What were the results of your email marketing campaign? If you decided it was a big dud because not a single sale can be attributed to a name on your list, you’ve convicted your email campaign of a crime it didn’t commit.
Email campaigns hardly ever do direct selling. Email marketing is effective for moving people along a sales funnel. The message in your email is meant for specific people at specific stages in their relationship with you. So, cut that campaign a bit of slack while you consider this.

Always be segmenting

Your mother was wrong. Nobody wants to be treated equally. They’d rather be treated fairly. It’s sage advice when it comes to email marketing. The same message delivered the same way to everybody doesn’t work.
The biggest reason it doesn’t work has to do with expectations. When someone gives you their email address—and therefore, permission to engage them—they’re banking on the fact that you’ll respect the relationship by respecting their time. Sending someone an email about a special price for something they’ve already purchased from you adds insult to injury. They already bought it, and now you’re telling them you’re charging other customers a different price.
Good email marketing starts with knowing your recipients. It works when your email gives them something that matches their desire to deepen their relationship with you.

Awareness

Email recipients that have the shortest relationships with you are probably in this “starting out” stage. They’re far from ready to make a buying decision. In fact, they probably aren’t even ready to learn more about the benefit of your service.
Email messages that’ll capture their attention at this point are focused on showing you understand their issues and pain points. No selling happens here.

Interest

Good. You’ve validated the connection. You “get” their problem. After you’ve gained a prospect’s trust, they’re ready to listen to your suggestions about solutions.
Email messages that’ll capture their attention are suggestions about the optimal solution for their problem. These messages offer links to industry reports, white papers, educational videos, and more. No selling happens here.

Consideration

Congratulations. You’re doing an excellent job at building a relationship with a prospect that will lead to sales. You’ve proved that you understand their problem or pain point. You’ve demonstrated that you’re an authority on the subject by offering them information that will help them make an informed decision on a solution.
Now you’re ready to show them that you have the best solution. Your email messages can start to draw attention to specific features and benefits. They still won’t do any direct selling. That will happen on the specific landing page your email links to. Your sales message definitely gets stronger at this point.

Purchase

It’s time to communicate that you want to be their choice when a prospect makes a buying decision. Email messages that’ll facilitate this use language that assures a prospect they’re making the right decision. Your links are all about getting the selling underway.
Yes, at this point, your email message is asking for the sale—but keep in mind that it’s not the actual sales vehicle. The email message is a handoff to a landing page, the sales area of your website, or a live customer service representative.

Post purchase

Successful email marketing campaigns don’t end with the sale. You’ve turned a prospect into a customer, and now they’re going to pay attention not only to the quality of your product, but also the quality of the customer service you provide.
Email messages that’ll capture their attention are focused on asking for feedback and rewarding their purchase with loyalty programs. Often, this is when you’ll start to offer them your newsletter. Now it makes sense to have this regular sharing of what you’re up to.

Repurchase

If you don’t engage your customers, they’ll go away. After all, you weren’t the only one vying for their attention. Emails that keep your brand top of mind are short, regular updates that feature exclusive opportunities for upsells.

Fruits of your email marketing labor

What happens if you approach email marketing as an ongoing process of engagement? By the way, this is most commonly known as drip email nurturing.
You’re no longer treating everybody with an email address equally. You’re treating them fairly. You’re giving them targeted and relevant messages that deepen interest and engagement. These emails aren’t selling, but they’re facilitating a sale.
Open rates for email marketing campaigns that resonate with people based on where they are in the sales funnel have open rates of up to 80%, and their click through rates are up to three times higher.
The industry standard statistic is that 79% of qualified email marketing leads never convert. It’s often because of a “one message fits all” approach. However, an email marketing campaign that delivers a series of messages that each focus on where a prospect is at in terms of the sales cycle can generate up to 80% more sales at 33% lower costs.

Best practices

It’s easy to think you have to give a prospect everything they need to make a decision in your email marketing. The opposite is more accurate. Successful email marketing messages are short and sweet.

  • They have catchy subject lines.
  • Those subject lines are short—often only six to 10 words.
  • The message includes a short reminder of why they’re receiving the email
  • They use HTML sparingly and include alt text in case the recipient doesn’t allow their email client to load images.
  • They take a mobile first design approach.
  • They seldom ask for the sale.

Email marketing is a powerful way to convert leads into customers. A multi-segmented email marketing campaign with specific messages that are timed for delivery is a precise process—but it can be automated.
First, though, this requires the correct email list segmentation. It’s not uncommon to tweak the data as a campaign continues. The same must be done to your messages. Often, you’ll try different approaches with your subject or message to see which gets better results. Software programs help track and run these campaigns, but they won’t do the whole thing for you. It’s time-consuming, which means your best option may be to work with an email marketing professional.