Email marketing is one of the most effective and efficient forms of marketing. Though not commonly used in logistics, email marketing has the potential to increase engagement and brand awareness amongst shippers, and can help your organization grow. If you haven’t done any email marketing in the past, creating a new strategy from scratch might sound daunting. So here is a step by step guide on how to get started with email marketing for logistics.
Define Your Objectives
Before you even start creating content for your email campaigns, you should define your main objectives. Is it to get new customers? More business from existing customers? Build a reputation as a thought leader? Different goals will require very different messaging and audiences.
Define Your Audience
After you’ve defined your objectives, you will need to have a strong understanding of who your audience is. Are most of your customers in a specific industry? What are the most common problems they face? Create fully developed outlines of who they are, and flesh out all of the contributing factors that might affect their buying decisions. These types of profiles are called buyer personas, and will help you greatly in tailoring your content to these peoples’ needs.
Create Targeted Lists
No matter how many articles are written about the effectiveness of highly segmented campaigns, companies are still sending batch and blast email campaigns to every person in their contact list. There is a time to aim wide, but in email marketing they are few and far between. Data shows that highly targeted campaigns can even increase open rates by 14.2% (Source: MailChimp). If you’re not segmenting your contacts into different lists, you’re running the risk of turning off a lot of prospects and sending people to unsubscribe in droves. If your message isn’t relevant to them, why would they open it?
Use any insights you have on your customers and your buyer persona profiles to improve your targeting efforts. Defining your segments as narrowly as possible also has the added benefit of making it easier to create highly focused content for your campaigns, enabling more engagement. Readers will appreciate how relevant your content is to their interests or needs.
Refresh Your Contact Database Regularly
Data decays at a rate of up to 30% per year (Source: ZoomInfo), so it’s vital to regularly refresh your contact list. People change jobs, mergers and acquisitions occur, or people enter incorrect information, so your database might not be as up to date as you think. By going back and updating out of date or inaccurate information, your email open rates are more likely to increase, improving your marketing campaign results.
Abide by the CAN-SPAM Law
Once a recipient expresses that they don’t want to receive emails from you, their request must be honored within 10 business days. As a best practice, remove the contact and add them to your “do not email” list as soon as possible to avoid any further communication.
You may think that hiding the unsubscribe button will reduce opt-outs. While this may be true, it’s not recommended. The harder you make it for someone to unsubscribe from your emails, the more likely it is that your message will be marked as spam. If you’re sending irrelevant content to unsegmented lists, you also run the risk of being blacklisted from your email marketing service provider. If too many people report your email as spam, your company won’t be able to send anymore email campaigns.
Create Honest and Compelling Subject Lines
People decide whether they read an email or not based on the subject line alone. In order to make the most of your email marketing efforts, spend some time testing which subject lines you’ve used and see which ones resulted in the most open rates. Also, make sure that the subject line is honest to the actual message you’re trying to communicate in the body of your email. People won’t be happy if the content of your email doesn’t deliver on the promise made in the subject line.
Keep it Brief, Keep it Valuable
You only have a few seconds to hold a reader’s interest and show them your value. Keep your emails brief, and easy to read. Utilize bullets and short sentences so recipients can scan your message quickly while retaining all of the important information.
You should also be offering value to your readers. People don’t want to see unsolicited sales pitches in their inbox. If you can write emails that they will find useful, your open rates will increase, as will your reputation as a thought leader in the shipping industry.
Include a Call to Action (CTA)
Regardless of the purpose of your email, you have an action you want the reader to take. Whether that’s downloading a white paper, registering for a webinar, or even just replying to you. Whatever the case may be, you need to include a CTA. Using a clickable button is a great way to do it since they create a sense of urgency. In order to create a compelling CTA, make sure you communicate clearly what it is you want readers to do, and how they will benefit from it.
Track Campaign Results
Not every email campaign you send will be a success. That’s just an unfortunate truth of email marketing. But if you consistently track your campaigns’ results, you’ll be able to identify what type of emails do well and which don’t.
Different subject lines affect open rates, while body copy, design and CTAs affect click-through rates. You can utilize A/B testing to figure out what performs better. Just make sure you’re only testing one aspect of the email at one time. For example, if you’re testing subject lines, don’t test your CTA. This will make it easier to pinpoint what aspect of your email is underperforming. If you need some inspiration on what to test consider these:
- Subject line
- Body copy
- Day of week
- Time of day
- Content offering (white paper, ebook, webinar, etc.)
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Originally published on December 14, 2015.