5 Ways Brands Can Step Up Their Email Marketing Game Plan
Last month, Facebook announced that it would be rolling out some major changes to its algorithm. At Pivot Six, we believe everyone -- from big brands to personal bloggers -- should use this as an opportunity to build their email lists. With the detrimental effect that this algorithm update will have on brands, it has become more important than ever to ensure you have an effective email marketing game plan in place.
Why do you need an email marketing strategy?
Email marketing is extremely effective at driving website traffic and online sales. This is in part because the brand owns the email addresses they collect. While social media platforms are constantly changing their algorithms in order to push brands to pay for advertising, email marketing does not have this level of instability. Email campaigns allow you to have a direct conversation about your product with your customers in their most personal online space: their inbox.
While Facebook and Instagram are important channels for sharing content and building awareness, they are also quite ‘noisy’. In other words, you are battling for the attention of your consumer in an environment that is already saturated with brands. To add to that, social platforms have implemented restrictive algorithms that decrease organic social media. The result is that posts by brands are less likely to appear in their followers’ social media feeds, unless the brand pays for ‘sponsored’ posts.
Beyond that, your target audience may not always be checking social media, if they are on it at all (social media "detoxes" are a growing trend)! But regardless of how often they are on social media, the average North American checks their email multiple times per day -- if not per hour!
You need an email marketing game plan because email marketing is the #1 driver of sales in the U.S., and recent research shows:
Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue (The Direct Marketing Association)
Email has an ROI of around 3800% (The Direct Marketing Association)
86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily. (HubSpot)
For every $1 spent on email marketing, $44 is made in return (Campaign Monitor)
73% of millennials identify email as their preferred means of business communication (Campaign Monitor)
So what are you waiting for? Start owning your data and collecting email addresses from your customers and followers right now!
Here are 5 ways to step up your email marketing game plan
1. Sign up for an email platform
An email marketing platform is an easy way to build and send email campaigns using a variety of online marketing tools that are provided for you.
Some options that we recommend are:
a) MailChimp - Perhaps the most well-known platform, MailChimp is a user-friendly campaign builder with pre-built marketing automation options that makes your work that much easier. MailChimp can integrate with Facebook, Instagram and Google to ensure that you reach your widest possible audience.
b) Constant Contact - Another popular platform, Constant Contact is a good option for those looking for a larger variety of easy-to-use email templates and simple, no-nonsense analytics. Constant Contact also provides 24/7 phone support, making it an ideal platform for those who are just starting out in their email marketing game plan.
c) Active Campaign - Active Campaign is a great program for mid-sized businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. With a large variety of features complemented by affordable pricing, this platform is ideal for more established companies and those familiar with email campaigns.
d) HubSpot - Although pricey, HubSpot offers the perfect solution for those with basic to no understanding of coding and email marketing who still want access to a large variety of features in a user-friendly format. In other words, it brings an elite experience to small business with minimal email marketing experience, but for a fee.
e) Revue - This relative newcomer lets anyone build a personal newsletter and has an added feature that allows you to link your old archived newsletters, something we have never seen before! Although limited in features, it is simple to use and comes with an incredibly low monthly fee. Perfect for small businesses that want to keep their email marketing game plan super simple!
Ultimately, the platform you choose will depend on the industry you’re in and the product you are selling so it’s always ideal to do your research first. Our dirty little secret to picking the best platform? Check out your competitors’ newsletters and see which platforms they are using. You’re welcome!
Once you have chosen a platform, you will want to begin creating your brand’s emails. Pivot Six recommends setting up an email flow, ensuring you have on-brand templates and deciding which metrics you will want to track, and how. The next step is to inspire people to sign up to receive your emails.
2. Create an enticing CTA (call-to-action) so people will sign up for your newsletter
Note: If you are using WordPress, Shopify or Squarespace, you can integrate your newsletter with one of these platforms.
So your email marketing game plan is ready for action! You’ve chosen your platform, you’ve created a killer newsletter and now you want to make sure your consumers get a chance to engage with your content. The best way to ensure your target audience sign up for your newsletter is to add a sign-up form on your website’s homepage. Your sign-up form can appear as either a header, a footer or a pop-up. There are advantages to each one and you should make sure to do your research, as well as some A/B testing, to see what works best for you.
Once you have made your decision, remember to pay adequate attention to your CTA. This is an often underutilized yet effective method of gaining conversions!
Here are some examples of eye-catching CTAs we love (and which made us sign up right away!)
Glossier (Top of Homepage)
The Wanderlust Report (Bottom of Homepage)
Fenty Beauty (Pop-up on Homepage)
MAYAWATER (Pop-up on Homepage)
Guest Of A Guest (Separate Webpage)
3. Build your email list (AKA email acquisition)
You know how effective email campaigns can be, now how do you build your email list to get started? You need to think outside of the box to entice people to sign up for your list. There are several ways you can do this.
a) Give them a one-time discount if they sign up:
Example from Ban.do (Bottom of Homepage)
b) Make your copy enticing and creative enough that they want to learn more:
Example from Milk Makeup
c) Reward those who sign up by giving them exclusive insider perks (e.g. a birthday discount or first dibs to view new designs):
Example from bkr
Example from Death to the Stock Photo
d) Hold a contest:
People love free things! And you know that if they’re willing to give you their email address for a chance to win one of your products, then they are already a qualified and interested member of your target audience.
Example from French Girl
e) Create a unique landing page:
If you truly want to stand out, consider dedicating an entire landing page to building your email list. Make it enticing, keep it simple and remember to use eye-catching visuals.
Example from The Culture Trip
(P.S. This newsletter also lets you view past emails - how smart!)
f) A downloadable takeaway:
Take your newsletter from passive to interactive and create a downloadable piece of content. Bonus: This allows your consumers to easily save the content for future reference!
Example from Marie Forleo
Now that you’ve learned several ways to build your email list, let’s move on to the next step of your email marketing game plan...
4. Market your email list just as you would market your products and services
Treat your newsletter like a valued product. It adds value, builds revenue and has a massive ROI, so invest in marketing it on social media.
For example, on Facebook you can add a sign-up button to your company page, like theSkimm has done.
Additionally, you can write a compelling Facebook post with a CTA encouraging people to sign up to your newsletter. You can then boost this post to increase exposure.
Example from NoMiNoU
Alternatively, you can create a Facebook ad promoting your newsletter.
Example from Baked NYC
On Instagram, you can add a link to your newsletter sign-up page within your bio. A fun way you can encourage your audience to click on the link is to collaborate with partner brands and co-host contests where entries are gained through sign-ups.
5. Remember to pay attention to regulations and rules
It may not seem like it but this a crucial step for your email marketing game plan. Canada has strict laws against spam (refer to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, aka CASL) and a misstep could leave you with a hefty fine. Be sure you understand how to properly collect express consent, as well as the requirements for having an ‘unsubscribe’ option for your service.
Congratulations! Once you have familiarized yourself with these five steps, you are ready to implement your email marketing game plan!
Once you're feeling comfortable with email marketing and are ready to kick things up a notch, keep an eye out for future posts on how to create an email flow, decide on key metrics, create branded templates, and more.
Coming up next: Pivot Six’s guide to maximizing your email open rates through compelling and visually pleasing content.