How to Craft a Winning Email Marketing Strategy in 2021 (+Examples)
Email marketing is an established digital marketing channel to reach and engage your audience in 2021. It can drive an impressive ROI of around $47 for every dollar spent, so it only makes sense that 87% of marketers choose email as a means for content distribution.
And while email marketing is not something new, some marketers and businesses cannot achieve the full potential that it offers.
To make the most out of your email marketing, you need a well-crafted email marketing strategy. This strategy takes into account your objectives and helps you achieve your goals through the appropriate tools and tactics. In this blog post, you’ll find how to craft a high-performing email marketing strategy that will bring more customers as well as increased revenue to your business.
7 Essential Steps for an Effective Email Marketing Strategy
From defining your goals and creating your first campaign to measuring and optimizing your performance, here is all you need to know to build a successful strategy.
1. Define your Goals
First of all, you have to establish what you want to achieve through the email campaigns you are going to send. Clearly defining your goals is a vital first step since it will help you stay focused, while it may also indicate potential constraints.
The goals you set must be realistic and attainable. Moreover, it is a good idea that these goals reflect not only your immediate plans but also your future ones.
Some of the goals you might set include the following:
A thorough definition of your goals will increase the chances that your marketing efforts will be successful.
2. Select an Email Marketing Service
After you have set your goals, it’s time to choose the right tool that will assist you in realizing them. As you probably understand, using Gmail or Outlook is out of the question since the functionalities they offer are limited, to say the least.
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of email marketing solutions available today that can efficiently manage all of your email marketing needs. What’s more, some of the best email marketing tools offer advanced automation capabilities and list segmentation options, while maintaining their affordability.
To select the best tool for the job, it’s advisable to consider the following key criteria:
Usability: a drag-and-drop editor allows even amateurs to create stunning email newsletters without any prior knowledge or coding skills.
Email template library: a wide arsenal of email newsletter templates will help you save time and get inspiration.
Marketing automation: craft automated messages and leverage conditional logic to target the right people at the right time.
Segmentation options: divide your audience based on specific criteria and target them more efficiently.
Integrations: integrating your tool with popular applications like CRM will streamline your work.
3. Start Building your Email List
Now is the time for another crucial step in your strategy, which is no other than building your email list. After all, what would the point be in crafting stunning email campaigns if you don’t have an audience to send them to?
To have an engaged audience, you need to grow your mailing list organically. This means adding to your list people who have agreed to receive your emails.
So, avoid buying an email list at all costs as you could be harming your deliverability. Why? Because those people you’re emailing will simply ignore you or worse flag you as a spammer.
The easiest way to encourage more subscriptions is through a newsletter signup form on your website.
As you can see, the brand rewards users with 20% off their next purchase in exchange for their email address. Modern consumers are selective when subscribing to email newsletters so you must make every effort to persuade them at every chance you get.
Here, the brand states immediately what the new subscriber should be expecting in their inbox, so the value of the proposition is plain as day. So, remember to offer something that users will consider valuable to be successful in turning them into subscribers.
If you are in a B2B context, it might be a good idea to lure people through a lead magnet. Lead magnets are digital materials such as ebooks, checklists, etc that are easy to create and your audience can utilize right away. You can place these lead magnets in high-traffic pages to have a greater impact.
Pro tip: Use active and inspiring language in your form’s call-to-action to empower users to grab the chance and sign up to reap the benefits you offer.
4. Segment your Audience
The true power of email marketing lies not (only) in having a big list, but in creating segmented customer groups that can be targeted more effectively. Email list segmentation is among the most important email marketing best practices.
Segmentation of your audience can be easily done through your email marketing platform, but it also starts from your signup forms. This can be done by adding specific fields in your forms like date of birth, gender, place of residence, etc. This makes segmentation a lot easier.
The above parameters happen to be the most common segmentation criteria for marketers. This is known as demographic segmentation.
However, to send highly targeted campaigns you should also segment your audience based on other criteria such as the following:
User behavior and engagement: loyal buyers, inactive users, cart abandoners, visitors checking specific pages, etc.
Lifecycle stage: new subscribers, advocates, etc.
Let me give you an example of proper customer segmentation from an eCommerce perspective.
In this example, Pop In A Box has created an email campaign for inactive subscribers. The goal is to re-engage them and get them to shop once again by providing a 10% discount code.
Customer segmentation will allow your business to increase or restore otherwise lost revenue by creating tailored campaigns for each specific segment.
5. Create Campaigns
Now you’re ready to start creating your email campaigns. Refer to the goals you set at the first step and decide what kind of email you’re going to send.
Designing an email campaign may not be rocket science but still, there are a few things to pay attention to if you want to ensure maximum effectiveness.
If the email marketing tool you chose has a drag-and-drop editor or pre-made email newsletter templates, then you’ll feel like a campaign creation master!
First off, you need to craft a compelling subject line that grabs the attention of the readers and piques their curiosity to open the email. The subject line is the first point of contact with the reader, so doing the “hard” work to create a unique one is worth the time.
Generally, keep your subject lines short and on-point. Avoid spammy phrasing as this might send your emails to the spam folder. Finally, personalize subject lines with your subscribers’ names and try adding emojis, if it makes sense. They attract attention and make your email stand out in the inbox!
Moving on to the email copy, it should have a catchy and concise headline. The key message must be short and actionable, while its purpose should be to lead the reader towards the CTA. Avoid long walls of text as they bore users and provide only the essential information.
Readers have a limited attention span so you need to cater to this and make your emails skimmable. Additionally, you can add urgency in your email copy to encourage people to take action or they’ll lose a huge opportunity.
Generally, avoid using too many CTAs as users might get distracted or confused. In this case, less is more!
6. Leverage Marketing Automation
Sending emails manually is ok when you’re starting out, but as your email list grows bigger you’re going to need to automate repetitive tasks. Moreover, using automated messages will allow you to connect with your audience at the right time without any difficulty.
Some of the most common use cases of email automation are:
Email automation can be particularly beneficial for eCommerce businesses since they can save crucial time while being “present” at all stages of the customer journey.
7. A/B Test and Optimize
So, you’ve crafted and sent your campaigns. It’s essential, though, to track their performance and see if there are areas that can be improved.
The performance of your campaigns can be seen in the Reports tab of your email marketing solution. The metrics you should encounter include the open rate, click-through rate, conversions, and unsubscribes.
Checking and analyzing these metrics will allow you to conduct A/B testing. A/B testing is when you send different variations of the same email, altering only one element to see which variation yields better results.
The reason why you should change only one element at a time (e.g. the subject line, CTA, visuals, colors) is to be able to figure out what made the difference. These A/B tests will provide you with actionable data to optimize your campaigns and keep doing what yields more conversions for your business.
This is the final but equally important step for a successful email marketing strategy.
To get from zero to hero, you need a solid email marketing strategy. Start by defining your objectives and selecting the tools that will assist you in the process. Build a healthy email list and create customer segments in order to send tailored content that resonates with your audience.
Don’t forget to leverage automation to eliminate repetitive tasks and keep constant communication with your subscribers. Finally, always measure your campaigns’ performance and conduct tests to identify any space for improvement.
Follow the steps outlined above and you’re bound to stand out from your competitors and achieve business growth.