Email marketing is an ever-changing industry, with trends that come and go, often leaving you with the feeling that you’ve missed out on something. That you haven’t done everything you could to capitalize on the power of your email list. The truth is you don’t have to follow all the trends and jump on all the bandwagons. Just do what works for you. No idea what could work for you in 2019? That’s why I’m here – to give you a quick boost of inspiration.
Create a lead magnet to grow your list
If you think lead magnets are somewhat outdated, think again. Probably 95% of the websites we visit offer a freebie in exchange of your email address. How many times have you signed up? I probably do it two times out of five, because there’s always a cheat sheet or a live webinar that catches my attention. Especially if they’re about email marketing.
So invest some time in creating a piece of original content your audience needs. It takes effort, but it pays off and your email list will see a boost right away.
However, pay attention to the email addresses that sign up on your list. Many freebie hunters use temporary addresses. They’re not interested in a long-term relationship with your brand. What to do? Let an email validation service isolate those temporary addresses and prevent bad email hygiene. It's the first step you can take towards better email marketing results.
Interview industry experts
Need some inspiration for creating fresh, unique content for your subscribers? Think of the people you admire the most in your industry and offer to interview them. We do this on the ZeroBounce blog, and those posts get some of our highest views. You can send those interviews in your newsletters – trust me, lots of your subscribers will read them.
Also, interview members of your team! It’s a great way to talk about your company culture and create an instant connection with your subscribers. Before they’re interested in businesses, products or services, people are interested in other people. Make the most of that!
Work on your subject lines
It’s a fact: 47% of your subscribers decide whether they open an email based on its subject line. It’s the first thing they see in their inbox, so it’s worth polishing it up before sending.
One good exercise, that can help you increase your open rates, is to write down several versions of your subject line. Some of them are going to be pretty bad, but it doesn’t matter. Eventually, one of them is going to stand out as the best.
Another way to determine what type of subject line works better is to run some A/B tests. Statistics don’t lie: shortly after you send out your email, you’ll know the winning formula. Email marketing is all about testing and making periodic adjustments.
Get more personal in your emails
I know this is tricky, because some business owners don’t feel comfortable getting personal in their email marketing. But especially if you run a small or mid-sized business, this is an excellent way to bond with your audience.
Once you start sharing some of your personal experiences, you’ll be surprised by the feedback. Think about a brand you like: wouldn’t you be compelled to read a newsletter from the CEO? Not one in which he boasts about how great his business is, but in which he talks about the greatest obstacles he had to face to build that business. Just an idea – steal it if you want!
Prune your list of bad contacts
Are you happy when you get a new subscriber? I bet you are. Every single person that joins your mailing list validates your business and confirms you’re going in the right direction. But you have to validate that new subscriber, too, by making sure they’re a genuine human being, not a bot or another type of risky email address.
We wrote about risky contacts many times on this blog. Take email complainers, for example: they label your email as spam and affect your sender reputation. Catch-all emails are deceiving, too: some of them may be perfectly valid, but you don’t know which ones. So, you decide to mail them anyway, but they bounce, and the higher your bounce rate, the worse your sender score.
An email validation system will tell you which emails are catch-all. But if you want even more clarity, use an email scoring system to determine which catch-all emails are good to keep.
Give your copy a boost
The largest part of your email is actual text. Copy. Sure, images matter a lot, unless you decide to go with a plain text email. In which case, your copy will stand out even more.
If you’re an experienced marketer, you probably feel confident in your skill. But if writing is not your forte, consider taking a copywriting class. They can make such a difference!
A few months ago, I bought “The Copy Cure,” created by Marie Forleo and Laura Belgray, and it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It’s entertaining and packed with lots of practical advice. Plus, it comes with a wealth of resources to help you tap your creative potential and write better.
As Marie and Laura were saying in the course, your copy should do all the selling for you. Your website, your social media channels, and your emails are all powered by copy. If the words you use aren’t doing you a service, it’s worth taking a step back and thinking about how you can improve them.
Include GIFs in your emails
They’re funny, and humor tends to be the number one quality we appreciate in another person. People appreciate a good sense of humor in a brand, too, and GIFs are a great way to use visuals to tell a joke.
In 2019, over 56% of email marketing professionals said they used GIFs in their emails. However, some email clients don’t support GIFs, so some of your subscribers won’t be able to see the whole animation. They will see the first frame, though, so include your call-to-action there to make sure everyone gets your message.
Stick to a sending schedule
I know many great marketers who send useful, entertaining emails. It’s a pleasure to see them in my inbox. The problem is, I don’t see them consistently. They’d send an email today, and then completely forget about their list for a whole month. This is a self-sabotaging habit, and here is why:
- your sending behavior has a crucial effecton your email deliverability. See, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like it when you send your emails regularly. They think of you as a legitimate, committed sender, so they support you in getting your emails in the inbox. Besides, by sending on the same day and at the same time, you keep your IP warm, which, again, helps you establish a good reputation with ISPs.
- no matter how good your emails are, your subscribers are getting lots of other emails every day (121 on average!). So if they don’t hear from you for a long time, they will forget about you. Some of them forget they even subscribed to your newsletters and may even mark you as spam. Think about what that will do to your sender reputation.
Pick a day and time and make sure you show up in people’s inboxes on the dot. You’ll see your open rates going up, as well. The more you engage with your subscribers, the more they’ll engage with you, too.
Use email marketing to build a community
Speaking of engaging your subscribers: that is the ultimate goal of (good) email marketing. No email list growth, no open and click-through rates, and no sales are going to happen if you don’t start by developing an honest relationship with your audience.
So be really curious about your subscribers: who are they, what do they like, what can you do for them that no one else does? You may already have an efficient CRM system in place, but there’s always more to learn about your community.
Start by sending them a question and invite them to answer. Make sure you -- or someone on your team -- writes them back. Share ideas, stories, get their feedback on potential upgrades on your products or services. People love to feel like they’re part of a brand, and it’s in your power to make them feel that way.
Have you noticed how good we tend to get at things we have fun doing? I had fun writing this article, and look at you, reading all the 1,500 words of it. If it had been a chore, you would have picked up on that and abandoned it after the first paragraph.
The same goes for email marketing. As long as you go into it with a sense of curiosity and adventure, all the best cards are already lined up for you. How well you play them – that depends on you 100%.
So keep a positive approach to it, celebrate every new subscriber (and validate their email address!), be consistent, generous, and honest.
Here’s to 2019 being your best email marketing year yet!