Today’s post is all about those little things you can do to nudge, push, and politely cajole potential and loyal customers into opening up those email marketing campaigns you and your design team have worked so hard on.
If you do it right, email marketing can be one of the most personal and effective ways to connect with customers, convert leads, and keep your audience up to date on your business. And like all things marketing, there are best practices we employ to make sure your email marketing is top-notch.
- 1. Subject lines. Like you, your customers get a lot of emails and need to make choices on what they’re going to read and what they’re going to delete. A stand-out, enticing, and value-promising subject line is the surest way to boost your open rate (the percentage of emails sent that are actually opened) since it’s the first thing people see. Think of your subject line as your opener for a pitch. What can you tell someone in 40 characters that will make that person want to learn more? Use your email marketing service’s features like personalization (including a person’s first name, for example) and colorful emojis in the subject line. Also, keep your subject line short and to the point while telling your reader why they should open your email over all others. Use keywords like “free,” “hurry,” and “discount” but steer clear of ALL CAPS, which often signifies yelling in online speak. No one wants to be YELLED at. All caps might get caught in spam filters.
- 2. Call to action. As we discussed in our user experience post, a call to action (CTA) is your prompt to get your customer to take the action you’d like them to take. Usually, the CTA is presented as an image, button, or link that stands out from the rest of the email and includes words like “Read More,” “Act Now,” “Save Now,” “Donate Now,” etc. The CTA in an email can be particularly effective because you can place it in multiple spots throughout the email. You’re only asking your customer to take one specific and direct action.
- 3. Follow up. There’s a fine line between persistent and annoying and we can help you find it. Well-timed and thoughtful follow-up, particularly with customers who have shown interest in what you’re selling, can help you close a deal. Track your open rate and click-throughs and reach out with a coupon code or discount link to customers who opened your email and/or clicked through to your site but haven’t yet purchased. That extra little nudge can push someone who’s considering your product into a full-fledged customer. Haven’t seen a customer in your online store for 3 or so months? Send them an email with a “we miss you” message and a discount code to encourage them to come back.
- 4. Email design. As a design and development company, we may live for well-designed campaigns but guess what? So do your customers, and the design of your email campaign is just as important as the marketing speak you include in it. Your design can guide your customers’ behavior and lead them to take the actions you want them to take. Provided that your email marketing campaign is consistent with your company’s branding (which, ahem, it should be), your email’s design can also transmit a subliminal message about the type of company you are and are striving to be. After all, your choice of colors, images, and typeface tell a person a lot about your style and sensibility. Body copy should be no smaller than 15pt for easy reading, and your copy should be relatively short. If you have a lot to say, consider using a “read more” link. Remember, it’s a victory just to get someone to open your email and skim it, so no need to tell your whole story in the body of the email.
- 5. Responsive design. Consider where your audience is reading your email and design accordingly. Over 60% of email is read on mobile devices, so your email campaign should be able to fit those screens. (“Responsive” means that your design can flex to a mobile device, tablet, or desktop computer.) A single-column design is the most straightforward way to design for both mobile and desktop. Keep your image files small so they don’t affect load times on mobile. If your email doesn’t load, your email doesn’t get read.
- 6. Spam Prevention. Spam filters have gotten increasingly sensitive to the loads of spam we’re hit with on a daily basis. That’s a good thing for consumers but not for email marketers. Avoid getting caught in spam by eliminating attachments, by using an established, reputable email address that’s associated with your website domain, and by limiting excessive exclamation marks, all caps, random capitalization, and grammar mistakes. In short, use your emails to express yourself as a person would, and the spam filter will likely treat you like one.
- 7. As always, test. Email marketing campaigns are one of the easiest ways to test what works and what doesn’t for members of your audience and to discover the best ways to connect with them. What day of the week do you get the most open? The most click-throughs? What time of day? Many email marketing services now allow for testing subject lines with a small group of customers before going wide. Then it’s up to you to use the most effective one with your larger audience.
Want to learn more about the best ways to reach your audience through email marketing? Reach out! We’re happy to set up a free 30-minute consultation to discuss what email marketing can do for you.