125 DIY Email Marketing Tips - Page 4

By Vangie Beal
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Plan, Test, Segment & Track

Scroll through the list of tips below or use this handy checklist to jump to a specific category of DIY email marketing tips:

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Keep your list warm. Once you've worked to hard to obtain your list, don't just let them grow cold and lonely. Set up a series of auto-responders and continue to build on your relationship with your prospects and customers. Don't email too often (once a week or even once a month is fine) but make sure when you do email them, the content is valuable to them (it's not just a company update on what's happening to you). You can use Autoresponders in MailChimp, Constant Contact, aWeber, etc to "set and forget" your email series.

—Sue Laurent, marketing coach for small business, NSMarketing

Email marketing platforms make list management much simpler today - thank god! Once you upload your list (probably using an Excel spreadsheet) you can easily group people together into different segments, by purchase history, interests, industry, etc. Start sending specific material to appropriate groups and watch your click-through rate skyrocket.

—Kelly Kitchel, account manager & email marketing lead, Intuitive Digital

Segmentation by demographic, past purchasing behavior and/or general customer interest allows small business owners to get the most relevant, targeted content to the right inboxes. When new products or services become available, small business owners can select the most appropriate segment to inform.

—Monica Sims, senior marketing manager, iContact

Review performance and try small changes. Look back at the performance of past emails and test small changes to see if they have an impact on performance. Two of the most common tests – subject line and send time – should be tested frequently. For example, does your audience respond better to percentages or dollars off in subject lines? Do open rates rise when you use numbers or symbols? Are recipients more likely to respond on weekends? What time day are they most likely to open these emails?

—Nate Kristy, vice president of marketing, Automational

It's essential to segment your email list based on criteria that are important to your business and your target audience. If, for example, you will be holding a local event in New York targeting small businesses with 1-25 employees, be sure to sort your list for prospects within a 100 mile radius of New York City who have up to 25 employees. Then, create your email using photos of well-known sites in your header graphic and making reference to local activities that the attendees could participate in. The email to New York event goers might include a photo of the Empire State Building and suggest a carriage ride through Central Park.

—Lisa Masiello, president, TECHmarc Labs

Send relevant messages to catch your readers' attention and to increase email open and conversion rates. Use basic contact demographic information, as well as more advanced data like purchase behavior and geolocation, to customize your emails and effectively hook your readers.

—Seamas Egan, associate director of revenue operations, Campaigner

Many small business owners lack discipline when it comes to consistent email campaigns. Create an email calendar for the next 90 days so your team can plan, create, and test your emails on time.

—Joe Robison, founder, Green Flag Digital

A/B testing is one of the most useful tools in a small business owner’s email marketing wheelhouse. Did an email perform better when it was sent at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.? Did more customers engage with the call to action when it was positioned at the top or the middle of the email? Insights provided by A/B testing le you continuously improve your email marketing.

—Monica Sims, senior marketing manager, iContact

Get creative with segmentation and plan ahead. When you first publicize your email list, set up your segmentation questions and preference selection first so all new subscribers can opt in. It's much more difficult to get existing subscribers to update their preferences (though you can help by offering an incentive for updating, a coupon or giveaway).

—Meryl Robinson, email expert and coordinator, Mondo Mediaworks

DIY email marketing tips

Email clients and mobile devices all display emails in different ways. Send test emails to colleagues or using a testing program to make sure your emails look the best they possibly can. It also tells you exactly what the reader will see. Testing also reveals design and content mistakes before it’s too late.

—Lucy Ellis, email marketing manager, Roman Blinds Direct

If you want a committed newsletter list, make creating a publishing schedule your top priority. Miss several weeks or even months without sending a message or a tip to your list, and your subscribers will forget about you, delete the next email or—even worse—mark it as spam. Make time to plan, write, design, and send your newsletters regularly.

—Rob Boirun, CEO, Reviewster Network

Test everything: subject line, segment, offer, images, and time and day sent. Test one thing at a time and on about 10 percent of your whole list—but that depends on the size of your database. If you have only 500 subscribers, testing on 50 isn't enough to read the results; you may want to go to 25 percent, or so.

—Anna Kayfitz, MBA, consultant StrategicDB

Target your readers with content that's very specific to them. Segment your subscribers and send them emails based on what they interacted with, showed interest in, or bought. For example, if someone saves, but does not purchase an item, we send emails about that specific product and eventually offer a coupon to get them to purchase. Once they purchase, we send emails advertising products that complement their purchase.

—Craig Bloem, founder and CEO of LogoMix

Before crafting your campaign's messaging, identify a target market and make some assumptions about how best to reach your subscribers. Use A/B split testing to put your theories into practice, and collect feedback to determine which tactics worked and which ones were less successful.

—Seamas Egan, associate director of revenue operations, Campaigner.com

If you want your emails seen and read by as many consumers as possible, you must reach them when they're engaging with email. Blasting out an email campaign at 9 am EST may connect with East Coast consumers, but people in Los Angeles probably won't see it at the equivalent 6 am PST. Consider segmenting your list by time zone to optimize your open and conversion rates.

—Pamela Webber, chief marketing officer, 99designs

Segmentation makes sending relevant email to a group of people easier. Gather demographic information about your subscribers, and use it to send targeted messaging. This could include creating topics for specific genders, or even just calling out a person's state/city/town in the content of your email. Make sure your email marketing provider offers tools that let you add multiple values of information per contact so you can segment your lists accordingly.

