Email Marketing Guide for Kenyan Entrepreneurs
By Sylvia Mukami
No one likes to mess up a dinner invitation. You clean up really well and show up on time. You also bring a gift with you, like a bottle of wine, a wooden spoon or a jar of honey because a guest never shows up empty handed.
Then you observe the big 3 – curiosity, enthusiasm and gratitude. Show enthusiasm about the dinner, be curious about the guests and your host and be thankful for everything the host dishes out.
Email marketing works the same way. Once your message hits your customer’s inbox, consider it to be a dinner invitation. For your email campaign to be successful, you must strive to be a rock star guest.
Obtain email permission
Ask before you send. This is the equivalent of an RSVP for the dinner party. The first step in any successful email campaign is obtaining permission from subscribers to send marketing emails. It is common courtesy and people who are not aware of your company or haven’t given you permission are more likely to mark your emails as spam. This downplays your email marketing, cutting its feet before it can even learn to walk.
There are two kinds of permission: Implied and express permission. The former exists when your customer enjoys a business relationship with you or is active on your website. Express permission is obtained when someone clearly gives you permission to send them email campaigns by signing up on a subscription form on your website.
Here’s what happens when your emails are marked as spam. The person’s inbox informs their internet service provider that your email looks suspicious. The ISP ‘investigates’ this issue by checking how many people on their network have the same complaint about emails from your domain. Consequently future subscribers may not be able to receive any of your campaigns due to blacklisting or aggressive spam filters.
One of the best ways to avoid this misunderstanding between you and your respondent is to include an easy to find unsubscribe link. Sometimes, in an effort to unsubscribe, users might get frustrated if the process is long and tasking so they just mark you as spam.
Another way to prevent spam reports is to be as familiar as possible to your customer. Make sure that they recognize your business name from the email address and that these labels are on-brand. Maintain a regular email routine so that they do not forget who you are. Lastly, make sure that your email campaign footer always has a permission reminder.
Design campaigns that are clear and balanced
Emails are a great way to nurture your leads; therefore, you should use your content to further your relationship with your customers instead of pitching to them. You can always pitch when you have special offers or announcements.
Create content that is engaging and informative, just like you would participate in delightful conversation at a dinner table. When customers come to expect that you send them interesting and enlightening content, your open rates will go higher.
Most readers scan content as opposed to reading. They skim through bullet points, paragraphs and subtitles. If the article seems captivating, they will read it, if not, they will close the email. It is very crucial that you make a good impression by having an intriguing title, attention grabbing introduction and images.
Your language should be less formal because email marketing is direct communication, however, this depends on your industry and the type of customers that you are reaching out to. Avoid email disaster words: visit our website, click here, call now, free, discount, prizes, guarantee, one time, all new and others. If these spam trigger words are overused in the subject line, your email will head straight to the customer’s spam folder which eventually leads to blacklisting.
Once you’re done compiling copy, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Is this content relevant to them? Does it solve their problems or answer their questions?
Monitor your analytics
If you pay attention to your email analytics, you will be able to know how to improve future campaigns.
The 3 most important KPIs are open rate, click through rate and number of unsubscribers.
- Open rate: Expressed as a percentage, this is the number of people in an open list who open or view an email campaign. If this number is low, it means that people may have deleted your email upon receipt. You can make this number higher by writing an engaging subject line and sending out the email at the right time. If most of your customers open their emails on weekends, it would be better to send them emails on Saturdays or Sundays instead of Mondays. These two actions can be optimized through A/B testing.
- Click through rate: This is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the total number of users who viewed the email. A low CTR means the message is not well targeted or understood. Making tweaks in your copy could make this rate higher. Ensure that you have one CTA – giving more choices to your customers leads to less click throughs.
- Unsubscribers: These are the people who choose to opt out of your emailing list. Examine why people are leaving. Is it because of your copy? Is it the lack of proper value?
Do not take the customer’s dinner invitation for granted. Ask for their permission, engage them with relevant content, be curious about their problems and show gratitude for their time.
Once you do email marketing right, you will enjoy high open and click through rates and ultimately derive revenue from your efforts. If you would like to tap into the revenue that email marketing has to offer, start here.