An abridged version of this article was printed in The Reading Eagle Business Weekly on September 5, 2017.
Successful companies use email marketing to connect with their customers, build loyalty, and drive revenue. While you might think of email as something old and clunky, standing in social media’s shadow, according to digital research, email is still the platform with the number one return on investment, both in terms of customer loyalty and real monetary returns. It’s also still the largest digital platform by far, over four billion people use email on a daily basis.
With numbers like those, savvy businesses are looking for ways to use email to help them meet their goals. Whether you’re new to email marketing, or a seasoned professional, here are some things to consider to help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.
PERSONALIZE EMAIL MARKETING BASED ON SEGMENTATION
If you’re looking for a way to improve your email marketing, the first thing you need to look at is your database of customers and prospects, and how it’s segmented. Context is just as valuable as content and delivering a more targeted and personal message is more important than ever. 94% of business say that personalization is important to their success. To begin segmentation, if your list is in just one bucket, first look at behavioral metrics. In other words, to begin sending a personalized message which is automated based on something a user does or shows interest in is the most effective way to market. This represents one of the most fundamental changes email has undergone since the first email was sent back in 1972. It’s hard to overstate the amount of impact email analytics has on a marketers ability to grow their business. Data driven decision making allows you to prioritize, hypothesize, test and evaluate your marketing efforts.
DELIVERABILITY: OPTIMIZE FOR OPENS FIRST
Your Subject Line is kind of like the gatekeeper of your email. It’s your first and only opportunity to entice a user to take the next action, which is to open your email. You can’t measure click-through rates unless people open your email first, so think of it this way: in just 1-3 words, the person on the other end of that email will formulate brand perception and decide in a split second whether or not their time is valuable enough to read more. Often times, the importance of this simple first impression is overlooked. Your subject line should be thoughtfully planned out.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR SUBJECT LINES:
Shorter is better
Avoid salesy language
Don’t use Free and % off, those words trigger spam in most email clients
Use very simple copy, pose a question or statement
Personalize when appropriate, something about using name or demographics
Another simple but often overlooked factor that many people notice is the sender’s name and email. It’s always more professional to use a company email address, not a free one such as gmail or aol. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, the importance of using a company email address may sound counter intuitive, but the reality is that people judge professionalism by how well you communicate, and even this tiny detail matters. Whether you use a name that is recognizable to the recipient such as their account manager, depends upon whether they already know that account manager personally. Using a company name or department name makes sense depending upon what the email is about. Use an address that indicates purpose (newsletter@, support@, etc.) Worst case scenario, never send from a “noreply” email address if you are aiming for a potential customer to click a call-to-action. The idea is to be “customer centric” and offer them ways to get in touch with you, not turn them away.
The snippet of text, about a sentence or two, is pulled from the body of the email. Paying close attention to your preview text is especially important on a mobile device since over half of all emails read occur on a smartphone (source: https://litmus.com/blog/2016-email-client-market-share-infographic) this tiny detail plays a big part in their decision about whether to open the email. Use the preview text to:
CONTINUE YOUR SUBJECT LINE
Tease content or provide a call-to-action. You’re answering these questions: what do you want the reader to do, why should they do it, and how will they know to do it? Use direct and clearly stated language. “Start improving your conversion rate” or “Register Now” provide for zero confusion as to what will happen once they click on that CTA. While we’re on the topic, you should only have one (1) CTA in your email so as not to confuse your reader. Again, this advice may seem counter-intuitive to the way most marketers used to send emails in the form of a newsletter with lots of pictures and links.
Well planned email automation avoids this old strategy like the plague. Why? Tune in to my blog next week to find out!