5 Tips to Make Good Email Marketing Great
Email marketing is a tricky beast, and it can be a critical component of your content marketing strategy. Even those who claim they know what they’re doing often fall down on the execution or testing, thus nullifying all of their up-front strategy and design efforts. If I wrote you an exhaustive list of “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to email marketing, we’d be here awhile. Instead, what follows are 5 email marketing tips to take your email marketing from good to great.
1) Have One Clear Message
If you want a reader to take action after reading your email, make sure you’re only giving them one clear path to do so. Emails that are cluttered with other related articles, deals, and links will only distract the reader from what you actually want them to do (such as take part in your 24-hour sale, or something similar). Make sure that your content is structured in a hierarchical way, utilizing headers, short sentences and paragraphs, and bulleted lists where possible. This helps to break up the content in a way that lets people quickly scan it and still get the most important information.
More importantly, make sure your messaging is telling the reader the benefit they will receive if they click on your email. Is it access to a limited time offer? A special price with a promo code? What exactly are they going to get out of this? No one is going to click on your email to help you out. You need to communicate very clearly what’s in it for your recipients.
2) Create a Sense of Urgency
One of the worst types of emails to send would be one that seems like it could be acted on at any time. Why do you think brick and mortar stores have sales in a finite time period? Because it's the best way to get people to act! Make sure you’re conveying some sort of urgency in the copy and design of your email. Either the sale isn’t going to last or people are going to miss out on something special and they need to know that. Right now.
Keeping sense of urgency in mind from the beginning is also helpful in creating ideas for new promotions or offers and helps to drive the content of your email. Having a limited time sale or offer is not only great for creating a sense of urgency, it also gives you a legitimate reason to send out a new email blast.
3) Have a Compelling Subject Line, and Don’t Forget the Snippet Text
Having a compelling subject line is almost a no brainer. Don’t make it too short or too long, and most definitely do not write it in ALL CAPS or use a zillion exclamation points. Keep in mind the users that you are targeting and try to use copy that will grab their attention and speak directly to them. Also steer clear of phrases such as “free”, “click here!”, or “limited time!”. Even though your offer may be free and for a limited time, so are a ton of other people’s who may not be as honest as you.
But more importantly, don’t forget about the snippet text. This is the few words of copy that start your entire email that clients such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and many mobile clients use to pull small message previews into their inbox views. These few words are valuable real estate where you can continue the sentiment of your subject line. Don’t waste them on things like, “View this e-mail with images” or “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here.” These may be valid links to have at the top of your message, but make sure your snippet text comes before them.
4) Include Enticing Imagery
Gone are the days where images in emails are a no-no. You still need to consider download size, especially for mobile users, as well as the image-to-text ratio for spam ratings. But don’t shy away from including a sweet image or two that depicts your awesome product, someone actually using your product, or just providing a nice feel to your messaging. Make sure that they don’t crowd the top of your message though, because people want to get to the point quickly and if you don’t let them get to the content soon enough, you may lose them.
5) Have a Clear Call to Action
Last, but certainly not least, make sure your email has a clear call to action. What do I mean by “call to action”? What do you want the reader to do? Sign up for something? Shop your website? Make sure you have a big juicy button showing them what to click on and a few identical text links as well, in case their images are turned off. Ideally this call to action will exist above “the fold” or at least be as close to the top part of the email as possible. Scrolling definitely happens on the Internet, but let’s not make the reader work too hard.
Hopefully these email marketing tips are just the thing you needed to take your campaigns from good to great. But as with any marketing strategy, it's all about trying new things and using data to see what works for your brand and your audience. Do you have any other tips or best practices that have made your email marketing a success?