Yesterday (5th June) I spent the day at the incredibly informative email marketing conference Completely Email organized by the amazing team at @RoughAgenda. The speakers at the conference were some of the smartest minds in email marketing and they generously shared their most valuable insights, tips and strategies to an enthralled audience at the Institute Of Education in London’s Russell Square.
Email marketing is one of the earliest forms of commercial communication on the web, however just because a marketing discipline has been around for ages doesn’t mean that it hasn’t evolved and that it’s out of date.
Far from it, email marketing is the foundational evergreen digital marketing discipline that can dramatically increase your revenue at an extremely low cost if done correctly.
However email marketing is much more than just a way of increasing profits, it has massive ancillary benefits such as the opportunity to increase brand awareness, trust, engagement and a personal connection to the customer.
This in turn can create incredibly loyal advocates and promoters of your business. If you’re not doing email marketing well you’re missing a huge opportunity for your business to grow and connect with existing and future customers.
It’s my birthday today and I got an email from Monkey at PG Tips wishing me a great day and giving me 10 points to use in my Cuppa Club account (a beautiful piece of marketing), and even Facebook emailed me with a bunch of balloons for my virtual party. Thanks Zuck!
I spend a lot of my money in Barbour stores and am fanatical about their brand. No happy birthday from Barbour though, just a generic email with no personalisation (not even my name) and focusing on their ladies range 🙁
So here’s our roundup of some of the best and most insightful presentations at the Completely Email conference. We’ll add the slideshare presentations as they’re provided over the coming days so do check back for updates.
What Email Marketing Can Learn From Reddit – Alex Ilhan
What really gets people’s attention when they receive an email? Is it a cool design, whether it’s in text or HTML format or the size of the font. No it’s the content and whether that content speaks to the customer – pure basic communication. If you think about it logically that makes complete sense. For the most part many people just see a subject line of text in their inbox before they even open an email to view the body of the email. So unless you’re compelling in your offer and speak directly to your reader in the subject line no one’s ever going to get to that funky design you spent hours crafting anyway. Reddit have millions of viewers on a site with terrible design, however it’s the compelling content that keeps the reader engaged, and email marketing works on the same principles.
Key takeaways from Alex’s talk were that
- Everyone is a copywriter so focus on your email content over it’s design. If the message or offer is strong enough people won’t care how it’s delivered
- Relevance wins over pretty design with email campaigns. If they don’t open the email they never get to the good stuff. Focus on getting them to open your email first.
- Start the personalisation process at the opt in form stage. Asking for preferences of topic at the email list sign up stage will give you the opportunity to send more relevant email in the future
- Keep your sign up forms simple and build data around the core information as you continue the customer relationship
- Don’t invest in mobile email designs until you know whether how many of your customers actually read your emails on their phones and tablets. Check your email platform device statistics to discover this metric.
- The real reason people read email is because of the timely relevant content. Focus on testing your content to improve your results with email marketing
Email Psychology And Branding – Kirsty Trainer
Good communication in business is all about listening to the customer, and the same principles apply to email marketing campaigns. Too many businesses focus on themselves instead of putting themselves in the shoes of the members of their subscriber lists. Ask yourself this before you send your next email; How would I feel if I just received what I’m about to send?
Key takeaways from Kirsty’s talk were.
- Set expectations on your sign up form, be clear about the messaging on why they should sign up, and be consistent with that message throughout any follow up emails in a campaign
- Think about what mode your email recipients are in when they receive your email. Are they in buy, browse or busy mode. Create email campaigns that fit the readers expectations and timelines.
- Use your existing keyword research from other areas of your marketing to make your email subject lines more relevant. What does the reader really care about?
- Make your email readers curious to open the email. Weave this into headlines and copy. If your campaign is designed to drive sales, show your commitment to the customer in the email and offer social proof such as testimonials. Your reader may have questions, so give them option to ask for immediate help right inside the email too.
