Managing an effective email marketing strategy can be tricky, but the value of email marketing is undeniable. It’s important to hit the right spot and make sure that your campaign is visible, valuable and viable. So what do you need to do to create an effective strategy? Here are some of the things you need to consider:

  • Building your subscriber list
  • Knowing your goals
  • Planning your emails and follow-ups
  • Overseeing the design and copy of every email, including writing a killer subject line
  • Testing and tracking
  • Analysing your results and amending your strategy

If all of these are dealt with properly, then you’ll have an effective strategy you can utilise time and again to create value for your business.

So, what are the steps you need to follow?

Step 1 – Build Your Subscriber List

If you want an awesome email marketing strategy, you need to start by building your audience. The best way to do this is by turning your website visitors into subscribers. You can easily do this by adding a pop up to your website encouraging visitors to enter their email address and sign up to the subscriber list. You’ll need to think of a great incentive for people to do this – otherwise, they won’t bother! Perhaps you’ll send them a 10% off voucher for their next purchase? Perhaps you’ll be sending them exclusive content and offers? Perhaps they’ll get a freebie with their next order? Give them a reason to sign up.

These leads will be completely targeted. They have already shown interest in your business by clicking on your website. This will help to ensure that your emails are received by the right people.

Another great way to build your list is by using a social media competition. In order to enter the competition, your followers need to click through to your website and sign up to the subscriber list.

How To Create An Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Step 2 – Figure Out Your Goals

If you don’t have a goal, you’ll never be able to measure if your email marketing strategy is actually working. Try using SMART goals – these are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

There is no point in setting a goal that’s too high, or one that’s too vague. ‘Get more sales’ is difficult to measure, it isn’t specific. ‘Improving returning customer purchases by 10%’ is measurable, as is ‘reducing no-shows for appointments by 5 per week’. 

Think carefully about what you want to achieve, and then you’ll have far more focus for your campaign. This focus can only mean good news for your business!

Step 3 – How, What, Where, When?

You’ve got your subscriber list, you’ve decided on your goal, now we get to the nitty-gritty. 

Planning Is Paramount…

Believe it or not, when you send an email actually makes a difference to your clicks. Studies have shown that the best days to send emails are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The best times to send an email are 10 am, 8 pm, 2 pm and 6 am. What works best for you and your business will depend entirely on your audience. You need to test these times and analyse to see which worked best for your audience. This may take a few weeks or months, but it will give you the optimum time to use going forward.

Timing Is Essential…

Next, you need to consider how often you should be emailing. Too little, and your audience will forget who you are. Too often, and you’ll see that ‘unsubscribe’ button being clicked. 

There’s no simple answer. 

A good start will be to email once a month, and up this to once a week as your content improves. Do you have awesome new offers coming out 2-3 times a week? That’s great – email your list! But keep an eye on your numbers. If you get lots of unsubscribes, it’s time to slow down.

A great tip is to sign up to the mailing lists of business leaders – those companies in your field that you aspire to be like. What are they doing? What works well? Learn from them.

However often you decide to email your list, make sure that you monitor, monitor, monitor. You’ll be able to see what works well and what doesn’t.

How To Create An Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Step 4 – Crafting The Perfect Email

There are many different types of email that you can send. What you choose will depend on your goal and what you want to achieve. You can even segment your list so that you can send different types of emails to different sections of your audience. Here are the main types of email you might consider:

Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way of updating your audience on a regular basis, perhaps monthly. They need to provide value – think 90% educational content and 10% promotional content. They should be concise, easy to read and can include high-quality graphics. Ideally, newsletters should contain a single theme or idea – this will prevent you from throwing everything and anything at your newsletter!

Your newsletters need to contain information which is going to be genuinely interesting to your audience. Keep them in mind when drafting your content. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘content is king’? Well, it’s right!

Automated Drip Emails

These are a highly valuable email type. The emails are based on an action type. For example, if a subscriber visits your website and adds a product to their basket but doesn’t purchase it, the automated email will gently remind them and encourage them to complete their purchase. They should create a sense of urgency – e.g. ‘get it before it’s gone!’

Think about frequency here. One reminder is good, two may be ok, more than that and your potential customers could well be turned off.

Seasonal And Promotional Emails

Sending seasonal and promotional emails is a great way of turning your subscriber list into paying customers. However, think back to your inbox on Black Friday – your email will need to really stand out against the competition. Think simplicity and awesome offerings.

