Learn how to implement, step-by-step, a complete Email Marketing strategy that generates Leads and Sales, find out what the most common mistakes in practice are, and learn what to check before sending a campaign
How to do Email Marketing? Where can I start? How to generate value through email campaigns? Does Email Marketing Really Work? Is it worth the effort?
These are questions that most of the customers of Resultados Digitais ask us every day before starting their email campaigns. And many of them have this fear for the simple fact that they have never seen the value of the channel.
Just as every good restaurant needs a great waiter, every company can – and should! – have a good relationship with your contacts – whether they are future sales or current customers. Many of the companies we helped to grow had good Email Marketing relationship practices.
At Blue World City, we have several customer success stories. And all this learning makes us more and more sure that Email Marketing is, yes, a way to scale a business.
Therefore, we have a step-by-step guide for you to implement good Email Marketing practices in your company, 7 common practice mistakes and a checklist to check before sending a campaign. Read on and enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget to check out the bonus at the end.
Email Marketing Strategy in 8 Steps
1. Build your list — and don’t buy it
To take an initial step, you need to look back a bit. Before establishing an Email Marketing structure and strategy, you must establish ways of capturing them. Think about how you will generate email contacts for your company.
Mailing capture techniques
Mailing capture techniques are ways to optimize your website or your actions to capture contacts. There are many techniques, however, we brought the main ones for you to start this work with results:
In Inbound Marketing strategies, the main way to capture contacts and start your contact base growth work is through content production. The distribution of this content is done by Landing Pages, places where the email of your visitors will be captured. To help in this aspect, we suggest reading the eBook How to Create Landing Pages That Convert.
This pop-up is only enabled for students who visit our page and are about to close it.
If you want to learn more about pop-ups, we have this post on the Resultados Digitais blog. He explains the step-by-step steps to make the best use of this strategy, without disrupting the user experience.
2. Choose your ESP
After we ensure that your base is growing, it’s time to prepare the ground for starting an Email Marketing structure. Therefore, it is important to choose a shooting tool, or ESP ( Email Service Provider ), to facilitate the sending and management process.
At Resultados Digitais, for example, we use our own software, RD Station Marketing, to trigger campaigns.
3. Choose your sender name
In several benchmarks and tests, we’ve found that one of the best practices for a sender name is to use a real email. Leave the firstname.lastname@example.org out and use email@example.com.
The fact that we apply personality, in this case, influences open rates and clicks. We observe that there is a tendency to generate empathy in users.
4. Define your communication strategy
Having the right tools and structure, it is important to turn our attention to the strategic part.
- Who is your audience?
- What actions do you want to perform with your Email Marketing?
- What is your company’s language?
- What do you consider success for your emails?
Answering these questions is extremely important to ensure the assertiveness of your Email Marketing strategy.
Who is your audience?
In this planning step, you will analyze who your target audience is, with whom you will communicate. To plan your audience assertively and save time, we’ve created a tool, called Personas Generator. Here you can optimize the process of creating personas and learn how to define your target audience.
What actions do you want to perform with your Email Marketing?
To answer this question, you need to set a goal. It’s a question that only you can answer: is it selling, informing, educating, downloading your materials, generating referrals? With this focus, when establishing a plan, you will prioritize your actions based on the objective and generate more results for your business.
What is your company’s language?
Is it informal, like a surfboard shop, or extremely formal, like a law firm? Establish a standard language for your company and keep it.
This language can be based on your persona, inclusive. It’s a great way to generate empathy via email, as well as standardize the expectations of people who read your emails.
What do you consider success for your emails?
Success, in this case, is considered: given my established goal, how much am I achieving?
- Sell 10 accounts;
- Generate 20 new referrals;
- Educate 10 Leads;
- Downloading an app.
It’s basically your goal and how close you are to it. It is important to have this context mapped, as it will motivate your actions and the planning of your emails.
5. Creating a template
Now, with a well-defined strategy, the right tools, and an organically captured email base, the chances that your emails are within what is considered good practice are extremely high.
It is important that you, in addition to having a written communication in unison (the same communication in different emails), establish continuous visual communication. Your contacts, when they open their emails, will quickly see what company it’s about and what content it’s bringing.
This will allow your user to take shortcuts to click on your content or objective: 60% of people who open emails do not scroll, ie it is important that the objective of your email is clear from the beginning (300px).
