A cloudy, humid NYC day didn’t prevent the LERA Consulting Structural Engineers team from packing their event space. Armed with beverages and desserts provided by our gracious host, we tuned in to hone our email marketing skills at the Coordinator’s Club: Supercharge Your Email Marketing event. Now, we’d like to share with you some of the amazing things we learned about effective email marketing strategies. Part of being an entrepreneur is having the willingness to share information and help each other thrive.

Ida Cheinman, principal and creative director at Substance151, delivered a presentation on what to consider when developing your email marketing campaigns. A common theme throughout the presentation was planning. As is true with any marketing campaign, planning your email marketing strategy is the first and most important stage. Without proper planning, you’ll be sending emails blindly, without purpose or structure, making them largely ineffective.

In order to be successful, it is imperative to outline the goals and desired outcomes of your project – this is also super important when measuring ROI. Determining the frequency of your email blasts and developing an editorial calendar are also important to help you maintain consistency, as is gaining buy-in from key stakeholders.

Take a moment to consider the type of email you’re sending. Often lumped in with the general term of “newsletter,” there are indeed a variety of email campaign types. The type of email you’ll be sending will depend on the goal you have in mind:

  • Newsletters – A collection of short-form series; informational status updates
  • Announcements – Usually focus on a single topic or event and are time-sensitive (new product launch, limited-time sale)
  • Lead nurturing – Moves prospects through a funnel – typically driven by sign-ups for something (downloads, notifications, coupon codes, etc.) – and helps grow your email lists
  • Utility – Informational with a direct purpose; not usually focused on a call to action (welcome letter, such as for new hires, order confirmation, etc.)

When working with our clients, we suggest being direct, and including little additional “fluff” – a title, graphic and short teaser, to drive traffic to your firm’s website. While clients often want to include all content in a single newsletter, we recommend against this.

You should have an engaging title that makes the reader want to open the email. This should be followed with an eye-catching graphic that grabs the reader’s attention immediately. Once you’ve gotten a reader’s attention, drive traffic directly to your site. We recommend directing the user to a landing page that will inspire them to click other links, keeping them on your site.

From personal experience, we’re still struggling with our mailing lists! Whether you’re using a CRM or working directly in your email service provider’s list builder, a few tips that Ida pointed out are likely to be very helpful (they were for us, and I am even planning on revamping our studio’s email marketing strategy!).

Grow your email lists organically. Don’t buy your lists, as they are unlikely to produce ROI. Create gated downloads and offers. Offering incentives for signing up will drive more people to do so. Everyone loves discounts, freebies and other incentives for doing something simple (such as leaving a name and email). Please note: GDPR best practices state this cannot be required. Add sign-up blocks on your blog and website. Make them prominent. It’s also a good idea to include a static sign-up page that is featured on your home page or menu bar for extra visibility.

Tips for Crafting Effective Email Campaigns

When creating your email blast, be sure to use descriptive alt text and high-quality images that will work across all devices. Optimize your design for mobile. Unfortunately, this is too often forgotten, which is truly harmful to your campaign because a majority of people view their emails through a mobile device. Be sure your template is responsive. Check all links and make sure they have an engaging landing page.

Ida pointed out an interesting statistic: Over 40% of B2B marketers cite email as most critical for content marketing.

If you’re curious about how your statistics compare to other firms, B2B email marketing statistics are available based on industry and can be a good point of comparison to show effectiveness. These statistics typically include average open rates, click-through rates, average bounce rates and average unsubscribes for your particular industry.

Calls to Action

Make sure all calls to action stand out and are bold. Make them short, sweet and clear to understand. Don’t include too many, and keep them simple. Use active, engaging language that inspires users to complete the call.

After you’ve done the hard work of curating engaging, impactful content and putting together your email lists, don’t forget to review the following critical steps before hitting send.

  • Make sure your email is coming from a recognizable address – familiarity will increase open rates (and feel less like spam!).
  • Be intentional with subject lines (descriptive is better, and keep the length to 35 to 55 characters). Entice your audience to open your email. Vague subject lines like “Summer Updates” or “Fall Happenings” don’t compel your reader to do so.
  • Utilize the preview text field in the email body. This copy appears underneath the sender’s name and draws the reader’s attention.

As a business owner, refining our lists and cultivating engaging content are an ongoing process. I am always doing research to figure out what interests our audience. At the end of the day, it’s all about testing and learning what works as you continue your email marketing strategies. We are so grateful to the LERA Consulting Structural Engineers team, Ida Cheinman and SMPSNY for taking the time and going to such great effort to create this event for us to learn some truly business-changing marketing strategies.

Check out photos from there event here!