If you were to ask an average email marketer about a single phrase that makes them cringe, email blast would be the top choice of many (next to decaf coffee perhaps). The blast entails sending a single piece of advertising email to a massive mailing list, without much thought or strategy.
Whether you call it an email blast or an eblast, you really should not use it a marketing strategy. Think about it – do you really want to be blasting information to your list?
If you ask any good marketer or customer, there’s a certain connotation to this expression, and it usually means that you’re reaching out to people who did not opt-in to be on your mailing list.
As we’ve previously written, email is one of the most precious assets to any modern business, and it should be used wisely. There’s a lot of great things you can do with your email list, and blasting is not one of them. Instead of blasting and shooting blanks, something as valuable as your mailing list deserves proper attention and a good email marketing campaign. Here are a few ways to get started.
1. Check if you are blacklisted
Have you been sending email blasts? If you are not sure, this illustration can help you determine whether you may have blasted your email contacts recently.
If you’ve been using any of these tricks lately, start by checking your status on Barracuda Reputation Block List or MultiRBL to see if you were blacklisted. Email marketing is governed by the GDPR in Europe and CAN-SPAM Act in the United States.
Here you can read useful info on GDPR regarding collecting customers’ contact and personal information. As for CAN-SPAM Act, you can find detailed info here – but the gist of it is pretty much – be a decent human being. This means:
- No false or misleading header information
- No deceptive subject lines
- Identifying the message as an ad
- Revealing your location
- Including opt-out button
- Processing opt-out requests within 10 business days
- You’re legally responsible even if your email marketing is handled by a contractor
Now that we have this out of the way, let’s get to work!
2. Divide your audience into groups
Let’s imagine you are a retailer. If accessories are on sale, is every customer likely to buy them? Do guys care about pretty bracelets and handbags? Do women care about men’s shoes?
While your product is what thousands of people have in common, the way they use it and the reason they need it can differ greatly. Before you reach out to your customers, make sure you know why they bought your product and how they are using it.
Attaching surveys to your emails can be one of the ways to figure that out. Click here to learn how to ask all the right questions.
3. Send personalized messages
Once you segment your audience, customizing the messages you send becomes easier.
If your products are on sale, a personalized message can be way more effective than lifeless “50% off on all products.” For example, you can include several items with reduced prices and a clear call-to-action.
Everybody loves the feeling that the email they received is intended for them specifically – even if they can tell that this is not true. You can use personalization tokens to address your recipients by their name, as early as the subject line. Your email marketing software should make this a breeze.
4. Improve your subject lines
47% of people who receive your email decide whether or not to open it based on the subject. If more than half of the people who receive your email could just skip it, that means subject lines deserve just as much attention as the body, if not more. Good subject lines stand out from the rest of the mass email and your customers will want to open these emails.
Writing great subject lines is an artform, and it takes lots of experience and thousands of sent emails to get proficient at it. Here are some general guidelines to steer you in the right direction.
Don’t mislead the recipients. If your subject says Latest fashion trends for spring 2018, that’s what the body should contain. If you promise something in your subject line, deliver it in the body – no one likes being lied to.
Mind the length. With 68% of people accessing email through mobile in 2017, this means that your recipients won’t be able to read anything longer than 50 characters in the subject line.
Create a sense of urgency. One of the oldest tricks in the marketers’ book, and it works incredibly well. A subject line such as Only 24 hours to claim your free account or Act now to save 40% on your annual subscription is sure to get plenty of clicks. However – don’t make it a habit to constantly use subject lines of this type. It can and will get old pretty quickly, and you don’t want to be the email marketer who cried wolf.
4. Check people’s pulse
The way people interact with your emails can help you further segment your audience. Marketers who use email blasts don’t really track how people interact with messages.
Investigate how people behave with your targeted and customized emails – where they click, what they do on your website after clicking. Here you can find a detailed guide on tracking users’ interaction with your emails. Long story short, here are some metrics you should prioritize.
Clickthrough rate is among the most important metric to track in regards to your email. The email click-through rate or email CTR is the ratio of clicks on links in your campaign emails.
Conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who performed a certain action. That could be filling out a form on your landing page, buying a product, etc.
Bounce rate is an absolutely vital stat – this is the percentage of emails that could not be delivered to intended recipients. Most times this is a technical issue with invalid emails or faulty servers, but too many bounces could indicate that all emails from your address are considered spam.
List growth rate is pretty straightforward – the rate at which the number of your subscribers is growing. If you’ve done everything right, your list should grow at a steady rate.
You may find that some groups prefer more frequent emails, and update your customization accordingly. With customers who never open your emails, you have two options – you can either devise a separate marketing strategy to try and engage them – or you can simply remove them from your email list.
While it may seem like throwing away valuable resources, removing non-responsive contacts and refreshing your list can make your job much easier.
5. Allow people to opt-out easily
While I am loyal to some brands and retailers, I often choose to opt-out of receiving their newsletters. Why? Their service is good enough to keep me coming back for more – when I need something.
Recently I was targeted with an ad for a swimsuit sale – I almost bought a swimsuit even though I already own 6 pieces. So, I’d rather not put myself in the tempting situation, and some of your customers may have similar reasoning – so respect it.
Unwanted email blasts translate to convincing people even when they clearly don’t want to be convinced. It is dangerous for your brand, reputation, and in 2018, it can send you to a blacklist.
You can avoid that by allowing people to choose what kind of emails and news they want to receive. Customers are more likely to give you their email if you point out that you won’t blast them with things they don’t care about.
6. Make sure the timing is right
One of the common mistakes of email marketing is sending too much email…or too little. How do you know how much is enough? If you ask 10 marketers what is the right frequency, you’ll get 10 different answers. Your answer really depends on your product and the goal of a particular campaign – whether you’re nurturing leads or prompting them to purchase.
On average, only a third of companies are sending emails to their customers more than 4 times a month, according to DMA’s National Email Client Report. The study concluded that marketers are increasingly reliant on behavioral and triggered based marketing.
Email blasts are obsolete. The entire concept of marketing as a loud, in-your-face strategy is dead. Marketing of the 21st century, especially email marketing, is all about having a personal conversation with your customer.
Holding this conversation is not an easy task, but with a little bit of creativity, you can always find new ways to engage with your leads and give them exactly what they need, when they need it.