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Architect Marketing Solutions has summarized approximately 250 pages of e-books, pdf articles and blog posts from the authoritative companies* in the email marketing industry to provide a comprehensive yet manageable guide to help you understand the value of and the tactics to complete an email marketing campaign.
This Architect Marketing Solutions guide to email marketing is brought to you in five parts, on 21 topics. Unless you have a membership with these companies, as we do, and unless you have the time to read 250 pages, AMS is bringing this extensive report to you, as with all of the others, free.
The five parts are:
- Part 1: The Foundation
- Why Use Email Marketing
- Great ROI
- Anatomy of an email
- Part 2: The Creative Message
- Creative Writing
- Subject Lines
- Lead magnet and offers
- How to build a sign up form
- Part 3: Marketing Plan
- Target audience segmentation
- Strategy and Goals
- How to grow your email list
- Part 4: How to Improve Your Program
- Best Campaign practices
- Biggest campaign mistakes
- Marketing metrics
Ratings: Have 5/5 stars on Google or Bing? Let your subscribers know! Great reviews or ratings provide social proof that others recommend your business or products which might compel prospects to click through to the order page or check out the reviews. If your subscribers see others taking positive actions, they will be more inclined to buy.
Influencers: If you have famous industry clients, tell your subscribers. Or have them give you an endorsement that you can include in your messages. People are more likely to buy a product if they admire a person or business that uses it.
Case studies: Have a customer who is extremely excited about your product or service? Ask them to relay their experience to you, and post it on your blog or website. That story may be my story!
Consumer Engagement And Loyalty
Postal mail: 27%
Extensive Personalize Emails
- These emails have a personalized subject line with the recipient’s name.
- Personalized product recommendations based on what the recipient is interested in.
- Personalized post-purchase ‘Thank You’ emails checking that they were satisfied .
- Personalized cart abandonment emails (they made it to the cart, but didn’t purchase, and the follow up email provided different benefits or special offers).
- Personalized browse and abandonment emails (they looked at your site and left), so you remarket them asking personally why did you leave? How can we help you?
- Personalized promotions (especially if they bought previously but it has been awhile).
Subject Line Optimization
With an 80% delete rate, you need to determine what subject line (#1 reason for open or delete) is best for each Tribe. Do not send Tribe B a Tribe A message and vice versa. This leads into the next section which is A/B testing.
4 Best Practices to Get Started:
- Test one element at a time. When you test multiple elements, you did not learn what was the element that made the difference. Have a control email with offer A and the only element you changed is offer B. Same subject line, copy, everything; the only element that changed was the offer. Or change the subject line, length of the copy, etc. Change up only one element and continue to find out what works best for you.
- Have a plan: have a systematic approach to trying to learn what each Tribe responds to. Plan in advance and execute. Do not just ‘try this’. Have a strategy.
- Record your results: there is no purpose to test multiple elements if you do not record the results to convince yourself (partner, boss, etc) what will work the best if you can’t prove it.
- Keep split testing: offers change, seasons change, the economic condition changes. Keep testing to find out what works when the marketplace changes.
What Should I Test?
There are multiple elements to consider, and that is what split testing’s purpose is to do. Find out what works best:
- Subject lines
- Extreme personalization
- Calls to Action
- Design elements (color, spacing, graphics, video)
- Opt-in forms (short vs. long)
How Do I Do that Step-by-Step?
- What is your objective?: more subscribers, open rate, click through, called me.
- Define the element that you are testing: subject line, preview, call to action, buttons, etc.
- Define two subsets of subscribers: control and test, within the SAME TRIBE. (remember, change only one element).
- Create two versions of your message: control and test. What message format are you changing?
- Send one version to the control group, one to the test group.
- Track the results.
- Send the winning message now to a larger list.
Definition: An autoresponder does just that – it automatically sends out emails that you schedule in advance. By scheduling a set of emails to send in advance, you can prevent ‘going dark’ – for any length of time. Oftentimes, companies will plan out a series of emails – ranging from a few days to a few months – that automatically deliver, warming up anyone who signs up for your list.
