Direct marketing emails may seem like a thing of the past given the recent explosion in the use of social media for digital marketing. This begs the question, is it still worth investing in email marketing campaigns? An email inbox is probably the most checked post box that we have. How many times a day is an inbox checked in comparison to a letter box? Email is one of the most direct links that businesses can have with their customer base.
A successful email campaign, especially one which works alongside other marketing campaigns such as social media or TV adverts can still prove to be very effective, and relatively inexpensive to carry out.
1. Have A Good Quality List
It is vital that the receiver’s list is up-to-date and includes the right people. Ensure that these are the people who want to be receiving the email, who have an interest in the product or service of the business. By checking the open-rate, marketers can see how many receivers actually opened the email. According to the Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, the average is about 20%, so if the open rate is less than that, there is a problem with the list.
2. Do Something Shocking
One way of grabbing attention is to do something shocking or unusual. This will heighten curiosity, and incite a reaction. Make sure though that the tone and content fit with the nature of the business. 3. Link it to Social Media
A good way of engaging with a potential customer base is through social media. Emails can have content which can be easily shared through Facebook or Twitter, thus linking the two. This ensures a longer and more consistently present bond between a business and their customer base.
4. Be Real
The rise in social media is meaning that customers increasingly want to see the people behind the business. By adding in real photos of products, workers, marketing campaigns and customers, the email receiver can see a business’s personality and humanness which is becoming more and more important.
5. Stay Simple
It might seem like common sense, but the more simple the email the better. Add a call to arms, but keep it simple and easy to do, as there is nothing worse than trying to understand complicated instruction. By keeping it simple, words are often more concise and more likely to be read.
6. Keep it Short and Sweet
An effective way to drive traffic to a website through an email campaign is by giving recipients a taster and then directing them to the website. Keeping it short and sweet leaves people wanting more.
7. Use Visuals as well as Copy
If talking about a product, using photos is much more effective than writing about it. By using a few words combined with pictures the whole email is more interesting and better understood.
8. Include Links
If talking about a specific product, add direct links for potential customers to find out more about it and make buying it easy.
9. Don’t be Too Salesy
There is nothing more off-putting than receiving a generic, salesy email, so avoid this at all costs. Try to make is personable and friendly.
10. Put it into Context
Explain to the recipients why the email is being sent to them – like a specific event or news and this will help them realise why they need to get involved.
A good email campaign can still be extremely effective as a marketing tool. The key is to get the right email sent to the right people and to link it to other campaigns.
With the modern age of social media marketing, our old friend email marketing seems to have been brushed under the carpet and neglected somewhat.
But is it really that outdated already?
With such a posing question, it seems right to discuss the merits of this direct marketing method.
The Advantages of Email Marketing
There are still many, many advantages of using email marketing: it reaches out directly to the customer straight into their inbox.
An email is a great chance to display special offers and products along with your expertise. A cracking example of how you can master email marketing is ‘Wowcher’, who send out offers daily from local businesses, ranging from meals out to sky diving experiences.
Sending out emails frequently without being an inbox pest keeps your brand name in the head of the prospect or customer to keep them fully aware of your company.
It makes your brand a lot more accessible to a wider audience, the email can be forwarded on to various other prospects with ease.
Add links to your email as a call to action to give more traffic to certain areas of your website. Make sure the landing page is attractive and will make the traffic keep flowing around the website instead of it stopping right there.
All in all this method of marketing is extremely efficient – both from a cost and time perspective. The emails are delivered in an instant for a very nominal fee per email (in most cases a fraction of a penny).
But there are, as with most marketing campaigns, pitfalls.
Most people receive tens or hundreds of emails a day. More likely than not – your email will be put straight into the virtual bin. Entice the audience with an attractive title that doesn’t look ‘spammy’.
Many people try and make the email fancy by adding attractive headers and images.
Many inboxes will not show this content leaving the user with a jumbled, disjointed email. In most cases, it will mess with the formatting making you look extremely unprofessional.