The ideal ratio is 40% images and 60% text
This way, your delivery rates will be better and reading will be easier. Soon, your email is lighter and better structured.
Each image must weigh a maximum of 100kbs – and you can insert a maximum of 470kbs into images in your layout
Providers do not accept images above 100kbs. If you send an email with images above that weight, they will not only not be opened but will also affect the delivery of your emails in inboxes. Be very careful.
Have only one objective per campaign and insert a maximum of 3 different Calls-to-Action in your email
This allows your objective to be clearer and the user’s decision-making to be facilitated. Research proves that the lower the number of decisions made by the user, the higher the click-through rate.
Enter unsubscribe option
It seems obvious, but it is important to enter the unsubscribe option. This action lowers your spam and complaint rates, meaning your deliverability improves.
6. Plan and start the relationship with the captured contacts
Understanding good practices in Email Marketing and with a tidy house, now is the time to establish a calendar, in order to optimize your relationship with the public. It is necessary to find a balance point for triggering emails, that is, not to send too many emails, but also not to send too few.
If you send too many emails, your base will saturate and your open rates will decrease as your contacts will get tired. But if you send few emails, your base will disengage, that is, it won’t remember its content.
That’s why it’s important to optimize your frequency in stages:
Periodicity, in the context of Email Marketing, means you keep your submissions constant and at pre-defined times. For this, it is important to analyze what time your Leads prefer to receive emails – and this varies from business to business. It is important that your contacts wait for your emails at their preferred times.
To give you an idea of when to schedule your emails, we’ve brought you some surveys that demonstrate some good times to send: With the data crossed, we have a good scenario to start at the following time: Monday or Tuesday at 10 am.
More important than setting a time is testing your shots at different times/days until you find the balance point for your business. Tip: test as many times as possible!
Frequency, in the context of Email Marketing, means how many emails your company will send per week. The ideal is to start with 1 shot per week, testing the modification of this frequency (for more or less, depending on your type of business). There are companies that send emails daily and that’s great. But for others, this practice doesn’t make any sense and a maximum of 1-2 emails per week should be sent.
Content Structure and Calendar
A very important part of your Email Marketing structure is knowing when it will go off. For this, it is important to establish a shipping schedule. Here at Digital Results, we use Trello to organize our shipments.
With this calendar, we were able to organize our releases: understand which day is ideal to send an email to, which audience it will be targeted to, and know-how to optimize times and establish a layout production flow.
Our entire operation is optimized due to the calendar. This ensures organization and assertiveness to our emails.
In order to correctly send your emails to the right people, it is important that you analyze your audience and divide it into niches. Thus, you will be able to communicate in a segmented and correct way with each Lead.
So that you understand how to create segmentations for your business, we suggest this post. Email segmentation is one of the preferred features of RD Station Marketing customers. The images above were taken from the tool, which allows you to build segments in a simple way using information from your Leads.
8. Analysis and tests
In this phase, when consolidating your entire Email Marketing operation, it is important that you analyze your results and test improvements based on the collected data.
With your data, you will be able to answer several questions:
- Am I targeting correctly?
- Are there any issues with the deliverability of my emails?
- How much am I improving?
- Do I need to improve a specific strategy in my email?
- Are the offers I’m sending making sense?
In order to answer some of these questions, check out the following step by step to establish good Email Marketing analysis and testing.
The main metrics (where to look and why) is presented below. All of them are delivered by RD Station Marketing, facilitating the constant optimization of your email strategies and segmentation.
In this metric you can see what volume of shots you are having during the month. It is important to analyze whether your contacts are receiving a lot/few emails and, based on this analysis, improve your targeting or your frequency of triggers.
It is the metric that logically corresponds to the opening of your emails. In absolute numbers, it is important to be analyzed to get a sense of the opening volumes that your campaigns are getting.
This metric allows you to see how many emails are being opened by the number of emails sent. This way, you can see which emails are working and which are not in terms of subject, campaigns or targeting.
In sheer numbers, it’s important to understand if the click volumes your campaigns are having are acceptable or below/above average.
This metric allows you to analyze whether your Email Marketing campaigns generated engagement, and helps you answer the following questions:
Did your subject make sense? Did it make sense to send this campaign to your Leads? Is the targeting correct? Is your layout generating click trends?
