While social media has created the unprecedented ability to connect with, engage and entertain thousands of prospects at any one time, many horse businesses are consistently hitting roadblocks. Not only are social media platforms, like Facebook, making it harder than ever to reach your target audience, but the staggering statistics reveal just how easy it is to get lost in the white noise.
Many horse businesses believe the power of social media has far surpassed email marketing, with a few claiming that email is dead. But, we argue the opposite is actually true and, in fact, email marketing in our current age of social media is perhaps even more important.
So, we’re going to show you how you can stop trying to reach the masses with the social media megaphone and, instead, have an intimate, one-to-one conversation with some of your best customers via email in this new three-part series.
Part One introduced the fundamentals of email marketing campaigns, including encouraging new subscribers to opt-in and providing a valuable content exchange. In this Part Two, we shine a light on the building blocks of a powerful email marketing plan and the essentials that’ll improve your open rates.
Perfect With a Plan
When it comes to email marketing, it’s a process of continuous testing to find what works and what doesn’t for your target audience. At first, you may feel like you’re chasing your tail. It’s hard enough trying to work out what to send out every month, let alone taking the time to write all the copy and design the email, so it resonates with your brand.
If you feel your approach to email marketing is a little hodge podge, then you need to devise an email marketing plan to keep you on track. And, let us tell you, if you can complete just this first step successfully then you will find planning, creating and distributing email campaigns will come a whole lot easier to you.
- Step 1: Define your target audience. Who are your email subscribers? Are they prospects who subscribed via your website, event attendees who visited your trade show stand or returning customers who’ve been on your mailing list for some time? If you’re struggling to send a blanket email message to the different types of subscribers on your mailing list, then consider data segmentation.
- Step 2: Determine your content. Now you have an idea of who you’re emailing, it’s time to start planning ahead. Like social media content, 80/20 is a good rule of thumb to ensure your emails don’t become too ‘salesy’. Find outside content that will resonate with your subscribers, such as news, images and videos, in addition to your own updates. Keep reminders of upcoming events, launches and promotions flagged in your calendar, so you can use email marketing to help promote them.
- Step 3: Select your sending frequency. Choose a schedule you can stick to. If you can’t send emails every week, then every month or even every second month is fine. Be upfront when new subscribers opt-in, so they know what to expect from you. While it may take you some time to get up and running with a consistent schedule, don’t wait too long to begin. If you leave it more than six months, an old subscriber may mark you as spam, so keep your list clean and current.
- Step 4: Develop your campaign goal. Just like advertising, every email you send should have one solid call-to-action that allows you to measure its success. While open rates and clickthroughs are markers of a well-received email campaign, your content may determine other goals. For example, you might be sending them to your website, encouraging them to buy a specific product or driving them to a Facebook competition. Limit yourself to one goal and one goal only.
Achieving Open Rates
At the end of the day, no email campaign can achieve customer conversion goals if they aren’t even opened in the first place. While we’ve already covered the essentials of subject lines, tone of voice and quality content in Part One, there are a few other crucial ingredients to be refined with time that’ll boost your email marketing.
Firstly, as internet searches on mobile devices have now firmly exceeded desktop, it’s important you optimise your email campaigns for mobile. Just like your website, without mobile optimisation, you run the risk of frustrating your subscribers with text that’s too difficult to read and email messages that appear jumbled on a smaller screen. Ensure you check how your email campaigns will appear on mobile devices before you hit send.
Secondly, using an email marketing service, such as MailChimp, allows you to A/B or split-test your email campaigns to determine optimal sending time, subject line, and more. As your mailing list grows and you invest more time in email marketing, A/B testing can give you incredible insight into the small elements that can truly make or break an email campaign. Split-test your email campaigns frequently to work out what powers your open rates.
Want to learn more about email marketing? The final instalment in this three-part series will wrap up with an overview of the analytics that demonstrate your success and help you pave a path forward for your horse business.
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.