Do you know how many active email accounts there are in the world? The number is expected to hit 7.71 billion by 2021. Email communication may not be getting as much attention as social media, just because it’s more private. It’s not in everyone’s face. However, it’s still essential, especially from a marketing expert’s perspective.
That sense of privacy, in particular, creates a valuable connection with potential customers. They intentionally subscribed to your email list. That gesture says a lot: they want to get occasional messages and promotional offers from you.
But those emails have to be amazing. People are getting so many messages in their Promotions folders that they won’t pay attention to each one. You have to create an outstanding email to get their attention or take on the hard job of getting your emails delivered to the Primary tab.
We won’t take this too far today. An outstanding email meets a few basic expectations:
If Halloween is close, the marketing campaign will embrace the event. It will make the email relevant to the holiday in one way or another. It may offer specific, relevant items on sale, or it may just take the opportunity to promote its regular services.
Let’s say cheap essay writing services were being promoted via email marketing campaigns. A good strategy would be to use the opportunity to give a Halloween promo code so the students can go to their parties without putting deadlines at risk.
For relevancy, you can use segmenting of a good ESP software — Search for the one that suits your goals the best.
An email marketing campaign has to give you an option to opt out. However, when you see a really great email that evokes only positive emotions and a strong desire to purchase the product, you probably won't decline the proposition. Check out how Asos is doing it:
First, they give you an option to change your preferences. If you want only new info or only sales info, you can get such details. If you don’t want to receive any emails from them, they don’t make a fuss out of it. The notification is so nice that it makes the customers feel an even deeper connection with the brand.
It’s essential for the marketing team to check the email’s rendering in different email clients. Not all platforms will show the message in the same way.
When a subscriber likes the emails from a particular source, they want consistency. When they open the message, they should recognize the pattern of colors, design, and fonts. All these details are part of the company’s branding, but they are also signs of recognition for the potential customer.
Check out these two email messages from Book Depository:
You see? The message is different. One of these messages offers a discount, and the other one promotes a particular category of books. Still, the consistent style of these messages makes the sender immediately recognizable. That kind of branding can be achieved with a great email template and email block library management solution.
This is something we cannot see in the promotional emails we get, but we definitely sense the results.
Email service providers usually measure the performance of each email. That’s why the choice of such a provider is fundamental. If the ESP doesn’t track every click or link, the marketing team has to implement other tracking strategies.
Let’s sum it up. These are the most important features of a successful email marketing campaign: relevance (content), options to change preferences, good appearance on any email client, great and consistent design, and results tracking.
How do you achieve all this?
We’ll use a phrase that’s getting really popular nowadays: there’s a tool for that!
We covered this topic before and created a guideline with 13 simple steps to creating the best newsletter.
There are excellent email marketing tools that can not only make your campaign more successful but also make it easier to maintain. We’ll list 10 of them:
For Halloween, you need a catchy and encouraging message that will get people on your website. Then comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years… You have to implement various occasions and events into your strategy.
Even if you’re not sending themed emails inspired by holidays, you’ll still be sending something.
The message is not only about design. It’s mostly about the message itself. It’s about content.
Grammarly helps you get that content perfect, from a grammatical point of view. It’s a free tool that acts as a writing assistant. It can catch most errors in the text and offers better alternatives.
In addition to catching spelling and grammar mistakes, Grammarly also cares about the clarity of your message. If the sentences are too long and complex, the tool will warn you about the issue.
You can add the free extension to Chrome, so Grammarly will always check your content as you type.
“Sorry to disturb you, but we have an important message to share with you today.”
Do you think that’s a message a confident marketing expert would send to their audience? No. Absolutely not! There’s a weak word in there, which dilutes the whole point. It’s sorry.
You never need to apologize for sending email messages. Even the example message from Asos above, although it offers the opt-out, does not make the campaign weak. The sender is not sorry for delivering this message; the subscriber wanted to get it, and there it comes.
In addition to sorry, there are other weak words that you should avoid. Just Not Sorry will warn you about them. It will help you eliminate the weak aspects of the message and replace them with confidence and charm.
It works as a Gmail plug-in, so you may only use it when you’re directly communicating with someone. If, for example, a customer contacted your support and you’re providing a direct answer, this is definitely a tool you’ll want to use.
While we’re talking about getting the email’s content perfect, we can't skip the matter of the subject line. If it’s not great, most recipients won’t even get to the actual content, no matter how outstanding it is.