It is difficult to engage with your audience through an email. Some of your contact list would have joined after signing up for a competition or for email tips or advice. When you send them an email that will want the customer to part with their money – some will immediately unsubscribe.
And if they do unsubscribe, make sure you take them off the list; especially if you are American. The CAN SPAM law which was passed through congress in 2003 made sure that anybody who spammed paid anything from $10,000 to $1.3million or spend 70 days to 5 years in prison.
Any small errors during an email campaign can have a huge impact – one typing error in the process of creating an email message can be seen by hundreds, thousands or maybe even millions of people.
So if you were looking at implementing email marketing, or looking for a reason to maybe get shut of it, we hope that we helped in making up your mind.
Okay so your latest email blast is set up and ready. You have spent time and effort collating contacts, devising the message and scheduling it for just the right time on the right day.
It drops into the inbox of your prospect and they are greeted like this:
ATTENTION! 100% FREE, ACT NOW!
If your subject line looks like this, that time, effort and money invested into your email campaign will be wasted.
Certain words, phrases and punctuation will send your email straight to the spam folder and even if it does wriggle through the filters and into the inbox of your prospect, they will put it into the bin themselves.
Some of the following words, phrases and styles of punctuation are in the 100 most popular spam trigger phrases of 2013:
The connotations of these phrases reek of desperation. Remember, you are trying to reach out to human beings, so what will make them open your email?
Despite your subject line being such a small amount of the whole email blast, it is one of the most important parts of your campaign. The following tips will help make your email campaign effective and will hopefully attract customers instead of deterring them:
Simplicity – Barack Obama when he was running for president sent out an email simply titled ‘Hey’. Sometimes it is best to be colloquial and not over the top – however being too colloquial in a message can be disastrous, so try and find the right balance.
Rhetorical Questions – A great rhetorical question can immediately grip a prospect: “What can you afford?” This type of question does not de-value the product that you are selling by offering discounts and it directly appeals to the prospect by making the product or service more accessible.
Puns – Trawling through emails can be tedious and boring for your prospect, so why not try and put a smile on people’s faces? The same old boring, clichéd line day in, day out can get monotonous, so break the mould and try to be witty and topical at the same time.
These tips are generic but cannot be applied to every single email campaign: put your campaign into context: what am I trying to offer my prospect and who is the prospect?
Get out your thesaurus, go through some of the spam words and make them more sophisticated, for example, instead of using the word ‘free’, use ‘complimentary’.
All of a sudden you have now added a bit of class to your campaign, give it a go.
A thriving email list offers your business a great opportunity to connect directly to customers through their inbox. From letting them know about special, store-wide deals well in advance of their launch to unveiling special offers just for subscribers, there are a number of ways to use an email list to drive up your sales potential.
Social media is a great tool for getting people to subscribe to your email list, and after a business has a good number of followers on their Twitter, Facebook, or any other site it is a good time for marketers to begin thinking of helping those followers evolve into fully-fledged email subscribers.
Make Signing Up Simple
For every additional step in the signup process, you lose a percentage of potential subscribers. That is why it is important to ensure that signing up for your email list is as simple as possible. The best way to do this is to link the signup form for your email list directly to your social media page. There are many ways to allow people to sign up with just a few clicks of the mouse on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Do some research, find the one that you believe works best for your needs, and be sure to inform your followers of just how easy signing up for your email list can be.
Offer A Bonus For Signing Up
Whether it’s access to free content, a coupon, or the promise of email exclusives, there are a number of incentives that you can offer to customers to entice them into signing up. It is important to think about your followers and the types of incentives that can benefit them most. Additionally, remember to promote these incentives and to make them visible when it will do the most good.
Provide Quality Information Through Free Materials
From hosting free webinars to whitepapers, infograhpics, and other types of content relevant to your industry, you can make yourself a great source of information to your followers. Promising more of this great content through email lists is another way to boost your subscriber count. Just remember than when you make this kind of promise to your followers, it is important to deliver.
