There are so many different marketing methods out there nowadays, especially with the rise of digital marketing, that it can often be difficult to pinpoint which methods will be most successful in reaching your audience. Luckily, there are a few trustworthy methods that prove their effectiveness time and time again – one of which is email marketing! While it can be daunting starting an email marketing campaign from scratch, especially as a digital marketing apprentice, there are plenty of free tools to help break it down. This blog is one of them, and I’m going to go over some of the major do’s and don’ts of implementing an email marketing campaign to hit as many competencies in your Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship as possible!
Email Marketing Do’s
Use a Free ESP (Email Service Provider)
There are plenty of tools available online for free that can make the process of preparing and distributing an email campaign much easier. Platforms such as MailChimp and SendGrid offer built-in segmentation tools to segment your audiences, as well as drag-and-drop email editing and easy-to-navigate analytics reports. Using a tool like these simplifies the process, reducing the need to manage mailing lists and content in separate applications. If that wasn’t enough, using an ESP properly and effectively to build an email campaign can contribute towards multiple competencies, including but not limited to implementation, technologies, written communication, and analysis.
Segment Your Audience
As mentioned above, it’s important to segment your audience to ensure that you are sending the most relevant content to each group. There are four types of audience segmentation:
- Geographic Segmentation
Grouping audiences together based on geographical location and borders.
- Demographic Segmentation
Grouping audiences together based on demographic, such as age, gender identity, education level etc.
- Psychographic Segmentation
Grouping customers based on traits such as their personalities and interests.
- Behavioural Segmentation
Grouping customers based upon their decision making and purchase history.
As an example, if you were to run an email newsletter based on fashion trends and industry news, it may make sense to use demographic or behavioural segmentation. Demographic segmentation could be used to segment audiences based on their gender identity, to ensure they are only receiving information on trends that impact them. Likewise, behavioural segmentation could be used to segment audiences based on their purchasing history, and to break audiences down into those who have purchased different items, i.e. purses, handbags, shoes, clothes etc.
Not only will segmenting your audience lead to higher open and click-through rates, but you will again meet several competencies from the Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, including research, implementation, and digital tools.
Utilise A/B Testing
A/B testing is a method whereby two almost identical emails are sent to two different test groups, with the aim of finding out which is most effective and produces the best results/analytics. It’s important to note that when conducting A/B testing of an email, the elements that are changed should be kept to a minimal amount. If too many features are different, such as the subject, preheader, imagery and links, then it may be difficult to determine exactly which feature/s impacted the results. In contrast, using only a different subject line and preheader for both emails will enable you to easily track what impacted the results, with whichever one having a higher open rate and generally better metrics being the ‘winner’. Since A/B testing is conducted with just a small sample of your total audience, the ‘winning’ email can then be sent out to the rest of your audience knowing that the more effective and impactful subject and pre-header are being used.
Email Marketing Don’ts
Send Emails for the Sake of it
Since there are particular competencies and projects you may need to complete for your Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, it could be tempting to put together an email marketing campaign and send the emails out in quick succession to ensure you meet the competencies. This could have the opposite effect though, as it is one of the quickest ways to lose your audience’s interest, and can lead to a dramatic increase in unsubscribes and spam reports. If you’ve taken the time to segment your audiences and curate content that is relevant and engaging to them, you don’t want to overdo the emails and bombard them with too many! It’s important to create and adhere to a campaign schedule for email marketing, which should evenly space out emails and prevent too many being sent close to each other. This could lead to audiences losing interest in your content, and may result in email providers marking your emails as spam/junk, further damaging your campaign’s analytics.
Forget to Check Your GDPR Compliance
Since the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was enshrined in UK law via the Data Protection Act 2018, it is vital that every email you send adheres to these regulations and legislation. Every email marketing campaign must include the sender’s physical address within each email, whether it be an office address, home address, or PO Box. In addition, you must also provide a way for email recipients to easily change their preferences or opt out of all email communications from you. This is usually found at the bottom of an email, with buttons stating ‘Unsubscribe Preferences’ and ‘Unsubscribe Completely’. By including these simple elements, you are ensuring that your emails are GDPR-compliant and mitigate the risk of any legal or financial backlash.
Use Too Many Images
Finally, don’t use a lot of images in one email! While it may look nice when you’re designing your campaign, images can have a large impact on email’s loading times, and may not even display due to data limitations on mobile devices. It’s fine to use a couple of images in each email, but using too many images reduces how well your content will display on different devices, and may therefore result in people losing interest in your campaign. If you are including imagery in your email campaign, be sure to test the email before sending, and view the email on multiple devices and platforms to ensure the content and imagery are optimised and fully visible on every one.
While it may seem a daunting task with too many technical aspects to remember, building an effective email marketing campaign can reap sizable rewards for your company. If you stick to best practice and the advice above, you can easily build and schedule an amazing email marketing campaign that takes care of itself, with you only needing to monitor the analytics once each email is sent. In turn, you should have a brilliant campaign to include in your portfolio for your Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, and hopefully have ticked off quite a few competencies along the way!