The Scotiabank Women Initiative

Email Marketing: A Survival Guide

Written by Rosa Campagna and Viktor Kis at Vigorate Digital Solutions

Take a look at your inbox.

How many of your unread emails do you actually open? According to a study by Litmus, Canadians open approximately 9% of all emails during their highest engagement window. This means that a staggering number of emails are being ignored or deleted before 10 a.m.

With brands constantly seeking attention in users’ inboxes, you need to get your emails stand out of the crowd and stay relevant to your customers. So how do you set up a strategy and measure email marketing success for your woman-led business? Start with these 5 steps to create or optimize your email program.

 

1. Define the value proposition of your email program

As customers interact with your brand, every action is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them. Email is the perfect tool for this as it allows your customers to retain control over when, where and how to engage with your messaging and even set the pace of interacting with you.

Highly engaging emails offer authentic, relevant content. As you begin outlining your program, consider what you can provide and how that can build towards a mutual value exchange. No matter what industry you are in, the initial consideration has to be defining your value proposition.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What can we offer to make my subscribers look forward to our emails?
  • Is our value proposition clear? Does it clearly outline the benefits we’re going to deliver? Does it differentiate us from other business communications?
  • How can we create content that remains authentic to the purpose and values of our brand?

Pro tip:  Consider how to make sure your next email is opened. While you might have an amazing promotion at the moment, what will entice someone to also open your email next week?

Example value proposition: Stay connected with our Pet Food Brand and receive tips from our pet experts, new recipes, special offers and exciting news. Plus, we'll send a birthday (or adoption day) surprise to help celebrate your best friend's special day!

Shopify has a distinct and clear value proposition: “Shopify is everything you need to sell anywhere”. The same ideas apply to writing one for your email program!

 

2. Identify Opportunities to Collect Emails

Acquisition is going to be important, at least in the beginning. If you are starting from zero, consider touchpoints in your existing channels that are natural points to ask for an email address. Do you have a checkout page where people could sign up? Are you shipping tens or hundreds of products a week where you can place a flyer offering 10% off if they subscribe? Also, while many may think website pop ups are intrusive this method consistently outshines others in acquiring subscribers, when done right.

After spending (a month, a quarter) gaining new eyes for your program take a step back to evaluate your sources. Do this by measuring how people engage with your content after subscribing. Did you get 1,000 subscribers or leads from LinkedIn Lead Generation forms but 80% unsubscribed within a week? Likely, your advertising dollars will be better spent elsewhere.

 

3. Get to Know Your Subscribers

Segmentation and personalization will help you further improve your email program. While sending a monthly newsletter with the same content to your entire database is a great place to start, as soon as you define simple customer profiles and target them with specific messages (3-day trips for the adventurer vs. a spa offering for the wellness traveler) you are going to see higher engagement. Achieve this in 3 easy steps:

  1.  List out 7-8 pieces of information (data points) about your customers that will help you better target them.
  2. Decide where it makes the most sense to ask for each one. A signup form, polls or a preference center gives your audience a chance to tell you a little bit about themselves and select what content, products and topics they are interested in. Only collect as much information as the value you are providing (offering a long downloadable research paper can collect 6-8 data points while a 10% off offer 2-3).
  3. Match each data point to the best platform and watch your customer profiles get richer by the day.

This way, instead of sending everything you will be sending relevant content. Not only does this improve the health of your subscriber list and deliverability, it earns your audience’s trust.

 

4. Creating Your Emails: Know Your Formula

When writing commercial communication, a great way to structure your message is around conversion points. In terms of an email, each the following stages can help your subscribers move one step closer to doing business with you:

  1.  Subject line – The purpose of your message. Keep it between 45-60 characters, personalize it with their name and be specific.
  2.  Preheader – The tagline of your message. Use it to provide more information.
  3.  Hero Image – This is what captures your audience’s visually before they’ve read anything. A hero image should always carry value (aesthetic value also works if this helps get them curious about the copy). Consider the height as this shouldn’t take over your email.
  4.  Copy – Crafting perfect email copy is hard work. Ensure that whatever you promised in the Subject Line, your email copy delivers on. Use personalization, scarcity, authority, curiosity, social proof, urgency or discovery to entice further engagement.
  5.  Call-To-Action (CTA) – This is what action you want your audience to take or feel. Write CTA copy conversationally; instead of resorting to “Learn More” as a default try to make it an active part of your body copy. For example, if you are asking people to fund their investment account your CTA could say “Grow Your Wealth Today”.

Pro tip: Test all of these elements and watch where people drop off to gain insights on improvement opportunities.

 

5. Numbers Matter

Not tracking the success of your email campaigns is like shooting for fish in an ocean. If you aren’t keeping score of your marketing efforts, then no one is. It is critical to measure the success of your email campaigns by keeping track of important KPI-s and performance metrics.

Salesforce has provided an amazing infographic below on what numbers you should be tracking and why.

Finally, it’s important to remember that like everything, email marketing is a practise. Choose progress over perfection, set clear goals for your email campaigns and most importantly, use these 5 steps as your guide to improve your clients’ overall email experience with your brand.

 

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