Top Tips for Effective Email Marketing

Offering a low cost way to communicate with your subscribers en masse at little cost, email marketing can be a highly effective way to keep your customers engaged – and spending!

To help you make the most of this marvellous marketing medium we have put together a few top tips to help you achieve maximum inbox impact.

Planning what to promote and when

What do you want your emails to promote and what you are trying to achieve? Place an order? Visit your shop or stand at a show? Book a class?

Think about what engages and excites your customers as well as your goals – each email campaign should have at least one product, product group or subject that will prompt your customers to open the email and engage them. Rotary cutter blades may not capture your reader’s imagination but when featured alongside the latest fabric collection they may get some useful exposure.

Think about when your new fabric collections are due for delivery, when customers will need to book your classes, when you are likely to have sales etc. and plan what you will feature in your email campaigns and when. Try to vary what you promote to keep your audience engaged although reminders can be effective in prompting desired outcomes. Allow flexibility in your email planning for the unforeseen such as delays in the supply chain or sluggish sales of a collection that needs extra promotion.

Style and Content

As you construct your email, try to think about the content from your customer’s point of view.

The most important part of your email is your subject line. It must grab your customer’s attention and entice them to take a look, otherwise no matter how interesting the rest of your email is, it will simply not be read.

In creating your email’s content, make sure that text is easy to read and in a style that is clear and tailored to your audience. Appeal to your reader but you don’t need to wax lyrical about your offering – you don’t want to exhaust your reader’s attention span.

In the craft industry especially, high quality images are important, especially when promoting fabrics and a good image often says far more than a paragraph of text. Think about the best way to showcase what you are trying to promote. In the case of notions for instance, is it better to show the product in the packet or a lifestyle shot of the product in use?

Keep in mind what you are trying to achieve i.e. the behaviour you want to encourage from the reader and make sure that any calls to action are clear and simple. If you want them to click through to your website, buttons with a call to action can be an effective way to do this.

Make sure you proofread your email before sending. Small errors can give a negative impression, distract from your message, or even change its meaning. Ask yourself if the reader will be engaged and be encouraged by any calls to action. Don’t just read the content but test any links and send a copy to your inbox to see how it appears as an email.

Email as part of your customer's journey

Ensure that any call to action in your email is easy for your customers to follow. If for example you want them to buy online. It should be easy for them to click through and the landing page should be effective consistent with your email message. If promoting an offer, ensure that your team are familiar with the terms of the offer and the product and able to answer customer questions.

Measurement and Testing

Make sure you measure the performance of your emails and keep records so that you can make comparisons.

Open rate – how many people opened your email? From this you can make judgements about the effectiveness of your subject line and wording and the time it was sent.
Click through rate – if you are encouraging the reader to click through to your website or social media platform, how many did so? This will tell you more about the effectiveness of your email itself in enticing the reader and your level of interest in what you are promoting.
Revenue or goal conversion – If your email is actively selling to your audience, how many were prompted to make a purchase and how much was spent overall?
From measuring your emails you will increase your knowledge about the products and offerings that can be effectively promoted by email, what makes a good subject line and the style of content that delivers results. Online email platforms such as Mail Chimp which often have free plans, provide detailed information including the part of an email that readers clicked on most.

Test the emails you send by varying the day, time, subject lines and style to see what is most effective. The best way to do this is to split testing. Send the same email to your mailing list but randomly split the list varying one aspect of the email. e.g. How will the day of the week effect the open rate? Repeat the test with further email campaigns to be sure that it is the factor you are testing that makes the difference rather than just coincidence.

List growth and management

The more interested customers you have on your email list, the greater the chance of your email campaigns delivering results. You can encourage customers and potential customers to sign up via many platforms including social media, your website in your shop, in a class or at a show. Make clear the benefits of signing up such as news about new products, sales, online tutorials etc. You may consider incentivising sign-ups with prize draws for example or one-off discount codes.

Make sure that all recipients have opted in to receive marketing emails as this is required by data protection laws. Provide an unsubscribe link so that those who are no longer interested can easily opt out.

Monitor your results to check for any recipients who have stopped opening emails and remove them to maintain a clean and useful mailing list. Too many none openers and your emails are more likely to be listed as spam.
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