Starting email marketing can be as daunting as it is exciting. Here are a few things to help you get the most of your deep dive into this powerful digital marketing medium.
Starting email marketing can be a game changer for your marketing mix. But while it’s one of the oldest digital marketing channels out there, it’s still one of the most powerful.
Of course, the digital marketing landscape is always evolving, but email marketing has a greater, more
consistent and predictable return on investment than any other marketing channel – even more so
because it has such low setup and ongoing costs.
However, if you’ve never done email marketing before, or if you’ve struggled to get it up and running successfully, knowing where to start can be something of a headache. To help you prepare for jumping in and getting started, here are some key points for you to consider.
1. Working out your email marketing goals
It might sound obvious, but the first thing to nail down when you start email marketing is what you want to get out of it.
Working out how it will fit in with your business’s goals and overall marketing strategy is essential. Goals will be different for every business, but here are some ideas for how you might want email marketing to work for you:
You can use email marketing to help:
- Keep visitors coming back to your website
- Launch your new product
- Announce new blogs/videos or other content released by your company
- Sell more through your online shop
- Promote special offers and exclusive discounts
- Automate communication sequences on a timed schedule (useful for appointments and bookings)
- Onboard new customers or subscribers to your product, service or app
- Keep in contact with employees with an informative newsletter
Email marketing can deliver all these things and more for your business, but to make any goal happen it’s worthwhile keeping it in mind as you start email marketing. This is because your goals will have a big impact on how your emails are setup, designed and to whom they are sent out.
2. Who will you be sending your emails to?
Since the adoption of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across the European Union on 25th May 2018, the data we use for marketing has become a hot topic. Strict data protections rules have changed the way we collect, store and use data for our email marketing campaigns.
Because personal data is the fuel that drives email marketing, having a list of quality, validated, up to date, and fully-consented data is like gold dust. Bad data can totally sabotage your email marketing campaigns. Not only can it prevent campaigns from performing successfully, muck up your sending reputation (not to mention your business’s actual reputation) but it will also cost time and energy to fix.
So the first questions for you to ask about your data are: where is it stored? How did we collect it? And do we have recorded consent for sending email marketing?
If you think your data isn’t strong enough to start email marketing, or even if you don’t have a big list of contacts to begin with, there are plenty of ways to gather quality data from here on out. The most obvious way is by putting a simple sign up form or link on your website, social media pages, and even in your day-to-day email signatures.
Make sure to entice subscribers in with clear information about what they’ll get from signing up, based on the goals you worked out earlier: such as ‘get exclusive offers’, ‘be the first to hear about our latest products’, or ‘learn how to get started with [your product] the easy way’.
And remember: double opt-in is your friend and will help keep your list squeaky clean going forward.
3. What will your emails look like?
Emails that look good and show off your brand to its full potential are an essential part of email marketing – and dare we say it, one of the most fun and satisfying parts of it, too!
Good brand placement in your emails also helps you meet one of the requirements of GDPR best practices ensuring that your recipients know exactly who is emailing them and exactly for what purpose.
Drag and drop HTML email builders such as mmunicMail make designing emails relatively simple these days. However, your beautiful emails can still come undone by using dodgy images in weird and wonderful sizes, exotic fonts, and not being able to test the way your email appears in the plethora of destination email clients (think Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo to name a few – never mind the smorgasbord of mobile inbox clients!).
Because deciding on the layout and design of your emails, and then working out how to make it happen can be some of the most difficult aspects of starting email marketing, training within your platform from the outset is a must for you and all your colleagues to get your emails to shine in your recipients’ inbox.
Wherever practical, we also always recommend putting together a customized library of templates at the start of your email marketing journey that you can use and adapt for each campaign, to make getting your next email out regularly that little bit easier.
4. Looking after your reputation
Just like your business has a reputation among your customers, your business’s website domain has a reputation too – as judged by the mail servers that receive the emails you send. And your domain’s sending reputation is just as important as every other aspect of the start of your email marketing journey.
One of the most common technical problems you might face getting started with your email marketing is if your ‘sending domain’ – in simple terms, the address that your emails appear to come from – has not been set up correctly.
While email providers are getting smarter at separately SPAM and abusive emails from genuine content, there are still plenty of pitfalls relating to sending domains that mean your emails might get filtered through to your recipient’s Junk box, or worse still, be binned by a mail server before it even gets that far. Every rejection leaves a mark against your sending reputation, so after a while they mount up and can really damage it.
Top tips for building a great email marketing reputation
- Keep each type of emailing you do ring-fenced. Wherever possible, use separate email addresses for your email marketing and transactional, general or day-to-day emails.
- Authenticate your email domains using Advanced DNS records. If that sounds like jargon right now, don’t worry – most email marketing platforms make this really easy by giving you detailed instructions on doing this with your domain host. If you get stuck, be sure to reach out for support to your domain host provider. It’s worth it in the end to make sure your emails are configured correctly and don’t end up in your recipients’ SPAM folders.
- Generic email prefixes sound bad. Group email addresses are a great way of managing incoming emails, but email addresses such as ‘offers@…’, ‘sales@…’ are also known for sending spam. Avoid generic sender names unless you really need to use it.
- Similar to the above, don’t use ‘noreply’ as your email’s ‘from’ address. Not only can this impact your technical reputation, but also – how would you feel about being told you can’t reply to an email?
- Stick to familiar TLDs (top level domains, such as .co.uk, .com, .org.uk etc). Unless you have a real good reason to choose something like mydomain.co over mydomain.com stick to the more well known version. Look in your Junk folder and you’ll see that many of the messages in there are from .info, .co, .biz etc. The unfortunate truth is that even now, many email clients simply don’t trust them.
Email campaigns are, in the main, really easy to create and send and offer great return on investment. However, they can still really trip you up if you aren’t prepared for tackling and taming all the moving parts that go into making a successful email marketing campaign. Of course, there are plenty of other things to consider as you get started email marketing, but we hope everything above has given you a great starting point.
Most importantly, if getting started with your email marketing journey still sounds like a headache or makes you shudder at the thought, don’t be afraid to get in touch with us for tailored advice and guidance from our experienced email marketing team.
Why us, you ask? Well, we’re mmunic – the heart of communication. We’re specialists in delivering outstanding, multi-channel digital marketing campaigns with email marketing at the front and centre of what we do.
We also provide mmunicMail, our advanced email marketing platform – and we’re more than happy to give you a free tour of all its capabilities to see for yourself how we can take your business’s digital marketing strategy to the next level. Reach out for a free demo today.