In the last chapter we discussed how to segment your database and categorize people based on their interests in your email campaign topics – it’s just like the process you used when creating the guest list for your baby shower.
Once your email recipient lists are built and segmented, you are ready to build your email campaigns. Focus your message around those targeted audiences, the more relevant your email campaign is to their industry, job title, or needs, the more likely they are to engage.
So, sticking with our ever developed metaphor, building your email campaign is like planning your baby shower. You have to pick a date far enough in the future to gather everything you need, like a location, a theme, supplies and favors. Guests have to be notified and, inevitably, changes will be made along the way.
The same goes for building and executing an email campaign. Before the design process begins you must established:
- Send date/time: When do you want this email to appear in recipients inboxes? Statistics show that emails sent Tuesday-Thursday between 11am-2pm have the best open and click rates. Experiment with different times and see what works best for you.
- Design: Does your email accurately represent your company’s branding? Stick to a set color theme, font, sizing, etc. Even start the marketing automation process designing templates to be used throughout a variety of campaigns.
- Message: What are you telling your recipients? Are you announcing updates to customers or providing information about your company? Be sure your language, like your design, is consistent with your branding and, most importantly, easy to read!
- Goals: Why are you sending this email? What do you hope to accomplish? Maybe you want recipients to download a whitepaper, register for an event, or fill out a form. These goals are usually executed through your email’s calls to action.
Choosing an email subject is like choosing the theme for the baby shower – if you include too many ideas they all lose the impact they could have achieved if presented individually. You wouldn’t send out invitations with jungle animals, serve an airplane cake and send guests home with firetruck favors. Pick one topic to center your message around and stick to it.
The overarching goal of any email campaign is recipient interaction. Whether your audience is just learning about your company, are hot leads, or have been customers for years, we want to present them exciting and relevant information, spark their interest and stay on the opt-in list. Increase engagement through:
- Calls to Action: Include multiple calls to action throughout your email. This may seem repetitive as you’re typing your message and hyperlinking each call to action to a landing page, but recipients will appreciate multiple interaction opportunities. Include them as text, images, banners, etc.
- Links: And lots of them. Hyperlink your call to actions, social media icons, and even images to take readers to a landing page or back to your website. Remember, our goal is engagement, so test your hyperlinks before sending your campaign!
- Dynamic Content: This shows email recipients just how important they are to you. Dynamic messages personalize your large scale email campaign. Emails appear to have one sender (you) and one recipient (them) and you can even build customizable greetings based on the contact’s name, company, title, etc.
Your response rates and engagement levels will increase if you have the ability to send different types of email campaigns – bulk, one-off emails are great if your message doesn’t require any response or action from the recipients, like a monthly newsletter or a schedule of holiday hours.
The problem with one-off emails is that they don’t allow you to nurture email recipients and turn leads into customers.
Nurture email campaigns are a marketers paradise complete with workflows, logic, assets, and triggers. You can even map out every stage of the process before the first email is activated. For example, if an email recipient opened, but didn’t click email one, they’ll receive a subject swap five days later, giving them another chance to engage your content. Once they’ve clicked and completed a call to action they can be further nurtured through a series of trigger, or autoresponder, emails.
Designing an email campaign, like planning a baby shower, is where creativity shines. So don’t be afraid to have fun with it. However, pay attention to your open and click statistics, because it is your insight into reader’s opinions. The hot pink lunch and learn invitation you deployed at 11pm had a low open rate and a high unsubscribe rate? Maybe try a different color and send date next time.