- Make sure you have an amazing welcome email. Cross promote your social media in the welcome email and take the opportunity to provide offers and benefits on that first welcome email. Get them engaged from the get go.
- If you’ve asked for preference information on your sign up form, make sure you use it to personalise your campaigns.
- Use Forward To A Friend functions to create a viral effect. Give an offer or incentive to the forwarder.
- If you didn’t ask for preferences on the sign up form, have a preference centre option in your future email campaigns to help segment your list.
Writing Engaging Emails That Get Opened Clicked And Read – Henneke Duistermaat
Staying on the theme of thinking from the readers perspective, Henneke’s presentation had a real human passion and connection. If you’re going to spend time investing in communicating to your customers or prospects via email it’s all about the Jeff Bezos philosophy of starting with the customer first. If you’re stuck on how to find a voice and style with your email communications simply talk to one single customer, make it personal. Everyone loves being made feel special.
Key Takeaways from Henneke’s talk were
- How can you make your email recipients happy to receive your content?
- Think about your email subscribers in terms of a single person rather than your demographic stats. Who is your ideal reader. Speak just to them.
- Consider breaking your email list down into segments by types of reader personas. Personalise campaigns just for them.
- Be personal, inspirational and persuasive when sending emails to your ideal reader.
- Concentrate on your reader in your email copy. Don’t be narcissistic on your welcome emails. It’s all about them.
Engagement, Looking Into The Finer Detail – Lucy Wilsdon
When you open your inbox in the morning it’s cluttered, you’re overwhelmed and you simply don’t know where you should start. So you skip through and delete most of the emails. Which ones do you keep and why? When you’re creating email campaigns how do you stand out and avoid being sent to the Deleted Items folder before you’ve even had your email opened? These are key questions because if you can’t get your reader to open your email you’ve failed at the first hurdle. They’re never going to see the great offers, content and products you’re serving them with.
Here’s the key takeaways from Lucy’s talk.
- Make our email headlines incredibly relevant and highlight the value to the reader right in their inbox subject view
- Have a different voice for loyal customers, treat them like VIPs
- Use birthday emails to delight your email readers
- Think about the timing of your email campaigns. What are your readers doing when you hit send?
- Email engagement is an ongoing process not just something you do once.
- Remember that everyone elses email in your readers inbox is your competition
Achieving Stellar List Growth – Tim Watson
It’s no good tweaking your email campaigns if when open up Mailchimp or your favourite email marketing platform and all you hear is the sound of crickets and all you see is tumbleweed. Growing your email list is vital in increasing profits from email marketing, and if you’re not happy with the size or quality of your current opted in subscriber list then it’s time to start thinking about how you can create strategies that focus on list growth.
Here are the key (incredibly actionable) takeaways from Tim’s talk.
- What is your current list growth strategy? Do you even have one?
- What should your list growth strategy be? Quality or quantity? The answer is both.
- Bigger email lists lead to increased profits, and long term too.
- Keep an eye on the quality of your list by measuring your list sources and the lead quality they generate
- Stimulate customer sign up interest by giving benefits and reasons to subscribe on your opt in forms. Give the reader a good value proposition.
- Offer a sign up opt in top and bottom of your web pages.
- Offer incentives to reduce friction to subscribe to your list
- Help readers act impulsively with good timing and make it easy to sign up
- Offer timed intelligent popovers for opt in forms Don’t hit readers with a popover right away
- Add a sign up form at the end of your blog posts for the committed reader who understands your value
- Give instant gratification on your email sign up forms
- Grow your list everywhere not just on your website. Form partnerships with others for leverage
- Use social as a touch point to grow your list. Add an email sign up tab to your Facebook pages and cards to Twitter
- Use offline touch points to capture list signups. If you can use SMS as a quick medium for offline opt ins.
- Improve your current list growth strategies. How can you optimise your current capture points.
- Know the value of an email. What’s the potential lifetime value of your opt ins? This will help with setting any aquisition costs.
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