It is critical to attain a solid opt-in list. This is often a major signifier on whether a email campaign is successful or not. Many organizations cheat by trying to buy, beg, or steal a list from someone else. Why do people not use opt-in lists when it is clearly the most successful audience they can attain? Simple, because it’s not easy. Make an effort to get an opted-in email marketing list of people who want to receive your communication.
An opt-in list is the only fool proof way of delivering your marketing message to an audience that is interested in getting it. Typically organizations have opt-in lists, it’s just not organized in a way that is simple for them to compile. Here are some things to check on to create or add to your email marketing list:
- Existing customer or prospect database – These people have interacted with you in the past. A message to them about joining your email marketing campaign is often fruitful, resulting in a high percentage of opt-ins.
- Company events or trade shows – If someone is interested enough to engage with your organization at an event, they are usually inclined to opt-in to your email campaign.
- Website Conversion – Get a sign up form on the website. Visitors to your website are showing an interest. Let them take another step by receiving your emails if they’d like.
- Social Media Conversion – If people already are connected to you, they are more likely to opt-in for email communications.
As a reference here are two common activities ensuring the list is not opted in and will likely experience poor returns.
- Purchasing names from outside contacts
- “Scraping” – Software that automatically scans websites and generates email lists.
This is just a sampling of common avenues but almost every organization can gather an opt-in list if they put the effort into gathering the names and contact information.
Even in email, content is king. A significant portion of marketing emails do a poor job with content. This comes in two forms:
- Ads with no value proposition
- Untargeted blasts
Ads with no value propostion are the “selfish” looking SPAM emails we all receive . . . “Look at this” . . . “Buy This” . . . etc. Poorly done advertising emails arrive provide an unexciting and unfocused message. It’s a sad fact that these emails are usually less relevant than chain emails that get forwarded around. Sure there’s no valuable content but at least a chain email typically comes from someone I know.
Untargeted blasts are the second culprit. These are slapped together and sent out to any list that can be scrounged together. It’s likely that the people receiving the message aren’t interested in the first place. The content is poor because the people creating the email have no clue what content would be useful to the audience. They don’t know that because they don’t know who the audience is.
There’s an easy fix for both these problems, spending some time and energy on your email campaign. 90% of the time emails with poor content are the result of laziness. No effort has been placed into ensuring that the email campaign provides valuable information to the audience. If the information isn’t valuable, the emails are worthless, and no conversion should be expected.
Email marketing without good content is SPAM.
An email marketing campaign is only a campaign if it has cohesion. Recipients should easily see a progression. The progression should be designed to provide expected content and lead recipients to a goal. The most common goal is a conversion to a sale or a lead.
So how is cohesion attained? The first is that content should be similar. Is it an educational or informational campaign? Pick a single focused topic, break it down into sub-topics, and fully cover each sub-topic. Is it advertising? Pick a single product or service. Break the product or service into feature/benefits and fully cover each. Is it an invitation? Break down multiple invites and deliver them several times and with more urgency as the event date gets closer.
The beauty of email is that it lends itself perfectly to campaigns. It’s easily and predictably delivered and remains affordable for multiple sends. “Email blasts” that are one-time promotions never have as much impact as a campaign because a campaign builds credibility and focus. A blast is a scatter-shot. It makes a blind stab and then goes in a completely different direction and makes another stab. It’s impossible to learn from metrics if the focus is constantly changing. A campaign provides multiple opportunities for recipients to convert when their individual need is assessed.
Set a schedule for sending emails and stick to it. It is not OK to haphazardly deviate from the send schedule. A major part of email marketing success is due to reinforcement. When the reinforcement is eroded the message fractures.
Think of the email campign as a publication (whether subscribers are paying for it or not). There is a production deadline that needs to be met because the audience has been given an expectation. A lack of consistency will erode the value of the email campaign. The best content in the world isn’t useful if the audience doesn’t know when or if they will get it.
It’s not necessary to explain the send schedule to subscribers, though that is helpful when people subscribe so they have realistic expectations of when they will receive your content. However, people get used to seeing email subscriptions at a certain recurring interval. They will notice a significant change or delay even if the schedule hasn’t been explicitly laid out. Always make sure that the email campaign schedule is consistent.
I will be posting a comprehensive listing of effective email tactics in coming weeks. These will include 20 strategies that should be used in every email campaign to build and maintain a quality send list and provide conversions from those sends.