Email marketing has been around for a long time, and it’s still one of the most trusted ways for small businesses to connect with new customers and nurture your existing audience.
If you’re new to the world of email marketing, you’re bound to come across some terms and acronyms that may be unfamiliar.
We’ve broken down the most common terms and concepts for you in this article to help get you up to speed with electronic direct mail (eDM) marketing.
Email service provider (ESP).
This will likely be one of the first email marketing terms you come across.
ESP refers to the platform/service you will use to collect your customer information and send out your email campaigns. Some of the most popular ESPs are Mail Chimp, ConvertKit and Constant Contact.
However, you may not need a dedicated ESP if your customer relationship management (CRM) software has these features built-in. For example, Thryv offers small businesses a variety of tools, from scheduling appointments to managing social media, and also includes email marketing automation software.
Drip Email Marketing.
This term refers to email marketing campaigns that automatically send in a predetermined sequence over time.
For example, you may create a ‘welcome’ drip sequence that begins when a customer first subscribes to your mailing list. They’ll get one email welcoming them, then a day later receive another one showing your top products, then a third one asking for feedback, and so on.
If you have marketing automation software, it will send all of these emails automatically, which is a boon for busy small businesses.
Click-through Rate (CTR).
One of the important metrics to monitor for email campaigns is what’s known as your click-through rate, or CTR.
This figure, which is automatically tracked in most ESPs, shows you how many of your email subscribers clicked on a specific link within the body of the email.
This information can show you how effective your emails are. Typically, higher click-throughs mean you have done a good job in segmenting your audience, creating a compelling subject line, and making the content of the email interesting and beneficial enough that the reader wants to learn more.
According to a major study by leading ESP MailChimp, the industry average click-through rate is just 2.62%.
Furthermore, there are real differences in CTRs when it comes to industry. The MailChimp study found that the ‘hobbies’ industry had the highest rate at 5.01%, followed by the media and publishing industry at 4.62%.
To improve your CTR, here are a few simple tips you can try:
- Include more links
- Make it clear where your links go (never use ‘click here’, instead ‘see our product range’)
- Consider what your audience wants or needs, then fulfill those wants and needs
- Try A/B testing to see what works best
A/B Testing or Split Testing.
There are a lot of variables when it comes to an email campaign. The subject line you use, the text in the body of the email, the calls-to-action, the imagery – all of these factors combine to encourage the reader to take an action.
It’s hard to predict what will work best, which is where A/B testing comes in.
With this method, you’ll create multiple variables of the same email—for example, using emojis in one subject line, all caps in another, and regular text in the third. Then you’ll compare how each version performed and keep the most successful version to craft better emails next time.
Fortunately, most of the major ESPs offer A/B testing as a standard feature. This feature gives you clear reports on metrics such as open rates and click through rates, so you can quickly see which version was the most successful. If you’re already working with an email service provider, be sure to make the most of this feature to improve your email marketing campaigns.
Opt-in and Double Opt-In.
No one likes being signed up for an email mailing list without consent, which is why it’s important to build opt-in options for your users. This means that a visitor to your website, when purchasing a product or signing up for a service, is asked to confirm if they are happy to receive marketing emails from your brand.
A double opt-in is where you give users two chances to opt in. The second usually comes in the form of a quick email asking users to verify their email address. This is sometimes also called a ‘confirmed opt in’.
This is usually a good move for small businesses, as it makes sure that people receive your emails (rather than them going to spam), and ensures your subscribers really do want to hear from you.
The downside to a double opt-in email is that a percentage of people will never ‘confirm’ their email address, which means you might miss out on customers who wanted to hear from you but never got around to the second step. One study suggested that as much as 20% of your audience will not complete this second step.
Many businesses still use the double opt-in process for its benefits over the single opt-in process, and aim to make the confirmation email as simple and easy as possible. However if you’re finding that a high proportion of customers never confirm their opt-in, you can always switch to a single opt-in process and measure the results.
Mastering email marketing.
Email marketing requires time and effort to learn and execute well. From understanding the key marketing terms and learning how to create campaigns that get results, it’s a process that many business owners simply don’t have time for.
If that’s the case for your business, help is at hand.
Thryv’s small business software can make your life easier by pulling a variety of features and tools into one place. Explore how Thryv can help and request a free demo to try it out.