—Matthew White, CEO, Qebot

Leverage free email tracking services. Services like Streak and Banana Tag can help your marketing team collect and easily digest data from ongoing campaigns. Make sure to analyze the information to make future changes, because a pile of data without analysis doesn't help anyone.

—Sacha Ferrandi, founder, Source Capital Funding

It's really hard to pull off a good newsletter—it needs creativity, skill, resources, and killer content on a frequent basis. If you're not sure you can produce one at that level, try an update mail, quarterly product/service update, or other, less-frequent mailing instead.

—Niamh Lynch, founder, Niamhly Digital Strategy Consultancy

There's no better way to reach customers than by offering them personalized deals. Look into third-party sources that can help you segment your offers by specific groups, such as students or military members. Segmenting these groups by interest or role lets you create campaigns that speak directly to their interests and provide offers that resonate. These types of offers have much higher conversion rates, and the ROI can be significant.

—Marci Hansen, CMO and co-founder, SheerID

Get Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Intercom.io, or some other business email marketing platform to build branded templates, manage your lists, and gather delivery statistics. These serve as prelude to marketing automation platforms like Hubspot, Infusionsoft, or Marketo that you can move to when your business matures.

—Justin Flitter, head of marketing, Results.com

Set up your customer relationship manager (CRM) system in a way that lets you segment. Normalize and standardize data where you can. The more targeted your message, the better the results. Ways to segment include: Purchase history, demographics (city/country, age, industry), and behavioral information (opened last email, just made a purchase, length of time as customer).

—Anna Kayfitz, MBA, consultant StrategicDB

Tracking is the first thing we see clients cut back on to reduce their email marketing costs. But tracking and analytics are two of the most important aspects of your email marketing campaigns—especially if your business is brick and mortar.

—Ryne Higgins, partner, Red Herd Media

Consider using automated drip-marketing services—like GetDrip.com. They automatically stage and time your email sends after new subscribers sign up for your service. Drip-marketing services not only help you save time in crafting and sending emails, they also make designing customized and segmented content easier.

—Sam McIntire, founder, Deskbright

Complacency and assumptions can kill an email program. As you build your email campaign, never assume that you have the best email possible, or that your customers will react in a certain way. Run A/B tests to see what type of content and promotional language will be most successful. Rely on data, not assumptions.

—Craig Bloem, founder and CEO, LogoMix

Monitor your open rates. If you send newsletters or mass communications through a tool like MailChimp, monitoring open rates offer a great glimpse into your email effectiveness. An open rate of less than 10 percent could signal a disengaged list; open rates of 20-50 percent signal high-quality, engaged subscribers who are interested in what you have to say.

—Travis Pearl, co-founder, ExpertMatches

Let's look at why we segment: it lets us deliver more relevant and targeted content to our customers. Don't view segmentation as a means to reduce your overall volume of mailing. Use segmentation as an excuse to send more emails, because it gives you scalability.

—Tink Taylor, founder and president, DotMailer

If an email isn't working, don’t keep sending it. Analysis is important, because it lets you assess what's working and what isn't—which lists perform the best and which ones might need more work. If a campaign isn't doing well, look at the open rates, click rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribes. Then take corrective action and run it again.

—Lucy Ellis, email marketing manager, Roman Blinds Direct

People often complain that their newsletters don't reach their readers' inbox. Simply send an email to the address that Mail-Tester.com provides and then run a check. It will give you a score (from 0 to 10) that reflects the likelihood of your newsletter getting caught by a spam filter. Some the information is pretty straightforward, such as broken links, or whether your server is blacklisted. Other, more technical information may require expert analysis.

—Robert Brandl, founder, ToolTester Network

Always test an offer on your thank-you page: When someone signs up for your email list it should automatically take them to a thank-you page. Instead the usual spiel—"Thanks for signing up. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and get your free report"—include an offer or a discount for your product or service on the thank-you page. If someone says "yes" once (i.e. by signing up to your email list), they're more likely to say "yes" again, immediately after.

—Louise Keenan, owner, Location Edge Digital

Download and use email marketing tracking software. It helped me figure out the demographic that paid the most for my time, and the number of emails sent between each client. It wasn't the small start-ups, or the big, reputable companies; it fell somewhere in between. Your business, your specialty, and your portfolio all play a factor. You absolutely, one hundred and ten percent, need to track your campaign. We use HubSpot Sales currently and love it.

—Christine Leys, CEO, Chilliwack's Best Web Development Company

Keeping an email marketing schedule lets you plan as far ahead as you like, and lets you plan for specific trends or peak times. It also helps you plan your design and content easily without having to get it all done at the last minute. I plan my schedule for at least a month in advance; it leaves me room for things to change.

—Lucy Ellis, email marketing manager, Roman Blinds Direct

Segmenting your email subscribers lets you deliver the right message to the right people. We suggest these segmentation tips:

  • Segment based on level of expertise (example, beginner, amateur, pro)
  • Segment based on sub-niche interest (example, SEO, social media, email marketing, advertising)
  • How should you segment subscribers? Monitor the freebies they opt-in for, the emails they open, the links they click, the emails they reply to, the products they choose to buy.

—Leon Kwan, co-founder, Main Event Specials

Track your success. Your email marketing platform (MailChimp, for example) will tell you if Jane Doe opened the email and clicked, but what happens once she gets to your website? Google Analytics provides that information if you adjust some easy settings in your email platform.

—Kelly Kitchel, account manager & email marketing lead, Intuitive Digital

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This article was last updated on May 16, 2017 / This article was originally published on July 11, 2016
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