Host Contests & Giveaways
Enticing customers to sign up through contests and giveaways can be a great way to boost your subscriber count. Pay attention to the way that you are hosting contests and giveaways, and choose apps that make it easy for you to gather the information that you need to help grow your subscriber count. One of the best benefits of using this type of method to generate subscriber growth is it helps you to instantly connect with those who are real fans of your product or your service. That alone can ensure that your email list is optimised for the best business possible.
Email marketing is an easy, inexpensive way to connect with your customers and engage them instantly. It also makes it easy to reach a large audience – almost all of your customers have email addresses, even the ones you can’t reach on social networks. It’s smart to take advantage of such a great marketing opportunity – but important to do it right. The subject line of your email can determine – in a matter of seconds – whether your emails will be read or discarded.
A Great Subject Line Is Short
“More is not necessarily better” is especially true when it comes to subject lines. You don’t need to cram a ton of information into the subject line – the goal is to entice the reader to open and read the email. Studies have shown that emails with the highest click rates have subject lines of 28 to 39 characters. Besides, if your subject line is too long, the whole thing may not be visible by email programs that cut off subject lines at 50 or so characters.
A Great Subject Line Has No Spam Triggers
Your email masterpiece will amount to a whole lot of nothing if it ends up in a reader’s spam folder. Reminding your readers to add you to their safe list is a good idea, but they won’t all do it, so you must still avoid words and symbols that could trigger spam filters whenever possible. Look for a list of words to avoid; it will include terms like “free,” “cash,” “sale,” “weight loss,” and “winner.” Dollar signs, excessive exclamation points, and using all caps are other potential spam triggers.
A Great Subject Line Creates Urgency
If your customer does not read the email as soon as he or she receives it, chances that it will get read at all dwindle. The subject line is the place to communicate time-sensitive things like when a sale ends or that spots for a course are limited. This compels the reader to open the email to learn more.
A Great Subject Line Is Crystal Clear
A little mystery can be a good thing, but your busy customers (who are inundated with marketing attempts) usually appreciate knowing up front what an email is about. If they aren’t sure if they might be wasting their time by reading your email, they may decide that deleting it rather than finding out is the better choice. A don’t mislead readers; that’s a sure-fire way to reduce your credibility.
A Great Subject Line Is Relevant And Timely
Relevant current events make good topics of interest; find a way to tie one into your message. Also, don’t forget to focus on the benefits you are offering the reader. If your reader knows how he or she stands to benefit, he or she will be much more likely to keep reading.
The Internet Marketing Academy
Email marketing can be one of the easiest and most profitable ways to drive revenue for your business. Well-established Internet marketers know how much revenue they can generate with each email they distribute. The key to high revenue is high customer engagement. If they don’t open your email, they won’t read your offers. Here are five easy ways to increase customer engagement with scheduled emails, such as electronic newsletters.
Recognise your customer is busy
Your customer has a lot of competition for their attention in their email inbox. Don’t waste your customer’s time with fluff that gives no value, sales flyers for items that are not applicable, or boring repetition of the same information. Such emails may get opened once, especially if they have a catchy subject line, but the customer is unlikely to open your next email. Make sure that each email is filled with valuable content that is easily consumed by a busy person.
Prove you care about your content
If you don’t care about your content, why should your customer? Go over the entire email multiple times. Check all facts and information for correctness, and weed out any typos or overly-complex sentences.
An email is not the place for an 8-page sales letter. Think of it as a movie trailer, rather than the feature length film. Your goal is to give just enough information to whet your customer’s appetite, and drive traffic to your website or social media platform for additional information. That’s where your customer can find your 8-page sales letter. Be careful not to make everything in the email a preview, however, or the customer may feel that the email does not provide enough value.
Strike the right tone
Emails tend to be more casual and conversational than formal writing such as articles. However, what is casual for one market may be considered formal by another market. Compare your emails to similar emails that have been successful at engaging members of your target market, and adopt a similar tone.
