How to Get Started with Email Marketing
Getting started with email marketing is easier than many people believe, and it is a critical component of making your business work more effectively. If you've never used email marketing before, you may be thinking a million things - what platform should I use? How do I draw people in? Once I've drawn them in, how do I keep their attention? And, how do I know if it's even working!? Phew, my brain is spinning just writing that. Below, you'll find answers to these questions that will help you get started with email marketing and make your efforts as successful as possible.
Choose a Great Platform
Marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, and Act|On are a great way to make your marketing work more effectively. While you can always send email in a less systematized format, such as through MailChimp, you will generally find that your efforts are better rewarded through a more automated platform. The automation allows for marketing messages such as newsletters, and also allows you to trigger Thank You emails after an end-user submits a form. This comes back to engagement, which is an integral part of all marketing.
Marketing automation platforms also allow you to personalize a lot of information right in the email. For example, every person will get their first name in their message instead of a generalized greeting. You can also personalize your and their company names, which can be useful in more corporate types of email marketing messages.
Spend Time on the Subject Line
Nothing grabs people's attention quite like a great subject line, and this is why you should spend as much time brainstorming the perfect subject line as writing the email itself. Keep in mind that nearly everyone you send your email marketing materials to will see your subject line, but in general less than 80% of these people will actually read the email. On average, around 50% (of that 80%) will finish the email, which makes the subject line even more important.
Really connecting with people is an art form that can take a lifetime to master in many ways. When it comes to email marketing, you can start with the use of emotionally evocative images that bring people's feelings into the fold and summarize your topic. A great image will bring people into the content from the beginning, and from there, a great first paragraph usually seals the deal. Keep in mind that great content is about more than one snappy paragraph and an attractive picture, but these are important parts of the whole.
This is partially about how you engage and partially about where you engage. For the "how," you need to always have more content available. From your website or blog to paid content that is only available for ordering during a particular period, there must always be more for people to engage with.
As far as "where" to engage, you need to adapt to mobile and tablet viewing. Your email marketing needs to account for the fact that most people are now viewing your material on tablets or smart phones instead of traditional computers. While the details may seem to be confined to the coding you use, there are also issues of accessibility that you have to deal with. Testing is important, which leads into the last point.
Always Be A/B Testing
It is important to constantly test whether one approach or another will be more effective. The way to do this is to isolate one variable and present two different possibilities, the A and B respectively. Most marketing automation platforms will do the work for you and show "A" to half of your audience and "B" to the other half. Emails are a fascinating place to do A/B testing and get a feel for what makes people open, read, and click in an email.