How to get more website traffic: Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing.
Most of the time when discussing an SEO package with a new client, part of our recommendation will tend to be for email marketing. Many of them have already tried and failed, whereas others are hasty to get going due to the constraints of GDPR.
GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation is the law that dictates the way that businesses need to handle data. It has scared a lot of smaller firms away from email marketing and has forced businesses across the nation to address the way they obtain, manage and distribute personal data. Even in 2020, I still find it a challenge to convince some clients to invest time and money into email marketing – which is funny because the statistics suggest that it’s the most effective form of digital marketing after video. The truth is, email marketing isn’t actually such a big deal from a GDPR standpoint. You just have to tread carefully and be moral. Use your “noggin” (and this guide) and you should be absolutely fine!
The reason that Email Marketing is so important, in terms of digital marketing, is that unlike blogging and social media you are empowered to send content directly into the inbox of your target audience. This means you are not wasting time putting together content that doesn’t reach the people who are going to make you money. It can be a really powerful tool for conversion as well. Much like blogging, Email Marketing allows you to establish yourself as an authority in your sector and is part of building the foundation for your websites long term success. The results are not instant, for the most part, but with some persistence and quality control, you really can grow your business’s online presence quite significantly. After reading this guide, you should feel confident enough to send out some marketing emails of your own that will deliver results for your business. Because email marketing has become so effective, there are quite a number of applications that you can use to manage, track, monitor and create campaigns – most notably MailChimp. MailChimp is a freemium service that offers subscriptions from as little as £9.99 per month with a host of advanced features like API integrations (for your website) and cross-platform compatibility. We use it for all of our e-marketing clients and from all of the platforms that we have tested in the pest, we find it works best. There are more comprehensive marketing suites available, like KulaHub but for the purposes of basic e-marketing we find that MailChimp is more than adequate. There are some powerful analytics tools that allow you to monitor the performance of each campaign and make improvements, support for various post types like landing pages and video and a really strong audience segmentation platform for you to divide your different mailing lists as you see fit. You can even monitor loads of different information regarding client demographics to understand your audience and see which segment of people engage the most with your content. It can even tell you what times people engage with your content so you can release them according to the schedule of your readers.
Like with everything else digital marketing, there is a whole host of jargon used by agencies to try and get more money out of you – in order to familiarise yourself with them please check out our article on the ultimate guide to SEO jargon, however, here are some you may want to know right now:
Engagement rate: This is the rate of people that engage with your content in the intended way. If you have an audience of 100 people and 17 people engage with your email, you have a 17% engagement rate. Marketers think a rate of 30% or more is great.
Open rate: This is the rate of people opening your email rather than deleting it. The math is the same as above and a rate of 10% or more is pretty good!
Bounce rate: In terms of email, the bounce rate is the amount of emails that are undelivered. This could be caused by a Typo, a server issue on the receiving end or an issue with the content of your email.
Building + retaining and audience
Building an email audience can be quite challenging, and can take a considerable amount of time. Due to GDPR, you have to have someones expressed permission in order to subscribe them to your mailing list, unless your terms of usage state otherwise (you can be quite savvy and make the most of this). Gone are the days when you can just import contacts via CSV without stepping on someones toes! Building an audience takes time, so get a nice call to action or exit intent pop-up issued on your website and start to promote it on social media. We notice really high conversion rates when inputting an email address allows your readers to unlock free /“bonus”/ content or a special offer, although this may not work for some businesses. Take a look at how your competition is capturing emails and then do something similar, chances are its working well for them if they have continued to do it. Another great way to capture emails is by running a quiz. Neil Patel executes this beautifully on neilpatel.com, offering a 3-minute SEO quiz to improve your websites ranking on Google. In order to get your results, you have to input your email address and all of a sudden you will receive a deluge of emails from the man himself! He has claimed that this boosts his email conversions massively. On the other hand, all of this can get really annoying for the consumer. If they can’t even get access to your content because of constant distractions, or things to fill out, then you’re defeating the purpose. Make sure you still retain a clear user journey and don’t over-face people, you will likely lose them and perhaps damage the hard-earned credibility of your brand.
Please keep in mind that in most cases, its far from easy to build up a valuable email list of customers who will make you money. Many agencies can promise huge numbers of subscriptions, but they’re no good if they aren’t in the market to buy from you. Using social media to promote your mailing list can be really powerful as it offers your audience a path to engage with you further. This creates a really basic sales funnel and has worked brilliantly for us in the past with a number of clients. Budget permitting, a graphically designed banner ad for social media will significantly increase the number of readers that your email marketing will attract.
Although there are some brilliant tried and true ways to build up a mailing list, why not just tell people about it? I’m serious. Tell your family, friends, Facebook feed, dog-walker, stylist, gardener and cleaner. Tell everyone who you email (maybe include an embedded sign-up form in your email signature) and spread the word about your content. The word of mouth can often be a powerful tool that isn’t used enough nowadays.
Another thing that my clients tend to oversee, is that people always have the ability to mark your emails as spam or worse still, unsubscribe. If your audience does this, you will notice a significantly lower ROI (return on investment) and a significantly higher bounce rate. It’s really hard to get clients to re-subscribe and basically never happens so you need to ensure that your content is engaging, insightful, funny or relevant. Don’t be too repetitive and don’t get on people’s nerves. I always use the following analogy. Bothering people via email is like your Grandma on a video call. She will likely spend 50% of the time shouting and waving at the screen rather than engaging in the conversation as if you were sat in the room. Don’t be a Grandma. I will outline exactly how to write and structure emails below.
The secret formula
Newsflash – there’s no secret to email marketing, however, these simple tips will apply to *all email marketing audiences* and will help you to boost the reach and engagement of your emails regardless of your business or your sector.