Add a call to action
Finally, make sure that every email you send clearly tells the customer what to do next. Should they visit your website? Call you? Stop by your store? Whatever action you want your customer to take as a result of reading your email, clearly describe both the action and the benefit the customer will get from taking it. If you can add additional urgency to your call to action, such as making a limited offer to the first so many customers who respond, or to everyone who responds by a certain date, that is even better.
When it comes to crafting the perfect subject line for your email marketing, there is no single ideal subject line. After all, the best subject line appeals to what interests your specific audience, which is different from what interests other companies’ audiences. There are, however, some general guidelines which will help increase the open rate of your emails.
Short and straightforward
The purpose of the subject line is not to sell your product, it’s to tell the recipient enough about your product so that they open the email and read your sales copy. “Order now for the best deal on new releases” is not as good a subject line as “March releases now available”. Research shows that subject lines which are between 28 and 39 characters in length have the highest open rate, at just over 12%. Shorter subject lines are still opened, although not as frequently, and open rates drop dramatically as the subject lines get longer.
Useful, ultra-specific, and urgent
Every email subject should first be targeted toward your audience’s wants and needs. Whatever interests or motivates them, make sure that they are aware of how the content of the email delivers upon that interest or motivation. Make the email subject line specific to their geographic location if possible, or to a narrow special interest group. Finally, give them a reason that the email needs to be read immediately. An example of a useful, ultra-specific, and urgent subject line is “Limited ed. Rolls-Royce Corniche model” for model car enthusiasts.
Ask a question
Email subject lines that pose questions are opened more frequently than those which are statements. Psychologically, the recipient wants to open the email to discover the answer. “When will you start your dream career?” is a better subject line than “Find a job in your dream career”.
Don’t look like spam
If you use spam-like techniques in your email subject line, in the worst case, your email will never even reach your recipient. In the best case, your recipient will delete the email without reading it. Some of the things which make your email look like spam are using all capital letters, including the word “free”, or using exclamation points. You should also avoid including the recipient’s name in the subject line, using special ASCII characters such as hearts or musical notes, or starting the subject line with Re: or Fwd: to make it look like the email is part of an on-going conversation. If your company or brand is not obvious from your email address, be sure to include the brand or company name somewhere in the subject line, such as “[hot-product] Manchester close-out ends Friday” so that the recipient knows who the email is from.
Traditional marketing is push marketing, where a single message or campaign is pushed out to the masses with little or no personalisation. Much of Internet marketing, such as search engine optimisation, is pull marketing, where businesses attempt to pull people who are actively looking for what they offer to their website, one person at a time. Email marketing is a bit of a hybrid, in that it can combine elements of both push and pull marketing strategies. While the sending of emails is push marketing, the content of the emails can be a type of pull marketing.
Repurpose popular social media
Your social media such as tweets, Facebook status messages, and blog posts are pull marketing. By tracking the number of retweets, shares, and reposts on your social media, you can tell which of your messages are pulling the most interest from your potential customers. Those social media messages can then be repurposed into either a single email or combined into an email newsletter. For the most pull impact, the emails should be those that inform rather than those that make sales offers.
Segment your list
Traditional push marketing gives the same message to everyone. By segmenting your email list, you can send slightly different slants on the same message to different groups, so that you are able to refine your messages to be most applicable to that specific group of people. This is especially useful if you are providing information that is location specific. For example, different information can be sent to people who live in a major city, small city, or the countryside. You are also able to avoid obvious misfits of product and customer, such as sending information on the best baby products to a childless couple.
Show off your customers
Showing off your customers goes beyond simply informing your email list of new projects or big deals that you have landed. It’s even a step beyond sharing testimonials you have received about your products. When you show off your customers in your email, you are actually showing off content that they have created about your products or services. This could be excerpts from a customer social media post, customer comments to your social media post, photos submitted for a contest, essays submitted for a contest, product reviews, or any other customer interaction that you have permission to share. This has a double benefit of both providing social proof that other customers think highly of your product, and inspiring your other customers to provide additional social proof so that they can be recognised in a future email communication. It can also pull people to your website, to see additional customer submissions that are not included in the email.
