When it comes to getting a final sale or conversion from the customer, it’s not just one single thing that’s going to put them over the edge. The vast majority of client transactions go through several stages before that final sale or booking, so in your marketing materials, you need to make sure you have every stage of that funnel covered.
One element which enables you to cover all these bases at once is email marketing. If it’s not already part of your greater digital marketing process, it should be, as it’s likely to get you the greatest ROI possible for your work.
However, in order to make this happen, you can't just spam out advertising material to every customer you come across. You need both pre-planning, as well as emails that will guide your customers through every stage of the marketing funnel.
Here are some tips to help.
Staging Your Email Content Strategy
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of the different emails that should go into your strategy, here’s a checklist of some of the pre-planning you need to do:
Know your ultimate goal for each email - Different emails will work towards different goals. To know what's targeting what, you need to have a clear understanding of what types of conversions you're looking to get. If you’re trying to position yourself a thought leader, are you trying to get more downloads or shares for your eBook or whitepaper? If you’re a brick-and-mortar retail establishment, are you trying to get more foot traffic in your physical location? Specifying your purpose will govern what email types you use.
Having a set content calendar - Just like a blog, you want to have it set in stone when you’re going to send out your emails. The reason for this is that different audiences respond to different frequencies/email sizes - putting out too many or too few emails, or sending them out at the wrong times, may lead to people unsubscribing.
Decide how you're going to fill out/replenish your email list - Some people make the fatal flaw of going for an initial outreach blitz to fill out their email lists - but stop there. B2C lists can decay at a rate of up to 30% a year, so make sure you're consistently working to get new customers to sign on as well.
The Different Emails You Need
The Welcome Email
These days, people are treated like numbers enough - a little bit of personal touch can do a lot more to improve your brand perception. A welcome email when someone first signs up to your email list is a great way to start. Along with showing your appreciation, you can also give them a brief preview of some of the content/offers they'll be getting as a part of your email list. This can help to build anticipation for your future emails.
The Email Newsletter
Some people might tell you that this format is dead - but they couldn’t be further from the truth. What is true is that people’s inboxes are filling up faster than ever, so if you do want to use longer-form email marketing, you need to make sure that the information you’re sending is both appropriate and actionable for your readers. Many newsletters focus on company news, and while that can be useful, it may be a good idea to try and mix in some repurposed content from your company blog. This can get a new set of eyes to your content, and make your newsletter more informative and useful.
Product Update Emails
In general, people aren’t going to be interested in opening an email about some random product - after all, what’s the difference between this and watching a commercial?
The key for product update emails is to make sure you are:
- Reaching your audience with actual, relevant updates
- Targeting people based on where they are in the purchase/use cycle (i.e. pre-purchase, already a customer)
For example, a product update talking about a new vacuum cleaner - targeted to people who've already purchased your vacuum cleaner - is likely to fail, however a web design platform sharing regular updates about new features is a valuable service.
The Added Value Email
Let’s face it - when it comes to getting people’s attention, there’s nothing quite like a chance of getting something for free.
This is something you see most commonly with email lists for retailers - as a way of thanking people for being on their email list, send out a coupon code or exclusive deal every now and then. In some cases, you may be able to provide added value another way, like an exclusive eBook or another piece of content to email subscribers.
Along with using different email types, you’re also going to want to invest in some sort of tracking platform/software, in order to determine exactly what your best options are going to be.
The reason for this is that your audience may respond better to some types of emails than others. Using data will help you refine your email strategy even further, in order to work towards those all-important conversions.