Email marketing has long been one of the more powerful tools in the in-bound marketers arsenal. In fact, a recent survey found that there are approximately 2.2 billion email users worldwide and as many as 4.3 billion email clients. That’s nearly 4 times as many users as Facebook’s one billion users!
Email is an avenue that enables you to directly reach your target audience at a relatively low price point. To be able to take advantage of this avenue, however, requires a whole different skill set. Bad email marketing can hurt your brand and annoy the customers you worked so hard to get. In this post, we have outlined the do’s and don’ts of successful email marketing that will encourage higher open and click-through rates.
The first thing people see in your email is the subject line. What you write there will ultimately decide the success of your email campaign, so spend the time and come up with a subject line that commands attention. Your subject line should be action oriented and speak directly to the recipient of the email. Action verbs such as “learn” or “download” indicate that the recipient has something to gain from opening your email.
Creating a sense of urgency is another tactic. Add a deadline to your subject line to urge people to open the email as soon as they get it. If they don’t, chances are it will never be opened.
One of my favorite methods to encourage higher open rates is through hutzpah, cheekiness, audacity – however you call it, it works. Is the purpose of your email to arrange a phone call? Write in the subject line “Meeting Wednesday at 11”. This may confuse the recipient into thinking a meeting was set up that he/she forgot about but at least the email was opened!
Also, avoid words favored by SPAM filters. Writing a subject in all caps, using exclamation points, or words like “free”, “act now”, or “credit” will guarantee your email ends up in the SPAM folder, never to be seen again.
Finally, keep it short…ideally under 45 characters. Longer subject lines tend to get lost in the mess of the inbox. Getting your point across quickly hints to the recipient that you’re not there to waste their time but to deliver something they want or need.
Engage the Reader
So you wrote an awesome subject line and your open rates are through the roof. Now you have to have the content to back it up. First and foremost, don’t write to a list, write to a person. The more personal the email, the better the response will be.
Don’t use a lot of fancy html and images. A clean, text only email with a personal introduction will engage the recipient and make them feel as if a real person is on the other end as opposed to an automated mailing program. Not to mention that most email servers don’t even load these images automatically. On this same note, don’t add fancy buttons. Include links that are short and sweet and make the reader think it was copied and pasted from your browser.
Use the word “you”, ask questions, and don’t be dull. After you’ve written the email, send yourself a test version and read through it with the mindset of a recipient. Would you respond to this email or would it go directly in the trash, or worse, marked as spam?
Most importantly, don’t forget the purpose of the email. Are you promoting a web-event? Trying to set a meeting? Offering a new must-have service? Highlight the benefits and show the reader what he/she will be missing by not following through.
Finally, the reader should understand exactly what is expected of him. Write a clear call to action and remind them why it’s in their best interest to follow through.
Convincing people to sign up for your mailing list is no easy task. So if you’ve managed to convince users that leaving their contact details is worth their while, make it so. Don’t waste the opportunity with boring emails that serve no real purpose other than to remind the user that you’re still there. Grab their attention; engage them in your campaign. For some of your readers that email will turn into a sale and, at the end of the day, that’s why we’re all here.
What email marketing strategies have worked for you? Let us know in the comments section below!
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