Email is the most effective tool in marketing, and is a simple and cost-efficient way to communicate with customers, promote your clients, and engage with the people who make them successful. Email marketing is a necessary part of your content strategy. But, there’s much more to it than simply blasting out an email update. For it to work, you need people to actually read it, and to increase email open and click rates, you need to make your messages smart. To fully utilize the marketing power of an email, consider these three points before you click.
Email Marketing Mechanics
Make sure your email doesn’t end up in the spam folder by making sure the people on your list know your email address. As you can imagine, if recipients don’t recognize your email address, it makes them suspicious and lowers your open rate. Remind people when they signed up to receive your emails and why your emails will be beneficial to them so they don’t forget or feel like they’ve been put on a spam email list. Also, your physical address is required to appear in each email to comply with federal anti-spam laws. In addition to spam compliance, focus on the subject line you use. Be sure it’s short – ideally, 20 characters or less since that is usually the limit for mobile devices – and catchy. This is your first opportunity to gain your audience’s attention.
Once you’ve won the open battle, be concise. If your email body appears to be too long, recipients may skip or delete your email altogether. What you want to do too is keep paragraphs short and sweet, break them up with headlines, and use formatting like bold, italics, and bullet points so that you don’t have large blocks of text that seem daunting to read. Customize the message with the recipient’s name, and just in case no name is provided for an email contact on your mail list, make sure to set a default term that still addresses recipients in a warm, personable way.
If you are including images or a custom design template, make sure the email can be viewed in another browser window so that it still allows them to see the design as you intended. In addition, you should ask yourself if your email can be shared via social media. Include buttons to share an email on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ to boost click-through rates.
Segmentation and Experimentation
You’ll want to divide the main email list into smaller segments so that you can tailor messages that provide the information relevant to each group. To test the success of your email marketing tactics, collect data by splitting your main list into two equal lists at random and change things that you feel may be affecting the resulting open rates. Try out different subject lines and test two different offers against each other. Use different greetings or images. Just make sure you note exactly which parts are different on each email and don’t try to test too much at once or you won’t be able to know which tactics really worked.
You may choose to permanently segment your email marketing list or you can create segments on the fly as needed.
Tracking purchase history and clicks aren’t always an accurate sign that your subscriber is interested in more of the same messages. The most telling data actually comes from what recipients report voluntarily. Your goal, in turn, should be to provide multiple opportunities for recipients to provide feedback on the content by including questions in your emails and encouraging longer conversation on social media pages. This also supports what should be your other main focus, which is to create a bond with your contacts. After all, people are more likely to answer emails from senders that they know well. By engaging them in conversation, getting to know them better, you’ll not only get a better sense of the information they’re looking to receive, but you’ll also be furthering the connection you have with them, enhancing the success rate of your email marketing and your communications strategy as a whole.
There’s no question that email marketing works, but it’s up to you to find the perfect strategy for your target list that consistently delivers your well-researched, well-structured, and highly interactive messaging. Identifying the right formula takes time, so as long as you respect your recipients’ preferences, even if it means unsubscribing for some, you’ll soon see the positive results.