5 Tips to Elevate Your Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing has been around for decades, but it pays to stay on top of best practices.

Branding, social media

Email marketing is a valuable way to reach out to your customers and prospects, and it's less expensive than other marketing strategies. But it can also cost you in the long run if you don't create effective campaigns. The technology to launch or refine email campaigns is fairly easy to learn, and the results are compelling. If it's time to rethink your email marketing strategy, keep these tips in mind:

1. Be Responsive and Optimize

Regardless of your business, many of your prospective customers live and breathe using mobile devices. It's essential to employ a responsive email design that enables your messages to come through loud and clear on a phone or tablet. "Responsive" means that content and images are designed to automatically adjust to the contours of a small screen.

Every aspect of your email message should be optimized for mobile use. This includes content a user can easily read and scroll through, large call-to-action buttons that are easy to see and click on, and compressed images that take little time to load.

2. Personalize Your Message for People on the Move

To increase the odds that people will open your email, employ personalization whenever possible. Avoid generic content that sounds as if it's been written by a software program. Include an actual person's signature at the end of the message, so it reads like one individual is reaching out to another. Developing target segments can also help drive personalization. If your target market includes millennials, for example, an email marketing strategy should appeal to their energetic lifestyles.

While all businesses can benefit from personalization, it's a particularly effective strategy for retail businesses fighting to compete in the digital realm. As Marketing Land points out, brick-and-mortar businesses that "embrace the shift to online shopping and leverage the power of email can find tremendous success no matter where they're located in the world."

3. Get People Excited With Exclusive Offers

Want people to willingly subscribe to your email newsletter? Offer an incentive that gets them excited about volunteering their contact information. A free sample of your product or service is a great place to start. When they get on board, consider intermittently offering other gifts to maintain their interest in your brand.

This approach helps attract new customers, but is most effective for rewarding your most loyal, long-term customers. An occasional gift or coupon shows them that you appreciate their business.

4. Incorporate Social Media Into Your Strategy

When done right, your social and email marketing strategies should complement each other, not compete or duplicate efforts. Start by inviting your current social followers to subscribe to your email list. Then, insert social sharing buttons in your email newsletter or promotion, making it easy for people to become fans and share your content with their own networks. Just remember, social media is most effective as a branding tool for your business, not as a sales avenue. Instead of pushing your product, start a conversation about your customer's pain points.

5. Always Offer Valuable Content

Creating content, such as blog posts and infographics, is a great way to not only pique the interest of prospective customers, but also continually offer value to your current customer base. Be sure to pay attention to the needs of your potential customers. If your content doesn't meet those needs or solve their problems, then no one will click on it. Do some research into your audience's pain points and align your content strategy to address them.

People are naturally drawn to brands that offer a sense of exclusivity. Give your subscribers an inside look at what lies ahead for your business, be it a new product launch, annual sale or email-only discount. The more people feel a part of your brand's community, the more effective your email marketing strategy will be.