The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

Email Marketing may be one of the oldest forms of digital communication, but email still reigns supreme when it comes to usage.

Sure, there are other newer methods of communicating with your audience and customers. Communication methods like social media, live chat, and many others. However, with a user base of over 4 billion people, email is the king of marketing channels.

Additionally, email marketing has an ROI of $38 for every dollar spent, meaning it deserves a place in every marketer’s toolbox. 

It may be one of the oldest forms of digital communication, but email still reigns supreme when it comes to usage.

Sure, there are other newer methods of communicating with your audience and customers. Communication methods like social media, live chat, and many others. However, with a user base of over 4 billion people, email is the king of marketing channels.

Additionally, email marketing has an ROI of $38 for every dollar spent, meaning it deserves a place in every marketer’s toolbox. 

There’s a problem—most people don’t know how to do it right. (In fact, you’ve probably seen those people in your email box.)

This post will walk you through tips and strategies for executing impactful email marketing campaigns.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the act of sending promotional messages to people in mass quantities. It typically is to generate sales or leads and it may contain advertising.

Remember: You’re a Guest in Their Inbox

People are inundated with interruptions, pitches, and advertisements everywhere they look.

Though you might think your email is special. To the reader, your email is one in a million—and not in a good way.

This is why it’s important to remember where you are and use good manners.

Getting into someone’s inbox is like being invited to their home for dinner. If they ask you to take your shoes off, you respectfully do so.

It’s the same with email marketing, so before we begin I’d simply like to remind you to be on your best behavior at all times and remember… you’re a guest in their inbox.

Now, let’s talk about how to build your email marketing strategy from the ground up.

How Does Email Marketing Work?

Email marketing is one of the top-performing strategies, in no small part because it’s fairly intuitive and often automated.

In its basic form, an effective email marketing campaign requires three essential elements:

1. An Email List

For you to pull off successful email campaigns, you need an active email list. This is a database of email contacts who have expressed interest in receiving marketing communications from your brand.

There are many ways to build an email list. One of the easiest is to create a lead magnet (also called an offer) your target audience is interested in, like a coupon, in exchange for their email addresses.

2. An Email Service Provider

An email service provider (ESP), also known as an email marketing platform, is software that helps manage your email list. It also helps design and execute automated email marketing campaigns.

Using an ESP allows you to automate actions triggered by your target audience’s behaviors. These enable you to personalize each interaction with them, meaning engagement and conversion rates generally improve.

3. Clearly Defined Goals

You can use email marketing to achieve many business goals. For example, you can use email marketing to:

  • drive sales
  • boost brand awareness 
  • generate and nurture leads
  • keep customers engaged
  • increase customer loyalty and lifetime value

To execute an effective email marketing campaign, your email list, ESP, and goals must align. Then, you can get to work.

The first step is to segment your email list according to subscriber demographics or actions.

Next, create an email or series of emails designed to get consumers to do something (your goal).

Finally, use your ESP to send emails and monitor the campaign automatically.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Just like any other marketing channel, email marketing has pros and cons. Let’s briefly dive into some of the more significant ones:

Advantages :

Email Is Permission-based

When a customer trusts you with their email address, it’s the virtual equivalent of being given the keys to their house. Gaining permission to enter rather than showing up uninvited increases the chances of engagement and conversion.

Affords You Direct Access to Your Audience

You can communicate directly with subscribers on their schedules. In addition, because people check their emails daily, your email is likely to be viewed.

Gives You More Control

With most other marketing platforms, you don’t own the platform. If the platform ceases to exist, all your hard work sinks with it.

With email, you own the relationships you forge with your subscribers.

More Personalization Capabilities

You can use demographic or psychographic data to create personalized and hyper-targeted campaigns. Research shows segmented and personalized campaigns increase revenue by as much as 760 percent.

Measurable

Measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign is crucial, and automated email marketing makes measuring your campaign a breeze.

Scalable

Email marketing campaigns can scale without putting a strain on your resources or compromising quality.

Disadvantages :

Tough Competition

Standing out in a cluttered inbox can be quite a challenge. You have to be creative to ensure your emails get noticed and opened.

You Need an Email List

You should already have an email list for your campaigns to be effective.

Tricky Rules and Regulations to Navigate

There are a lot of rules governing the use of email for commercial purposes. Common examples include GDPR, CAN-SPAM, and CCPA. All of these state you can’t send unsolicited emails.

Unfortunately, some subscribers also report your emails as being spam even after they subscribed to the list. As a result, your sender reputation takes a hit.

Delivery and Deliverability Issues

Getting your email to land in receivers’ inboxes is not guaranteed. To run effective email marketing campaigns, you must contend with delivery and deliverability issues.