That way, when you do need to announce a new product or sale, you can count on the fact that you’ve already been in touch. Since you’ve built up a relationship over several weeks or months, you’re much less likely to annoy your readers.
- An email autoresponder can also be a desktop computer software program you set up that automatically answers e-mail sent to it.
- The first autoresponders were created within mail transfer agents that found they could not deliver an e-mail to a given address. These create bounce messages such as “your e-mail could not be delivered because…” type responses.
- Your autoresponder messaging can range from the simplest “I’m out of office” to personalized HTML messages and newsletters.
- It can be your welcome message to your customer when they sign up for a free report, E-book, or other offer.
- It can be a three-part series (called a drip campaign) of Offer A, B and C. Each one builds upon the first and Offer C closes the deal.
Why do Autoresponders help my communication messaging?
- Let you continually showcase your best content, including content from your archives.
- Deliver the same high-value experience to every new subscriber.
- Are great places to mention relevant offers without sounding sleazy.
- Allow you to build trust with your audience slowly and ensure your new subscribers don’t forget you.
What do I need to make sure with my autoresponder?
- Give subscribers what you promised. If you say you’ll give new subscribers a free report, case study, or video, provide an easy-to-use download link so they can instantly get their free gift.
- Add some personality to your messages. Autoresponders don’t need to be boring. Spice them up by using your own voice and personality in your message. Be funny, quirky, and interesting — as long as it fits your brand.
Help your audience get to know and trust you. With each message, reveal a little glimpse into who you are and what you stand for.
- Become a fantastic teacher. Your emails don’t have to be lengthy or fancy, but they do need to be useful to your subscriber. Teaching is the best way to create an authentic reputation.
- Open a two-way conversation. Invite your subscribers to respond to your emails or join the discussion on your website. Ongoing discussion can help turn your subscribers into your biggest advocates.
- Share other ways to connect with you. If someone joins your email list, it’s likely he or she will want to connect with you on his or her favorite social media platform, too.
- Keep adding to it over time. Your autoresponder series should be a living document, so review, edit, and add to it over time. Confirm that your messages are still relevant and useful.
- Plan out the entire sequence before you start writing. Write a quick outline of how many messages you want to include and how far apart those messages will be delivered. Your outline will keep you on track as you write the whole sequence.
What SHOULDN’T I do with my autoresponder?
- Stop at a welcome message. Many people write a welcome message only and never continue their autoresponder series. You will stand out from your competitors by sending at least three-to-five messages in your email series.
- Send multiple autoresponder messages in one day. You only need one message a day (at the most) to make a big impression, so unless you have a really good reason, don’t pummel your subscribers with multiple autoresponder messages in a single day.
- Overshare. Yes, you should add your personality to your messages, but don’t use your email series as a therapy session or a chance to unload on your subscribers; it just scares people away.
- Clutter your autoresponder messages with other emails from you. Set up your series so people don’t get your newsletter or other message on the same day as your autoresponder emails. Stress about people who unsubscribe. If they opt-out, they aren’t a good fit for you and your business, so don’t worry if people drop off your list.
- Oversell in every email. add some relevant offers to your series, but if you turn every note into a big sales pitch, you’re not going to earn the trust of your subscribers.
- Try to please everyone. If you try to write an email that fits every member of your list perfectly, you’re going to motivate your list to unsubscribe. Talk Message A to Tribe A, Message B to Tribe B.
- Be afraid of the technical part. Autoresponders are relatively easy to set up. If you have trouble, simply get in touch with your email service provider and ask for assistance.
Definition: it is a form of direct mail you send with a purpose: they may be updates on your company, industry updates (to show you are a reliable source of information), hot tips, and special offers.
7 Tips for Creating an E-Newsletter People Actually Read
- Evaluate: Know why you even need an email newsletter; re-examine your business’ goals. Are you trying to increase the number of leads? Better qualify leads to speak with salespeople?
