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Back to Basics: What You Need to Know About Email Marketing Going Into 2021

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New year, new you, new… marketing strategy? 

Well, why not?! Email marketing is one of the most successful digital marketing tools at your disposal. Whether you already have an email marketing campaign in the works or you’re just getting started, we’re here to help you navigate through it all with this step-by-step guide.

In this blog, we will cover how to:

Plus, find bonus tips for home services, professional services, and eCommerce companies. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Establish Your Goals

As you learn more about all the wonderful benefits of email marketing, it can be easy to get ahead of yourself and dive headfirst into campaign creation without first establishing clear and measurable goals that can help you track your success or pinpoint areas of improvement. A good email marketing strategy is a marathon, not a race. So slow down and start at the beginning!  To build a successful email marketing campaign, you first need to determine what you’re looking to accomplish. Here are seven email marketing goals to get you started: 
  1. Drive more traffic to your website.
  2. Increase sales conversion or revenue.
  3. Boost engagement with your target audience. 
  4. Increase lead generation. 
  5. Build brand awareness.
  6. Welcome new subscribers. 
  7. Deliver highly-engaging content. 
Do yourself a favor by creating SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will not only help you accomplish more but also track your email marketing performance with ease. One example of a SMART goal could be: “Increase lead generation by 10% over the next six months through promotional and personalized marketing emails.” Your list of goals will also act as a guide when building segmented audience lists, creating strong subject lines, and more. 

Grow Your Email List

There’s no email marketing without an audience, period. On the other hand, just any audience also won’t do.  The most successful email campaigns target a list of qualified leads that have an interest in what you’re offering. But how do you go about discovering good prospects and converting them into subscribers? With a lead magnet.  A lead magnet is a free product or service that is provided in exchange for contact information — in this case, specifically an email address. Coupons, trial subscriptions, free consultations, white papers, webinars, and ebooks are all great examples of lead magnets. Keep your target audience and email marketing goals in mind as you determine which lead magnet will work best for you.  Look at these two examples used by our digital marketing agency in Philadelphia.

Lead magnets make for great website pop-ups that immediately capture your visitor’s attention and demand action. This is especially useful in converting abandoned visitors (those who leave your site to never return) into subscribers and, ultimately, customers! 

Okay, so you’ve created an email list. Time to move on to the next right step, right? Not quite! 

Segment Your Email List

Having a list of subscribers isn’t enough. The secret to achieving the best open and clickthrough rates and increasing your conversions is list segmentation. 

List segmentation refers to splitting up your general email list into smaller sections based on specific criteria. The goal here is to create groups of people with a shared interest, something which you can easily target with a personalized email. 

You can segment subscribers by demographics, past purchases, expressed interests, email engagement, and geography — just to name a few options. Some email marketing platforms offer click segmentation, a tool that allows you to build segmented audiences by tracking which subscribers click on specific links in your newsletters. 

Once you begin sending highly-targeted emails to your segmented audiences, you’ll immediately notice a vast improvement in your email marketing campaign performance. 


Choose Your Email Marketing Platform

The most efficient and professional way to deliver newsletters is through a credible email marketing platform. These services make your life easy by getting user permission and abiding by CAN-SPAM rules. Plus, they offer great features like click segmentation, automation, tracking & analytics, A/B testing, and more. 

The best popular email marketing platforms to choose from are: 

  • Constant Contact
  • Mailchimp
  • Hubspot
  • iContact
  • ActiveCampaign
  • OptinMonster
  • Sendinblue

Plan Your Email Marketing Strategy

There’s no shortage of different types of marketing emails you can send. But don’t be overwhelmed if you don’t have the time or resources to explore all options! The trick is to find the handful that works for you and personalize them for each campaign. 

Let’s take a look at some different types of marketing emails: 

  • Promotional emails
  • Transactional emails 
    •  Welcome emails 
    • Thank you emails 
  • Announcement emails
  • Weekly or monthly newsletters
  • Internal updates

Time management is another crucial aspect of your email marketing strategy. There’s no hard and fast rule about when or how often to send out email blasts. However, studies suggest that 2-3 emails per month are enough to keep users engaged without coming off as spammy. That being said, only your subscribers will tell you how often they want to hear from you. 

Another thing to keep in mind when creating your email strategy is how you can plan ahead and give yourself time to create dynamic content by developing a monthly newsletter schedule. 


Craft a Great Subject Line

There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to your email marketing success. Your subject line is at the top of the list. 

Think of the subject line as the first impression for your email marketing campaign — a good first impression will intrigue subscribers into opening the email, and a bad first impression will turn them off. You need to make a good first impression for every email blast, but how? Is it even possible?

There’s no guarantee that you’ll knock it out of the park every time, but following some proven guidelines will help increase engagement among your subscribers. 

