Email marketing can be a really effective way to connect with customers, remind them of your brand and promote sales. However, many businesses send emails to their list that fall flat: they get few opens and even fewer clicks.
So, how can you ensure that your email marketing messages hit the spot?
1. Make your subject line pop
Using “[Your Company] Weekly Email” as a subject line is almost guaranteed to fail. It’s not interesting, it doesn’t capture people’s imaginations, and many subscribers will delete it unread.
When sending out marketing emails, consider the following guidelines for subject line success:
- Make a promise, e.g. “Increase your sales by 10% with our new product!”
- Generate intrigue. The Upworthy website famously does this with great success, e.g. “The Single Most Mind-Altering Photograph Humanity Has Ever Taken”
- Use numbers or lists, e.g. “The 12 most common mistakes entrepreneurs make”
- Ask a question, e.g. “Want to know how to reach more customers?”
- Use scarcity. This persuasive marketing tactic has been recognised for years, and remains incredibly effective, e.g. “Only 12 remaining!”
- Be brief. Research has shown that 50 characters is the maximum length an email subject line should be.
2. Use message previews to your advantage
Most email services offer a brief preview of the contents of an email, so make sure that what your readers see will entice them to read on, rather than bore them into deleting it outright.
3. Write to an individual
You might be sending your message to thousands of list members, but don’t write as if you’re broadcasting to a crowd. Instead, imagine you are talking to one person, your target customer, and your readers will instantly relate to it.
4. Have a clear purpose
Make sure you know what you want to achieve with each message and put it together with that goal in mind.
5. Measure what works
The best way to predict what will be successful in your email marketing campaigns is to look at what has worked before.
Every list is different and, while you might expect a certain subject line or a particular special offer to be effective, the only way to be sure of what works with your subscribers is to look at your statistics.
Most email marketing services allow you to view stats like open rates and, by using trackable links connected to the campaign manager in Google Analytics, you will have access to click-through rates and conversion statistics.
Don’t limit yourself to what you suspect will be effective. Prove what works and repeat your successes.
Related: Email marketing – what to test for success
6. Make it easy to subscribe
Add sign-up forms to your website, promote your email list on social media, and don’t insist that subscribers give you lots and lots of information: this will put people off and they won’t bother.
7. Allow for different platforms
When users sign up to your list, offer them the option to receive emails in either HTML or plain text formats. Then, when sending out your campaigns, allow for these preferences by sending out mails in both layouts.
Similarly, make sure that the email template you use is responsively designed, or has a mobile-friendly option.
These days, 66% of email marketing messages are opened on smartphone or tablet devices, so don’t send messages that are messy and unreadable on mobile gadgets.
8. Include a call to action
If you established the purpose of your message before writing it, you should already know what you want readers to do.
You may hope that they are going to visit your website, check out your latest special offers, share your latest blog post on social media, or buy your latest product or service.
Use a clear call to action in your email to encourage your subscribers to do what you want them to do.
9. Don’t end up in a spam folder
Spam folders are the nemesis of all email marketers, and emails being filtered away from your subscribers’ inboxes is to be avoided at all costs.
Follow these tips to improve the chances of your email beating the spam filter algorithms:
- Have a clear “unsubscribe” link in every mail you send
- Avoid particular trigger words, including “100% Free”, “As seen on” and “Bad credit”. For a full list of words that increase the likelihood of ending up in spam folders, check out this post.
- It’s not just keywords that can trigger a spam filter; combinations of words and phrases can also trip you up. Tools like Postmark let users check whether their messages are likely to lead to excessive filtering.
- Obey the law. Adding people to your list who did not request it, misleading your subscribers and not including a valid postal address all break the CAN-SPAM act.
Related: How to avoid spam filters when email marketing
10. Create a content calendar
If you have a plan for sending email marketing messages, you are more likely to be consistent and increase the trust your subscribers have in you. Make sure the content of your mails is varied and interesting by including ideas for content in your planning, as well as any significant dates or occasions you want to capitalise on.
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Do you reach your customer base via email? If so, what’s your number one tip for email marketing success? Get involved and leave a comment!
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