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Getting the Most Out of Your Email

by CRAFT | Media / Digital

In today’s digital age, email lists are precious commodities. These lists can be massive—and the possibilities for optimizing their sends are limitless.

Here are a few of the roles an email list plays in digital marketing:

Communication: Email is by far the most direct method of communication between an organization or stakeholder and its supporters. In addition to being the most direct, it is also one of the most personal, allowing for real connections on an emotional level that other advertising mediums cannot deliver.

Supporter Map: An email list is a constantly evolving map of supporters. A well-executed email marketing strategy consists of an email list that is continuously updated, with a constant stream of new subscribers. It is important to quantify data and establish meaningful segments.

ROI: Whether used to drive sales, promote deals and events, or garner donations, a well-maintained email list can be a money-yielding cash cow that helps keep the lights on.

What’s the secret sauce to a successful campaign?
Unfortunately, there is no one answer when it comes to a successful email campaign. Achieving success in email marketing varies and depends on a host of factors—from the time of day the email is sent to the integrity of your data—and resulting from the effectiveness of your overall goal-driven strategy.

Essentials for a strong campaign:

Goal Driven Strategy: Every email needs one. Basically, your goal-driven strategy should answer this question: “What do I want my audience to do after reading this?” Whether you want them to attend an event, donate to a cause, or click on a banner ad, your goal-driven strategy should be the basis of the decisions you make regarding everything listed below.

List Segmentation: While working on our 2012 congressional candidates’ lists, I created segments ranging from age and location to their individual influence across social networks. Quality is just as important as quantity. What’s the point in having a massive list if you don’t know anything about the data? That’s why segmenting your list and tailoring your emails to individual segments is one of the most important things you can do.

Fundraising Language: If you are trying to raise money—ask for it. Do not assume that the reader will take the action you want them to by drawing their own conclusions. Be clear.

Tone: Tone is everything in email. It should be conversational and tailored to your specific audience. In a campaign you may be targeting females between the age of 18-24 one day and Hispanic males between the ages of 40-65 the next. Even if the goal of emails is the same, it is important to customize the message for each audience segment. Knowing how to effectively set the tone of your message will determine how it will resonate with your segments and maximize your effectiveness.

Keep Testing: Before sending an email, ask yourself, “How do I get my supporters to open this?” Then ask, “Once they open it, how do I get them to take the action I want?” Test varied times, subject lines, image placements, and layout designs to see what results in the highest click-through rates.

Do Not Ignore Mobile: Typically, in any given campaign, about 20-30% of all emails sent will be opened via a mobile device, and that number is climbing. According to a recent study by Knotice, “the number of emails opened on a mobile device (smartphone and/or tablet) during the first half of 2012 overall rose to 36 percent.” Read the full article here.

Email is a powerful marketing tool. Its effectiveness to reach large populations of highly targeted groups coupled with its unparalleled ability to connect people to a brand and garner immediate action is proof that email will continue to rise as a marketing staple in the years to come.

Andrew Burk is a Digital Generalist/Developer at CRAFT | Media/Digital. Andrew managed and created digital content and provided email marketing strategy and solutions for multiple campaigns in the 2012 election cycle.