February 14, 2022

Email Marketing and SMS Basics  

Email marketing has been around for years, and with technology advancing rapidly, more and more can be done to help businesses use this tool effectively.

But with all the various options and different mediums available, where does a business start?

Campaigner shares a few key things and email best practices to help get started:

1. Permission

The most important starting point with email and SMS marketing is to ensure you have the permission of everyone on your mailing list. Without permission, you are risking your business’ reputation, and the company’s ability to deliver to the audience without being sent to junk mail or bouncing completely. This is why asking for permission, and including an unsubscribe link in the email, is essential.

Double check the permission

Once you’ve obtained permission it doesn’t end there. It’s important to ensure that you’re keeping your customer’s permission with every interaction you have (since people can easily misspell or change email addresses). To ensure they haven’t done that, and to protect your reputation, send them a message and ask them to verify their email (this process is known as double opt-in).

Maintain clean lists

When looking through analytics and databases after the emails are sent out, you can see whether or not people are opening your emails and engaging. After a period of several months with no opens, the email might become harmful to send to because of potential Spam Traps. These should be removed from your normal segmenting lists and you can try to win them back through a re-engagement campaign.

2. Gather information to create more relevant content

When someone subscribes, they shouldn’t just be sent through a series of repetitive emails that bore or irritate a potential customer. They should be sent meaningful content that appeals to them. Not all subscribers are going to be interested in everything, and with current email technology, businesses can adapt accordingly. So the more information that’s been gathered on customers, the more their experience can be personalised.

There are a variety of ways businesses can organise their subscribers to send meaningful content. Using email automation, businesses can have each segment’s journey mapped out in advance to take people that meet certain characteristics through specific journeys. That way they get sent the right information and the right type of emails at the right time.

3. Build a multi-channel experience

Not all customers want to communicate with a business in the same manner. Having a marketing channel that allows you to build a multi-channel campaign allows you to create a better, more engaging experience for your customers. Use SMS and email marketing together and build workflows that learn which channel customers are more responsive on, and automatically communicate with them through their preferred channel.

4. Content

Having all of these other tools doesn’t do much without quality content. There is an array of content types such as newsletters, content offers, and rewards emails. The important part is for the content to serve a purpose, whether it’s to simply educate the subscriber or to get them to buy the product. Before you send the email make sure you ask, is the content helping my customers, would they be interested, and what do you want them to do with the information?

A good quality email or SMS message should have a clear answer to these questions and should include a strong call to action at the end. You have the subscriber’s attention, now what do you want them to do with that?

To help you create more relevant content, you can also use that information gathered to create a personalised experience. Two ways to do this are through dynamic content and merge fields.

Dynamic content

Dynamic content allows a business to take one email and create several pieces of content within that campaign. Then the marketer would plug in the segments, and subscribers would only see certain text based on which segment they were a part of. This way a business can create one email for a variety of different customer bases.

Merge fields

Merge fields allow businesses to get even more specific. Using a specific piece of information, businesses can input that into the email they send to subscribers. This could be something as simple as adding the subscriber “Hi, [Contact.First Name], name into the email.

Instead of the subscriber seeing that, however, they would be greeted with their name in the email. This seemingly small gesture makes the contact feel more valued than a generic greeting.

5. A/B testing

Whether it’s the subject line, the body content, or actual design of a marketing communication, a business can use A/B testing to help see which version responds better. This is a great way to compare versions of an email and can help you to better understand the subscribers as a whole. But according to Litmus, a drastic 38.6 per cent of companies don’t test their broadcast or segmented emails.

To use A/B testing, a marketer would isolate that one part of the email and create the two different versions while keeping everything else the same. They would send the different versions out to a small portion of their subscribers and wait to see which one performs better. Typically this is done a day before the whole segment would get their email.

Often marketers use this to test subject lines, CTAs, send time, from name, images, and any other elements of an email.

Whether you’re creating newsletters, abandoned shopping cart emails, welcome messages, appointment reminders or something else, it is important to have an understanding of the basics. Make sure you have your subscriber’s permission, personalise when possible, create content that serves a clear purpose, and use A/B testing to improve your emails. If you start with those, you’ll be making effective emails in no time.

To learn more about Campaigner, visit their website.