Getting Started With Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most versatile methods of digital marketing, if you know what you’re doing.  It can do the heavy lifting for acquiring customers, engaging them, as well as keeping them if done correctly.  You need a plan, goals, and an understanding of how email marketing works. Sending out general mass-emails every once in a while isn’t going to help grow your business. Email marketing is the use of email to strategically connect with customers, share useful information, deepen your relationship to drive sales, and ascend your customers through the customer value journey.  It’s important to remember that email marketing alone won’t do this. Like all the other aspects of digital marketing, it’s a tool in your toolbelt.

The 4 Big Rules of Email Marketing

Yes, rules.  There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your email marketing strategy, mostly to keep your subscribers happy.  

The first rule is to get permission before sending anyone anything.  Nobody likes to get spam, and this can actually lead to the loss of business.  A good, respected email service provider will allow you to not only not spam, but will also offer things such as templates, automation, and are optimized for mobile.  A few of the best email service providers are:  

  • Infusionsoft
  • Campaign Monitor
  • AWeber
  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Campaigner
  • Drip

Each of these providers will give you the proper tools to create permission-based email campaigns that will comply with email regulations (CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR).  

Secondly, you want to be fully transparent with your subscribers about what they can expect from your emails.  Let them know in your introductory email what kinds of things they can expect to get from you in the future, as well as how often.  Be truthful so that their trust in you begins to build.   

The third rule is to be relevant and only email your subscribers things that relate to them.  If your subscribers think they are getting good deals on airlines, don’t be sending them baking recipes.  The goal is to train your subscribers to open your emails when they get them, and you do this by sending them content that you know they are going to be interested in.  Monitoring your open, click-through, unsubscribe rates, and direct responses can help you gauge whether or not your emails continue to be relevant to your subscribers.  

Finally, you want to segment your email lists to make sure the right subscribers are getting content best suited for them.  Sending someone in the engagement stage an email that is aimed at getting someone to ascend is not going to yield positive results because you are trying to get the subscriber to jump multiple stages in the customer value journey at once.  Knowing what stage your subscribers are in is critical, and can be difficult to figure out. By using surveys and other segmentation emails–which we will discuss in a moment–you can determine where your subscribers lie on the customer value journey.

The 5 Types of Email Marketing Campaigns

Your goal in email marketing is to align the messages your subscribers are getting with where they are on their customer value journey.  To do this, we can employ the 5 different types of email marketing campaigns:

  1. Indoctrination
  2. Engagement
  3. Ascension
  4. Segmentation
  5. Re-engagement

Each of these campaigns individually can’t cover all stages of the customer value journey, but together they do.  

The Indoctrination Campaign

The indoctrination campaign begins immediately after someone subscribes to your emails.  This campaign is designed to welcome the new subscriber, set expectations for what will happen in the future, and to get them excited.  This campaign is usually short, with around 3 emails, sent one day apart. The first is to welcome the new subscriber and thank them for joining.  In the second, you should send them a gift (usually gated content or an exclusive offer) as a perk for joining. Finally, send the subscriber some of your best content to get them started.

Remember, when someone first subscribes is when they are the most excited about you and your product/service.  Keep these emails upbeat, cohesive, and welcoming. Don’t be afraid to reference previous emails or tease the next one to build anticipation.

The Engagement Campaign

An engagement campaign is an automated sales campaign that starts when a specific action is taken by a customer, usually clicking on a link in a previous email.  The goal for an engagement campaign is to turn subscribers into buyers by showing them content that is most likely to interest them, and showing them the next logical step based on actions that they’ve taken already.

To do this, first explain why they are receiving this email.  Usually, this takes place in both the subject line and the body of the email.  “We’ve noticed you showed interest in [topic], so here is [content]” is a good structure to follow.  Explain the offer or solution you are presenting, and overcome any objections they might be facing. Finally, explain why taking this action is the next logical step, and relate it back to the action(s) they’ve already taken.

The Ascension Campaign

An ascension campaign is an automated campaign that follows the purchase of a product or a service with the goal of ascending the customer, hopefully turning one-time-buyers into repeat customers.  To do this, first congratulate the customer on their first purchase! You’re excited that they made the leap, so why not let them know? Next, show them what you want them to do next. If they bought a video class on how to play guitar, where do they go to access it?  Do they need to download something? What other courses might they be interested in? After that, you need to clearly describe why they need to act now, followed by asking them to take said action.

The Segmentation Campaign

A segmentation campaign differs from the other campaigns because it is not begun by a triggered action.  Segmentation campaigns are manual campaigns sent out to your entire subscriber list to identify which of your subscribers are interested in what content.  This email has a bunch of links to a bunch of different types of content, which is used to determine which of your customers get put into different categories, and sent which campaigns in the future.  The links can include:

  • Content such as blog posts, videos, or gated content
  • Special offers such as coupons, flash sales, or special promotions
  • Invite them to events (webinars, demos, workshops, one-on-one consultations)

These campaigns are usually sent to lower the barrier for entry to the next campaign, typically into the ascension campaigns.

The Re-Engagement Campaign

Sometimes, subscribers stop clicking on the links in your emails or stop opening them altogether.  After this happening for 30-90 days, trigger a re-engagement campaign so you can continue to build that relationship and sell to them.  The most important thing to do, after you’ve identified them as not engaging, is to give them a reason to start engaging again. Send them a “you might have missed” email, highlighting the most popular content you’ve had since they’ve been absent.  If they re-engage, great! Continue sending them emails. If not, move them to a different list that only gets your best-performing email each week. Above all else, if they say to stop emailing them, STOP. No amount of good offers are going to get them to change their mind.

Automating Emails

There are two types of emails you will employ:

  • Broadcast emails–you create these manually (usually for promotions and content emails)
  • Autoresponders–these are set up to be delivered when someone performs a triggered action

Your email service provider has tools to help you with both of these, including templates and a way to schedule emails/set triggers.  When setting up autoresponders, it’s important to ask yourself: What do(es) my subscriber(s) need to hear? Where are they on the customer value journey?  How can you help them move quickly and logically to the next stage?

Tracking Your Email Marketing

After you’ve got your email campaigns up and running, you need to know if you’re being successful, and where you can improve.  Luckily, there’s metrics for that! Use these to determine which emails are your most popular, determine how you can tweak your less-successful campaigns based on the success of the ones that work:

  • List growth:  how many new subscribers are you getting month over month?
  • Delivery rate:  percent of messages delivered to the recipient’s inbox vs. number of emails sent.  Want rate of at least 95%
  • Open rate:  percent of messages opened by recipient relative to number of emails sent
  • Click-Through Rate: percent of email messages clicked relative to the number of emails sent or, in some cases, relative to the number of emails opened.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: percent of emails that lead to an unsubscribe relative to the number of emails sent.
  • Complaint Rate: percent of emails marked as Spam relative to the number of emails sent.

Now you know the basics of getting your email marketing campaigns started.  Go forth, create a campaign!

Still have questions about how to get started with email marketing? We can help! Contact us here for more information.

Getting Started With Email Marketing
Getting Started With Email Marketing

Getting Started With Email Marketing

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