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How to Improve Your Email Marketing

Cain & Company
April 9, 2019

Here’s a pop quiz.

How many times a day do you check your email?

How soon after you wake up do you check your email?

How many times have you checked your email in the past hour?

Have you checked your email since you started reading this blog?

In 2009, The Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that email was dead, and people have been claiming the demise of email ever since. Ironically, it was the most emailed article of the day.

Do a Google search for the phrase “email is dead” and you’ll get more than 1.7 billion results. Just to put that in context, a search for “social media is dead” returns about 1 billion results. And a search for the phrase “Paul is dead,” returns 580 million results.

The fact is, email is more important than ever, and even when businesses have access to many other channels, like traditional media, direct marketing, and social media, email is still the quickest and most direct way to reach customers with critical information.

Why? Because email is the one channel your audience accesses regularly. On any given day, your customer may or may not visit your website, blog, or Facebook page; but with few exceptions, customers check their email every day, if not multiple times a day. 

Research shows increased usage of email across all age groups.

email usage
And 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing through email – plus email was the #1 source for all age groups, including 15-24, according to Waldow Social.

Email still matters, but as subscribers get more sophisticated, the way you use email for marketing needs to change. Here are some of the challenges facing email marketing:

  • Economics of Attention: Information abundance and attention scarcity make it harder than ever to get buyer attention
  • Opt-Out, Screen Out, Tune Out: Consumers don’t want to feel they are being marketed to and will find ways to tune out unwanted communications
  • The Cross-Channel Marketing Revolution: New communication channels mean email can no longer be a standalone channel
  • Imprecise Metrics: Imprecise metrics that don’t show true impact means that email struggles to be strategic

How to Grow and Manage Your Email List

Here are some tips for improving your email marketing:

The first thing you’ll need is an email service provider. Sending to large groups from your personal business email account puts your company at risk of having your domain name blacklisted. Reputable email service providers offer different tiers of features and capabilities. Some offer free accounts with limited options; others have various paid tiers with a variety of features. The main things are they’ll all send email to a database of contacts, and they’ll all provide some degree of analytics data and reports on your email campaigns.

Your contact list is the starting point for any of your marketing. Obviously for email marketing, you’ll need a good list of email addresses. Remember, you need to make your marketing messages relatable, so it’s a good idea to customize your messages to the reader by adding their name or other information to the message. To do that, you’ll need to capture name data in your contact database. The more information you know about your contacts, the greater you’ll be able to split up your email list into smaller, more targeted segments. For example, if you ask for zip codes, you could send a campaign to specific neighborhoods.

Here are some of the ways email marketers grew their email lists, according to a survey from MarketingSherpa.

grow email contact list

How to Compose and Send Your Message

If you think about it, you probably pay the most attention to emails from friends, family, and colleagues – people with whom you have genuine, trusted relationships. The email you send in your marketing campaigns should feel the same way.

Buyers today are tech-savvy and wise to marketing. They’re very good at tuning out the marketing messages they don’t want. So, give them the email messages they DO want, or they’ll opt out or mark you as spam.

Try these five rules of email marketing. Email must be:

  1. Trusted – people must allow your message past their filter.
  2. Relevant – deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.
  3. Conversational – speak to subscribers like humans, 1:1, not blast.
  4. Coordinated – integrate the customer experience across several channels.
  5. Strategic – use metrics to measure the value of your email marketing.

As with other marketing messaging, it’s not about you. The best campaigns are not about you or what you want your customers to do. They’re about your subscribers and what they want. Composing email campaigns that are relevant and personalized will increase open and click-through rates and reduce bounce and unsubscribe rates.

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