The Forgotten Hero: Email Marketing

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Email marketing is far from dead, so why isn’t it a focal point of your social media plan? It very well should be.

“According to the Direct Marketing Association, firms made an average of $40 for every dollar spent on email marketing in 2011,” wrote Jackson Wightman for PR Daily.

The platform is too powerful to be ignored, but surprisingly, few companies are able to run email campaigns right. User experience gets shoved into the back-middle-seat. Spam takes over the wheel and drives the entire campaign into a ditch with over-the-top, obtrusive sales messaging.

“Email marketing gives companies a unique channel to broadcast their company and content,” blogged Zach Bulygo for KISSmetrics. “However, not all companies execute email marketing correctly. One of the biggest mistakes they make is they think of it as a sales channel…instead of providing value to customers and occasionally promoting.”

Instead of bombarding your subscribers with sales messages, turn them into brand advocates by giving them something of value. The following best practices will help you along the way.

1. Focus Heavily on Content

“Once you have a list, the next thing to do is decide what you’re going to send those people,” wrote Constant Contact’s Eric Groves for the FreshBooks blog. “Tips for success in your field? Recent work you’ve done? Interesting content that you’re reading that others might enjoy and learn from? Whatever you choose, don’t make the content all about you, and don’t make it just a sales pitch.”

Inboxes are packed with spam, so give your messages an extra edge to stand out from the crowd. Write compelling subject lines that inspire people to open your messages. Make your audience smile and build a real connection with them. Whatever you do, focus on helping people and leveraging content to be your go-to tool.

2. Be Beautiful

UX is important for more than just websites and applications. Your emails need to look great too. Make sure that you pick a gorgeous template that inspires recipients to keep reading and ultimately click through to your website.

When designing your email templates, you don’t need to start from scratch. Companies like MailChimp streamline the process by selling comprehensive newsletter packages. You can customize layouts and track analytics all from one place.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, but make sure that your emails look good.

3. Know Where Your Customers Are

Don’t expect people to always be in front of a computer. The data suggests that people are more likely to open email on their smartphones than on their computers.

“From April to September in 2011, mobile email opens increased 34 percent, while webmail and PC opens decreased 11 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively,” found HubSpot.

Know that it’s likely that your audience is behind a smartphone or tablet. From a UX perspective, this information is important.

“Your loyal reader wants to get the benefit of your great content. So she spends some time fumbling around trying to make sense of it,” said Shane Ketterman in a Copyblogger post. “But eventually frustration wins.”

No matter what, email marketing is all about your audience, so be cognizant of what they want.

How is email marketing included in your social media plan?

Renee Warren - November 1st, 2012 / 2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Forgotten Hero: Email Marketing”

  1. Excellent post :)

    E mail marketing is included in our social media plan, particularly for clients with a good following – via signing up for newselleters, etc. One of our clients recently got an excellent return for an e mail offer, out performing both Google + Facebook PPC.

  2. Alexandra says:

    I agree with point 2: Be Beautiful. Great design influences interest of email recipients. My favorite emails are from Sephora. Sephora’s HTML emails are full of beautiful images of products, and as a lady who enjoys cosmetics I enjoy receiving their beautiful newsletters.

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