As far as digital marketing channels go, email is as old as it gets. In fact, for many years, email was the only form of digital marketing around.
The very first email marketing blast in history occurred in 1978. Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corp promoted his company’s computers to 400 recipients throughout ARPAnet. This campaign resulted in an inflation-adjusted $78 million in sales. It also is considered the world’s first unsolicited spam message.
Fast forward 40 years, and email marketing is still going strong. In fact, it generates $38 for every $1 marketers spend on it, giving it by far the highest ROI of any digital marketing method.
This venerable communications platform was never unseated by direct messaging, fax machines, or any other technology. Instead, it worked its way to the center of peoples’ attention, becoming one of the highest-priority ways to communicate with someone you don’t know personally.
Email Marketing Best Practices for 2018
When it comes to email marketing, organizations around the world face the same problem Gary Thuerk did in 1978. Namely, that a successful marketing campaign can still be considered spam. Unlike ARPAnet users, however, today’s email users have complex spam filters and blocking mechanisms in place to prevent unsolicited mail from getting through.
And it’s not just spam that people are afraid of. Email’s prevalence – and its older, underlying technology – remains the perfect attack vector for cybercriminals. This means that the rules on how to use email marketing have shifted more towards value more than ever before. Unsolicited marketing messages and blatant self-promotion are completely ineffective.
Incentives and well-curated email contact lists are highly effective, though. These are the tools that will get you to the coveted 3800% ROI that email marketing campaigns generate. Follow these email marketing best practices for 2018 to make your campaign a success
1. Respect Recipient Privacy
If recipients unsubscribe from your emails, don’t bother trying to engage them. Nobody has ever taken the time to unsubscribe from an email marketing campaign, only to come back and say, “wow, I was totally wrong, and would like to buy all of your products.”
This also means that you can’t rely on buying contact lists from third parties, nor should you entertain offers to sell your contact list. Those lists consist entirely of people who don’t know your company and won’t open your emails. Respect their privacy and avoid wasting your time condemning emails to their spam filter.
2. Use Valuable Incentives
One easy way to increase email open rates is to make opening the email worth something. Include a financial incentive in your subject line and watch as your open rates skyrocket. This can be anything from a 10% discount on orders to free shipping or product demos – what matters is that the email now has demonstrable value.
At the same time, you want to combine that value with useful information and insight. You can’t buy customer loyalty – you have to earn it by combining valuable offerings with real industry insight that establishes you as an expert.
3. Make It Personal
Marketing automation technology makes it very easy for brands to segment their email contact lists and input variable data – like recipient names – into emails. If you can call a member by their name and use just a few pieces of personal data, you earn the ability to stand out among your competitors.
Additionally, your email messaging should be personal on the sender’s end as well. Nobody feels special because a faceless corporation knows their birthday. They do feel special when Steve, their dedicated customer service representative whose smiling face is clearly visible in the email signature, sends a quick birthday greeting.
4. Auto-Respond to Email Opt-Ins
When a new user opts in to your email newsletter, they should receive an automatic reminder about it. This doesn’t have to be a serious work of literature. It is sufficient to thank them on behalf of your company, introduce Steve as your email marketing representative, and build some anticipation for the next newsletter.
Without this step, you will have to deal with customers who forget they opted in to your email list in the first place. Most of them will immediately unsubscribe and never think about it again. Auto-responders are a useful tool for preventing this from happening.
Begin Your Email Marketing Campaign Today
Starting an email marketing campaign from scratch is no small order. It takes planning, programming, and great content that is ready to share. You could be earning industry-best ROI with minimal investment by partnering with an experienced email marketing team.Is it time for your business to begin high-impact marketing with professional guidance? Start your email marketing campaign with our help today