Ensuring the Effectiveness of Your Email Marketing

Effective email marketing is a lot tougher now than just 2 or 3 years ago, yet it is still one of the most effective marketing methods available if we get it right.

In the old days, say 4 years ago, a good mailing list together with a branded email platform and great subject line would pretty much do the trick.  You could reach a lot of people cost effectively, generate a fair bit of attention and translate that into new client or sales opportunities at a reasonable conversion rate.

The rapid adoption of social media sites to communicate one-to-one means email is now getting crowded out to a certain degree. Not in the sense that there is any less of it or that people use email significantly less, but in the sense that consumers are now far more discerning about which emails they will spend time reading.

The essential ingredients in email marketing being effective are:

  • The quality of the mailing list (current, accurate, personalised)
  • Compliant (not spam, or spam-like, and providing clear options to unsubscribe without hassle)
  • Authentic (a genuine reason to contact the recipient with something that is actually valuable or useful)
  • Recognised Sender & Contact Information(there needs to be instant awareness of who you, or your brand, are.  There needs to be an easy email address to answer to/from addressee)
  • Subject Line (has to at least grab attention, but preferably also create intrigue as well)
  • Content (has to be on point…which is not the same as “short and to the point” – long form content can be very effective provided it doesn’t ramble aimlessly)
  • Focussed (relevant to the audience: think smaller/niche campaigns rather than larger generic mass mailings)
  • Design (solid text blocks are OUT. Visual content & colour, a mix of media, text blocks broken up into visually appealing chunks, hyperlinks and shortcuts to further information sources – and all be easy to navigate on small screens)
  • A clear offer, or call to action (readers cannot be left in doubt about what you want them to do)
  • …..timing….it matters.  You need to figure out when is the optimal time for your audience to spend the time to at least read for 30 seconds.

Sun Tzu may well have been talking about email marketing now….the effectiveness will be determined by the preparation put in before the emails go out.

One final thought though: “effective” in the context of this article I believe means “creating or maintaining top of mind awareness”.  By that I mean that I would consider an email marketing campaign to be effective if it simply created awareness and refreshed my brand in the audiences minds.  So even if they delete the email without reading the content, as long as they know who it was that sent it and that resonates positively in their minds, then I would argue that it has achieved a positive result of some sort.  Put simply; if I send out an email campaign and the recipients largely say “oh, that’s from Tony – I don’t have time to read that now I’ll park it or delete it…” then I am ok with that.  It still reminded them that I am there, and as long as it causes no annoyance then it is a positive result.

Of course we are hoping for better than that, but the point is that there is a range of “effectiveness” from low level “brand reinforcement” through to “generated new business from that campaign”. They are all good one way or another.

Related: Aim to Own a Word in Your Target Market's Mind