  • Personalize with merge tags
  • Get straight to the point
  • Avoid spam trigger words 

Experiment with Email Automation

By now, you know that personalization is the key to a successful email marketing campaign. But how do you go about personalizing each email blast when your subscriber count is in the hundreds, thousands, or more? 

Thankfully, email automation does the heavy lifting for you! This tool allows you to not only personalize email blasts but also send them out systematically based on time or action triggers. You’re already familiar with automated emails, believe it or not. Welcome emails, confirmation emails, unsubscribe emails, and abandoned cart emails are just a few examples of email automation. 

Since your email marketing service provider handles the automation aspect, all you have to do is: 

  1. Create a general email campaign with a strong subject line, relevant copy, and merger tags for customization. 
  2. Map out the email sequence depending on the automation campaign type, and schedule it on your email marketing platform. 

Voila! In just two steps, you’ve increased your chances of nurturing leads and converting prospective customers. 

Take your time developing a strong automated email marketing campaign because great things aren’t made overnight. Use A/B testing and other metrics to gain insight into performance and pinpoint areas of improvement. This leads us to our final step!


Enable Tracking & Analytics

There’s only one way to ensure your email marketing campaign is doing what it’s designed to do (i.e., achieving your set goals) and that is by tracking/analyzing performance levels. 

The metrics you choose to focus on during this phase depend on your goals, but open rates and clickthrough rates are two measurements essential to your email marketing’s overall success. Another important metric that is often overlooked is your sender score, which measures your sender reputation. A high score means you’re trustworthy and more likely to end up in your subscriber’s inbox versus spam. See how well you’re doing by using Sender Score

UTM Wrapping for Newsletters

Here’s a trick you probably haven’t heard from many other digital marketing agencies in Philadelphia: start UTM wrapping your newsletters!

Urchin Tracking Module, or UTM for short, is a tracking component that provides Google Analytics a wealth of information about website traffic. This tool shows you which campaign is performing the best, how much website traffic is generated, the associated revenue worth, and tons of other fine details. You can finally take the guesswork out of your email marketing performance. 

Google’s URL Builder is the easiest way to create a UTM link. You will need to add the following parameters: 

  • Website URL
  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign Name

Once the UTM link is generated, simply replace the original links in your email campaign with the UTM link. Different links will need to be UTM wrapped separately. 

Here’s an example of a UTM link for this blog for our email campaign.

Are you still here? A round of applause for you!  We’re almost at the end but before you go, let’s do a little bit of segmentation right here and now. 

Email Marketing for Home Services

The great thing about being in home services is that almost everybody has a home, and every home will eventually need service! The downside is that you’re in a cutthroat industry. Email marketing can help you stand out from the crowd when used effectively.  Just to set the record straight, effectively means not spamming your customers with coupons! Promotional emails are only effective when they’re exclusive or uncommon. Instead of getting stuck in the coupon rut, repurpose content from your website or social media channels for a diverse email marketing campaign. 

Email Marketing for Pro Services

Those who work in the professional services field are busy, busy bees. You want to dedicate more time to your marketing efforts, but your schedule just doesn’t allow for it. Email marketing can do the legwork for you!  Show your clients, past and present, that you’re still thinking of them by sending out highly personalized email blasts using segmented audiences. Lawyers, for example, can create segments based on the different areas of law they practice and add clients only to the segment(s) that corresponds with their needs. Financial advisors can create segments based on demographics because this plays a huge role in the services their clients require. Accountants can create segments based on who has contacted them during tax season and who hasn’t. Always make sure to customize emails using merge tags — this will make your clients feel special. 

Email Marketing for eCommerce

Email marketing and eCommerce are the best of friends. They go together like peanut butter and jelly or unicorns and glitter. Seriously! Since eCommerce companies don’t get as many opportunities to connect with their target market as brick-and-mortar businesses, email marketing is a great avenue for communication.  The single most important thing you can do for your online store is to utilize email automation to its full potential. When you’re dealing with thousands or millions of buyers, it’s impossible to stay on top of every single customer’s actions without a little help. Also, make sure you segment your audience strategically to increase your sales and revenue. 

Take the Guesswork Out With a Dedicated Digital Marketing Agency in Philadelphia

Are you feeling confident in your newfound knowledge and ready to CRUSH your email marketing goals? That’s the kind of attitude we like to see and work with at 1SEO! We’re passionate about seeing you succeed, so our digital marketing efforts are second to none.  Shameless plug: sign up for our email marketing newsletter for more insider tips!

About the Author: 

Kejsi Prifti is a Senior Content Creator at 1SEO by day and a rom-com junkie by night. She can often be found singing off-key in her car, baking just-about-edible desserts, spending time with her cats, and generally marching to the beat of her own drum.

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