Building an Email Marketing Campaign: Where to Begin

The following is a guest post by Alyssa West from XVerify.

So you're turning to building your agency or clients an email marketing campaign to reach your audience? Good call. Engaging with users on a personal level can feel like an overwhelming task. Nowadays it seems like there are almost too many ways to reach people. Choosing between Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest? All of these platforms are great pushing off points for your digital marketing plan, but if you have no clue what you’re doing, tackling social media might end in you spinning your prolific marketing wheels to no avail. A better place to start? An old-school email marketing campaign.

An email marketing campaign is a classic way of engaging with users. Even though many predicted email would be phased out of marketing routines, it has only become more prevalent in our new mobile-friendly age. In fact, a 2015 study found that 95% of businesses that implemented an automated marketing campaign made use of an email campaign as well.

This overarching embrace of email marketing signals its success. For companies trying to figure out their digital marketing campaign, email is the perfect place to start.

So let’s get your digital feet off the ground, shall we?

Get started building and sending your agency's campaigns with powerful email marketing software!

1. Build Your List

There are plenty of ways to build your email list. Gathering emails isn’t necessarily an issue, what is an issue is trying to balance the forcefulness of your email address request so you don’t annoy the user and motivate them to leave the page. Most sites ask for emails after the user has accessed the page and had a chance to look around.

Pop-ups may make you cringe, but they’re effective. An initial pop-up after a user accesses the site is the most common way to capture on email. Capturing an email doesn't have to feel like guerilla warfare. Make the email capture clever or offer the user an incentive. Even better? Do both.

In the many examples of great email captures, this one from Wee Squeak uses adorable images, clever verbiage and an incentive to sign up for their emails. Whenso this pops up, the user isn’t hurrying to exit out of it. They’re smiling and gleefully typing in their email address. Making the user happy about giving you their email is the goal here, and this is a great way to achieve it.

email capture popup example

2. Build Trust BEFORE Starting Your Email Marketing Campaign

You’ve got the customers email list. Now you get to dive head first into your well planned email campaign. Pedal to the metal, right?! Wrong! Before you launch that campaign, take a second and ask the users permission.

This is something we call a double opt-in. You ask the user for their email at the front end, and then after you send a welcome email, you double check with them that they actually want to be included on your email list. This functions in a couple of key ways.

By sending a follow up email, you get to lay out a contract of sorts with your user. You get a chance to tell them what signing up for your email list means for them and then give them the chance to confirm that they want that.

This type of consent not only keeps you out of the user’s spam box by ensuring that they definitely want your email, but it also gives them a sense of security with you. Emailing them to double check they want to be included in your email campaign makes them more comfortable because they don’t feel like it’s a scam.

Related reading: Spam Laws: How to Comply and Keep Your Email Marketing Afloat

3. Verify Your List

This step is incredibly important for the safety of your site and the integrity of your domain. Verifying your email list benefits your site in two ways: protection and efficiency. When you verify your list, you’re ensuring that the emails on your list belong to real people or companies. If you skip this step, you open your site up to potential bot attacks or wasting resources by sending emails to misspelled addresses.

Bots gain access to your user information or your site by submitting their emails to your campaign. Once they’ve included themselves in your list, they have access to your information and your users’ information. Hackers regularly set up something called a honey pot by laying traps in a site's email campaign to gather emails to spam and take advantage of. Being a part of one of these scams can land your domain on a blacklist, meaning your ranking will take a major hit.

The other issue email validation helps you avoid is human error. Most of the time, users are typing their emails on their mobile phones. This leaves a huge window for typing errors. When a user puts their in email incorrectly, you can waste valuable resources sending campaigns out to emails that don’t actually exist. No business, big or small, likes wasted energy, especially when the solution is so simple.

You can validate emails in a number of ways, but using an email validating software is the most painless way. Now, full disclosure, I work for an email validation company, but our service does provide multiple options that make your life much easier.

You can either implement Java Script or an API to confirm emails live on your site, or you can upload a list in bulk. Whichever option you choose, validating your list is incredibly important to protect your site from bots and keep your sender reputation up.

4. Segment Your Audience

Once you know more about your audience, you can personalize emails to their liking. This doesn’t mean you individualize each email with a special layout and content for every person on your list. That would be ridiculous. But you can simulate that type of personalization by segmenting your audience.

There are multiple ways to segment an audience. Some of the most popular ways are by geographic area, age, buying habits or income. Each of these aspects tell you a lot about the user’s personality and interest. When you have your groups segmented out, you’re able to create email marketing campaigns around those groups that will be effective because of their personal touch.

5. Personalize Based off Segmented Groups

Now that you have your segmented groups, you can build out your campaigns. Your campaign should be thoughtful and speak to the reader as a person. With your segmented groups, this task becomes much easier!

If you have your groups segmented by geography, personalize the marketing campaigns to their area. Revolve your campaign around events happening in their town. Does their town throw a festival every Summer? Include it in your marketing campaign. Give festival outfit tips and tricks, sales on certain items they’d use for the event and blog posts about the best food to get at the festival.

By doing this, you’re making the user feel like the email was personalized just for them and you’re also positioning yourself as a source of good information for what’s going on around their town. The goal here is to make your readers look forward to receiving your emails because they’re filled with relevant, entertaining content. This setup can be applied to all of your segments by using the information you have about the users to make relevant content that they are eager to open.

Related Reading: Humans Versus AI: Email Marketing Trends for 2018

6. Check-In

It’s tempting to be lulled into a sense of well-being after you’ve regularly sent emails to your user without issue. But alas, your job is just beginning. Like I said, this is a relationship, and getting complacent won’t help keep your user excited about your content. You have to make sure they know their opinion matters.

That’s why it’s important to check in with your users a couple of times a year to make sure they’re still happy with your emails. This can also help increase clicks on your emails which helps your sender score. By including a brief survey or questionnaire, you are giving the user an opportunity to voice their opinions. Furthermore, you can use an email marketing tool like Constant Contact to improve your email performance and user experience.

Use this extra data to tweak your email marketing campaign and maybe even re-segment your audience to make sure that you’re making the most impact with all of your hard work.


Related Reading: 7 Ways to Write Sales Emails that Actually Get Replies! [Templates]

If you follow all these handy steps, as well as ensure that you’re regularly checking in on your audience to make sure your email marketing campaign is hitting the spot, you’re off to the races for marketing success. Good luck, and get sending!

About the Author

Alyssa’s passion for learning about people led her to a career in marketing and social media, with an emphasis on content creation. She currently works for VCN Media where she focuses on their email verification software, XVerify. Connect with Alyssa on LinkedIn.

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