It is very common to hear that content is king. But as I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs Now that you have developed Content, what next – all you need to know, once you have developed content, it is very important that you get it in front of your target audience so as to start influencing their buying decisions. As you run your email marketing programs, it is important to ask, how to make email marketing more effective ?
Email marketing has been around for quite some time and it is one of the most inexpensive means of getting in front of your target audience discreetly. Email marketing must drive engagement, conversions, and most importantly, revenue. Marketers have varied success with email marketing though and several people stop considering it as a weapon in their marketing armory because of its non-performance. However, there is certainly more to it than meets the eye. With the sophistication of the various tools at our fingertips and an overcrowded work desk, it’s easy to overlook the fundamentals of email performance There are several ways in which you can get your email marketing programs to be successful. Here is a checklist of 12 tips and techniques on how to make email marketing more effective.
1. Personalize & humanize your communications
Emails sent from a person (e.g. Atul Dhakappa) engage far better than emails sent from a company (e.g. “Xenia Consulting”) — unless, of course, you are a well-known and recognized brand like Nike. For the ‘From’ name in an email as well as the email ID used in the communication, it is better to use an individual ID. At the back-end, you can even configure that ID to be a forwarder, which your email recipient may not know.
2. Keep the subject lines curious
After the sender name, subject line is the next thing a recipient sees. Make sure it is worth his while to open the email. Subject lines perform best when either long or short. Subject lines that are 60 to 70 characters drive neither open rates nor click-through engagements. Research shows that subject lines over 70 characters increase click-to-open rates, while those under 50 characters increase open rates. Apart from the length, make sure that you are generating curiosity with your subject lines and avoid spammy words like free, offer, promotion, right now, etc. so that it does not affect deliverability of your emails
3. Stay focused on the objective of the email
Great subject lines can drive opens, but if they are not relevant to the content of the email, you are losing an engagement opportunity. Even worse, an off-topic subject line could move a recipient to mark your email as spam. You might have a great subject line, but the topic is not even touched in the email. That will create distrust and your emails will most likely be marked as spam.
4. Be concise with your email copy
Don’t overload your emails with endless walls of text. You can’t sell everything over the email. The objective of your email is to get the recipient to respond back. Given the average read time for an email is 11 seconds, you’ll lose your reader if you overload them with copy. Instead, create short, concise emails that whet the appetite of the reader and focus on one topic. If you have more details to offer, you could include them on the landing page that the reader will see after they click.
5. What’s in it for me?
It is very easy to stay close to the features and functions of your product. Realize that it is not about your product, but what it can offer to the recipient. Only then will he be interested to consume that content. Features and functions don’t engage. Benefits do. In your email, write about the amazing benefits that can be realized by using your product instead of the boring features and functions. Craft the message so it directly impacts the prospect to encourage engagement and action. You might also want to read Using email marketing as a dialogue
6. Consider placements of your call-to-action buttons
Call-to-action buttons belong above the fold — not hanging out all alone at the bottom. Don’t be afraid to have multiple call-to-action buttons, but ensure that at least one is above the fold.
Should all call-to-action buttons go to one destination, or should the reader have choices? Not a simple answer. With the increased sophistication of today’s email reader, I’ve seen communications using various target locations outperform a single target location. Keep one thing in mind that with the additional locations you are trying to map the human mind and trying to address their hidden fears.
7. Increase click-ability
As you start your email copy, introduce links in the first few words of the first para. That’s where the eye lands when the email is opened initially. Having that as a hot link increases email clicks.
8. Make your call-to-action copy interesting
Use resonating benefit-based content in your call-to-action buttons. Generic words like “Download,” “Submit” and “Click here” are less likely to generate any meaningful lift. Instead, use copy like “Join the Fun” or “Enjoy the Benefits Now.”
9. Accuracy trumps personalization
Personalization is great, when it works well. Starting your emails with “Dear [Recipient Name]” can backfire if your email subscriber database isn’t accurate. Consider just using “Hi” and skipping the contact’s name unless you’re 100 percent sure that your contact names are accurate and formatted correctly. There’s no bigger turnoff than an email that starts with a mistyped name like “Dear Johnking.”
10. Create a responsive, easy-to-read layout
Design your emails so that they are easy to read in any environment: mobile, desktop or tablet. Use large fonts in a one-column layout to increase legibility. Litmus goes as far as to recommend limiting email width to 550pix.
11. Use color wisely
Color helps draw attention to places where you are seeking it, but that doesn’t mean you should use five different competing colors throughout your email to highlight the various sections. Stay true to your brand colors in order to be professional. To the extent possible, use a single bright color that is part of the email’s color palette to make the call-to-action “pop.”
12. Utilize high-quality images
Images engage email readers. Use clear, appropriately-sized images that support the email copy. Faces of engaged and happy customers (or even the sales person) also work well — eye-tracking studies show that people are drawn to facial features when looking at images.
Each of these suggestions can be done in multiple ways and can be tracked down to perfection. This can provide you answers to the key question, how to make email marketing more effective ? For details on how you can effectively leverage email marketing in combination with several other marketing channels, kindly reach out to me or wait for my next articles in this series.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing