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A crash course in email marketing from Flying Cork Media

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By Lauren Goncar, Senior Director of Digital Media, Flying Cork Media

List Building
List Building is the first step in being able to send email to recipients that have opted in to receiving communications from your company. It is important to remember that this is not an overnight process and usually requires a change in how you collect consumer information.

The first step in list building is to add an online form to your website. The online form should include messaging on what consumers will receive from your company as well as their first name, last name and email address. Having this information will allow you to personalize emails which typically see higher open and click through rates. If you would like to collect additional consumer data such as birthday, zip code or any other information that will help segment and target your messaging , you can add these fields as well. Keep in mind, the more data fields you include, the less likely someone is to fill out the form.

After the web form is set up, it’s time to send traffic to your site. Below are some ideas to help drive traffic to your email form.

1. Paid Search – include an email submit directly on your paid search ad or include the form on any webpage you are driving traffic to
2. Social Media
3. Blogs
4. Direct Mail pieces
5. At the end of any online video

Email sign ups can also be collected at events by directing people to your online form or scanning a badge, point-of-sale or online point-of-purchase.

Email segmentation is something that is often overlooked and an important piece of email marketing. Segmenting your consumer data helps deliver relevant information to subscribers and increases the chances of your email being opened or clicked.

The new trend is ‘big data,’ which is comprised of a lot of small data that can be used to understand consumer behavior and email preferences.

Segmentation can begin with broad categories like location and gender but eventually evolve into things such as interest groups and individual subscriber activity. Most email platforms allow you to view specific articles that consumers are clicking on, enabling you to optimize based on consumer behavior. For example, if you are a retailer and notice that a consumer is frequently engaging with a certain style of clothing, you can optimize campaigns to include similar styles of clothing to help increase consumer engagement, which, in turn, will help with the end goal of increased sales.

Segmentation is becoming more and more important to help with deliverability and increased engagement. Analytics plays an important role in understanding data and segmenting based on consumer engagement.

Content Strategy
Building a content strategy for your email efforts should begin with an analysis of your current marketing objectives, existing subscriber data and specific goals for each email you want to send. The following questions should be answered before developing content and re-evaluated and optimized based on engagement.

1. Who are your subscribers? Take into consideration what they expect to receive from you as well as what they need or want to know about your company
2. What is the purpose of each email you send? This can include things such as educating your consumers on a new product or service to generating sales and leads.
3. Define your objectives. These objectives should evolve over the course of your email initiatives

Responsive design is becoming increasingly important as 50% of emails are being opened on mobile devices. Ensuring that an email design is no wider than 600 pixels will prevent users from having to scroll on desktops and provide a design that is easy to read on mobile devices. Other design tactics that provide a good user experience and help increase click through rates include the following:

1. Include a distinct headline that promotes the message you want the subscriber to take away
2. Use ALT and title text in your emails to ensure your message is being communicated even when images are not displayed
3. Incorporate ‘read more’ functionality instead of overloading emails with too much content
4. Use a multi-column design to allow as much content above the fold as possible
5. Include a ‘forward to a friend’ or ‘forward to a colleague’ button to promote sharing
6. Include an area where a subscriber can easily update any of their contact information
7. Test, test, test! Always keep in mind how many subscribers are going to receive your email and ensure that the email renders properly across all email service providers

Interpreting and understanding email analytics will help decipher what is and is not working with your email campaigns. It will also help determine best days and times to send your subscribers emails. Marketers should always be testing subject lines, calls-to-action messaging and content to help increase open and click through rates.

Understanding what is driving engagement within a particular email will allow you to modify content based on engagement.

Also, understanding subscriber preferences and web analytics will allow you to tie all consumer touch points together and send a message that is relevant and will yield a higher engagement rate.

Lauren Goncar is the Senior Director of Digital Media at Flying Cork Media. Flying Cork Media is an award-winning digital and interactive advertising agency that began in 2010. Our experience includes working in a broad range of industries, including healthcare, financial services, home and building products, manufacturing, retail and professional services. Flying Cork Media is one of Pittsburgh’s top 10 advertising agencies with a staff of 25-employees that continues to grow and remains focused on delivering measurable results for clients.


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