As email users, we all sort through overflowing Inboxes, full of messages from the companies that we have done business with or shown interest in at some point. We scan through the senders and subjects and make a snap decision about what gets deleted, marked as Junk, reported as Spam, ignored completely, or actually opened and read.
As marketers, we aim to send one of those few emails that gets opened, read, and acted upon. Email marketing can be a tremendous tool for communicating directly with past, current, and prospective customers. When done effectively, email marketing can strengthen relationships, improve website traffic, build brand loyalty, and make sales. If you are not getting the results you want from your carefully crafted emails, try these tips for more effective email marketing:
1. Build your subscriber list: Do not be a spammer. Sending unsolicited email can damage a good company’s reputation, and is rarely effective. Permission-based, or opt-in, email marketing helps build relationships based on trust, with people who want to receive your content. Make it easy to sign-up for emails from your website or blog, and make clear the benefits of subscribing.
For example: Do you need to recruit and retain higher-quality employees? We are here to help.
Share your staffing wisdom with me: [Enter email address]
Another popular method is to offer a discount code in return for subscribing to emails. This will capture customers who are ready to purchase. Also, gather email addresses off-line, such as at trade shows and conferences. If people were interested enough to give you their contact information, then providing more information and maintaining communication may convert them to a customer.
2. Let them go: Make it just as easy for people to opt-out. Include a link or instructions about how to unsubscribe in every email. If they do not want your messages, there is no reason to try to keep them against their will. The option to unsubscribe reassures people that they are not trapped or being spammed.
3. Address your subscribers as you would a friend: Make your email more personal by using the recipient’s name, rather than addressing them as a group, or referring to them as “customers” or “subscribers.” The never-ending list of email addresses in the ‘To:’ field is always a red flag for spam. Although you do not have a personal relationship with every customer, people feel more valued if they are individually acknowledged. Also, use your actual name in your email address and when closing the message. Receiving an email firstname.lastname@example.org communicates that the subscriber need not bother to even try to communicate with your company. But when JeffreyJ@yourbusiness.com invites people to reply with their questions or input, and then actually checks the email account, and responds back, the customer will feel valued.
4. Craft a great subject: As a people scan through their Inbox, the subject line of your email can determine whether the email is opened, deleted, or sent to the spam folder. Make sure your subject line reflects the content of the email. Stir readers’ curiosity so that they will want to know more. Also, use numerals to slow down the rapidly scanning eye.
Not: February News and Reviews
More like: 10 easy Valentine solutions for the romantically-challenged! There’s still time.
5. Keep it casual: When it comes to composing your message, show-off your winning personality. Write like you are talking to a friend, and ask questions that you want your reader to answer for themselves. Don’t automate your greetings or use boring, formulaic writing full of jargon. Would you rather read a message from a corporate robot, or from that friendly, witty guy that works at Company X?
6. Keep it brief: People get a lot of email, and often will not take the time to read anything lengthy. In general, the more frequently you send emails, the shorter they should be. If you email daily, do not send anything longer than a “Tip of the Day.” Keep the purpose of your message in mind, and only email when you have something important to say.
7. Give them a deadline: And do not make the deadline too far off. Create a sense of urgency, and let people know what they are going to miss if they do not act soon. If you are advertising a sale or offering a promotional code/coupon, call attention to the expiration date. Do not let them procrastinate!
8. Link it up: Insert multiple links within the body of your message. Every link is an opportunity for the reader to click through to your website, and you want to make that as convenient as possible.
9. Reward people for reading your email: Offering a promotional code or other coupon may get people’s attention (and will also help you track your email effectiveness). You can also reward readers with a tip of the day, an inspiration, or something to make them smile.
10. Test your formatting: If you open an email from a company, and it looks jumbled and disorganized on your screen, how likely are you to muddle through it? Before sending it to subscribers, test your format internally with email addresses from the major email providers, on different screen formats, and on various mobile devices. There is software that can help you do this quickly and thoroughly by sending you an interactive preview of how your email will appear in various platforms, and providing you with pre-tested templates.
Have you taken note of how you handle your own Inbox? Which emails do you open, and why? What subject lines pique your curiosity? For the senders that eventually end-up added to the Spam filter, why were their messages not worthy of your time?