With the massive focus on SEO, social media engagement and PPC marketing techniques, you’d be forgiven for thinking that classic email marketing is a dead field. And it might be – but it’s easy to forget that email in itself is a type of social network, and one that is used by more people than any other.
I contend that email marketing is not dead – it’s just evolved into such a different creature that most companies have no idea how to approach it. Those who do, however, are raking in the cash. It’s all about using technology that’s available to you, and understanding what makes someone sign up to an email list and click on a link in your email, and what makes them delete your emails on sight.
The new face of email marketing
One of the best examples of modern email marketing campaigns is done by UK fashion mega-retailer ASOS, and it’s a model I’ve seen in a lot of fashion and beauty emails. The technology used is still pure HTML and image maps, but the effect is astounding.
Instead of the classic text-heavy emails of the 90s, with attention grabbing titles and loads of big red text, ASOS and other fashion/beauty retailers are sending image-heavy emails that feature only one or two special offers, and their layout is different to web pages.
One thing that’s important to remember is that the top third of a marketing email needs to have your message, your product, your offer and your call to action in it. The rest is fluff, and may never be seen. Sign up to any fashion store’s email newsletter and take a look at the things you get from them. They’re well-designed, eye catching, and they seem to have exactly what you want in them (most of the time).
Making a List, Segmenting it Twice
It annoys me when people write these articles about how to monetize your email list, without explaining the essential challenge of actually building one. Putting a signup box in your sidebar will yield precisely no results, but platforms like aWeber ($20 a month) will give you easy tools and plugins that use more aggressive tactics for capturing email leads.
You first need a clever way to entice people to join your mailing list, and this usually involves giving them something for free. This doesn’t mean “promise them something free but make them buy something first” – if you do this you exclude 90% of potential customers. It means a free report, a coupon code, or something else of real value that they get straight away.
Once you’ve got this right, start by segmenting your lists into different sections. The route someone took to get to signing up will tell you a lot about what they’re interested in (did they sign up at checkout? On your landing page? Through Facebook?).
You can then tailor email campaigns to give these people more of what they want. If you send a blanket email, you’ll get far lower clickthroughs than if you make 4 different emails for different customer groups. It might be more work, but it’ll yield much better results.