Editor’s note: This article is an edited version of an article that was originally published in the October 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Is e-mail marketing dead? Not by a long shot. In fact, it remains the most effective way to turn potential consumers into actual consumers.
In recent years, most have turned their focus to social media marketing, putting more value on likes, retweets and follows than on e-mail subscribers. Although Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are great tools for engaging an audience, they can also be unpredictable. Just look at the number of algorithm changes Facebook has implemented over the course of the last year.
E-mail marketing puts control back in marketers’ hands and provides a direct line of communication with their audience. When done correctly, it can also be a great way to build deeper relationships with consumers.
Choosing an E-mail Platform
There are a number of great, easy-to-use e-mail platforms out there. There are free platforms, and many paid options are inexpensive.
Look for a tool that offers tracking and responsive design. Tracking allows you to test different components of e-mail campaigns to see which are most effective, and responsive design will optimize your e-mail for mobile viewing.
Build Your List
Gaining access to an inbox starts with a strong call-to-action, a compelling reason to sign up and reassurance that you will not spam them. Some examples of phrasing include:
- Sign up to download the Ultimate Skin Care Guide for Men;
- 6 Ways to Get Youthful Skin: Free e-mail series; and
- Sign up to receive exclusive discounts and the latest news.
Provide multiple opportunities to sign up. Don’t limit your sign-up form to just one page on your website—consider placing it throughout your site, at the bottom of your blog posts, in your e-mail signature line and on your Facebook page. You might also set up a tablet at your check-in counter with a sign-up form.
And don’t hide the sign-up button. Make it easy and obvious, and be sure it’s eye-catching. And most importantly, always get permission before adding anyone to your list.
Create a Compelling E-mail
One of the most important steps is to create a plan for e-mail marketing efforts. How often will it be sent? Who is your audience? What type of voice and tone will the e-mail have? How will value be provided? What results do you want and how will you measure them?
Your e-mail should focus on providing value. This is the only way to ensure it will stand out in the sea of others and stay out of the trash bin. A good e-mail campaign will deepen your relationship with your audience by offering a distinctive voice and delivering the quality content your subscribers want to share with others. Engaging e-mails include the following.
- Subject line—Keep it punchy. Much like blog headlines, the goal is to engage the reader and compel them to open the e-mail. Typically, subject lines with numbers, how-to’s or questions perform well.
- Content—This can be inspirational, informative, or an exclusive offer or discount. What can you offer your subscribers they won’t get elsewhere?
- Design—Determining which design works best for your business will require some testing. However, be sure to make use of white space. Keep it clean, simple and easy to navigate.
- Call-to-action—Always include a call-to-action, such as “Follow us on Instagram.”
- Make it mobile friendly—Chances are, a large majority of your subscribers will be checking e-mail on their phone. Make sure your design is responsive. Today, most mail platforms automatically take care of this for you.
- Bottom line—tailor your e-mail content to your audience and offer high-value pieces. When you approach e-mail marketing in this way, you will establish trust, deepen relationships with consumers and create new ones.
Beth Cochran is the founder of Wired PR, a public relations and content marketing firm, and www.successlabr.com, an online source for entrepreneurs to achieve greatness.