Email marketing, or more specifically email “blasts,” are often half-baked, under-thought, and rushed-out. This doesn’t need to be the case, however; with just a bit of planning and forethought you can improve the product you send out and increase the effectiveness of your efforts. Here are my top five recommendations for improving your email campaigns:
1. Determine your audience and objective beforehand. This may sound obvious, but many times companies will send out a mass email that may appeal only to one segment of their list.
To make sure your message is relevant to your audience, first determine the audience that you want to reach. Segment your list to narrow it to that one audience. You should also have a very clear objective; what do you want the reader of the email to do once they read the email? Once you have these two elements well established, it’s easier to craft an email that’s relevant to your audience and conveys the message you intend.
2. Spend time writing a compelling subject line. The subject line is critical to your response rate. Generic and vague subjects will ensure your email ends up unread and in the trash. Your audience receives a high volume of email each day and scans subjects to decide what to open. Make sure yours piques their interest. (This too is easier if you know exactly who you’re writing for…see tip 1.)
3. Personalize the email. Nothing says “spam” like a generic email sent from a generic email address with a generic greeting.
Stop sending emails from your company’s “info@” or “marketing@” email addresses. Send them from a real person. People are more likely to read an email from “Bill Parker” than “ABC Company,” especially when they are prospects and not customers.
Additionally, use the contact’s first name in the greeting whenever possible as opposed to a generic “hello.” And finally, sign off as if you were sending a personal email to one specific person. Whether a webinar invitation, a whitepaper download, or some other offer, make your offer personal. Include your contact information and use a real email signature.
4. Use CTAs effectively. If your email is an offer, be sure to use a well-designed, clearly distinguishable call-to-action (CTA) button.
Design the button so that people are compelled to click it. Make it look good, but also use compelling words on the button itself. Don’t include more than one offer or CTA in an email, and make certain it maps to your one objective for this email.
If your email is an informational email or a “thank you,” a CTA should still be included, perhaps one focused on learning more about your company or a particular product or service you offer. Again, make sure it is tailored to your audience.
5. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. This cannot be stressed enough. Don’t send out a dissertation. Don’t make your whitepaper offer a whitepaper itself! Make it compelling and attention grabbing, but also concise and direct. If you’re making the right offer to the right targeted audience, and they’re interested in what you have, don’t frustrate them by asking them to read a long missive before they can take the desired action. If it’s too long, they’ll be less likely to respond to that CTA that you have worked so hard on.
There are a lot of things you can do to improve email, but I’ve found these to be the most important five. I’m interested to hear what other rules you follow to ensure success in your campaigns.
Tim Asimos is Director of Digital Innovation at the strategic marketing agency circle S studio in Richmond, VA. Follow Tim on Twitter.