Email Marketing Examples

Let’s briefly look at a couple of examples for a bit of inspiration.

Teaonic

Teaonic is an e-commerce brand specializing in organic, healthy teas.

Subject line: Getting Low On Wellness?

What does this email get right?

  • Great subject line: The subject line focuses on the target audience’s main pain point, i.e., improving their health.
  • Leverages color psychology: The bright, warm colors trigger feelings of health and happiness.
  • Well-timed: The email is targeted at people who have purchased the product and is sent when the customer’s supply is about to run out.

Bluehost

Well-known for its hosting services, Bluehost decided to try its hand at creating a website builder.

Subject line: Bluehost’s new Website Builder makes building simple.

  • Sells the benefits, not features: Focusing on the benefits makes the copy more compelling.
  • Clean design: The simple design makes the email aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.
  • Excellent targeting: Bluehost knows their audience is mainly made up of small business owners without technical expertise. The email uses language targeted at this demographic.

How to Automate Your Email Marketing

While the automation process varies from one ESP to another, there are some universal steps to automating your email marketing.

Define Your Segments

Effective email marketing campaigns start with list segmentation. Use the data you have about your subscribers to group them. This allows you to create more personalized campaigns.

Design an Efficient Workflow

After segmenting your email list, it’s time to design a workflow. This is the series of emails to fulfill the objective of the campaign.

Determine the Right Triggers

Once you’ve designed your workflow, determine the triggers that will set off the following email in the sequence. Examples of triggers can include customers opening your email, clicking on a link, or not opening it at all within a predetermined time frame.

Best Email Marketing Strategies

To succeed with email marketing, you have to be strategic in the way you design your campaigns. Here are some of the best strategies you can employ.

Use the Right List Building Strategies

The success of your email marketing campaigns depends on the quality of your email list. To build such a list, you must use list-building strategies designed to attract your target audience. For example, a case study promoted on LinkedIn may help a B2B brand build a list of engaged subscribers but flop when used by a B2C brand.

Practice Good Email List Hygiene

Another essential email marketing strategy is practicing good email list hygiene. Cleaning out inactive subscribers and email addresses that are no longer in use will ensure you have a good sender reputation.

Keep Your List Warm

Regularly send emails to your list to keep your subscribers engaged (warm). However, sporadic emailing could result in subscribers forgetting who you are and lead to low conversion rates.

If some of your subscribers go cold, you can run a re-engagement campaign.

For more informative blogs check out this link.

What do you mean by SEO Management?

Writing a captivating and share-worthy blog is only half the battle in creating content that engages and converts consumers. Marketers know you also have to get eyes on your blog. SEO Management is a smart way to do that, organically attracting readers to your blog and boosting your website’s visibility.

What’s more, the traffic you attract will consist of interested, engaged readers because they’ve found your blog by entering relevant keywords via Google (or other search engines). With effective SEO, you’ve already overcome the hurdle of piquing the reader’s initial interest. If you’ve optimized your content correctly, searchers who end up on your blog will already be eager to consume the content you’ve created.

From there, all you have to do is maintain their interest with thorough research, a well-organized structure, and quality content. This is especially important for bloggers who depend largely on organic traffic to drive leads and generate ad revenue or sales.

Whether you’re a small business owner looking to launch an e-commerce site or an SEO expert, below is an in-depth overview of our top blog SEO tips to help you optimize your next piece of content. More specifically, we’ll explain how great content should:

  • Leverage Topic Clusters to Organize Your Content
  • Utilize Keyword Research
  • Write to Rank for Featured Snippets
  • Incorporate Rich Media Types On-Page
  • Add Internal Links Within Your Content
  • Customize the URL You’re Using
  • Use Tools and Plug-Ins to Make Your Job Easier
  • Monitor Mobile Responsiveness and Experience
  • Simplify Blog SEO With SEMrush

Leverage Topic Clusters to Organize Your Content

In the past, blogging and SEO have focused primarily on optimizing individual posts. While this is important, you can improve your search engine rankings even more by using topic clusters. Following this model, you select a larger “pillar” topic or target keyword you want to rank for and create individual pieces of “cluster” content based on specific keywords related to that topic. This results in greater interconnectedness between individual blogs, enhancing the website’s overall authoritativeness and your audience’s user experience.

This approach also prevents individual pieces of blog content from competing. When you have multiple blog posts about the same topic, you end up with URLs taking attention away from another. An editorial calendar is critical if you want your pillar-cluster model to succeed. You can select your pillar and cluster topics in advance and plan a logical blog SEO strategy for publishing new content.

First, select your pillar topics. Then, compile six to eight subtopics based on specific questions a person might have after reading the pillar page’s content. Say you run a website about at-home fitness, for example. Add the search query “at-home fitness,” and you’ll be provided with a list of ideas for related keywords. 