Post consistently. I’m not saying daily or even weekly. Different schedules will work better for different sectors. A tradesman is likely to notice more results from small but frequent posting whereas a fashion blogger will likely notice a better engagement rate from long and infrequent posts. The schedule doesn’t matter, but your consistency does. If you start posting bi-monthly (like us), then stick to it. The ROI will be much higher as your audience will come to expect an email and be prepared to engage with it, compered to sporadic emails that clog they’re inbox up. ::image of clogged inbox:: (Cough, cough… Neil Patel)
Identify your audience. I truly mean it when I say there is no one-size-fits-all way to use email marketing effectively. You need to identify your audience and appropriate the length and format to them. Speak to them in a language and with a dialect that they can understand.
We find that the proportion of content in your emails should be 75% learning, 25% selling. Let’s say you decide to post weekly, the first 3 emails of any given month should educate your audience about your products and sector and then the 4th should try and sell to them. Even though you don’t want to appear too “salesy”, you have to make some money otherwise email marketing is a huge waste of time.
Optimise your subject-line. Using keywords can be useful, but if you use too many industry terms your emails may be marked as spam by email servers. Make sure your email subject sound like a human has written them. Sometimes, you don’t even need to relate them to your business or products. You can use a “hook” or an incentive to read (like a special offer) or just go off the cuff and grab their attention. We did some work for a personal fitness company and titled a campaign “You lucky motherf*ckers”. The open rate was 87%. Just remember that some mail clients will automatically mark your emails as spam if they have an email address or website link in their subject line, and numbers or excessive punctuation can also have the same effect.
Length & Format
You need to consider your type size and choice of font. Nobody wants to read 300 words of Times New Roman in size 8 – that’s borderline torture. We recommend that you use at least a size 12 type and try to use a Serif font, as these are easiest on people’s eyes.
It’s good to use images and gifs if possible but just be aware that if your audience may not be technically inclined, they may have disabled HTML emails which will cause yours to look terrible. Also, some email marketing services have actually sent images and gifs as attachments which means they render out of context on the receiving end – so make sure to do some testing on different mail clients before you hit send.
I always get asked what the perfect length of an email is. Again, this will heavily depend on your target audience however we notice the most success on emails between 150-300 words in length, with images for balance. This way – you not boring your audience!
Embrace yourself and your brand. I said this in our ultimate guide to blogging, but to stand-out, your emails should have some creative flair and a personal touch. Just make sure your content cannot be deemed too offensive and stays consistent with your general brand image.
Keywords + other considerations
Getting keywords into your emails can be good because it demonstrates to your audience that you are an expert in your sector, but when it comes to e-marketing keywords are not that important (compared to blogging). If you do wish to include some keywords, we always recommend that you refer to Google Trends or Ubersuggest.
In our opinion, it’s much more effective to state some industry statistics or facts rather than going out of your way to find and them plumb in keywords. Statistics are more likely to impress your audience and increase your brand’s presence as an authority in your sector.
Remember, the point of any marketing effort is to generate sales. If you are not selling then it’s a waste of time. If you have an e-commerce store, why not send out an email about one of your products then link back to your website to sell it? Not only will this boost your sales, but it will create a valuable backlink and increase your search engine ranking.
I said above that you need to make sure your content is original and reflects your personality. Original content converts significantly higher than copied content, as it is clear when you are nicking your content from elsewhere.
If you have a decent budget, then why not do some video marketing and then publicise it via email? This is a great way to teach your audience about your business and take advantage of the huge ROI that video marketing offers at the moment.
Has someone on your team got an eye for design? If so, graphically designed images, gifs and banners will convert significantly higher than content that you have downloaded from Unsplash.
Use templates. For a client, we noticed a much higher conversion rate on our e-marketing after establishing a template. A pre-designed template (whether it be designed in HTML or in a visual builder) will allow you to push content out far faster and your audience will come to expect certain formats and are likely to continue reading them. I know this sounds pretty trivial, but it really does work.
The one downside to email marketing is that your increased sales only last for the lifetime of the campaign. With a blog, your content drives sales consistently over the period that it is published. What if I told you that this could also be the case for e-marketing? When you have sent out an email, you can add the link onto your website and allow future traffic to read emails of the past. This will only be viable for a handful of businesses, but it’s a great way to maximise the return on your efforts down the line. If you are aiming to do this, try and avoid using timestamps as an email dated 2016 will be un-appealing to future readers.
Make sure you clean your subscriptions regularly. If you notice certain subscribers are constantly cleaning their subscriptions or never open their emails just remove them. Chances are you are flogging a dead horse and they are just a statistic for you to worry about. You can’t sell to everyone, so keeping those who may buy in well-engaged should be your priority.
Adding a call to action
Email Marketing presents a great way to issue a call to action. This can be in the form of a product link, discount code or countdown to get a special gift. Again, the call to action you are able to issue does depend on what you do so be creative. Chances are when a user has read your email they are looking for the next thing to do, so offering them a clear user path is a great way to boost your conversions.
Additionally, you can run a competition or a quiz to collect emails, or even allow those who sign up to “unlock” some bonus content. This can be a great way to give something back in return for a subscription. You can try and do this within the email or create a backlink to your website (which will help to boost your SEO performance). This is really important because it offers your readers a logical user path or something to do after reading your email. We have noticed that adding product links or quizzes really does help to boost the conversions for some of our clients! Hopefully, after reading that you are confident enough to have a go at email marketing for your business, or improve on your current efforts. Thanks for reading.
Written by Luke Tarbuck, Managing Director.
“I have worked in the general technology sector, as a consultant, since 2016. I love working with such a diverse range of companies to help them grow. I am passionate about emerging technologies, new legislation and drinking copius amounts of tea.”
If you want to learn how I can help your business grow, email email@example.com
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