5 Tips for an Effective Email Strategy

Email iconMarketing research confirms that email is still a thriving tool for growing your business. However, as user behavior evolves, so must your email strategy, if you want to capture your share of consumer attention. Here are 5 must-know tips for using email to increase registrations, engage with customers, and raise your retention rate:

1. Supply great content Sending an email isn’t that hard, but an email strategy is necessary if you want to use it to its maximum potential for increasing engagement and registrations. To reach your full growth potential and become a trusted resource, you’ll need to provide consistently interesting, informational and up-to-date industry content.

TIPS:

  • Use simple and concise messaging.
  • Provide accurate, timely, and easy-to-access camp information that includes the needed links and buttons.
  • Include attractive images and clear branding.

Use templates to make this process easy, schedule ahead of time, or send to specific individuals or lists. Here’s an example of a Camp & Class Manager template email: Camp Lakeside Email Template  

2. Be mobile-enabled More than half of emails are opened on mobile devices, and 80% of users report deleting emails that are difficult to read on their phone. Fortunately, ACTIVE’s Camp & Class Manager is mobile-ready, so emails you create in the software will look great on smartphones!

TIPS:

  • Keep subject lines short (only 30 characters show on iPhone emails), or at least make the first 30 characters so compelling they’ll click to finish the thought!
  • Images are great, but will slow loading times (another major reason people delete emails), so be selective and conservative with the number of images you choose.
  • Make fonts and buttons large enough to read on a phone
  • Consider putting your Call To Action (CTA) near the top.
  • Always check the mobile version before sending to your list.

 

3. Segment your list to send targeted emails What this means is that you send relevant information only to those to whom it applies. Spamming your customers with things that don’t apply to them puts you at risk of being blocked by Google, Outlook and Yahoo’s new spam filters, which operate on a user’s behavior to determine appropriate content. Customers and prospects will also be quicker to unsubscribe if the information doesn’t fit their current needs.

TIPS:

  • Segment your list by pulling reports based on certain ages, zip codes, types of camps sessions, previous engagement with your camp or your emails, and non-returning campers, and matching content to that demographic
  • Use data to think predictively. For example, if camper attendance tends to drop off at age 16, what can you send the parents of 15-year olds to engage them longer? A survey could help you determine changing interests and explore new offerings that could keep them coming back.
  • Consider a survey to find out what your customers would like to receive, how they would like to receive it (text-only, HTML or mobile version), and frequency preferences.

 

4. Respond to recipients’ behavior This is called behavior-based email; it simply means responding to their responses. Most email tools will let you track Opens and Click-throughs. That gives you a good idea of what interests them. Segment all those who read about camp health issues or camp regulatory changes, for example, for future emails on similar topics.

 

5. Understand the technical challenges of email marketing In 2013, over 100 billion emails were sent and received per day. By 2017, that number is expected to rise to 137 billion.1 This naturally results in changes to the process and new tools, such as:

  • Google tabs, which filter emails into categories. You don’t want yours to fall into the category of “promotions” and fail to be seen.
  • Spam checking tools (to make sure your email is clean), such as Email Spam Test, a free service from blinkcampaign. (http://www.emailspamtest.com/)
  • Authentication of Sender (to prove you’re a real business)
  • Need for “Opt in” (create simple form with email only to entice subscribers)

 

LEARN MORE Bluespire’s Email Marketing Resource Guide has been the primary source for this blogpost. It delves deeper into these these technical issues.

Your turn: What is your biggest email challenge? Comment below.

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About Gina Calvert

Gina Calvert is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, camps, schools and endurance events, for more than six years.