Utilize Keyword Research

Comprehensive keyword research is critical to a blog’s success. It requires more than thinking to yourself, “Hey, what will people plug into Google?” For instance, the most obvious keyword isn’t necessarily the best choice. Popular keywords with a high search volume are highly competitive, making it harder to rank well in search engine results.

Luckily, there are SEO tools that can help with your keyword research. You can even discover “not provided” keywords via integrating your Google Analytics account, allowing you to cross-reference data to check organic search performance .Focus on one to two long-tail keywords, which will reflect your target audience’s search intent. This is a longer and more focused phrase that a person is more likely to use at a point of purchase or when conducting a voice search. Instead of “long-form article,” for instance, a person might search “how to write a long-form article.” These keywords should be included in your body, organizing header, the page URL, and the meta description and title tag.

Another SEO best practice that doesn’t require you to be a technical SEO expert is to insert thoughtful internal links in your blog content like this one. Linking to other pages encourages readers to further explore your website, keeping them on your platform for longer. It also helps search engines find other relevant authority pages you have to offer. When hyperlinking, don’t use more than five words for your anchor text. To get users to click a link, make it clear where it will take them and what value clicking will provide.

Last but not least, ensure any internal links are logical. Hyperlinking anchor text for the sake of it won’t give readers any added value (which means they won’t click). Above all, Google rankings are focused on the end-users and the value that content provides for them. In general, these blog optimization tips are all geared toward that end.

Customize the URL You’re Using

An important ranking factor is the structure of your URL, so you don’t want to rely on automatically generated URLs for your blog posts. Customized URLs make it easy for search engines to understand what the page is about and allow Google bots to index pages accordingly. For example, a pillar page about content marketing might have the subdirectory “/content-marketing” at the end of the URL structure. A cluster about using blogs for content marketing might conclude with “/content-marketing/how-to-use-blogs-for-content-marketing.”

Customized URLs also make it easier for users to see what a page is about quickly. This can be especially handy when it comes to internal linking. If a user hovers over an anchor text and a URL is displayed that indicates where the user will be redirected, they will be more likely to click on it. Just be aware that if you change URLs, you will have to go back and amend internal links. Additionally, inbound links may no longer work. Get your URLs right the first time.

Another benefit of a custom URL? You can use keywords you are trying to rank for. Just be sure that when using keywords, your URL is SEO-friendly, meaning it’s concise and simple.

Use Tools and Plug-Ins to Make Your Job Easier

Content management system (CMS) plug-ins will streamline your blog SEO efforts. If your chosen CMS is WordPress, for example, you can use Akismet to monitor comments and spam or Workflow Enhancement, which lets you easily alter font size, create tables, and more. If you use Ghost (popular among bloggers), you can integrate plug-ins from Google Analytics, YouTube, Twitter, and Zapier, to name a few.

Plug-ins can save you valuable time when it comes to on-page SEO. Take Yoast, for example, a WordPress SEO plug-in. This is a one-stop-shop for optimization. When you install it, you get a module on each page’s edit post, showing you how your page performs in key SEO criteria. It analyzes everything from content length to inbound links, the meta title, focus keyword placement, and the length of the meta title. Any issues in need of further attention are flagged so that you can make a quick fix.

Monitor Mobile Responsiveness and Experience

Mobile is no longer an after-thought when it comes to web design. Google has now confirmed mobile-first indexing. This means that the search engine giant prioritizes the mobile version of the content (over the desktop version) when indexing and ranking webpages. The mobile-first approach was implemented in July 2019 and is now the default for all new websites.

The first step you can take to check if your site is mobile-friendly is to run it through Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. This will flag some basic issues and how to fix them. In general, ensure that you have a responsive design so that your blog pages have just one URL (instead of two different ones for desktop and mobile). This ensures that backlinks to your blog won’t be divided among two URLs, increasing the power of these inbound links.

There are also simple stylistic steps you can take to make for a more user-friendly mobile experience. The best blog structure for SEO will prioritize readability. Avoid large chunks of text, for example, which are harder to read on mobile devices. Use headers to break up the text and organize it. Other key points that might be flagged by Google’s mobile-friendly test tool include having content wider than the screen, placing clickable elements too close together, and using text that is too small to read.

Simplify Blog SEO With SEMrush

Creating SEO-optimized blog content doesn’t mean you have to know the ins and outs of Google’s algorithm or become an expert in HTML. SEMrush offers a number of features to simplify and streamline the process, saving you time and effort. From domain overview tools to organic keyword research technology and site audit assistance, our suite of resources will help you get a handle on things as you optimize blog SEO. You then have more time to devote to creating compelling content that engages your target audience.

For more informative blogs check out this link.