Email marketing campaigns are a key tool for businesses to connect with potential and existing customers. Along with building better relationships with contacts, email is one of the most effective forms of marketing for your business, generating 4,300 percent ROI.
Done well, email campaigns can create a very positive feedback loop from returning customers.
Done poorly, they can push people away.
So how do you create an effective email campaign that turns fresh leads into die-hard fans of your business?
Strike a Chord with Your Audience
Your prospects and customers have thousands of emails in their inbox. In fact, an email statistics report from the The Radicati Group estimates that by 2018 users will receive an average of 140 emails per day.
To cut through the noise, you’ve got to be hyper-focused on your ideal buyer. If you haven’t created a buyer persona for your ideal buyer yet, you’re already letting interest slip away.
Getting to know your ideal buyer intimately will help you tune in to the topics the resonate the most with your audience. Uncover those issues that keep them up at night, and develop content that solves them. Put your audience’s agenda first to get their attention in a crowded inbox.
Get the Timing Right
Now that you’ve got their attention, how do you turn that interest into sales?
Not every contact on your email list is ready for a sales pitch. At the same time, if you never ask for the sale, you’ll never get it.
Effective email campaigns take contacts on a journey – raising general awareness of your business, generating interest in your products and solutions, converting sales opportunities into customers, and instilling loyalty that creates repeat business.
The content grid infographic below, from small business CRM provider, Hatchbuck, helps explain how to strategically release content to contacts based on the stage of the sales funnel they’re in:
For instance, a contact in the “Awareness” stage isn’t ready for a detailed pricing sheet. Instead, send them a helpful how-to guide on a topic of interest to establish trust and brand awareness.
Begin your email campaign for contacts in the awareness stage with articles, videos and discussions around trending topics to get their attention and provide value.
As your email campaign progresses, you can add content that drives contacts closer to the sale. For instance, send a link to a webinar, or an article on how one of your customers solved a problem with your product. Finally, ask for the sale with a promo or offer.
Let Contacts Choose Their Own Path
Email campaigns are a great opportunity to learn more about your contacts. As they open your emails, click links, and head back to your website, you can focus in on what’s most relevant to them.
You may start new contacts on a general email campaign, but as they clue you in to their interests, you can stop a general campaign and start them down a more specific path.
For example, if you manufacture train parts, you might have a general campaign that drives contacts back to your website. Once a contact visits your “Passenger Train Parts” page, you stop the general campaign and start them on a campaign that focuses on passenger trains, rather than freight trains.
Pro Tip: Many email marketing tools contain drip functionality, meaning they can send a sequence of emails over time. But, if you want to have more control over gathering data and segmenting your contacts, you may want to look into marketing automation.
Calibrate Email Frequency
Building business relationships is a bit like dating. Come on too strong, and you seem desperate – which is a total turn off to prospects. So, even though you just met an awesome new lead that gives you butterflies when you think about the huge deal you’re going to land with them, resist the urge to send a barrage of emails.
Instead, step back and take a look at your sales cycle. How long does it typically take for your leads to make a buying decision? If your sales cycle is only 60 days, you might email more frequently – like once a week. On the other hand, if your sales cycle is closer to 12 months, you might want to lay off the gas a bit and email once a month to avoid email fatigue.
Optimize, Test, Repeat
Finally, when it comes to optimizing your email marketing campaigns for conversion, testing is your best tool. Monitoring your email open rates, your click-through rates, and your conversions can help you gauge where you’re being successful and where you can improve.
A/B test to optimize individual emails. Test changing up the frequency of a campaign. And test the types of emails you send in your campaigns.
With the right email campaign recipe, you’ll be able to make the most out of every lead you capture, nurturing every new relationship with email to turn more of them into paying customers.
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