Email campaigns are the most profitable way to create and retain customers. In fact, email marketing has such a high return that you will see a decent profit even if you’re not very good at it. Unfortunately, that makes a lot of marketers settle for mediocre results.
As a company that’s passionate about seeing people get the most out of their email marketing, we invest a lot of time and energy in helping people change that. In fact, we’ve helped thousands of list-owners to build smarter campaigns that multiply their profits. We’ve worked with marketers in just about any industry you can think of.
What follows is a distillation of what we’ve learned over the years. An easy-to-digest list of 17 steps that you can start applying today to see an immediate boost in your results.
1) Develop an implementation plan
One of the biggest secrets to successful implementation is chunking things down and tackling them in the right order. We’ve tried to sort these steps approximating the general order in which you want to start tackling things, but it’s just a general idea.
Your business is unique, so you will definitely need to sit down and make a list of which aspects you want to implement in what order and by which level of priority, to which level of development. Or, you could get a quality partner on your side and ask for help.
2) Choose to build quality, organic lists from scratch
It’s tempting to prioritize quantity and rush towards a big email list quickly. However, that isn’t smart, and it won’t result in any smart campaigns either.
Purchasing lists always results in a plethora of problems and literally prevents you from applying any of the steps we’ll cover in this list. The delivery rates are atrocious, the open rates are a problem, building trust is almost impossible and so much more.
If you’re going for smart campaigns, you’ll want to take your time to build up your lists in a planned and organized manner. As you slowly learn how to segment and understand your audiences.
3) Start utilizing custom fields
If smarter campaigns are the secret to higher profits, then custom fields are the secret that allows for smarter email campaigns.
What are “custom fields”? Well, these are fields you get to define yourself to store all the customer-defining properties that make your business unique and different. This is in contrast to the generic properties included in all email marketing software. Those are usually things that are universal to all types of business. This includes things like “Email”, “First Name” and other types of properties that all email marketers use.
In order to get into smarter and more sophisticated campaigning, you need to start collecting more than just the generic properties. Your business is unique, and so smart campaigns will require that you set up some custom fields unique to your business.
For example, someone selling fitness advice may define a custom field called “fitness goals” and in it, they may hold different values for different subscribers. So for some subscribers, the value in that field might be “weight loss”, while for others it would be “strength and conditioning”.
4) Make your opt-ins and lead magnets work for you
This is where it all starts. That one single most pivotal moment in time that defines the start of what might be a very long relationship between you and a subscriber who later grows into a loyal fan, high-spending customer and perhaps even an evangelist.
If your only goal during the opt-in process is to get the most opt-ins possible, that would be a very simple goal. Just create the lead magnets that get the most attention, and implement opt-ins that produce the highest conversion rates.
If your goal is to have smarter campaigns however, then you need to balance the different goals. When you’re choosing your lead magnet, you have to think about how it influences things down the funnel. That is, you want it to facilitate smarter campaigns after they do join your list.
The same is true when it comes to your opt-in process. For example, if your only goal is to get the most conversions possible, you might find you have to only ask for the email address and nothing else.
However, if you want to have smarter campaigns, you might want to ask for their name so that you can use it for personalization. You might even want to ask additional questions for properties that get stored in one of your unique custom fields.
It’s a delicate balance, and if you want to learn more about these considerations, you may want to read our article on converting leads using email automation.
5) Work on your subject lines
Your subject line is the single most important factor in whether people even read your emails. And in fact, you may have the most valuable life-changing emails, yet get worse results than someone with poor emails but great subject lines.
That isn’t to say you should prioritize subject lines over-delivering actual valuable content. It’s only to illustrate that you want to spend some time learning about and working on your subject lines. It takes time, but you will get better at it over time.
6) Adopt a funnel strategy
Email is such an effective and profitable channel that if you send valuable emails, you will get results. However, to get the best possible results, you want to organize your email campaigns in such a manner that they try to match a given customer journey.
This means structuring and mapping out your campaigns in such a manner that the person goes through a linear process with clearly recognizable stages that go from “initial lead” to a highly engaged fan and loyal customer.
If these concepts aren’t familiar to you, you can go ahead and learn more about the concept of funnels and applying them to email in our super popular article about the secrets to click funnels.
7) Make use of basic personalization
Over the past couple of years, we’ve introduced more ways to tailor email marketing to ever more unique customer segments and journeys. That has caused a lot of people to forget about the very first type of personalization that we ever employed in email marketing, and that’s basic personalization.
Even something as simple as using the person’s first name in the subject line will do wonders to make your campaigns smarter. To do this in Emercury all you have to do is utilize the merge tag for “first name”. From then onwards, you may utilize merge tags for your various custom properties.
8) Plan out your segmentations
Just as with the custom fields, or unique customer properties, you want to sit down and give this one a thought. You want to do a bit of analyzing and discover what and how to define your customer segmentation.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a segment is merely a subsection of your overall audience defined by certain common traits or characteristics. Taking the previous example of a fitness advisor, you might define a segment for people into “weightloss”, vs a segment for people into “general fitness and strength”.
This then allows you to treat these segments differently by sending smarter campaigns that are better tailored to their needs and interests. This is where the aforementioned custom fields, and the upcoming “email automations” help.
