Guest post by Sujan Patel
When it comes to email marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. There are just too many variables between industries, target audiences, and products and services. So, in order to get the absolute best results, you’ve got to be continuously experimenting. Only through meticulous testing and trying new tactics will you determine what best works for your unique situation.
The new year is the perfect time to consider switching up your email marketing efforts. The sooner you start, the sooner you can begin realizing stellar results. Why settle for mediocre or more of the same? Real improvement comes in many forms. With that in mind, here are five tips that you can easily deploy right now.
1. Invest in 10X Content
The secret to email marketing lies in getting people to pay attention. If you constantly talk about yourself, your product, or your company, people will tune you out.
Instead, try Gary Vaynerchuk’s jab, jab, jab, right hook approach. It involves putting out valuable content that solves problems or is entertaining or educational, which in turn will help you naturally attract a relevant and engaged audience that looks forward to your content. Then, once you’ve established trust, hit them with your product offer. Alternate back and forth between providing next-level quality content and throwing in the occasional product offer, and you’ll see immense growth and engagement.
The guys from X-Cart, for example, are 100% sure that bringing value to other people works better than any kind of promotion. Their marketers have even worked out the full list of guidelines on how to create emails and they do their best to adhere to these rules every time they start an email campaign.
Deploying a 10x content approach takes real effort, because you have to create content better than what’s currently available. Doing the work will pay off in the long run, though. Put your efforts there, and save time in other ways. For example, a tool like Mailshake offers an easy way to perfect your email cadence. It’s as simple as creating templates filled with 10X content and automating the process to send out your messages at specific intervals to your audience. Then, occasionally throw in that right hook pitch to boost sales.
2. Grow and Maintain a Clean Email List
Every year, your email list decays a bit more. People switch companies, change email providers, or are no longer a good fit for your product. To combat decay and avoid email bounces, use an email verifying tool to help ensure that the email addresses on your list are still correct and up-to-date.
Beyond maintaining your email list, you should be thinking about baseline growth. At a minimum, you should be growing just enough to offset that decay, and ideally, even more to grow your audience and revenue potential.
Try using a lead capture tool that helps you acquire leads from your website to grow your email list naturally. For example, Mailmunch provides every type of opt-in form you can think of, in addition to built-in analytics and split testing so you can see what’s working and what’s not.
3. Test, Test, and Test Some More
Brands that A/B test their emails produce an average of 20% more revenue. Successful email marketing programs are 70% more likely to have tested their triggered emails and 95% more likely to have tested their transactional emails at least annually than less successful campaigns.
Content Strategist and Consultant Kathryn Aragon sums it up well. “Just ‘winging it’ may work for musicians and cooks; but in marketing, any decision made outside of a holistic CRO [Conversion Rate Optimization] program is a bad one,” she says. “Only through testing will you find the right message, the right audience, and the right offer. And only after you nail these critical elements will you see the profits you need. It doesn’t matter how small or new your business is, take time to test your ideas. You’ll be glad you did.”
When seeking out email marketing tools, it’s imperative that you choose tools that have the capability of doing some form of A/B testing. That way you can test multiple elements of an email marketing message simultaneously, such as testing the same message with a handful of different subject lines.
Once you find a subject line that gets opened more often than the others, keep that piece consistent while deploying different email bodies, and see which of those gets read the most. Then, test different calls-to-action, or graphics-heavy emails versus plain text. Keep following the A/B testing framework, refining, and tweaking until you find a winning formula.
4. Seek Feedback and Criticism
With any venture or new email campaign, follow Elon’s advice by getting as much feedback as you can. Ask for feedback from experts in your industry, your customers, and your audience. Send out polls, ask for feedback in your call-to-action, or even add a place for comments to your unsubscribe option.
Your approach here doesn’t need to be technical or fancy, either. Sometimes it’s as easy as just sending out an email. Consider taking the time each month to personally email 5-10 random subscribers from your list, asking for feedback on your company, your product, or your marketing. You might be surprised by what you uncover. And along the way, you might even get the added bonus of creating fans for life, since most brands don’t ask their customers for direct one-on-one feedback via personal email.
5. Always Make Time to Follow Up
True email marketing success stems from following up. One study saw an 18% response rate to the first email, 13% to the 4th, and 27% to the 6th. That’s huge. The lesson? You should be following up multiple times. The beauty of it is that most people aren’t, so you’ll stand out amongst your competitors. And it’s easy to set up your follow-up sequences with an email outreach tool.
However, once people respond, you’ve got to take that conversation to your inbox and give it a personal touch for it to be truly effective. As you continue the conversation with prospects from there, make it as easy as possible by using a tool like Right Inbox. Right Inbox for Gmail makes the follow-up process relatively seamless by scheduling replies to be sent out at an optimal time you select, such as first thing in the morning in their time zone.
Remember, email marketing success lies in trying things. It’s really that simple. If you don’t tweak, test, and give new ideas a shot, you’ll never know if they’ll work for your product, audience, or industry. Take one – or all – of the ideas from this list and start implementing today. Track your results and keep that pattern of testing going — well, forever. There’s no reason to ever stop. New technology, new competitors, and shifts in the economy will always be shaking things up, so you’ve got to stay flexible and agile if you want to come out on top.
What email marketing tips do you plan to try this year? Any we haven’t mentioned here? Share your thoughts in the comments below:
Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Ramp Ventures. He has and has over 14 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint and other Fortune 500 caliber companies.