If we had to name the most frequent complaint we hear from small business owners, it’s that creating an email marketing strategy is too hard, too time-consuming, and too much work. This complaint always hits us right in our email-loving hearts. Because email marketing works! In fact, it works better than just about any other strategy.
A solid email marketing strategy will help you build trust with your audience, convert browsers into buyers, and create a more authentic experience for each and every person who interacts with your brand online. Plus, according to The Direct Marketing Association, brands can expect an average return of $42 on every one dollar spent on email marketing.
So, what’s keeping you from executing a great email marketing strategy?
That’s what we thought! We’ve rounded up our top three tips to make the process easier to help you get started.
Define Your Email Marketing Strategy Goals
Before you do anything, you have to know why you’re writing to your audience. The strongest defense against DBS (the Dreaded Blank Screen) is knowing the purpose of your email marketing strategy. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to get so focused on having to send an email that you forget what you want (or need) to say.
We like to break this down into a few steps to make it a little less overwhelming and a bit more fun.
First, we define the overall goal of our email marketing strategy. Are we playing the long-game and planning out a months-long nurture sequence? Or do we need to come up with a simple welcome email to acknowledge someone joined our list? Maybe we are researching a new service and want to recognize our loyal customers by asking them their opinion. It’s plain to see that there are all kinds of strategies for email marketing, so getting crystal clear on why you are writing one is crucial to getting the job done (and an incredible act of kindness for your future self).
Next, we identify how many messages we need for the email marketing strategy we are working on and the goal of each email. This might seem like a superfluous step at first, but trust us, you’ll be grateful you took the time to do it when you sit down to actually write your emails. Here at SizzleForce, we jot down the ideal timeframe to send the email if it is tied to a specific date or launch then we write down the barebones version of what the email is supposed to communicate.
TWO WEEKS FROM LAUNCH // Announce when doors open
ONE WEEK FROM LAUNCH // Personal note from founder
DAY OF LAUNCH // Direct ask
We keep this as simple as possible at this step because we are just building an outline at this point. This outline gives us an idea of what the pacing, storytelling, and direct calls to action should be like as we build out any particular email marketing strategy. Once we have our outline built, we can move on to the fun part…finding our angles!
Don’t worry, this isn’t about to turn into a Geometry lesson. We’re talking about finding the hook or narrative to build the email around, which is the final step before we start writing. The key to this final step is to get ideas down to see what might work, what might require some additional creative pieces and what might be time-sensitive. If you have an evergreen email marketing strategy that introduces a new audience member to a product, you don’t want to send them an email focused on how to use that product before you tell them it exists, right?
Defining your email marketing strategy goals may require some extra time and resources, we guarantee you won’t regret putting in the effort when it comes time to sit down and write your emails. Plus, the longer your initial ideas swim around in your brain, the more creative you will feel when it’s time to communicate them.
Understanding Your Brand’s Email Voice and Tone
Another essential step of creating your email marketing strategy is understanding your brand’s voice and tone. You’ve likely completed a brand exercise or two throughout the life of your business, so we’ll give a few quick definitions before diving in.
Your brand’s voice is the personality of your business. It is everything from the types of images you use in your marketing to the words and phrases you use on a daily basis. It is consistent and reliable, and, ultimately, builds your audience’s perception of your company.
Your brand’s tone is the emotion (or inflection if you will) of your messaging based on what you are trying to communicate. It changes from piece to piece and depends on your discernment.
So what do voice and tone have to do with email marketing strategies? Well, we’re glad you asked!
Let’s say we are creating content for an inventory email marketing strategy and our brand voice is playful and fun. We have emails that rave about our news products and emails that apologize for being out of stock of items. The emails we’ll write about our new products are going to be full of energy with a bit of a “we’re letting you into the cool club” vibe. There will likely be lots of (gasp!) exclamation points and colorful graphics. However, when we write our emails to let a customer know we’re out of stock on something they ordered, we will lead with an “aww shucks, we’re out” attitude followed by a more helpful approach to find them something else that might work.
Understanding your brand’s email voice and tone is an integral part of your email marketing strategy because it will help you communicate more clearly and show up for your audience in a more authentic way.
Know the Temperature of Your Audience
Speaking of showing up for your audience, the last thing you need to do before you type your first “Dear [First Name],” is to acknowledge the temperature of your audience.
No, we’re not talking about coronavirus precautions. We’re talking about knowing if the email addresses on your list are cold, warm, or red-hot. Their temperature plays a major role in what you say to them, how often you communicate with them, and the likelihood that they will engage or unsubscribe.
A cold audience is one that has never or rarely interacted with your content. They come from purchased lists or lists you may receive for partnering with a group on a virtual summit or conference. A warm audience is one that has engaged with your content online and opens your emails. They might not click through every offer you send, but they know your name. A red-hot audience is one that absolutely adores everything you do. They are your biggest fans and would start a fan club for you if you asked.
All three audiences have vastly different experiences with and expectations of your brand. Naturally, you will get better results if you cater to each audience. Writing with them in mind is an easy way to respect their time and needs as a consumer.
And there you have it! Those are our best tips to make your email marketing strategy more enjoyable (and effective!). Before we go, we want to leave you with a free bonus tool to make this process even easier. And that’s to use Grammarly when you draft your emails! Grammarly is a free tool that checks your writing for grammar and spelling errors and works across web browsers and document editors. Plus, if you bump up to the premium plan, it will recommend clarity improvements as well as monitor the tone of your words and phrases.
Or if you’d rather leave the writing to the professionals, our team of creative reinforcements can have your email marketing strategy knocked out in no time thanks to our customer favorite Get-It-Done Strategy and Copy Days. These popular picks require just two days of your time where you tell us all about your business and where you want to see it grow, errr, excuse us, go. Then we create an email marketing strategy for you and our copywriting team drafts every email you will need for it. You get to dream up the perfect email plan for your business, and we get to do what we do best. It’s a win-win situation. Book a consultation call to see if a Get-It-Done Day is right for you. We’ll sharpen our pencils in the meantime.