9) Utilize smart email automations
Being smart about your email automation is about knowing what matters. It’s not about implementing all the latest and fanciest hyper-complicated automation technologies.
Ideally, automation should help you automate and make your campaigns smarter. Automation is primarily about saving time. This means that ideally, you want to get started with automations by focusing on automating the basics.
This includes automating the onboarding process, automatically gathering useful information (which you store in custom fields and tags), as well as automating the segmentation process and the upselling and cross-selling processes.
To learn more about this, you can look at our guide about converting leads into customers with email automation.
10) Come up with ways to give more value
While subject lines get people to open up your emails, what’s inside determines almost everything else. The more valuable your emails, the more your subscribers come to trust you, believe you, and even feel obligated to buy something.
This is why you want to spend some time learning about how to produce better content and increasingly provide more and more valuable content to your customers and potential customers.
11) Develop a unique identity
If you want your campaigns to stand out in the inbox, you want to spend some time finding out what makes you unique, and how to communicate this throughout your email marketing.
This can be based on your unique selling proposition, that is you might differentiate yourself by what you sell. You can differentiate yourself from the amount and the quality of your free content and how helpful it is. And, you may even differentiate yourself based on having a unique voice, that is how you deliver your message.
12) Proofread everything
You can do everything else on this list, but if your readers encounter typos and bad grammar, your campaigns will no longer classify as smart. So don’t let your hard work go to waste and spend some time double and triple-checking your email content.
On that same note, it’s not just about double-checking your textual content. Anything that leaves the impression of being unprofessional can have a negative impact on your bottom line. That includes things such as broken links, badly sized images, and more.
Be sure to send yourself a test email and go through every aspect of the email as a reader, before you let it go out to your list.
13) Make full use of CTAs
This has got to be the one piece of advice that marketing consultants give out the most often. And this is for two reasons:
- Calls to action boost the return on every single type and piece of content that has a goal, and all of your marketing efforts should have a goal
- Almost everyone under-utilizes CTAs and needs to use far more of them
The simple rule of thumb is that you need a call for action in every email that you ever send and do so at least twice in the email. The first call would be somewhere inside of the main content body where you call for the action within that context. The other one might be in the shape of a clearly visually separate CTA, such as a centered link or button at the end of the email.
14) Test, track and analyze
While it is possible to improve at a skill by simply doing it for a long time, that’s far from the smartest way to go about it. Your best results will always come from having clear metrics about what you’re trying to do, tracking your results, and then analyzing them.
The same will be true of your email marketing campaigns. To get smarter, you will want to keep track of everything, keep track of the things you’re testing, and see how your audience is responding.
With your Emercury account, this is pretty straightforward as we provide you with reporting, split-testing, and analytics features. These are included with every paid account, and currently even with the forever-free account that we’re giving away for a limited time. Be sure to grab one before it goes away.
15) Work on your delivery rates
There is one factor that determines how effective your campaigns are, and that’s how many people read your emails.
Aside from the aforementioned factors that you already know about, there’s one more factor that makes a huge difference, yet few people know about it.
Email deliverability determines how many of your emails even reach the intended audience. And here’s another secret most people don’t realize. Most email service providers do not care about or guarantee delivery in any way shape or form.
Unless your provider goes out of their way to work with you to improve your deliverability, you can be certain that many of your emails are going to waste. That includes even the biggest names in email marketing.
16) Work on your list hygiene
When it comes to email delivery, there are quite a few factors that go into it, but one of the most important is what’s known as list-hygiene. This involves keeping your lists “clean” and full of high-responding and engaged subscribers.
It also means getting rid of fake, expired, and no-interest emails which are doing nothing except lowering your deliverability. When your list isn’t cleaned properly, your overall deliverability drops. This means that even the most interested subscribers are less likely to get your emails.
If you want to learn more about list hygiene you can look at our quick guide here, or you may contact us and inquire about our hands-on services. Do note that all of our plans include a self-serve list hygiene feature as well.
17) Get a mentor or partner on your side
The biggest secret to smarter and more profitable email campaigns? Spending many years learning it through trial and error. The one shortcut is the list of steps on this page. It should let you prioritize things in a somewhat smarter way.
The other major shortcut? Having a high-level mentor or partner who’s on your side and can get you up to speed in a much shorter amount of time. While we try as hard as possible to provide you with quality educational content to help you master these skills, nothing beats hands-on personalized attention.
This is where Emercury comes in. We’re more than just a software platform and collection of smart features to help craft email campaigns. In fact, Emercury is famous for being unique in our approach to email service.
We spend a lot of time working with our customers in a hands-on-manner, helping them implement these strategies and seeing actual results from email marketing campaigns. That’s one of the reasons we have some of the best reviews in the industry. People are raving about all the hands-on attention they get whenever they need help. And this is the main reason so many owners of huge lists are moving to Emercury.
However, there’s no need to wait until you’re an email veteran to move to Emercury. In fact, we have the most generous beginner plan out there, and anyone that grabs one now will get it with a “forever-free” subscription. We hold almost no features back and include almost every feature we have, for free, forever. So be sure to grab a username here.