You might be wondering what the #1 email marketing fact you’re never told is?
The answer has to do with the value of cold email marketing.
This article is really meant for those business owners or marketers who scratch their heads and wonder why they’re not getting the open rates they were expecting.
The following will help you in understanding the difference between emailing to an “opted-in audience” or emailing to a purchased list of “opted-in emails” (who did not opt-in via your website yet are 100% CAN-SPAM compliant).
Before you question the validity of email marketing all together, it is important to know that email marketing is still a critically important and valuable tool in your marketing tool chest. So, don’t pause, hinder, or reduce the frequency of your email marketing efforts. To help your email marketing in general, here are 4 tips that should be helpful to consider when creating an email for distribution, consider the:
The purpose of your email serves to help you determine how to speak to your audience.
In a particular campaign, the first important questions to ask is, “is this email an informative email or is it a promotional email”? An informative email can be many things. These are examples of “informative emails”:
- Broadcasting a new press release to your audience
- Distributing a recently created white-paper to your customers
- Monthly newsletter emails
The way these types of emails speak to your customers may vary in content but are pretty similar in function. The email will most likely be concise, informative, and helpful. In short, these emails are updates and/or a way of touching base with an audience without the intent to promote a product or service.
On the other hand, a “promotional email” has a different purpose. These emails are going to be very different in function and how they are written. Promotional emails can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, etc. However, they all have the same thing in common, which is to promote a service or product. Like informational emails, promotional emails also have their own qualities that they all share. These similar qualities are:
- Being 100% geared towards encouraging the recipient to take an action
- Incorporate a hook or need being addressed or introduced (promotion)
- Provides an explanation of how this hook or need will benefit the individual or solve a problem (pitch)
- Steer the reader towards a call-to-action (in order to take advantage of this “promotion”)
Whatever the rhetoric or style of these “promotional emails”, the primary motivation is always to enhance a brand and/or create customers. Since this is usually the kind of email that is used in cold email marketing campaigns, the remaining part of this article will stick with this type of email going forward.
In considering the audience, you are making sure you know who you’re talking to. This way the details of what you are saying and how you are saying it makes sense.
It is very important to keep in mind that content geared towards different demographic groups, topics, and themes benefit from strategic messaging. This includes the design, images, language, etc. Another element that will weight-in on the content will be the database being emailed to. Is this database a purchased email list of “opted-in” email addresses? Is the database being emailed an email audience that opted-in directly from the business website in some form or other (newsletter request, request for a quote or information, etc.)?
Knowing this in advance is both helpful and will usually impact the style and language of your message.
Content is pretty easy to think about. Content includes the text itself (the language), the narrative, formatting, images, videos, links, and call-to-action.
A meaningful message has a built-in understanding of the audience. The marketer will take into account what motivates the audience being spoken to and targeted. That way, behind each content choice, there will be a reason for that choice. This is key in creating an impactful statement that will make the connection the connection you want with the recipient(s).
This will make or break a promotional email – this is the true meaning of “Engagement”.
The story (pitch) should be compelling in some way that resonates with the reader and includes some kind of story arch that the audience can follow with ease. The worst thing that can happen, is if the reader doesn’t understand the email that they’ve just received. There are only seconds between a first look and the email either being deleted or being labeled as spam.
Lastly, we have delivery.
Are you sending the email campaign from your own personal email address? Does your business have its’ own email server and corresponding marketing team handling the email campaign? Are you using a third-party email marketing company to help you send out your email marketing campaign?
Each avenue of delivery has its’ own strategy and best practices.
Since the avenue of delivery here is via email, this will be the first step in defining the strategy and best practices that will be used.
Cold email prospect marketing, like all prospecting, is an important tool in reaching new audiences and opportunities. Every corporation that you can think of off the top of your head spends hundreds of thousands of dollars, to millions of dollars, towards their cold email prospect marketing every year.
To help enhance any email campaign, it is important to determine which or if any kind of other digital marketing tool(s) are going to be used to support the execution of the email campaign. Digital retargeting is a good example of this.
Cold email prospecting and marketing has many preparation and execution strategies to select from.
Therefore, when the marketing department, business owner, or marketer wants to engage in email prospect marketing, the most important things to consider are:
- The quality and authenticity of the emails being used
- When the emails were acquired by the vendor (emails expire quickly, so you want email addresses that are proven to be fresh)
- The source of the emails (how were they acquired)
- Can the vendor prove that their database of email addresses is 100% CAN-SPAM compliant? You can learn more about things like being 100% CAN-SPAM compliant by clicking here.
