Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach your customers where they are without spending a lot of money. Here are some tips to help you maximize the lifetime value of each of your customers:
Make it easy to subscribe
Post a signup form on your homepage, blog, Facebook page, and wherever else your customers and fans are already active. You might want to collect names and birthdays (for a special offer or gift) or invite readers to join groups, but don’t go crazy with the required fields. A subscribe form that is too long might scare people off.
Tell subscribers what to expect
Whether you plan to send company updates, corporate updates, e-commerce sales, daily deals, or weekly tips, it’s important to tell your readers what to expect and how often to expect it. Give them as much information as possible on your signup form, so they can decide whether they want to be on the list or not.
Send a welcome email
It’s always smart to remind people why they’re on your list and reassure them that good things are in store. You might even send new subscribers a special offer or exclusive content, as your way of thanking them for their loyalty.
Make sure your newsletter fits your company/brand
Your email campaigns should match your desired brand image. If you’re using a template, you might want to customize it to include your company’s colors and logo in the header. If your emails are consistent with the rest of your company’s content, readers will feel more familiarized from the start.
Send people content they want
Email newsletter services offer features like groups and segmentation to help you make your content relevant to the people reading it. If you’re sending different emails for different groups then you can ask people to check a box to join a particular group on your signup form. However, remember you need to make the sign-up as simple as possible. Don’t ask too many questions as you can always segment subscribers later by directing them to a landing page. Segmentation allows you to target certain subscribers on your list without assigning them to group. If your store is having a sale, you could send a campaign only to people near a particular zip code because subscribers who live in other parts of the world don’t need to know about it. You can also segment by activity, email clients, e-commerce data, and more. Sending relevant content will keep your readers engaged, and engaged readers look forward to your next email and will be encouraged to share the content with friends.
Keep to a regular publishing calendar
A regular newsletter is a commitment. If you go several months without sending anything your subscribers will forget about you and they’ll be more likely to delete the next email, or worse, mark it as spam. Make time to plan, write, design, and send your newsletters regularly.
Regularly test your emails
Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens, big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it’s too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one large image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.
Plan for subscribers to be using mobile
If a campaign doesn’t show up on mobile devices, it’s not going to perform very well. Everything you send should be mobile-friendly. 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either close or delete an email that’s not optimized for mobile. So, it might be time to start using a responsive template.
Know your spam rules
A lot of innocent people send spam because they don’t know any better. Read up on the CAN-SPAM act to avoid any trouble. Put simply, you’re allowed to send bulk email only to people who specifically asked to be on your mailing list. If you collected email addresses for a lunch giveaway or an event invitation, then you don’t have permission to send marketing emails, unless you made that clear at signup. Include an obvious unsubscribe link in every email, and don’t forget to remind subscribers how they got on your list in the first place.
Make it shareable
Send content that people want to share, and make it easy for them to do it. Sure, subscribers can forward your campaign to friends, but that’s a lot to ask. Include a public link to the web version of your campaign so people can read it outside of their email programs. Consider adding Twitter and Facebook links to your newsletter so readers can share your content where they’re already active. When their friends start sharing and subscribing, you’ll know it’s working.
Keep an eye on your stats
Most email newsletter services offer free reports that contain helpful information. Learn how to read and understand your reports so you can use the stats to improve your campaigns going forward. Pay attention to your open and click rates, and identify any patterns that make those numbers go up or down. If a campaign receives a high number of unsubscribes, then try something different the next time.
Keep it casual and friendly
Feel free to use a casual tone in your email newsletters. Since most emails come directly from one person, people expect human voices in their inbox. There’s a good chance your subscribers are already in a informal frame of mind when they’re checking their email, so an overly formal or stodgy voice might seem out of place. They’ve given you their email address, so you’re already on a first-name basis. If you collect first names on your signup form, you can dynamically include them in your email greetings.
Keep your emails relevant to what people subscribed for
This one seems obvious, but too many companies start email newsletters with no plan and nothing to say. Email is simply a way to publish content—the content itself has to come first. Ask yourself: What’s the goal for this kind of communication? What do we have to say? How will we measure success? Send thoughtful newsletters, and keep the focus on your company’s message.