Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels for businesses.

Email marketing, when poorly done won't have expected results and your company could be passed off as elegit spammers. First, let's define what email marketing is before we dive into the secrets of how pros make their email marketing campaigns successful all the time.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is the use of email as a digital marketing channel to promote goods and services. Email marketing is one of the oldest and still one of the most effective forms of digital marketing as it actively engages the audience. This is in contrast with other digital marketing channels like social media posts and ads which tend to be viewed more passively.

Email marketing also has a wider converge thus can be used to reach more people as a result of global adoption of email addresses.

Is email marketing still worth it any way?

The answer is YES! Here is a list of interesting statistics that speak to the fact.

Welcome emails have an open rate of 82% (Oberlo)

Sending 3 abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email. (Oberlo)

82% of workers check email outside of normal business hours. (Statista)

Now that we know that email marketing still plays a pivotal role in digital marketing, here are the 3 basic steps you need to carry out effective email marketing.

Step 1: Collecting Email Adresses

collect emails at transaction touch points

The first step in successful email marketing is to collect emails. In order to send emails, you need to have relevant email addresses to send to. You need to start collecting email addresses for your email marketing campaigns as soon as possible, from as many places as possible. Over time, your list will grow. this takes time patience and planning.

Places to ask emails from

You can ask for emails from anywhere. This can be done on your website, social media channels, off-site e.g your retail outlets, trade shows, webinars e.t.c There are hundreds of ways to do this but we'll generalize the methodology to allow you to be creative.

Business card drops at trade shows are usually a huge success because they are very easy and quick to execute.

Email collection by offering exclusive information

Do a touchpoint analysis for your business. Evaluate each of these touchpoints with a goal of finding the ones that provide the best opportunities for asking for an email address.

Table of transnational touch-points to consider asking clients and leads for emails.

Before PurchaseDuring PurchaseAfter Purchase
Social media Store or officeBilling
Ratings and reviewsWebsiteTransactional emails
TestimonialsCatalogMarketing emails
Word of mouthPromotionsService and
support teams
Community involvementStaff or Sales teamOnline help center
AdvertisingPhone systemFollow ups
Marketing & PRPoint of saleThank you card
Transnational touch-points.

Common places to build your email marketing lists include:

  • Your Website
  • Lead ads
  • Checkouts, on and offline.
  • Social networks
  • Events e.g trade shows

These are only but a few areas, depending on what you are dealing in, you will have a couple more areas that can work for yours. Most businesses, however, use their websites for collection.

Power tip: Refrain from buying email address if possible, These lists are not only expensive but they are sold to many other companies. Most importantly, since the owners didn't opt-in into receiving emails from you, they are more likely to mark your emails as spam.

How to get people to give you their emails

Getting emails from people for your email marketing campaign is a digital marketing art in itself. People are suspicious of who they give their email addresses to and are often not compelled to do so however, There are a handful of tricks digital marketers use to make it easier.

Offer a value preposition. (Lead Magnet)

When asking people to give you their email addresses, make sure you offer them something in return or at least give them a compelling reason. Here are some reasons that usually work for us.

Email collection by offering discount
  • Get a coupon
  • Get early access to a sale or new product
  • Promise to give valuable content
  • Offer to solve a specific problem for them.
  • Contest entry.
  • Offer free resources and goods.

Value prepositions online are usually done through an Optin form like the one in the image above.

You can find out more lead magnet ideas from here.

What makes a good lead Magnet?

Generally, a Lead Magnet should entice the person on your website to give up their email address, and the success heavily depends on your value proposition and how easily they will get it in return. Components of a good lead magnet are:

  • Should show off your expertise: A real estate company could give away an e-book on how to avoid real estate fraud. On top of getting the lead email, the lead would be won over by the expertise in the e-book and would be on their way to becoming a real client.
  • It should be easy to access: The steps to getting the reward for someone offering you their email should be short and easy. E.g Telling a customer "The download link will immediately be sent to your email" would make the customer give up the email easier.
  • Desirable: No one is going to give you their email for something they don't want. If you are running a niche blog, then it's safe to say the lead Magnet should be related to the niche of the blog. Don't give away "A Real estate Ebook" on a hair blog!
  • Solve a real problem: If you give away something that doesn't solve any specific problem, you won't be getting as many emails in return. Users often invest in internet bundles for downloads, no one wants to spend bandwidth on something that won't help them.

