating frequency. It’s about testing and refining everything from the subject line to the segmentation to the timing of when it’s sent.
Where to Get Started
The first place to start with developing your email marketing strategy is by looking at WHO you have on your list. Are there ways to easily segment your recipients based on the types of content they prefer to read? If so, give the people what they want! Don’t overload them with crap they could care less about. It helps them, and helps you in the long run.
The next place we need to evaluate is what we actually want people to do with our emails. If you want people to purely read your content, that’s just fine. If you want someone to click through to take action on your website, that’s cool too. Both of these are relevant, but you need to create clear goals and you need to align those goals with your target audience. What subject lines tend to work the best?
Creating an email marketing strategy takes a level of testing and optimizing based on results. Try mixing up subject lines with your lists. Try different times of day you send your email – and side note, if your email marketing platform (like Mailchimp) provides data on where your subscribers are located, be on their schedule and not on yours.
Create an Authentic Experience
Static monthly enewsletters are fine and dandy, but if that’s the stage you have stopped at you’re not going far enough. As you have really gotten to know your subscribers, you’ve identified the goals you want to achieve and you’re starting to test out different email tactics, it’s time to start thinking about creating automated journeys that offer an authentic experience.
This means understanding your customer journey enough that you know what they might anticipate next. For example, someone signs up for your email blast. Send them a welcome note. They read the welcome note, give them a little something in return (a free download, a webinar invite, whatever – give value.) They engage, send them a nice little thank you and open the invite to follow you on social media. You get it…hopefully.
Ok, this doesn’t give you the one-two-three on how to create an email marketing strategy and that’s because I can’t give you a blanket strategy for the journey that your specific customer might take (I mean, I can make some assumptions but that doesn’t work effectively.) So here’s what I want you to do next to help you create your email marketing strategy.
1. Sit down for 15 minutes and write down all the things you know about your target market and how you believe they use email.
2. Ask them. Seriously, next time you engage with a client or a customer, ask them if they are on your email list and why or why not. If they are, ask them what they would want more of. Ask them if they would be interested in more of your insight. This could seem a little awkward – but what’s the worst that can happen? They tell you your emails suck? Well, at least that’s feedback you can grow from.
3. Adjust your beliefs and evaluate your email cadence, content and goals around what you learned.
4. Start testing and optimizing. Trust me, it’s fun. And if you don’t think so, then call me. I love this stuff.
Let me know
What are some burning questions you have about email marketing?