- The services the vendor offers (it’s easier, more efficient, and increases the potential of campaign success if the vendor has multiple services that help with execution)
- The expectation(s) the vendor set for your campaign
- Ensuring that the data list meets your targeting goals
Third-party direct email marketing vendors should be able to speak to all these things with confidence and complete transparency. These company’s, more often than not, are openly helpful in letting you know the best roadmap towards a successful campaign and how not to end up being deleted or labeled as spam.
An experienced company is very familiar with how to optimize delivery so that your domain is not blacklisted, you don’t run a fowl of Google, or that your business is not compromised in any way.
This is why most large and small company’s use a third-party email service to send their cold email marketing campaigns (rather than from their own domain). In addition to ensuring the protection of your domain and IP address, a service will also monitor your campaign so the campaign can be more easily and regularly optimized (this will curtail bounce).
Cold email marketing requires you to have different expectations in terms of open and click rates.
When you research email marketing on the internet, you’re predominantly going to see ads and search results from company’s selling email marketing services. On these landing pages and websites, you will most likely see numbers and metrics that will set your expectations of what email marketing results are “supposed” to look like. However, none of these metrics are based on cold email campaign results.
According to HubSpot, who is citing a 2021 article published online by Constant Contact, “Across all industries, the average email open rate is 19.8%, the click-through rate is 11.3%, and the bounce rate is 9.4%.”
The things is, they never let you know that these number are never based on cold email marketing campaigns.
It’s not intentional that the numbers you see are not those of cold email marketing campaigns. Email marketing search results will always first show companies that are selling email marketing services and solutions that are common. Meaning, those campaigns that will use a pre-existing email database provided by the company being serviced.
In addition, many people are under the impression that acquiring email lists is wrong or in some way out of the norm.
This method of customer acquisition is as common as cold calls.
The two main considerations for conducting cold email marketing campaigns is the process and the metrics.
The process has its’ own set of strategies. Also, the metrics associated with these campaigns will closely resemble those associated with cold calls rather than those associated with contacting and pursuing warm leads. This may make it seem like the results of a cold email marketing campaign is showing signs of not being successful. However, this is an illusion. All cold prospecting activities have different measurements that define success and ongoing success.
The following is an example of the results you can expect from sending a cold email marketing campaign. This example consists of one email, sent one time, and to one audience:
As with email marketing in general, the cost-to-benefit-ratio is high with cold email marketing. This is due to the fact that you are not paying salespeople to be out-and-about or other related costs. Like typical email marketing, you are able line everything up, hit the start button, stay in the race till the end, and then review what happened. Ultimately it’s a numbers game.
To do a little recap, the following tips will help you when executing a cold email marketing campaign:
- The audience you select and the content created needs to match.
- Plan in advance.
- Be clear on how you are going to execute the campaign (create a checklist to maintain compliance so you are not blacklisted).
- Is the vendor prepared to optimize the campaign after it starts?
- Figure out your post campaign strategy.
- An experienced vendor knows how to address bounce with a variety of strategies. Did the vendor discuss these with you?
It’s helpful to note that as with most things, frequency and consistency can have a big impact on the overall results of your cold email marketing campaign. The right amount of repetition, within a regular amount of time between email blasts, to the same email audience (minus those the system captured as no longer being interested), can increase the click-through-rate from the above mentioned .5-1.5% to 2-3% (which is a 2 – 3X increase in CTR).
Email campaigns don’t happen in a vacuum. There are many ways to support the overall engagement you get. This can include any number of the following, either using one or all of them:
- Social media posts
- Magazine ads
The list goes on. Digital retargeting is also an option and is a simple and common strategy marketers use to support their email campaigns. The strategy is very straightforward. For those recipients that open and/or click on your email, these individuals will be programmed into a system where they will be shown digital banner ads (that you designed in advance). These banner ads will appear within participating websites and mobile apps that they visit. Approximately 93% of mobile apps and websites participate in banner advertising.
Like sending more emails, engaging in digital retargeting will improve overall engagement. This strategy can impact the click-through-rate (CTR) by anywhere from 12-15%.
When coming up with an email campaign using a purchased list (email prospect list), to get the most out of that campaign, you need to plan carefully. Where will you buy the list? What will the content be? Is there any rich media, social media, landing pages, supporting links associated with the email? Who is sending the campaign? Have you decided to execute the campaign with only one distribution (email blast), or more than one? Are you going to support the cold email campaign with digital retargeting? Are you confident in your choices?
These are some of the most important questions you need to be asking yourself as you plan.