Pro tip: Requesting an email is a value exchange. The other party invests in the time and trust to give you their email address. People should be given something in return for giving you their information.

How to create Optin Forms for collecting emails on your website.

  • Attractive Visuals: Visuals convey mood add texture and realness to the Lead Magnet e.g, A picture of an e-book in book format converts way more than just the e-book title in text format.
  • Simple Form: Ask for as little information as possible to maximize your conversion rate unless you have a very high-value incentive.
  • Ridiculously Visible subscribe button: Human beings love to click buttons! An article from creative sources provides gives a great explanation- Buttons are a reward system. When we push a button, we expect something to happen.
  • Clear headline: Make sure the headline clearly states the value you are offering.

Power tip: Test different value prepositions and call to actions to subscribe to your email to find out which one brings in the most results.

Where Should you place your optin form?

Exit popups tend to work best. This is because they don't destruct users while they read the content. Exit popups detect a user who is leaving the page and display the form

Other high converting places you can place your optin form include
  • The side bar
  • In the footer
  • 404 page
  • Site under construction page
  • Site header
  • Withing the blog post

Step 2: Drive people to open your emails

getting people to open your emails is a digital marketing art.

Your email marketing is pointless if you can't get people to open the emails! People are driven to open emails based on two factors:

  1. The email subject and
  2. Your email history. Let's take some time to examine these points.

The email subject

Writing great email subjects is the single most driver of whether people open your emails or not.

Even though there are a couple of best practices to follow, a good subject will vary depending on so many other factors type of business inclusive.

Some best practices for email subject are:

Always follow the CURVE principle to write great email subjects. CURVE is an acronym for :

  • Curiosity - "Statehouse has bee hacked!", "Do not make these facebook mistakes"
  • Urgency - "Wool worth sale right now!"
  • Relevancy - "Looking for baby pants?"
  • Value - "Everything you wanted to know about digital marketing but were too afraid to ask"
  • Emotion - "Will set aside time to save a child's life? "

Test email subjects.

Keep doing A/B Testing to find out which email subjects are working best. You can send a test to a small portion of your list and find which subject generated the most opens. Then use this subject for the remainder of the list.

Fact: In Obama's re-election campaign, While A/B testing donation request email subject lines, Showalter’s team found that the most effective iteration would raise $2.5m in donations, while the worst-performing subject line would bring in less than $500,000.

Seven lessons Obama’s digital team learned from A/B testing emails

Re-target Non-Openers

Not all recipients of your emails will open it. One way to increase open rate is to retarget non-openers with a different email subject.

For example, you send an email and its opened by 20% of recipients after a week. Send another email to the remaining 80% with a different subject line.

This strategy will lead to more email opens over time.

Manage your track record

Refrain from sending emails that don't have valuable information. If you send an email with a great subject but the content lacking in value, the receiver is likely to unsubscribe from your lists. Even when you later send an email with value, the receiver may not open it because of an already tarnished track record.

Email Content that is different from the subject line will hurt your reputation

Pro-tip: Use Google analytics to track negative feedback ie low open rates, low clicks, and high un-subscriptions. These are strong signals that your emails are not adding value.

Step 3: Drive Action From Your Emails

Have a clearly marked call to action button

When people open your emails, your work is not done yet, you need to drive them to action!

Each email should have a clear single purpose which is the objective. Sometimes we get caught up in the timing and schedule and forget about the purpose of sending the emails in the first place.

Defining your goal

Driving action from your email campaign requires that you have a clear idea of what action you want to drive from the recipient.

Most emails start with template and the bussiness completes and sends out the template at set time intervals, often having 5-10 pieces of content. But what are you hoping to achieve? Even if the goal isn't buying or clicking, there should be a clear bussiness goal.

