[02] The Basics Needed To Leverage Your Email Channel – Email Growth Society

[02] The Basics Needed To Leverage Your Email Channel

CWEG 02 | Email Channel

Before getting your email program started, there are some basics required. This episode will cover the 5 foundational steps when getting ready to send out your email. I break them out step-by-step, so if you are 1000% new to this, you can follow along, and if you have some of these steps in place, you can learn a tip or two along the way and fill in some gaps where needed. Get your note-taking device of choice ready because this is a good one.


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The Basics Needed To Leverage Your Email Channel

This episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is an eCommerce marketing automation platform with automated email flows that let you make money while providing a great user experience. With Klaviyo, you don't need to sacrifice advanced features and powerful functionality for speed and ease of use. To see this tool, simplify your eCommerce email and SMS marketing, go to www.Klaviyo.com.


I wanted to talk a little bit about what's coming up on the show and my thoughts in the email space. There are a couple of exciting things to look forward to, we are going to be chatting about how to bring your email list back to life. If you caught episode number one, sometimes we end up bringing in leads before we are able to email them. A lot of times, we've got this stagnant list.

CWEG 02 | Email Channel


I'm going to offer some tips and some actual things that have worked well for clients on bringing these emails back to life. Also, we will have our May email tips episode, which will be a brainstorm episode to try to give you some ideas on some quick wins for May emails. I wanted to back up for April and put that strategy hat on. It's so important with marketing that we are always thinking about the user and making it human.

A lot of times as business owners, we're so focused on those metrics like, “To survive, to keep the business afloat and we've got to have revenue. Anything that generates revenue.” The human approach is truly what works. Most years, April is a month where we can send an April Fool's email, we can send Easter emails, but I usually advise my clients always against Easter emails, largely because if you're a religious person, sending an email with bunnies and stuff might not be a good brand thing.

I feel like sometimes it's okay to skip a holiday because everyone else is doing it. Easter is a good one to skip. To be frank, I don't feel like it makes a lot of sense, the Easter Bunny, all of that. I usually don't think it's a big win and it can do a little bit of damage. No judgment if you did send out an April Fool's email. 2021 in particular, I was 100% against April Fool's. April Fool's is a tricky one anyway because if someone doesn't find the joke or the tone funny right off the bat, you've probably upset someone.

Given the scheme of things, 2020 leading into 2021, we're still not over and back to normal. I felt like adding an April Fool's email could be a little bit too much and we're adding anxiety to people's lives. I wanted to recap that a little bit so you guys can start to understand that we have to have a lot of intention and thought behind the email. We have to start to put ourselves in that human perspective to say, “Does this make sense for the business? Could it possibly lean on another day of the month?” Even sending out a BOGO would be better for me than either of those choices.

I wanted to start there and give you a little bit of real talk. Getting into the episode, we're going to level-set a bit and discuss the basics needed to leverage your email channel. I'm going to break this out step by step. If you are 1,000% new to this, you can follow along. If you have some of these steps in place, you can learn a tip or two along the way and hopefully, I'll fill some gaps where needed. Get your note-taking device of choice ready.

First, before you do anything, you've got to set some goals. It can be tempting to move straight to signing up for an email service provider, but it's crucial that you head into the email adventure with clear goals in mind. In a goal-setting workshop with one of my clients, they were clear that they needed email to bring in 30% of their revenue. Knowing that allowed me to prioritize my plan of attack when building out their programs in their later steps. I knew that they had a number in mind, and then we were able to brainstorm around that number and come up with those emails and those lifecycle programs that needed to be in place ASAP.

The human approach is truly what works.

Email marketing may not be all about revenue. It depends on your company model and your mission. Here's a couple of examples. UNICEF, the global charity organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to mothers and children in developing nations around the world, has success to their digital marketing team as donations. They use email marketing to reach out to their donor base and educate them on aid projects.

UNICEF is undertaking an ask for donations. Whereas BuzzFeed, the popular news and entertainment website, earns revenue by selling advertisements on their site. The key objective of their marketing team is to drive more traffic. With that in mind, BuzzFeed sends regular email newsletters containing links to stories on their website with the goal of increasing the number of visits they get each month and increasing the amount of revenue they generate.

