With more and more email providers cracking down on SPAM, there is a growing belief that email marketing is not as effective as it once was. Companies who once relied heavily on email marketing have turned to other methods such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, and social media to help build their brand and promote their products. Despite what some people are saying, email marketing is far from dead. The key is to use this marketing tool effectively.
Utilize Double Opt-Ins
When the CAN-SPAM act was adopted in 2003, the way email marketing worked changed drastically. The act was aimed at decreasing the amount of unsolicited marketing emails consumers were receiving on a daily basis.
CAN-SPAM set restrictions and punishments for companies who violate anti-spam laws which include fines and possible jail time. One of the best ways to avoid having your emails land in the SPAM folder and adhere to federal laws is to use double opt-ins.
Double opt-ins require email subscribers to agree to join your email list twice. Here is the general process:
- A user enters their email in an opt-in form (either electronic or other means)
- The user receives an email asking them to confirm their subscription. They must click on the confirmation link in the email to subscribe to the list
This process not only helps avoid SPAM reports, but it also helps decrease the number of unsubscribes and bounced emails a company receives. According to the email marketing software provider Mail Chimp, double opt-ins also increase open rates by as much as 72%.
Build a targeted email list
In order to be successful with email marketing, your list should be as targeted as possible. A targeted email list is created by collecting the emails of current customers, past customers, people met at trade shows, and others who have expressed interest in your products and services.
To build on the list of core fans, include subscribe links in every email sent out to subscribers. This enables current subscribers to share emails with their friends and have them sign up using the subscribe link in the email. This chain reaction approach helped Tom Sant, author of Persuasive Business Proposals and Giants of Sales, build an email list of over 35,000 subscribers.
In a way, an email list functions as a form of CRM. As we mentioned in our article Why CRM Should Be on Top of Your List, “a person is 4 times more likely to purchase from a business that was referred to them by a friend”. Getting current subscribers to spread your emails is free and targeted advertising.
All emails should not be ads
A common mistake made by companies that use email marketing is consistently sending out emails that advertise new products and sales. In other words, they are sending out ads to subscribers’ inboxes. To achieve great results with email marketing, focus on providing value and useful information to subscribers rather than constantly selling to them.
Statistics show that 44% of emails are opened on mobile devices. That means that there is a strong likelihood that when customers view an email, they are not in a position to make a purchase. By providing them with useful information rather than an ad, they will be more likely to save the email and refer back to it when they have access to a laptop or desktop computer. Ads typically go into the trash folder.
A key advantage of email marketing is the ability to track metrics such as open rates, click rates, bounce rates, revenue gained from emails, and much more. Analytics allow you to optimize email marketing campaigns through A/B testing, segmentation, and a variety of other variables.
Email marketing campaigns can be automated by setting up a series of auto-responders that are triggered by certain events such as open dates and clicking links within an email. The data gathered through auto-responders should be analyzed to further improve future campaigns.