Whether you’re considering email marketing or an already avid user, it’s always good to assess what you’ve been doing and where you are going with this marketing tool that continues to provide high returns even in this age of social media.

Define your goals. First.

As with any endeavor, if you don’t know where you are going, you will more than likely get there… that is, nowhere! Make sure your goals are S-M-A-R-T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Be specific.

Clearly define the goals of your email campaign. While the overall goal of your email marketing should be to create a relationship of trust and mutual goodwill with your customer, you are no doubt looking to achieve some more focused business goals as well.

Use an email campaign to support product launches, customer service announcements, fundraising, event invitations, or just spreading the word. They are ideal for long-term – drip – marketing campaigns for increasing customer engagement, growing social media followings, welcoming new customers and being top-of-mind when your customer is ready to act.

Whatever your business goals, clearly state them or do not pass go!

Set measurable goals.

Your email marketing platform should provide excellent tools for measuring engagement, opens, bounces, click-throughs and other interactions. Check your metrics regularly. While opens and click-throughs are popular means of measuring success, you may create alternative goals such as whitepaper downloads or social media likes.

Are your goals attainable?

Determine whether you have the resources needed to achieve your email campaign’s goals. If you don’t have the time, money or talent to complete the campaign, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Be realistic about the target frequency of your campaign and grow it as the process becomes part of your regular workflow. Consistency is key.

Be relevant to your cause

Why do the goals of your email campaign matter to you and your company? Before you plug in the first email into your audience database, make sure that the campaign goals are aligned with ongoing marketing initiatives and the long-term vision of your business.

Create a timeline.

Deadlines inspire people to action. Create a realistic timeline for the development of your email campaign that includes milestones for strategy, creative, writing and deployment.

Map the customer’s journey

A great place to start once you’ve clearly defined your goals is to map your customer’s journey. This will help structure the lead nurturing process, streamline messaging and save time (aka, money). A well-planned customer journey will also allow you to potentially automate the process using your platforms built-in tools.

Insert graphic from https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/how-to-create-a-customer-journey/

Give your subscribers the VIP treatment

A personalized emails can demonstrate an added level of service and provide a higher level of comfort. Email personalization creates customized messaging with a personal touch. Any data that you collect from your audience can be used to personalize an email.

Don’t forget to personalize the sender too! All marketing emails should come from an actual person. Use a human email address like [email protected] and avoid catch-all emails like [email protected]. Your audience will be less receptive to canned messages from a company avatar.

Make a good first impression

After the sender, the next thing your audience sees is the subject line. Engage your readers with a clever phrase or question. Use any of the following techniques to get more clicks. Keep it short and sweet. Avoid generic words like “newsletter” or “update”. Draw them in with a question. Pique their interest. Use action words. Create a sense of urgency or importance. Use a clever play on words. Use A/B splits to test your subject lines. And lastly avoid using ALL CAPS – it will get ignored!

Know when to make your sales pitch

Let’s be honest, we all know why you’re in their inbox. You have to create the relationship and foster the trust first. Use storytelling to draw in your reader. Keep your content friendly, personable, with a touch of humor. Be clear and concise, but always provide some value.

Make sure your email is mobile-optimized

Statistics show that over 50% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Your message must be optimized for cellphones. Make sure the typography is suited for the small screen. A well-designed email uses whitespace to improve legibility and contrast, applying color, font-weights and headings to make emails easy to scan and ultimately act on. Test your images for mobile delivery and placement. Don’t forget – your landing pages should be mobile-optimized too!

Craft your content

Once you’ve gotten them to open your email it’s time to deliver some well-written content. No matter how nice your email looks, if the content, er, bites, then your subscribers will start deleting your messages.

Basic copywriting techniques will go a long way to improving engagement. Use actionable language. Be brief and brilliant. Provide a clear summary of your message and inspire them to click through. Talk about the benefits of your service or product, not just the features.

Use the second person “you” and “yours” to direct your content to your reader. Make their day – just because your sales pitch may be serious doesn’t mean you can’t provide a moment of levity or joy. Let your company’s personality shine through.

Revisit your campaign goals (see above) and use them to refine your content, including your call-to-action and subject line. It’s easy to lose track of your strategy once you get started on the creative process.

At Kramer Design, we can provide assistance setting up self-managing email campaigns with branded email templates for companies looking to reap the benefits of email marketing.