Looking to take advantage of email marketing to promote your business? With the ease of instantaneous electronic communication, low cost per send, and the ability to reach half the world’s population (over 3 billion email users worldwide), email promotion seems like a no-brainer; however, with over 200 billion emails launching every day, your email strategy will need an upgrade in order to cut through the noise and avoid an unwanted trip to the trash folder. Explore ways to differentiate your email marketing efforts with our 6 ways to build a better email.
Before turning a page in your notepad or opening your favorite email service platform, take a few minutes to plan your email campaign. Here are some questions to get yourself started:
- What is the message I want to communicate?
- Can this message be effectively communicated via email?
- Is this message best sent as a one-off email or does it require multiple touch points?
- If I am sending several emails, what does the send schedule look like?
- Should my message lean on informational or emotional content?
- Will my message be better communicated through a highly-designed HTML email or through a simple plain-text email?
- Should the sender of the email be my organization, one of my colleagues, or me?
Thinking through these questions will better serve your vision for the campaign, allowing you to hone in and focus on what matters most – effectively communicating your message to your audience.
Know Your Audience
We’ve all heard the old saying “know your audience” countless times throughout our lives. In marketing, this adage is a guiding beacon. Without understanding your audience, how can you know what’s important to them or how to reach them? If you’re a business owner attempting to communicate to your customers, you probably have a pretty robust understanding of what they find important – and if you don’t, this is the time to do some homework. Here’s a quick list of things you may want to know about your audience before launching your first email:
- What time zone does my audience reside in?
- Throughout the day/week, when does my audience check their emails?
- Is my audience more likely to view their email on a mobile or desktop device?
- Does my audience prefer sophisticated, professional, or casual language?
- Is my audience tech-savvy?
Plan Your Content
Start planning by taking inventory of your available resources. Since humans are visual animals, your collection of digital assets will come in handy here. Find the most suitable images that best supplement your messaging. If you are driving your audience to visit your website, think about creating a custom landing page for your campaign. Trying to add more individual customization to each email? See if merge fields are supported by your email service platform to automate the personalization.
Use Targeted Copy
Now’s the time to start putting pen to paper. There are three components to an email: the subject line, message, and call to action. The subject line is arguably the most important element and is a key factor in determining open rates (in fact, 33% of email recipients open emails based on subject line alone). Be sure that you are using a concise subject line that creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity. If possible, personalize the subject line to further your chances of success.
Once your email is opened, it’s time to impress your recipients with some targeted copy. By tailoring your messaging to your audience, you can establish a sense of relevancy and focus on communicating benefits of your product/service that most resonates with them. Additionally, always word your emails in the second person perspective (“you”, “your”, “yours”) as it helps to keep the focus on the customer instead of the brand, furthering a sense of value that will keep them reading. Above all, be brief. Nobody has time to read your inbox essay.
Finally, your calls to action are what’s going to encourage your recipients to click on your email, driving them to your website, video, or event registration. Keep these between 2 – 4 actionable words (“Call Now,” “Register Today,” “Visit Our Website,” etc.). If working in an email service platform, build your calls to action in a button to help them stand out.
Map Your Layout
Increase your email’s readability by planning your layout intelligently. Make sure your most important information remains above the fold. By keeping the most relevant content near the top of the email, your recipients won’t need to scroll in order to find it.
No matter who you are sending to, keep mobile readability in mind. Today, nearly 50% of all emails are viewed first on mobile, and this percentage is expected to increase over the coming years. Be sure to send tests of your emails to double-check how they appear on mobile devices.
Most importantly, make sure everything is hyperlinked. Every button, picture, and logo should have a link to increase the chances of your audience clicking through.
Continually Test and Measure
Lastly, the most important step is to measure your results. Compare your key performance indicators (open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates) to industry benchmarks and investigate any significant differences. What worked well? What didn’t? If you have an idea on how to improve your next email, try testing it against a “control” email. Many email service platforms include a feature called A/B testing, allowing you to change an element in an email and, after sending, determine the winning results. Keep testing and iterating to improve your email results and continue building better emails.
Using these tips can help you to maximize the impact of your marketing efforts and boost your email performance. So, what are you waiting for?