In my humble opinion, there is no other consumer marketing channel as adaptable, cost-effective, and action-oriented as email marketing. For fresh produce growers and service providers, a consumer newsletter can be a very effective way to provide your customers with added value—and keep your company top of mind (and top of inbox!) on a regular basis.
How do you master the art of email marketing for your business?
Develop an email communication plan
An email communication plan helps define both strategic messaging that should be shared with key audiences in order to drive higher email engagement, open rates, and click-through rates. Here are a few helpful steps to get you started on the right path when creating an email communication plan for your company:
- Identify your objectives to help support business goals - If generating new or more revenue before the end of a month or the end of the year is at the top of your VP's list for reaching sales goals, use email marketing to target customers accordingly.
- Define the purpose of your communications (i.e. a new product launch) - Whether informative or driving home a call to action (CTA), emails are the perfect vehicle to get your message across from subject line to email body copy.
- Identify your audience - Without having a specified audience, email marketing messaging can get murky in a hurry. To do it well, email marketers align key messages with the right audiences to generate better open and click through rates.
- Plan and design your messaging - Are you noticing a trend here? Messaging really is key when it comes to email marketing success and this is where the art of writing compelling copy along with visuals that grab the eager eye can make all of the difference in your success. To do this effectively, ensure that the messaging you present to your audiences is relevant to their needs and visually displays that need.
- Create a communication calendar - Organization is also an art form when it comes to planning and executing email marketing. Keeping a clean and tidy calendar along with the dates and topics that you hope to share with specific audiences on a monthly basis will keep you on your toes and your internal stakeholders eager to see results from proposed topics.
- Strategize how you’ll connect your email campaign on social media - When launching an email, don't let the buck stop with email to get your messaging across. Capitalize on social media to extend your reach and get that message out to target audiences on appropriate channels.
- Consider creating a Workflow to follow-up - Workflow automation in email marketing is a lifesaver for companies that are managing hundreds and even thousands of contacts in a database on a daily/weekly basis. To determine if workflow automation is right for your business, consider the time you will spend following-up on emails vs. targeting certain groups with a workflow to generate repeat open rates and clicks to help you gain a deeper grasp on interest levels of certain groups.
Position your audience as the heroMore than most, the reason people receive an email from your company is because they are already familiar with your product. Thus, try twisting your messaging from being product or "features" centric to becoming more "benefits" centric to entice the reader more. Below is an example of how this might come to life when making your audience the hero in email marketing:
- Features or product focused messaging:
- We’re giving you quick and easy recipes to save prep time. Our pre-cut product makes dinner time easy because we’ve done the chopping for you.
- Benefits or hero focused messaging:
- You need a quick fix for dinner that you can get on the table in 20 minutes or less. This can become a reality when you take short cuts on time (but not on flavor) when using veggies that are already chopped.
- Features or product focused messaging:
Create a clear call to action
In a hero’s journey, there always needs to be a climax, a pinnacle point that affects the rest of the story. The same should be true for email marketing. Your subject line and copy should be your rising action and your call to action reflects the climax of your story. When creating calls to action, be sure to be:
- Concise with actionable text
- Instill a sense of urgency
- Compel them to click to learn more
You can have an effective email strategy and impactful campaign if you start by utilizing these five principles to serve as your blueprint:
- Scale – If any image is too wide or too tall it’s distracting for readers. The general rule of thumb is no wider than 600 pixels and no taller than 400 pixels.
- Visual Hierarchy - This helps maneuver the eye through the content of the email in order of importance.
- Balance - Keep your audience interested by arranging design elements proportionately with the copy presented. Try not to have too much of either design or copy and instead, balance them so the eye is easily able to navigate the two.
- Contrast - Using the "bold" or "italics" feature within the body of an email is a great way to add contract or emphasis on specific words or key statements that you really want the reader to know.
Without understanding the data behind your email marketing performance, your email campaigns can lack direction and purpose. Taking a weekly or monthly assessment of your distributed emails will help you garner insights to shape your email marketing activity for the future. In addition, here are other areas you might develop KPIs or measurements to help validate email marketing as part of your mix:
- Engagement Analysis - These metrics show what people do and how they interact with your campaign (e.g. Open Rate or Click Rate)
- Outcome Analysis - The metrics that show the overall results/effectiveness of your campaign. (e.g. Web referral, registrations, downloads, etc.)
- Experience Analysis - Reports insights that help you navigate changes that should be applied based on behaviors tracked in previous email iterations.
At the end of the day, the formula is simple: your email marketing will be successful if you’re providing helpful and empathetic content rather than focusing on selling your products or services. And with the right creative touches, you'll be on your way to email marketing excellence in no time. Seeking more guidance on email marketing for your business? Schedule a consultation and we'll be happy to advise you.