email marketing strategy
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How to Build a Strong Email Marketing Strategy for 2018

As a small business owner, you probably want to grow your business by getting new customers, and maybe even attempt to target new markets. This is where the power of an effective email marketing strategy can be best felt.

If your goal is to build an effective marketing plan for the year ahead, email marketing should be a cornerstone. A recent study by the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) claimed email marketing has never been more important, but it continues to evolve at an astonishing rate.

That’s the main reason why you shouldn’t recycle your old email marketing plan from previous years, since the art of email marketing is forever changing. If you want to be successful, it’s time to discard the tried and tested methods of old, and consider a fresh approach for 2018.

Below are some tips that will help you take your email marketing to the next level, and keep up with its ever-changing pace, for a more efficient and effective 2018 & beyond.

Email Marketing Strategy is More Than Just Newsletters

For many, email marketing is the synonym of newsletter. To make sure we are all on the same page, here’s a quick definition; an email newsletter is an email sent at regular intervals to a mailing list to inform recipients of news concerning a website or business.

Newsletters are often sent monthly and are usually sent to the entirety of a mailing list. They would normally contain news about a business, its industry, or recent blog posts.

Newsletters are still pertinent, and still very effective. But to remain relevant, they have to be filled with engaging content useful for your clientele. At Cyberimpact for example, we send a newsletter once or twice a month, and we make sure to include our latest blog posts (educational content), and new features (pertinent & useful).

With modern marketing it takes more than just newsletters, we need to take it a step further. Here are two other types of emails we recommend adding to your strategy.

The One-Off Email that Prompts Action

This type of email is typically used to make an announcement about an event or to promote a special offer. For example, you are organizing a conference, webinar, or networking event, maybe even a flash sale. In any of these cases, you would send an email to all your subscribers for whom the offer is relevant.

The goal of this email is to stimulate an action – either a sign-up, or a purchase. You will have more success sending this type of information separately as opposed to having it buried within your newsletter.

The Automated Email

The automated email consists of an email (or a series of emails) that are sent automatically based on a subscriber’s behaviour (signing up by filling out a form, buying a product, clicking a link, ignoring an email, etc.) We will talk about this in more detail later on in this article.

For now, let’s agree that the newsletter is a good starting point that should be used in conjunction with other types of emails to maximize your success in 2018.

More Than Ever, the Key is Strong Content

If you sell directly to consumers, email marketing is the ideal means of communication to maintain the post-sale relationship, stimulate additional sales, and increase their frequency (in other words, build loyalty).

If you sell to other businesses, email marketing is the perfect way to nurture your leads, and eventually transition them to your client list.

No matter what kind of emails you are planning on sending, you will need content. And that is where small businesses sometimes get stuck – having a strong email marketing strategy also means having a strong content game. Below are examples of content you could include in your emails:

  • Educational content (tips & tricks, answers to frequently asked questions, how-to’s, etc.)
  • Inspirational content (success stories, case studies, testimonials, etc.)
  • Entertaining content (behind-the-scenes videos, funny sketches, etc.)
  • Promotional content (sales, coupons, events, etc.)

The most common types of content are in the form of blog posts. Creating videos is also a good option. In that case, you could post the videos on YouTube and add them to your website (as part of a blog post for example). Whatever you choose to do, the most important thing is to be creative!

Opt for emails that are straight to the point and easy-to-read on a small screen. Instead of a long message, only include short text and links to your website. For example, a title, a short blurb, and an image with a link towards your most recent blog post is much better than trying to fit the whole text in an email.

Discover a few templates that will help you write compelling content.

Automation is at Your Fingertips

The term ‘marketing automation’ has never been more popular and it’s now available to businesses of all sizes, even sole proprietors. Most email marketing tools, even the most affordable ones, offer the option of sending automated emails based on a trigger (subscriber’s behaviour).

Start brainstorming about the best ways to welcome your subscribers, train your new clients, or simply share your best content.

Let’s Get Organized!

It’s not worth thinking about a strategy if we don’t put it into action. Below is a table that can be used to organize and visualize your email marketing.

This table is filled with examples meant to spark some inspiration. Feel free to replace them with your own ideas.

Email Type Target Content Frequency
Newsletter for clients Clients – New blog post

– New features

 

– Exclusive promotions

2 x per month
Newsletter for leads Leads – New blog posts

 

– Incentives to become a customer

2 x per month
One-off All subscribers -Events & workshops

 

– Surveys

When needed
Automated series Individuals who create a free account Our best tips & tricks 1 email per week for 5 weeks

Wishing you the best of luck and lots of success for the upcoming year. We’re confident that email marketing will help you achieve your goals!

About Antoine Bonicalzi

Antoine Bonicalzi has been involved in digital marketing since 2009. Occupying key roles in several agencies, he has helped hundreds of small businesses succeed with digital marketing. Today, as the Marketing Director for Cyberimpact, a Canadian email marketing platform, Antoine has the responsibility of growing its user base across the country. His role involves communicating the secrets of email marketing to Canadian businesses and organizations through articles, training workshops and seminars.

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