Email marketing – Ultimate Guide for 2018

Email marketing is often made out to be far more difficult and complex than it really is. Back in the early days, customer data was harder to collect. Clunky spreadsheets were used to store that data, and email marketing was done with much more of a hunt-and-peck style rather than the streamlined task it is today.

The fact is, that even the most financially-challenged marketer can have a go of it in this day and age…

As long as you have a reputable email service provider, chances are they have all kinds of data to share with you, and tools galore to automate tasks that were once considered a challenge. Tasks such as segmentation, generating auto-reply follow-ups, and optimizing how your emails render on a variety of devices.

Email marketing guide 2018

The trends in email marketing can pretty much tell you that simplicity is what’s in for 2018. Make sure you’re using all the best tools and services, and focus on the subscriber and their unique needs.

Segment, segment, segments some more

Constantly strive to segment subscribers based on as many criteria as you can muster. Gen Z has had enough of Pokemon GO, yet X and Y can’t get enough of it. Do you know how old your subscribers are?

Women make more purchases, more often, yet prefer spending less on average over men. Yet when men shop, they don’t do so as often but when they do they go hog-wild, making big ticket purchases. How much are your available products — are you targeting the right demographics with your campaigns?

Maybe you need to split up your campaigns into smaller segments?

If you don’t have this info, just imagine the time wasted. Even certain parameters such as engagement on previous emails can be collected and stored for later use. A lack of engagement best practices in your emailing game means you’re either foolishly uninformed, or just plain lazy. Guess which category you’ll fall into if you ignore this advice!

Everyone nowadays is deploying transactional emails — or are they?

Your business needs to follow up with everyone who makes a purchase on your website. They need to be automated for speed, and geared toward two primary goals (Ie., like the good old “autoreplies” only more personalized):

  1. Ensuring 100% satisfaction.
  2. Pushing them further down your rabbit hole of products and services!

If a customer hasn’t bought from you before, they’re very likely to be a bundle of nerves after their first purchase:

  • Can I trust these guys not to steal my money?
  • Did they get my order?
  • When are they going to ship my stuff?
  • How are the overall service levels — will they be there if I have a problem?

The importance of transaction emails can be likened to two people going on a date and having a great time, only to never see each other again because the expectation of a phone call the next day was never realized. You just assume they aren’t really that into you and move on, right?

Sending a receipt after their purchase will put them at ease, letting them know that you are in fact interested in having them as a customer, and also makes for a perfect time to make an additional (related) offer. You can also offer a discount code for further purchases, or easy upgrade options on the product/service they just bought.

Sending emails from smartphone

Mobile optimize everything you send

Over 50% of all people open emails on their phone. If you want maximum impact from each email you send, mobile users need to be your primary target. Best, a mobile-optimized email will render just fine on a desktop or laptop.

“How can I do that, when I’m not a techie?” you ask. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to make your emails responsive. Top email marketing platforms like GetResponse, Mailchimp, etc. easily optimize your emails for mobile.

A poorly mobile-optimized email will force users to swipe to read each sentence, pinch to zoom, and a multitude of other annoyances that will lead them to the delete or unsubscribe button.

Forget about huge embedded images, autoplay videos, and slideshows in your emails. Not only are they data heavy — slow to load and hard on the subscriber’s data plan — they’re also annoying and downright disruptive depending on where they’re read.

Do you really want a prospect reading your email at work to be embarrassed when your video about maximum-absorption tampons or latex-free “ribbed” condoms starts playing in a lunchroom full of their coworkers?

Start with an already optimized template that limits image sizes. Use short, snappy sentences. And leave text-links for your blog, mobile users need buttons in order to click on your offers easily.

Focus on getting to know customers and split-testing

Obviously, everything mentioned already places a prime focus on customer data acquisition. Subscribers are easier to get to know than you think. Spend a lot of time thinking up clever questions to ask in your emails, encourage responses.

Surveys are great, but responses to your emails and social media comments are even better. Consider how so many other brands spend the majority of their time talking to customers in the emails, rather than encouraging responses to pointed questions — questions that can help them further their relationship with that person.

When you employ segmentation, you can segment for engagement from past emails. Those who aren’t filling out your surveys or answering questions might seem stubborn, but you should be “stubborner” and just keep asking those questions until they answer!

Split testing becomes very important here. Tools like OptinMonster can help split testing to get subscribers. Your email provider can help with data segmentation, but you need to put your effort into actually building a trusting relationship.

How many of you are friends with someone who makes it hard for people to get to know them? You likely arrived where you are with them today by employing persistence — constantly asking them questions and showing them you care, right?

Email marketing optimization

Not complicated enough for you?

Notice I didn’t mention VR, competitive analysis, or re-engagement campaigns even once. The fact is, you’ve probably already read a hundred articles on the topic of email marketing for the coming year. However, what every other expert out there fails to hit on is how simplicity can set you free.

How many of those people are going to tell you that failure to segment using the data you already have means you’re lazy? A lot marketers love to talk a big game about the gigs of data they’re harvesting, but most of them aren’t doing anything with it as we move into 2018.

Or, that mobile optimization is more about optimizing the text on the page than the other visuals the reader has in front of them? Nobody! Everyone’s so fired up to add data heavy image carousels and embedded videos to their emails, adding more complexity to an act, that at its core is meant to start and maintain a mutually-beneficial conversation with subscribers.

The best advice for this year is to keep it simple. Focus on starting that conversation and keep it going.

Show them you care and the profits will follow!

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