It is a complex metric that depends on many factors, but it is extremely important to analyze.
This metric allows you to analyze the body of your email. It basically demonstrates the engagement your Leads had with your email sent after opening it.
It allows you to answer the following questions:
Did my text make sense? Is the email layout interesting? Was my offer good?
It’s the absolute number of conversions in your email. As explained earlier, conversion is achieving your email’s goal:
- Sell an account;
- Generate referrals;
- Downloading a material;
- Downloading an application;
- Purchase of a product.
This metric allows you to analyze your conversion rate. By the number of emails delivered, how many are reaching the real goal I have with my emails?
Bounces are emails returned due to some error, so they are not actually sent to the recipient. There are two types of bounces: soft, for temporary errors, such as an inbox full, and hard, for permanent errors, such as an address that doesn’t exist.
It’s a defense metric; it lets you analyze how many contacts on your list could not receive your email.
This metric allows you to analyze how many invalid emails you have on your list. It is important to carry out base cleanings.
How many people are complaining about your emails? This metric answers that question and lets you see mistakes you’re making in your campaigns so you can improve them.
A/B Tests (Communication etc.)
Given the analytics established in your company, it is important that you use specific tests to attack each metric. So, run several tests on:
7 Email Marketing Mistakes That Can Decrease Your Campaign Engagement
Well, now that you know how to create an Email Marketing strategy, check out what not to do to get good results!
1. Don’t set a sender
Who will be the sender of emails in your campaigns? Studies on email open rates show that trusting the sender is an important factor in deciding whether an email is opened or not.
Define a sender, if it will be on behalf of your company, service or any evangelizer and avoid too many changes. Consistency and familiarity with your brand name help convey confidence that your emails will be opened in the future.
2. Work your email subject at the last moment
How do you work on copying the subject of your emails today? Have you invested so much time to develop a good campaign to, just at the last moment, create the subject of your email? Don’t forget to think about one of the top influencers on the last-minute open rate!
Take a few minutes to think of a list of topics. Collect the 3 that you found most interesting and ask a third person for their opinion. Make sure that the subject of your emails is clear, that they minimize efforts for your base to understand the offer, arouse curiosity and make them interested in the subject so that they open your email.
3. Use “no-reply” in the email address
Avoid sending emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be closing the communication channel with your base and it can be frustrating for them if they need to contact you.
The way your database interacts with your emails – including responses – helps determine whether your email will be delivered to the inbox or not.
4. Not setting a goal
Keep your content clean. Your email content should aim to get the user to convert or buy something on a Landing Page. So, be succinct, don’t leave the content-heavy for reading. Deliver the value to the user in a few paragraphs.
Make sure you have a clear objective when sending the email, working content around that objective. If the main purpose of your email is the conversion into the material, avoid links to external websites.
5. Abusing the Hard Sell
Know your base’s behavior first to define what kind of sales approach works best for them. When you are creating your campaigns, remember not to force a sale, as this will affect the performance of your emails.
6. Use “any” image
Avoid using photos of low quality or out of context – and depending on your case, don’t use images! People want to do business with real companies, so avoid images with scenarios and reenactments that are not real.
If necessary, allow extra time to choose the ideal image. The advantages of visual appeal are equally proportional to the harms of a bad choice.
7. Not keeping a pattern
Perhaps you feel the need to change your email campaign templates in the future. It is important that these changes are recorded so that you can track the result of each change and be able to replicate what works later. Do micro-experiments on your emails, changing one variable at a time.
Maintain the identity of your emails when you feel satisfied with the results. One way to prevent your emails from being deleted is to develop a visual identity that makes it possible for people to recognize your emails right away.
Checklist: 9 Items to Check Before Sending An Email Marketing Campaign
Finally, when it comes to sending an Email Marketing campaign to a customer base – with hundreds or thousands of emails – even the most experienced marketers suffer a slight tachycardia when they see that something went wrong in the delivery.
A small mistake in your Email Marketing campaign can lead to a bad impression and even your customers being unsubscribed from your lists. That’s why we’ve brought you a checklist for you to implement best practices in your company!
1 . Am I sending to the right email list?