A strong subject line will personally address the recipient only if they gave you their name during the subscription process. That personal touch makes a real difference since it gives them the feeling that this message is relevant and important.
The subject line must also make a point. It should tell what the message is all about and it should immediately grab the recipient’s interest.
Most of all, the recipient should be able to see the entire subject line on the device they are using.
Now we have a problem: the subject line will appear differently on different devices. On mobile devices, it may be cut off in the middle of a word.
TestSubject may help you fix that. It shows you how the subject line appears on different devices so that you can alter it to its perfect form.
So you create an email message, check how it looks on Gmail, and assume you’re done.
You’re not done.
Litmus has a great tool that allows you to check how your email message looks in various clients. For example, you can see how the users of Outlook 2003, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2016 will see it. You’ll see how it appears on iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 Plus. You’ll see how the users of different iPads see it. AOL Mail, Mail.ru, Office 365, Orange.fr, and many other email platforms are included.
Remember how we talked about consistency? It’s important to choose or design a pattern that you’ll use throughout your email campaign. Chamaileon allows you to do just that. There are over 100 built-in email templates to choose from, and over 1K templates blocks that allow you to design the unique appearance of your emails.
You can match colors, add your own visual details, and write your own content.
When you change the content and some visual elements but use the same colors and design, you’ll achieve the uniformity that’s such an important part of the branding process.
This is a collaborative tool so you can invite your team members to join the process of designing emails for the campaign. When everyone follows the same pattern, the messages can still appear consistent, even when created by different team members.
How successful are your emails? You’ll have to measure the results so you can know how effective your campaign is and what changes you need to make.
Many Email Service Providers (ESPs) allow you to schedule emails and check open-rate and link click statistics. By scheduling the timing of your email delivery, you can make sure your recipients get them at a time when they’re most likely to open and engage with them.
Even more important than scheduling is advanced analytics. With real-time open-rate tracking, you can measure the open rate against the goals you have set. You can also see which links people clicked and how many times emails were opened and links were clicked.
Which ESPs can schedule and measure your emails?
If you already chose an email marketing tool and it doesn’t have an outstanding result tracking feature, you can complement that option with Google Analytics.
It features a unique Measurement protocol for emails, which you can use to track user IDs.
Since most of your emails feature a link back to your app or website and you’re already using Google Analytics to track the performance of your site, there’s really no need to invest in an additional tracking tool. Yes; Google Analytics is a bit more complicated to use, but you’ll get used to it with practice.
If you want to maintain a successful email marketing campaign, you’ll have to automate part of the process. For example, you’ll want to send a welcome email to each new subscriber. You won’t do that manually. You’ll create a template that will be automatically sent to each new member of your email list.
Zapier helps you do that, and much more. It’s the perfect tool that makes email campaigns easier to handle.
It’s basically a tool that connects your apps. If, for example, you get new Google Contacts, Zapier can automatically add them to another app you’re using. It can include them in your email list, or it can add them in a Google Sheets spreadsheet of potential customers.
Revue is a great editorial newsletter tool. It works best for bloggers, writers, and publishers. So if you maintain a website that’s mainly about content and not about selling products, you’ll want to share just that with your email subscribers: content. It’s what Medium does, right?
Revue connects different sources to add content to your newsletter. For example, it may be everything you’ve written and published this week. It may be every useful source you’ve bookmarked on the web.
Revue will curate that content into a great newsletter, which you can send out as an email message.
Don’t worry; the design won’t be messy. Revue will show you the content items that are suitable for the message, and you’ll make your own choice through a simple drag-and-drop process. You can add your own description, as well as additional sections that will make the message more engaging and appealing to the eyes.
If you’re selling products or services online, then you’ll need to send receipts via email. When your customers make a transaction, they will want proof of it. This email will contain the list of products or services they bought, along with the final price they paid.
Since it would be too complicated for you to craft these messages individually (especially if your website is busy), it’s best to use a tool designed explicitly for transactional emails. Mandrill is such a tool. It will create customized receipts and send them to the customers who just bought something at your website. You can use your own email templates, of course.
In addition, it will automatically send support replies, shipping notifications, and other messages that are part of the routine communication with customers.
All these tools just for creating a successful email marketing campaign?
A great email marketing campaign requires a lot of work and dedication. It also requires some investment in appropriate tools, although there are free ones you can also try.
The tips and tools above give you a starting point. From now on, the big part of the work is on you. The good news is that you can implement all kinds of tools that will support the process.
Cover photo by Stokkete/Shutterstock