Using email marketing as a dialogue

In an earlier post, we talked about how, as a marketer, you can get started with setting up successful email marketing campaigns. We also talked about how you need to get your lists ready before you launch into your campaigns. Setting up your email marketing infrastructure was next on the agenda and we talked through whitelisting techniques, email service providers as well as managing the opt-in mechanisms and autoresponders.

In this post, we look at the email marketing messaging itself. We would ideally want you to treat email marketing like a dialogue with your prospects, in which you are gradually moving a prospect from an anonymous user to a paid customer.

Use email marketing as a dialogue

Consider email marketing as a dialogue. If you want to get introduced to an unknown person, you will try to find a way, you can sneak into the conversation with him. That is your subject line and your preview text, which will allow you to sneak into the conversation. Having sneaked in, the next 30 seconds will determine if that person will like to continue conversing with you. This is your first para in your email campaign. If you continue to hold interest, then you will move to the main subject matter, which is the core body of the email. You can never achieve a sale in the first meeting, so you would like to generate curiosity in the conversation and try to schedule a meeting, where you can have a more detailed follow-up meeting. This is what you are trying to achieve through your CTA (Call to Action) in your email.

Focus on your subject lines

Most people will check their emails nowadays on their mobile platforms. So they will typically see the subject line first and decide if it is worth keeping the message or deleting it. Having interesting subject lines, which will generate curiosity is always a good idea. Avoid using spammy subject lines, where you say things like ‘Free downloads’ etc. Most of the email exchanges will categorize these messages as spam and this will adversely affect the deliverability of such messages. We will have some content at our website, specifically talking about subject lines and how you can think through the mind of your recipient. So keep looking out for those updates. If you want to ensure that you don’t miss out on these updates, ensure you sign up to our newsletter updates here.

The subject line plays a crucial role in getting people to open and click your emails. Like the headline on your blog post, an email subject line has to get attention, so people want to go further. You don’t have a lot of words to make an impression, either; If you scan some of the successful campaigns, you will notice that most subject lines range from 41 to 50 characters. Even less of your subject line shows on mobile screens, so it’s wise to put the most important parts right at the start. Options for improving your subject lines include: Telling people what they’ll get when they open your emails, Adding personalization, as including people’s name in the subject line can keep them more engaged. Avoid spam trigger words so your emails make it to the inbox.

Get your first para right

Usually this is the time, you are trying to build a reference and making it worthwhile for the reader to read further. Don’t assume that your entire mails are going to be read by your audience. Do it part by part. Do enough in your first para to ensure that readers stay glued on for more.

Get the body right

In the main email body, don’t try to include too many things. Several people feel that they need to provide a lot of details about their products and services and they might not get another chance to engage with the audience. This is not true. Understand the capacity of the reader. They may not be able to consume that much information. Depending on the segmentation, you can get messages that appeal to a particular segment and include enough items in your email, which will generate the curiosity and the stickiness so that they will come back to you for more information.

With the body copy, you’ll want to create a hook right at the start that will get people to want to read on. For best results, keep email marketing copy short, and avoid pitching your offer too early. You want people to get comfortable first. Address subscribers by name. Personalized emails are more successful. Some studies show that educating and segmenting your audience will boost your click through rate on emails by up to 50%.

Other items to consider for your email copy include: a personal story. Being human never hurts a company and often helps people make an emotional connection. Some of the most successful emails we’ve seen use this technique. Something of value to your readers. That can be a piece of content, some useful information or the resource you’re promoting. Make it clear how this will help them. A poll, survey, GIF or video, all of which are proven to keep readers more engaged.

Of course, you don’t have to put all of those in every email. Ideally your emails should be short, with only a couple of main points within each one. If you do decide to go longer, make your email scannable, as that is how most people will read mails.

Define your CTA (Call to Actions)

Have clear objectives of what you want to get done through the email campaign. If it is a call back or a mail back, then think why the person will do so. Can you throw in some offer, which will get them excited? Get them warmed up for other things that you may offer to them as a part of your email marketing sequence.

Your CTA reflects the one thing you most want people to do when they’ve read your email. CTAs usually appear multiple times within your email marketing copy. While you don’t want to pitch to readers too soon, there’ll likely be a CTA near the start, in the middle and near the end.

The best calls to action are short and clear. If you’ve got your copy right, then it should be a no-brainer for subscribers to click your link. Rome was never built in a day. So you can focus on achieving some of your objectives with each of these email reach-outs and eventually convert the prospect to a customer.  

Test and Track

Finally, sending your email is just the first step in achieving email marketing success. To really nail it, you’ve got to collect data to improve future campaigns. That means testing everything: design and layout, email marketing copy, subject lines and calls to action. Consider testing emails with different segments and experimenting with email send times, too.

You’ll also want to monitor email analytics from your service provider relating to opens, clicks, unsubscribes and forwards. This will enable you to figure out what’s working and what’s not with email marketing.

Managing your sending reputation

Another issue to monitor is your sender reputation, which affects email deliverability. Tools like Sendgrid show you your current sending reputation while other tools may not directly show this, but they are computing it anyway in the background. Once you cross a certain set of red flags, it is quite likely that your email service provider will suspend your account and issue you a compliance notice.

Finally, manage your email subscriber list by attempting to re-engage inactive subscribers, and by removing them if your attempts fail. It is generally better for email marketing open and click rates to have fewer active subscribers than large numbers of inactive ones.

As you can see, by using email marketing as a dialogue, you will be able to engage effectively with your target audience. We have tons of case studies around this topic that will be able to help you as well. We will also be covering ‘Watching your analytics in email marketing’ shortly, so stay tuned for further details. You might want to read more about our email campaign management services

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