Check at least twice when choosing the email list you need to send a campaign to! Our advice is to name the email lists, describing their purpose clearly. You can also use letters or numbers if there are lists with similar names. Here are some examples:
- Blogs Subscribed 2018;
- Blogs Subscribed 2019;
- XY product customers;
- Event participants 10 Ed.
With the lists well-segmented and with names that make a clear separation, the chances of you making mistakes in choosing the list is much smaller.
2 . Am I sending the right campaign?
The rule is the same as for question #1 above. This mistake is more common when sending email campaigns to multiple targeted lists or when having to deliver many campaigns in a short amount of time. Just a little distraction – combined with disorganization – and presto, failure is imminent.
Pay attention to detail and organize your campaigns in a way that:
- Make the names clear for the campaigns you have to send, in order to better distinguish each one.
- Preview the campaign at least twice before submitting it.
3. Will the campaign be displayed correctly to everyone?
There are specific tools you can use to check the appearance of your campaign, but it’s always a good option to send a test email to your own accounts on different email providers, browsers and operating systems, such as:
- Outlook Express
In RD Station Marketing, you can send a test email before taking the final shot. Select some own accounts on different platforms and see how the email looks in the inbox of each one of them. A simple action that can prevent your email from being displayed correctly.
4 . Are the links working?
404 pages. Does this sound familiar? To avoid missing any wrong links, it is recommended to take extra care when checking all the links in the message.
Always test the links of images, calls-to-action and Social Networks. Be very careful when using email campaign duplication tools, as by using an old email template you run the risk of forgetting to update the links.
5. Does the campaign perform well in text mode?
Contrary to what most people think, text mode is not dead yet. In fact, it can sometimes yield better results than HTML newsletters. Also, to make sure the text version of your campaigns looks good, your email should:
- Have text that is easy to read and “scan”;
- Present attractive text;
- It should not be sent as an attachment.
6. What is the chance of the campaign being marked as spam?
If you are not careful, the content of your email campaign may be identified as spam by major email providers or customers.
To stay away from your recipients’ junk folder, you should avoid the following items that will almost always land your messages on spam lists:
- Exaggeration of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Use all letters of the title in UPPERCASE. CAUTION! THAT’S THE SAME AS SCREAMING.
- Sloppy HTML coding (usually happens when converting a Microsoft Word file to HTML)
- Red, bright or green colored fonts
- Use the word “test” in the subject line
- Create an email with just a large image, with little or no text
Tip: Make sure your email doesn’t look like the ones that keep popping up in your spam folder and be sure to avoid words or phrases that act as common spam triggers.
7. Is the unsubscribe link visible enough?
Okay, you have permission from your subscribers to send them emails. But regardless, remember that no one likes having their inbox full of unnecessary messages. The name of this is still spam.
Don’t force people to stay signed up. Make sure your “opt-out link” is visible. It shows that you respect your customers. In the end, email contacts are maintained with relevant content delivered in a timely manner, not by hiding a link.
8. Has the text been revised?
Is not correcting your texts a common mistake? So, you need to improve your correction, you need to be a professional.
One way to avoid this type of error is to ask people on your team to take a last look at the content of your email before sending it. Remember step #3? Take the opportunity to send a test email to your team or colleagues who can help with the correction.
They can identify links that don’t work, typos, or other small details that might be covered up. This is a basic care with the quality of your message that can prevent future cancellations.
9. Have I included a call-to-action?
Some email campaigns don’t even have this feature. But, with exceptions, somewhere in the email – preferably in some places – you should invite the person who reads the email to perform some conversion action: visit your website or blog, your Landing Page, your page on Facebook and Twitter or even to download some material.
Make sure all links work and that the landing page has the same message/offer as in the email so the user doesn’t get confused.
BONUS: Email Marketing Metrics Tracking Worksheet!
Once you’ve put into action the best practices we’ve suggested in this post, you’ll certainly want to know if it’s working. As we mentioned, there are several metrics to be monitored…
That’s why we want to make your life easier! We created a super spreadsheet for you to follow the main Email Marketing metrics. With it, you will be able to make improvements and reach your channel goals month by month. Also gaining productivity, as everything is gathered in one place.
Oh, and there’s the bonus: you’ll also receive a webinar explaining how to use the Email Marketing Metrics Tracking Worksheet! Just fill in the details below and check your strategy.