You then take the Soho House, this prestigious members-only club is a regular hangout for celebrities and media moguls around the world. The goal of their marketing team is to keep their member base engaged in the club and regularly using facilities. They use email marketing to keep their members up to date on events and functions they can attend.

You then take Rip Curl, the global surfing brand that generates revenue through the sale of wetsuits, t-shirts, board shorts and other surfing goods. The goal of their marketing team is to increase sales. They use email to promote new products they're launching to try to drive people to their online or physical stores to purchase those products.

As you can see from these examples, planning what you want to achieve with email before you start sending makes it easier to identify what to send and who to send it to. It helps you create focused, high-performing email campaigns that will achieve your marketing goals so you're not sitting there going, “Email isn't working.” You have to line it up to your goals.

Here's a list of questions to answer when you're developing your email marketing strategy. Ask yourself, what are your goals for the email marketing? How are you going to achieve those goals? How will you use emails? Will it be newsletters, lead generations, upselling? What metrics do you want to track? Will you use features like mobile-friendly templates, A/B testing, dynamic content and others? That's a good starting point. If you haven't done that, I do challenge you to back up a little bit and get this on the board. No more throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks.

CWEG 02 | Email Channel


Once you've got your goals, your next step is to get an email service provider, also known as an ESP, known as marketing automation, and an email marketing tool. Disclaimer, while these tools are super cool, they're not magic. They need to be properly set up and maintained to achieve maximum productivity and full return on investment. This isn't going to be like flip the switch and then everything's going out and we've got emails deploying.

A lot of times, my clients tell me, “I got HubSpot and Klaviyo. It doesn't work like the demo showed.” We've got to invest back into that tool for it to give us that investment back. There are a ton of tools out there. How do you choose? Before you start testing solutions and providers, it's important to find out how email marketing fits into your overall marketing strategy. The answers to the questions in step one will be your guide.

First, I challenge you to rank the features you need. Here are the four must-haves of any ESP. You need templates. The key part of email marketing is the emails, so you need an email service provider that helps you create simple, elegant emails quickly and easily. Look for a provider with a range of designs, flexible layouts, mobile-friendly templates that look great on any device, and free image hosting as an added bonus.

Next, you need tracking. Those beautiful emails won't do you much good at all if you don't know how they perform. Make sure your email service provider provides a consolidated dashboard with all the statistics you need, open rates, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes and social sharing, both large scale and drill down.

Next, you have to have automation. It's important to send the most relevant messages to the right people at the right time and automation helps you do that. Make sure your email service provider offers solid workflows to help you schedule and send automated messages. Last, mobility. Your emails must work across the various devices people use to consume email. Now, 53% of email campaigns are opened on mobile devices, while 28% are opened on desktop clients, and 23% are opened in webmail. Unless your email campaigns are specifically optimized to work across all of those devices and clients, you're missing out on conversions and revenue.

You can also list your wish list features such as opt-in forms, SMS components, form builders, landing pages, etc. You need those four basic ones, then layer on your wish list, then define your budget. Email doesn't need to be a big budget to be effective, but in marketing, effective often isn't enough. If you want awesome campaigns and analytics, you need to make sure you've got the appropriate budget in place. There are basic free email marketing tools available and there are email marketing tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars with heaps of advanced functionality.

While enterprise-level providers may seem attractive in theory, if you don't use all those features, which can take a lot of time to learn how to use, you're just throwing good money away. You have your choice of low, medium and enterprise-level providers. Choosing the right one for your needs can help keep your costs low and the return on your efforts high while still delivering the functionality you need.

Next, you need to check out the deliverability rates of your email service provider. To have a chance of engaging customers and prospects, your messages have to land in their inboxes. Not every email service provider can ensure your emails get delivered at the same rate. Ask potential email service providers about their delivery rate and how they work with their customers to keep that rate high. You want to look for an average deliverability rate of 98% or higher.

Look for providers that have solid relationships with internet giants like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Keep in mind that delivery rates are a combination of how the email service provider ensures delivery to inboxes on the back end and how you use the service. Be sure to ask for any resources they offer on best practices for content and list management.