See the previous posts on Modern Email Marketing and Hot Headlines for the basics on creating compelling email marketing that is targeted and personalised, with an obvious, compelling call to action. The content of your email is not sufficient to make your potential customers take action, however. You also need to design your emails so that they are visually appealing and make it easy for your prospects to understand both the information you’re sending them and what they’re supposed to do about it.
Keep them moving
When someone receives your email, they should be able to immediately grasp the highlights of your offer. The headline and a short list of 3 – 5 bullet points should tell them all they need to know. If the basics of your offer can’t be explained in 3 – 5 bullet points, refine your offer until it can be. The rest of the email and landing page can explain the bullet points in more detail. If the prospect likes the highlight of your offer and needs no more convincing, they should be able to easily see how to progress to getting that offer. Use call to action buttons in easily visible colours, with active verbs. When they click on the button, ensure that they are sent to a targeted offer page that describes exactly what you emailed them about, rather than sending them to a generic web page or catalogue. Make it as easy as possible for the prospect to move forward at every step of the sale.
If the prospect follows through on your offer, whether it is to sign up for a mailing list in exchange for a free ebook or report, or to actually purchase a product, continue to make the delivery as easy as possible for them. If they are getting an information product such as an ebook, make the download link clearly visible and obvious in your follow-up email. Save any further offers for smaller print after the download link. If they are getting a physical product, confirm the delivery date, delivery method, and any tracking information they will need to monitor the status of their shipment. Any further offers for additional products should be after the delivery information – or in a follow-up email sent after they have received the product.
If you are emailing existing customers about updates to products or services, or new products or services that may work well with their existing products or services, don’t deluge them with information. Create a list that shows a picture of each product or service, with benefit-driven headlines and a summary of the new features or offers. Your prospects can quickly scan the list to see what they might be interested in, and then click on individual entries in the list to get more information about just that product, service, or feature.
What makes a prospect open your email, click on your advertisement, or choose your website from among all of the websites returned in search results? The answer is a compelling headline. A headline needs to be able to engage your prospects’ emotions, and convince them that spending time reading your email, advertisement, or website will be profitable for them. It needs to do all of that in just a handful of words. In addition to formatting tricks such as asking questions and using a numbered list, there are three basic ways a headline can make your material appealing.
Promise a benefit
This is the most common type of headline. In its simplest form, the headline simply presents the benefit to reading further. These headlines are often used by spammers and scammers, because they work so well. “Make money as a secret shopper” is the headline of a recent scam email that has proved very effective.
To further enhance the headline, you can include a specific amount of the benefit and a time limit. “Lose 7 pounds in 7 days” is a headline that includes both a specific amount and a time limit.
Prevent a fear
Another common type of headline presents a fear, with the implicit or explicit promise that reading further will help to protect from that fear. News programs and news websites frequently use these types of headlines to capture people’s attention. Any headline that poses the question, “What do you really know about…?” falls into this category.
Enhancements for this type of headline include references to trusted experts, with the implication that there is something dangerous that they are keeping secret, or that they endorse the solution to the fear. “Ten secrets your doctor isn’t telling you” or “Cure for skin rashes endorsed by doctors” would be fear-based headlines.
Offer the unusual
People love things that are new and different, that add an element of surprise to the ordinary, so long as they do not bring along fears of danger. Because of this, any headline that promises to reveal something new and unusual is attention grabbing. Words such as “new”, “different”, “unknown”, “surprise”, “secret”, “little-known”, “unusual”, or “unexpected” all attract attention. Funny videos also fall into this category, since the reason they are amusing is that something unexpected usually happens.
To enhance this type of headline, you can add celebrity elements, promising people a glimpse into the private life of a celebrity to learn something previously unknown. Celebrity product endorsements use this strategy, attracting people’s attention by promising them facts about which products a celebrity uses to achieve their beauty or sports performance. If your product or service is used by particular business leaders or if it could be used to solve a well-known problem those business leaders are experiencing, that can also contribute to a celebrity-enhanced headline.