How to get email marketing right (in five easy steps)

18th February 2021


In an age where social media channels, like Instagram and Facebook, drive an increasing amount of e-commerce action, email (the original social media, if you will), has held on tight to its title as the marketing channel with the highest ‘Return On Investment’ (ROI). In fact, email is a whopping forty times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook, reports Campaign Monitor. We recently wrote about the ways in which email marketing can benefit you (spoiler alert: there are many). Today, I’m going to walk you through the golden rules of email marketing so that you can start firing off persuasive emails that hit your customers right in the feels, and ultimately, get them to open their wallets and embrace your brand.

1. Personalise all email marketing content

The number one rule when it comes to email marketing? Make sure it’s not generic. Your customers’ inboxes are flooded with emails every day, and if you want them to open your emails and then perform an action, you need to stand out by making a recipient feel seen. The good news is, email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Litmus have advanced tools that enable you to personalise content beyond someone’s first name. You can tailor emails to the individual using information like past purchase behaviour and browsing activity. Your customers want to be acknowledged for the individuals they are, and if you can get this right, you’ll be well on your way to converting them into a loyal customer.

2. Put a face to your emails

The last thing you want to accomplish when emailing your customers (and prospective customers) is coming off as a spam bot. If a recipient so much as catches a proverbial whiff of an automated copy-and-paste effort, they’ll be put off your brand – permanently. Sign off emails with the name of an actual, living breathing member of your company –  this could be you, a staff member, or even your dog if that’s your thing – and consider writing in the first person. Social Media Today recommends sending “just because” emails to gain trust and facilitate a relationship with your brand. This then translates into sales further down the line. (Have a look at their other tips, here.)

3. Integrate your email marketing with your wider digital campaigns

Standalone email campaigns are effective – but not nearly as effective as those that form a part of a cross-channel campaign. After all, each digital channel – email, your website, and social media – is essentially a different means of connecting with your customers. And when these channels work together, your marketing efforts have a much higher chance of success. One way to get this right? Implement a pop-up a couple of seconds after someone has landed on your site. In exchange for their email address, you can offer them a discount, or early access to new products.  By capturing the email address of someone who’s interested enough to click through to your online store, you’re able to grow your subscriber base with recipients who have a good chance of converting.  Another way to marry your email with your social media marketing efforts is to tap into the “find people you may know” feature on Instagram. Simply upload your email address book and voila! You’ll be presented with a list of all of your email contacts who’re on Instagram. You’ll then be able to follow them, reinforcing your connection to them. There are plenty of other ways to integrate email and social media marketing that are simple and effective – head on over to this article for more tips. 

4. Make sure all email marketing content is mobile-friendly

More than half of your recipients access their emails on their phone, and this number is only set to grow. All email marketing tools now have built-in ‘optimise for mobile’ functions, but there are a couple of aspects you need to be aware of before you hit “send”. A major one is your pre-header text. This is the first line of your copy that’s displayed in an email preview in an inbox. Ideally, it should be short enough that a recipient can read it in its entirety before opening your mail. What’s more, it should work together with your subject line. (If I had a rand for every email I’ve received where the subject line and pre-header text are either identical or completely disjointed, I’d be writing this on a gold-plated laptop.) The Digital Marketing Institute has some more must-dos over here.

5. Use email reminders for abandoned carts wisely

An email reminding someone that they’ve yet to click ‘checkout’ can be the nudge needed to convert them – but only if you go about it the right way. You can help someone along the path to purchase by providing them with educational content about your product or service like a how-to video, blog post, or pro-tip. If they’re still not biting, you can then offer them a time-sensitive discount. 

As well as upping your chances of converting a customer who’s gotten cold feet at the last minute, a reminder to complete their purchase is also a golden opportunity to gather crucial information about them (and their interaction with your brand thus far). You can ask them why they didn’t complete their purchase, to rate their experience, or what the number one deciding factor is when they buy something. Regardless of what you’re asking, make sure that you’ve made it as easy and fast as possible for someone to give you their feedback.

My last piece of advice? Don’t sweat it if your email marketing campaigns don’t hit the mark the first (or second) time around. Like any other digital marketing tactic, perfecting the art of wooing someone via their inbox may take some trial and error (and time), but the rewards are oh-so-worth-it.