Last on the ESP side, customer support. Your email service provider should function as an extension of your marketing team seamlessly and without much hassle. There will be occasions when you're going to need some help. When that happens, it's critical to have access to a smart, resourceful customer support team to help you address any issue.

If you want awesome campaigns and analytics, you need to make sure you've got the appropriate budget in place.

You'll want to see how long it takes to get through to a rep via email. You'll want to browse the online knowledge-base. You'll want to see how they respond when you ask for help importing a list or creating segments. Ask what other resources they offer to help customers succeed. While a lot of free ESP tools might seem appealing, many aren't set up to support you when you need it.

If you're a professional marketer with goals and KPIs to achieve or you're not a professional marketer, you're just a business owner trying to drive your business in the right direction, you need to know that if something goes wrong, you can get help quickly. The next basic we basic element we need is a list. Now that you've established your goals and what you need to achieve from email marketing, it's time to build your email list so you can start sending campaigns that meet those goals.

You can import a list of known contacts, preferably separated by those that have and have not purchased from you, so leads versus customers. These can come from a variety of sources like paid ads you've run, tradeshow content, even LinkedIn. You can also build a list from scratch. If you plan to use email to communicate with an audience whose email address you might not have yet, then you'll need to start capturing email addresses and building your list from scratch.

You can add opt-in options to your website. Things like pop-up boxes, newsletter subscriptions and header web banners are some ideas to get moving here. You can use a variety of incentives that make web visitors want to give you their email addresses, things like compelling events. Example, sign up for our blog updates. You could use first-order discounts. For example, sign up to get 20% off your first order or free or express shipping upgrades are definitely all winners.

Another eCommerce favorite of mine is the giveaway conducted on social. Using a simple form or Linktree, you can conduct a giveaway of your product and capture those email addresses. You will want to make sure that you are giving away either your products or something that is aligned to your brand to avoid the free-for-all not targeted overload of leads you might get.

You can also split your paid campaigns to try to acquire names versus direct response initiatives. Once you've done those three things, what you're going to want to do is get a content calendar started and at least two weeks fleshed out. Here's what I always say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” End of story. I like to take a pass at about two weeks of email content before I start building and, even worse, sending emails.

If you have a list that's been sitting for a while, a good start here would be sending a reintroduction to the brand email to welcome them back and set some new expectations. Get your topics and intentions documented, so you have a plan when going into content development. This is all-important and you're going to need to see it on a calendar to make sense of it all. More importantly, make a better experience for the user.

Lastly, you need to start building your email content. I'm not going to sit here and talk about how to build an email, but what I am going to talk about is the different types of email campaigns that you can send to subscribers. The type you choose does depend on the goals you established in the first step. Let's take a look at a few of those different types of campaigns and how they can help you achieve your marketing goals.

First, the newsletter. An email newsletter is a regularly distributed email campaign that is generally about one main topic of interest or it can be a digest. It does have a regular cadence, so users and subscribers are always looking for it when you get them in a rhythm. It's a great way to get started. If you have one thing, always send a newsletter.

Next, you've got your promotion or your marketing offer. A promo offer is that email that is essentially any campaign you send with the goal of driving a direct response in major volumes. It can be a campaign showcasing some of the latest stock and encouraging people to purchase a site-wide sale, a campaign offering a discount, or special promotion on your products or services.

Next, the announcement. An announcement campaign is an email sent to your subscribers announcing a new product, feature, service, discounted prices, etc. Next, you have an event invitation. This is an email campaign designed to increase awareness of your event and encourage people to attend, and my favorite is the educational email. This email is one that can do a lot of things but more than anything, it positions you as a thought leader in your space.

Typically, you would jot down some topics on your content calendar that are important to your audience and dedicate an email to it. aThis email then provides tips or insights that educate and often show a product comparable to your brand. For instance, if you're a health and wellness company, you might offer tips on immunity support, and then below, we start to show our fan favorites. These are our best three products for immunity support. It’s a good one and it wins every time. About 60% of emails should be educational.

This is truly the basics when it comes to getting ready to send your emails. Make sure to stay consistent, even if that means sending to your list once per month because that's the only bandwidth you have. Consistency is key. I hope that you took a few nuggets away from this episode. If you have any questions, feel free to send them my way at Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time, happy emailing everyone.

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