- Figure out what kind of online newsletter you want to send. One of the biggest problems with email newsletters is that they’re often cluttered and unfocused because they’re supporting every aspect of your business. Product news goes right next to PR stories, blog posts go next to a random event week; you need one common thread to hold it together. One way to help reduce the randomness of an email newsletter is by keeping it to one very specific topic. So instead of it being about your company in general, maybe it’s dedicated to one vertical.
- Balance your newsletter content to be 90% educational and 10% promotional. In your email newsletters, get rid of the self-promotion (most of the time) and focus on sending your subscribers educational, relevant, timely information. Unless you actually have an exciting, big piece of news about your product, service, or company, leave out the promotional parts.
- Set expectations on your Subscribe page: Once you’ve figured out your newsletter’s focus and content balance, make sure you’re properly communicating about them on your subscribe landing page. Get specific. Tell potential subscribers exactly what will be in the newsletter as well as how often they should expect to hear from you.
- Get creative with email subject lines: Even if your subscribers sign up for your emails, there’s no guarantee that they will open your emails once they get them in their inbox. Try increasing familiarity with your subscribers by keeping the subject line the same each day, week, or month that they send it, and modify them by saying something like: 1 of 4, 2 of 4, 3 of 4, LAST ONE!
- Pick one primary call-to-action. Let there be one head honcho CTA – just one main thing that you would like your subscribers to do. The rest of the CTAs should be ‘in-case-you-have-time’ options. Whether it’s simply to click through to see a blog post or just to forward the email to a friend, make it super simple for your subscribers to know what you want them to do.
- Keep design and copy minimal: concise copy and enough white space in the design.
Concise copy is key because you don’t actually want to have your subscribers hang out and read your email all day. You want to send them elsewhere (your website or blog, for instance) to actually consume the whole piece of content. Concise copy gives your subscribers a taste of your content – just enough that they want to click and learn more. White space is key in email newsletters because it helps visually alleviate the cluttered feel, and on mobile, makes it much easier for people to click the right link.
Advantages of Newsletters
- Spread brand awareness. By building habitual communication with your email subscribers, you enable them to recognize your brand and associate it with a positive sentiment.
- Leverage existing content. Many companies do quick summaries of their most popular blog posts and link to the articles from their newsletter.
- Include different types of content. For instance, the same newsletter can contain a popular blog post, a new offer, an announcement of an upcoming event, information about a discount, and a link to a survey.
- Guaranteed reach (unlike social media).
- One specific topic: A way to help reduce the randomness of an email newsletter is by keeping it to one very specific topic. So instead of it being about your company in general, maybe it’s dedicated to one key aspect in each newsletter.
- Get specific: Tell potential subscribers exactly what will be in the newsletter as well as how often they should expect to hear from you. You’d go in with open eyes knowing exactly who you will be receiving email from, what they will be sending you, and how often they’ll be sending it to you. As a marketer, having this information up front will help diminish your unsubscribe and spam rates as well.
These companies are providers of many of the key points in this 5 Part series, but are not recommendations, they are listed as the as a reference for you to evaluate.
Mail Chimp – https://mailchimp.com
AWeber – https://www.aweber.com
Active Campaign – https://www.activecampaign.com
Campaign Monitor – https://www.campaignmonitor.com
Constant Contact – https://www.constantcontact.com
GetResponse – https://www.getresponse.com
IContact – https://www.icontact.com
Litmus – https://litmus.com
5 Part Series Summary
Email marketing is regarded as the #1 ROI marketing format among all paid, organic, off-line or traditional marketing approaches. The purpose of this 5 part series was to introduce you to the wide ranging elements of what you should consider when setting up your own campaign, and, what to do, and not to do.
Architect Marketing Solutions can be your partner to help you better understand and use email marketing to improve your business. Give us a call at 331-303-0959, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can make you more successful.