Email Marketing Essentials
Some may feel that email marketing is a waste of their precious working time. However, it’s quite the opposite. If you choose to use social media, why wouldn’t you use email marketing, too? It’s much easier to appear directly in front of your potential customer or actual clients with email marketing. You can create relationships quicker and easier as you send out more and more helpful content.
“Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020,” according to Media Post
However, it’s not as easy as just sending out an email. You have to factor in optimising the email; much like your website. The goal for optimising your email is to get more readers to take action. Optimising your email encourages people to open and read the email rather than automatically move it to trash. You want your email to be as enticing and persuasive as it can be, to lure people into reading it and taking your desired action.
You cannot optimise nor send out emails without knowing your goals. You need to have a strategy in place that allows you to have an overarching goal. Each email should have its own goals that push you one step closer to that overarching goal. Whether it’s opens, clicks, conversions, etc. every email you send out needs goals you’re wanting to reach.
Those are just some essentials when it comes to email marketing that everyone should know before sending out emails. But how do you write the perfect email?
Writing Better Emails
Imagine that you’re speaking to only one person
Writing content as though you’re only speaking to one person is the best way to sound more personable and build relationships with people. Make your email about the person rather than your business. If your email is speaking to the reader personally they’ll feel more intrigued and obliged to take your desired action.
Use the right tone
You, obviously, must change your tone each time your message changes. Each business will have a different suitable tone for the various emails they send out and it’s important to test what tone works best for your businesses variety of emails. Tone will change depending on who you’re sending an email to and what it’s about. Your tone needs to allow your audience to connect with you and understand you.
Avoid large portions of text
More than 60% of emails are opened on mobiles.
This means it’s absolutely essential to break up any large portions of text. Large portions of text makes it much harder to digest and read; they will automatically deter readers from reading. Break up any portions that are more than three sentences long to make for easier reading.
Use bold, italics, bullet points, etc.
These are all forms of making text stand out, as well as splitting up bits of text. Having bold and italicised words allow readers to scan the email and automatically digest the most important parts. They can see the essential elements and see what the purpose of the email is simply through bold words, bullet points, and so on. However, only format like this when it’s completely necessary.
Timing is important
This isn’t necessarily about writing the perfect email, but it’s about making sure your email is seen and read by the many. According to Kissmetrics, this is how the day works for emails…
6am-10am: readers will open emails related to retail promotions
10am-noon: most employees are busy
Noon-2pm: not best for marketing emails, people are catching up on news
2pm-3pm: people are working
3pm-5pm: people become interested in emails related to financial services
5pm-7pm: works well for holiday promotions
7pm-10pm: more likely to open promotional emails that include discounts
10pm-6am: ultimate dead zone
Of course, every business is going to have a different best time to send out emails. It’s about experimenting and testing what time is best for you to send your emails out.
Email Optimisation Checklist
A clear, attention-grabbing subject line
A subject line is the first thing recipients are going to read. It will be the thing that will encourage them to open and read the email. You need to focus on actually having your email read, and the subject line to the email is what will get it read. Here are some guidelines:
Keep it short and sweet
The longer the line, the more chance there is of it being cut off - especially on a mobile device. It’s important to keep your subject line short so that, no matter the device, readers can read it all and make the decision from there. Make sure it has keywords in it that allow readers to decipher what it’s going to be about.
Give away the offer or end result
If you’re offering something in the email, tell your readers in the subject line. More often than not, this will excite and intrigue them and they’ll feel more obliged to open if they know what is on offer for them inside. Explain what they will get from opening the email.
Using words that makes readers feel as though they have received an exclusive, personal email will make them want to open the email. It’s in our human nature to want this something special, so why wouldn’t they open it? This can be as simple as personalising the subject line so that the recipients name is included; it makes them feel special and exclusive, leading them to wanting to open it.
A/B test your subject lines
Everyone’s email subscribers are different. They’re not all going to be attracted by the same subject line, so it’s important to A/B test your subject line and figure out what works best for your readers. Without experimenting, you’re not going to know what approach leads to more opens.
Use an actual person as the sender
This may not be something you think about as a business, but sending from an email address that’s an actual person is a lot more effective than sending from an email address that’s a no reply, etc. When sending from a person’s email address, the email automatically becomes a lot more personable and trustworthy. Try sending out your emails from a real person’s email address and sign it with their name; see what the results are.
Optimise the preview text
Preview text is what is shown underneath the subject line. A preview text is usually default and you have to change it manually for it to be different. Remember to optimise the text for the email and the content within the email, rather than keeping it as ‘is this email not displaying correctly?’. Just like the subject line, the preview text is what will entice readers in.
Consistent company branding
Being consistent in the brand values and message you give off is so important. Being consistent allows your readers to begin to associate your brand with certain elements such as colours, imagery, language and tone. It’s good practice to keep it all consistent so that it’s obvious what your chosen brand values are. Brand values are important in letting readers get a realistic insight as to what your business believes in and what it stands for.
Segment your list
Not everyone on your email list is going to be interested in the same thing. It’s important to realise that there are a variety of people within your email list and they all aren’t going to be interested in a promotional email at 6pm on a Wednesday. Segmenting your list allows you to deliver the right message to the right people. You can segment your list in several different ways:
Awareness: when they’re becoming aware of your business and what you do
Consideration: when they’re considering buying something
Decision: when they’re close to making a decision and just need something to push them one step closer
By now, you should have different buyer personas built up. This makes it easy to segment your list into buyer personas, as you’re aware of their age, location, gender, and so on.
You can take into consideration how people engage with your content. If you notice certain people interact and engage more with your content, you can send them emails that include offers that provide value and that they’ll most likely click on.
Write a focused CTA
“Emails with a single call to action increased clicks by 371%” - WordStream
Your call to action is what will encourage readers to take action. It needs to be between 90 and 150 character counts, and you need to use specific action verbs. You need to create a sense of urgency; make the reader feel as though they need to take action today otherwise they’ll miss out on the offer. Your call to action needs to relate to the content of the email.
Add a relevant image
If you’re going to add an image or images to your email, it needs to be relevant and actually add value to the email. Much like images for anywhere else, it’s important to ensure that it’s eye-catching, nice to look at and evokes emotion. Remember to optimise any images used, i.e. reduce file sizes, etc.
Add an unsubscribe link
Having an unsubscribe link is absolutely mandatory. You have to include this link in every email you send out, or you risk facing costly fees due to the CAN-SPAM regulations. An unsubscribe link lets readers do what they please, and if you don’t include one your readers who wish to unsubscribe will feel you’re uncredible and untrustworthy. The unsubscribe link needs to be easy to use and find.
Optimise for mobiles
“Too small to read and interact with.”
You don’t want this to be about your email do you? That’s why it’s absolutely essential to optimise your email for mobile devices. This is exactly the same as optimising your website for mobiles, you need to factor in elements such as reducing your file sizes, resizing images, optimising button sizes, and so on. You need a responsive design and template that allows everyone to see it the same regardless of what device they’re on.
You’re not going to find the best email marketing practice the first time you send out an email. You must do multiple tests to figure out what works best for your email list and subscribers. It will take time but testing is the best way to find out how to get the most engagement and interactions. Tests range from using and not using visuals, the layout of the email, the time and day of week it’s sent, the content included, and so on.