Speaking about email marketing program, did you know 86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with. Well, at least monthly for sure. But I was surprised with the statistics, when it said over 15% like to get them daily. (Source: HubSpot)
Of course i am talking about relevant email messages, which add value to the recipient and these are not spammy sales promotional messages, which only try to serve the objectives of the seller. Having said this, I am surprised how so many businesses are wasting such a powerful tool by not utilizing an email marketing program well. Most take this powerful marketing mechanisms for granted and do not innovate enough to make sure that they are engaging effectively with their subscribers.
Email marketing program – A great way to engage
Having a well defined Email marketing program is a great way to engage and convert potential customers through consistent and effective campaigns. The trick is to know what the buyers want, and figure out how to get it to them. The following are some ways to ensure that your email marketing program works.
1) A compelling subject line
This is the one shot you get at making your reader curious enough to open the email. If a subject line is too dull or uninspiring, then a reader may delete the email without opening it. Subject lines with the words “Thank You” have the highest above-average open rate. Since it’s tough to come up with something quirky each time, you can reserve it for special email campaigns. However, a subject line should be personal, non-salesy, short, and sincere. To make things even more challenging, most of the emails are being read on the mobile platform first, so your window of opportunity becomes even more smaller.
2) The body
According to Hubspot’s 2014 survey, 64% of email users prefer text rich mails. Also, if your email includes at least the first name of the customer, the open rate is always higher. The introduction of your email must be strong and establish a clear reference point. The main body must offer something useful to the reader, and the content should be grammatically and factually correct. When your email content is engaging, easy to understand, and personalized, it makes a great difference. It is very important to get to the ‘what’s in it for them’ very quickly in the email. Always keep your email in short paragraphs, easy to read and easy to browse through. Use of headers and bullets will also help readability significantly.
The open rate for personalized emails is 17.6%, as opposed to the 11.4% for non-personalized emails. If a reader receives an email that caters to their likes, with a personalized opening line, they are more likely to open and read it. Sending emails that are relevant and personalized is very important if you want your subscribers to keep using your services or buying your products. That’s why it is very important to create the right buyer personas before you even begin drafting the content for your email marketing program. more details about email personalization here
4) Sending at the right time
It is a known fact that there is always a best time/hour for sending out marketing communication. Conduct some research on this, and then schedule your emails such that they go out at the best time. Every social media and marketing channel has specific times or hours when they see the highest activity. Understanding this can help you make the most of each one, including emails.
The best times for you may be different from what they are for others. So the only way you will find out what works best for you is to make sure that you are experimenting with different things and have clear metrics to spot the winners.
5) A clear call-to-action
The email should have a clearly visible and well-placed call-to-action button if you want your visitors to perform some action, like donating, subscribing, purchasing, downloading, etc. If the CTA isn’t clearly visible, too small, placed in a far corner, then your conversions will be fewer. Unless readers understand that they are supposed to click on the CTA, they will not go actively looking for it in the email. Also it is not a bad idea to have the same CTA a couple of times in the email as well, once early on in the email and then towards the bottom, or if you are using a HTML format, in the right side bar or the footer of the email. Use of colors and graphics to highlight the CTA clearly are also good ideas to get your recipients to perform the action that you want them to perform.
6) Building and managing contact lists
An email contact list is generally a blend of organic and purchased addresses. To retain existing users, it is always good ethic to offer something to them first. This is usually referred to as a lead magnet. Using someone’s contact details for marketing is normal, but expecting them to take interest is wrong unless you give something in return. Also, every email must have an opt out option for those who do not want to receive further emails from you. All these are considered good email marketing practices. You can also read about Getting started with Email Marketing
7) Using the right EDM tools
Email marketing programs are usually managed from electronic direct mailing tools (EDM tools). These are usually desktop based or web based software solutions that allow you to send,schedule to multiple participants at a predefined time in the day. You should use emailing tools such as MailChimp, Mailer-lite or iContact to send out bulk emails to a large audience. It offers many features, such as automatically adding the reader’s first name, showing stats about opened, unopened, spammed, and bounced emails, etc. Several tools today also offer automation features based on certain actions the recipient performs on your email. More about email marketing infrastructure in this post
8) Stick to an ideal length
Send an email that’s more than 100 words long, and you lose a chunk of your readers right there. As technology gets stronger, attention spans are growing shorter. Your email should convey the message most effectively in the fewest possible words. However, make sure that all the important information is included. An even better option is to use pictures or infographics.
9) Avoiding spam words
There is a list of blacklisted words that you will find on the internet, which must be kept in mind while writing the email subject and content. A subject line that appears salesy, or containing any of these words, will end up straight in the spam or junk folders of your recipients. For example, a subject like ‘Sale Sale Sale’ has a higher likelihood of getting spammed than something like ‘The best time for Christmas shopping’.
Email marketing program is very effective, and its power should not be undermined. Just remember these things – keep it short, be sincere, personalization works best, adhere to the regulations, and follow the best practices. Do this, and watch your campaigns become a smashing hit with the audience!
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