Pro tip: Don't clutter email with content that lacks focus on the business objective. Less is more. Focus on the content that drives results.

Email Structure

As more people use their mobile phones to read emails, simple email formats are becoming more popular. With smaller screen sizes, single focus, shorter content, less designed emails seem to be generating better results.

When deciding on the structure, determine the kind of content you will have in your email and the order. The email should be short, easilys cannable with copelling copy at the begginging to real readers in.

Email Format

This refers to how your email will be laid out visually. The format should reflect the goal or objective.

People respond to simpler formats better because they spend less time scanning through the email.

Also, optimize emails for scanners. Many people don't read word for word content. They quickly scan to find what they are interested in. Use headers, bullets, and buttons to draw attention to what matters.

Copy Tips

Keep your calls to action at the top of the email and possibly repeat them at the bottom.

Add personality and storytelling to build a connection with the reader. The goal of the copy should be to draw readers in, motivate, change their perception, and inspire them to take action.

Use Media.

Though not required, emails with appealing images tend to have more appeal and inspire conversion. Emails with Video can increase conversion for up to 300%

Pro tip: Some email providers don't load images automatically. Make sure your email works without images as well and keep them at a maximum of 3

Ugandan Companies email marketing examples.

We thought we would throw in some local examples for inspiration. Though it's hard to find the Ugandan companies practicing all the steps we've outlined here, there are a few notable mentions that could inspire your own email marketing campaigns and you probably have received an email or two from them as well.

Uganda's smile telecom 2GB Kyokya Wiki email maketing campaign

Smile telecom is a an internet service provider with operations in Uganda. One of their main digital marketing channels is email marketing. And they use this to turn one time buyers into loyal customers.

We'll break down one of their recent email campaigns to emphasize the points we'd already highlighted above.

The Email Subject; How it encourages opens.

"Offer of the day! Get 2GB Kyookya wiki for as low as UGX6000"

  • The subject grabs attention and is not spammy.
  • This subject line is 60 characters! This can be a problem because most email clients stop displaying an email subject line on mobile devices once it reaches anywhere between 33 and 43 characters. Unless you are sure your subscribers open emails on desktops, you may want to keep the subject line short. Short subject lines get more open rates.
  • Personalization: This is an area that is overlooked by the title. Adding the client's name would go a long way to personalize that subject and thus improve open rates.
  • Subject line capitalization: Smile telecom is using sentence case, this is used by 60% of the worlds' marketers. Email marketing experts such as Val Geisler attribute increased open rates to it due to a more casual feel.
The Email Content How it drives to action.
  • Annotation 1: Use of media, The smiling/laughing woman's image is purely for mood setting. This prepares your subconscious mind to think positively about whatever they have to offer.
  • Annotation 2: draws readers in, and inspires them to take action of purchasing kyokya wiki bundle and creates a sense of urgency at the same time by emphasizing today!
  • Annotation 3: Cater to people of all devices. Some devices don't display images in emails, this link allows the user to view the email in a browser instead.
  • Annotation 4: Branding
  • Annotation 5: The Call To Action link. This has been properly placed in the first quarter of the email i.e first viewable port. However, it would perform even better if it was more visible and looked clickable.
  • Annotation 6: Personalization in the content.
  • Annotation 7: Call to Action at the bottom of the page.

Avoiding the Spam filters

In this last section, we'll discuss how to avoid most of the emails from your email marketing campaign ending up in spam folders.

According to the extensive research done by Yesware, here are a couple of things you can do to prevent your emails from being viewed as spam.

  • Avoid having all caps in your emails.
  • Observe care when using exclamation points.
  • Sending emails with an attachment to new contacts
  • Having emails with a high image to text ration
  • Using different colored fonts
  • Emails having low open rates.
  • Avoid These trigger words in your email subject. See image below

Remember, email clients like Gmail use client engagement to classify emails as spam. If a high number of people mark your email as spam, it will automatically start going to the spam folder.

Now you are ready to start your email marketing!

While you have time, take a look at other ways you could improve your digital marketing in Uganda.