Now It’s Time For The Subject Line…

Many will tell you that your subject line isn’t vital but, whilst it isn’t the be-all and end-all, it can encourage those all-important clicks. 

Your subject line needs to be short, to the point and use action words. You need a sense of importance and something compelling.

As an example, I’ve looked through my emails from the last few days. I have received many with the subject line ‘Happy New Year!’ All of these ended up in my Trash – the subject line didn’t draw me in. It didn’t tell me about the content of the email. 

The ones that I did click on told me more; they provided value. For example, ‘2020 Treat: Tops Down To £3’, ‘20 New Challenges For 2020’ and ‘The Fashion We Love For 2020’. These subject lines touch upon the new year but give something else too; they tell me what is in the email and what to expect.

There are some things to avoid when writing your subject line:

  • Don’t fall into the trap of clickbaiting. Audiences can see this from a mile off and it will earn you unsubscribers
  • No overpromising
  • DON’T use all caps or overuse exclamation marks!!!
  • Avoid complex language 

Beautiful Imagery Or Simplicity?

The look of your email is very important. A cluttered, busy email is unlikely to get many click-throughs. Do you want your audience to immediately recognise your brand? Why not start with your website header. Do you have some beautiful images to share? Include them – but make sure that they’re relevant.

A tip you won’t often hear is: don’t overlook the power of plain text. Although these emails might look basic, they come across as much more personalised and can get a much higher response rate. Give it a try!

How To Create An Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Step 5 – Track Away

When you’ve decided on your campaign, created beautiful engaging emails and sent them to your target audience, the next step is to track the campaign. There are all sorts of things that you can (and should!) track during your marketing campaign, but here are our top ones:

Open Rate

This is absolutely vital. You need to know how many of your subscribers opened the email that you sent. This gives you insight into the success of your subject line copy. On average, email marketing campaigns have a 24% open rate – so if yours gets higher than this, you’ve done something right.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

This tells you how many people clicked on the links in your email. The best way to encourage these is by including links throughout the email, and an eye-catching call-to-action button. The average CTR for most campaigns is just over 4%.

Conversion Rate

This is your most important metric. It tells you how many people clicked through and then completed a particular action – for example, if they clicked through to your website and redeemed an offer code by making a purchase. You can use this to measure your return on investment. If you know how much you’ve spent on your email marketing strategy and how much you’re making, you’ll know if the campaign has been a success.

Number Of Unsubscribes

It can be discouraging to get a high number of unsubscribes following an email campaign, but it’s important to monitor these numbers so that you can begin to understand why. If you get a particularly high number after one email, then you know that there was something that your audience didn’t like and use that to learn from moving forward.

How To Create An Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Step 6 – Analyse And Amend Your Email Strategy

There is no point in monitoring your metrics if you don’t use them to update your campaign. Too many email marketing campaigns don’t work because the valuable data isn’t used to change things.

No two audiences are the same, and so what has worked in the past or for another company might not work for your audience today. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on the data and don’t be afraid to mix things up.

One of the best ways of doing this is through A/B testing. Simply put, A/B testing involves sending two versions of an email to two sections of your audience. You can then directly measure them against each other and see which one performs best. This gives you a direct measure – you can see if your audience prefers video or static images, testimonials or blog post links. This gives you great information for moving forward with your campaign.

In one A/B test, it was found that a red call to action button outperformed a green one by 21%. Although this doesn’t mean that ALL audiences will prefer a red button, it does show the power of A/B testing.

When you’ve analysed your metrics, you can go back to your initial goal and see what you need to do to achieve it. If you’ve already achieved it, then you can create a more challenging goal for your future campaigns.

The Takeaway…

An effective email marketing strategy is, necessarily, a process of trial and error. If you think that you can put a campaign together, write all of the emails, schedule them, forget about it and watch the conversions come flowing in – you’re wrong! An email marketing campaign needs to be consistently monitored, amended and updated.

You need to get to know your audience well and judge what they like and, most importantly, don’t overwhelm them with too many emails. Keep them engaged with high-quality content and offers. 

Email marketing campaigns are indispensable for your business. If you need an expert to advise and help getting an effective email marketing strategy in place for your business, book a free consultation below…

Author Profile

Harriet Young
Harriet Young
Our Creative Content Specialist, Harriet Young, is a prolific blogger, Instagrammer and (almost) published author. A self-confessed book addict, Harriet loves to read, write and photograph books in her spare time - a hobby which transfers beautifully into her role of writing creative content for our wonderful clients.