How to Create a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
What can you do to ensure that your email marketing campaign will be a success? Is there anything unique about an email marketing campaign in the gaming industry? We’ve listed for you 11 essential ingredients for a successful campaign.
1) CATCH THEM WITH THE OPENING
Begin your mail with a friendly, personal greeting. Address players by name, and provide them with the offers and information they are looking for straight away. For longer email formats, such as a monthly newsletter, a clickable table of contents will help get players to the parts of the mail they want to read faster.
2) CLEARLY IDENTIFY YOURSELF
In our industry, players (and potential players) may be a little wary of opening mails with spam-like offers. Therefore it is important that they recognize your brand/website/name when the mail arrives in their Inbox. Make sure that the emails you send are clearly identifiable as coming from you, including the “from” field, the logo, the signature, and the contact information. Establish a personal connection with players. In the gaming industry, in particular, it is essential to be totally transparent with your players and establish a relationship built on trust. This can be achieved by keeping everything above board, with all offers, bonuses, incentives and their relative terms and conditions clearly defined and visible.
3) CREATE A SUBJECT LINE THAT’S IRRESISTIBLE TO GAMERS
Subject lines are a tricky beast, especially in our industry. Their main purpose is to compel readers to open your email, but without revealing too much, misrepresenting the contents, or triggering any spam filters (by using words like 'free' and 'bonus'). Ideally, they should achieve all this in fewer than 50 characters. Whilst there's no substitute for testing and tweaking to discover which types of subject lines work best for your mailing list, when in doubt, go with an incentive. Emphasize that it's time-sensitive and try to be as specific as possible about what players will actually get (how they get it should explained in the email body). If you prefer experimenting with popular formulas such as “How to…” and “Reasons Why…” be sure to check out these resources: The 15 most powerful words in subject lines / The 17 Best Email Subject Lines for Increasing Open Rates .
4) KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Make sure that the content of your mailings is appropriate to your target audience (recreational players / hard core gamers / roulette enthusiasts, etc). For starters, you need to know the demographics of your players. Speak to players in the language of players. Use lingo suitable to your game/contest/sport. When you can, segment your mailing lists and personalize the content accordingly. Useful segmentation for your mails could be by vertical (casino, sports, bingo, poker); and/or by player history (new signups, absent players, high volume players, VIP players), etc.
5) CALL TO ACTION
Before you begin to write, define what you want to achieve with the mail. Frequently, players don’t even know what you want them to do. Make it easier for them with call-to-action buttons and links, anything from “Play now” to “Read more”. Offering exclusive bonuses, hidden games, and personal deals will make players feel special and more likely to act. Tease them with short introductions to information posted on your website but make sure your call-to-action links are in line with the goals you set for the mailing. (Resource: How to Create Effective Calls to Action)
6) CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY
Calls to action will be most effective if players are convinced that they must act immediately. Make sure they are aware that promotions, bonuses, and special offers “are for a limited time only” so that they will respond right away. Don’t abuse your calls to action, as if you suggest everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent at all.
7) LEARN HOW TO AVOID SPAM
The best way to avoid having your mails end up in the Junk mailbox is to get players to opt-in to your mails and/or to have them whitelist your email address. Avoid usage of Spam triggers in the Subject line and texts; do not use all CAPS; do not use bright colored fonts; don't use purchased lists; and keep your unsubscribe/opt-out links visible. Avoid words like “free”, “prize” “bonus”, and “no obligation”. (Resource: The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words ) Keep exclamation mark usage limited!!! Regarding imagery, keep the text to image ratio of your mails at about 60/40.
8) OFFER INCENTIVES
To get players to respond, you must them give good reasons to play/deposit/bet/act. Sometimes all it takes is a simple “Do this and get that” offer. Segment your offers based on player activity, with special bonuses to get absent players back into action and extra benefits to reward loyal and high volume players. Make players feel special by personalizing offers based on their profiles, playing history, and preferences.
9) OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
This goes without saying, but make sure that the coding of your mails is appropriate for reading on mobile devices. As many players read most of their mail on mobile, your mail will enable them to click through to their favorite mobile games. Ensure that your images are resizable and standardize your font size so that it will be easily read. Make sure to preview your mails before you send them. (Resource: Is Your Website Really Responsive?)
10) EMAIL REGULARLY, BUT DON’T OVERDO IT
Keep players in the game by sending mails on a regular schedule. Don’t overdo it; group information together in a smaller number of mailings. Knowing that your audience is composed of players, keep your mails brief and the offers easily understood. Gamers frequently play more at night and on weekends, so optimize your mailing schedule accordingly. Check the “open rate” when mails are sent at different times/days of the week to see what works best for your audience. Engage with players but don’t send them the same content week after week.
11) ANALYZE YOUR RESULTS
Your email marketing campaign doesn’t end the minute you click Send. In fact, the most important work is yet ahead. Place tracking codes in links to see what interests your players. Analyze which Subject line (in the A/B testing) resulted in a higher open rate. Prepare your next mailing based on what you’ve learned. Make sure you’re using the right metrics for your analysis, as checking only “open rates” is far from enough information to determine if your mailing campaign was successful. Consider unsubscribe rates; bounce rates; actions completed and more. (Resource: Email Marketing: Campaign Analysis, Metrics, Best Practices)
Improving the response rate to your email marketing will play a significant role in improving your earnings as a gaming industry affiliate.
Ingredients to a Successful Marketing Campaign
10 Ingredients of Successful Email Marketing infographic
17 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Success with email marketing in Gaming