8 Ways to NOT Suck at Email Marketing

Email marketing, when done correctly, offers one of the most cost-effective advertising opportunities around. There’s a reason why startups to corporations at the enterprise level all turn to email marketing as a supplemental outreach method to help generate additional leads and boost sales.

Of course, as you know all too well, email marketing doesn’t always work. How often do you receive an unsolicited email and instantly send it to the trash folder? Chances are, you do this often. The emails that do end up in your inbox likely make up a small percentage of the overall messages you receive, thanks to improved spam filters.

If you’re considering email marketing for your business (you should), what can you do to ensure your email campaign doesn’t suck? Here are eight surefire ways to boost viewership and help generate a greater return on investment.

1. Focus on Your Subject Line

The content of your email is important. However, even if you created the greatest email in the history of the world, it doesn’t matter at all if nobody opens the message. The subject line of an email is akin to the headline of an article. Attention-grabbing headlines attract you to the content, which you subsequently click on to read. The same is true for emails. So, don’t just throw some idea together at the last minute before sending out the marketing content. You need to focus on creating an attention-grabbing line, designed to stand out from the pack and really tantalize the recipients. This increases the chance of them clicking and viewing the email.

How do you pen the perfect subject line? For starters, you need to make sure it offers value to the recipient. How will the context of the email improve the person’s life? Does it boost productivity or make them look younger? Whatever it is, you need to highlight this and use language that isn’t dull, but also isn’t over the top. Think about what grabs your attention while skimming through an inbox. What forces you to slow down and open the message? It isn’t some crazy, outlandish pitch you know can’t possibly be true, yet it also isn’t dull and boring. Focus on the sales hook of your subject line. This alone will help drastically improve the number of recipients who interact and view your message.

2. Keep Length in Mind

Your subject line reigns supreme in grabbing the attention of recipients. However, it won’t perform if the entire title can’t be displayed in full. If your subject line cuts off halfway through, recipients are less likely to open the email. The ideal length for a subject line sits between six and 10 words. Despite this, most sent emails end up between the 11 and 15-word range. When you open your email, you have a page of 25-50 subject lines staring at you. With so many emails, you’re likely not going to spend the time and open the message if you don’t instantly know the context.

The best way to practice creating short, six to 10-word subject lines is to focus on your Twitter headlines. These headlines are short, sweet and to the point, which is exactly what your email subject line should replicate.

3. Take Advantage of The Sub Headline

You’ll never squash all the information you need into the subject line of your email. Unless it’s something like “iPhone Presale” or “Discount Super Bowl Tickets,” chances are you’d love to have a bit more information included in the headline. While you need to stick to the six to 10-word subject, you can include a bit more insights into the sub-headlines.

The sub-headline consists of seven to 10 words that appear at the top of an HTML email. Depending on the email provider a recipient uses, it may appear when they hover their mouse over the subject line as well. This is valuable text real estate you need to take advantage of. A sub-headline is basically the meta description of an email. You likely know the importance of creating a meta description for your website or blog post, so just incorporate the same thought process into the creation of a sub-headline for your email.

4. You’re a Human, Not a Bot

You know those little boxes you need to check off while filling out certain information to let the website know you’re not a bot? Well, you need to provide the same kind of assurance to your email recipients as well. Far too many emails are electronically generated, stripping the contents of any human element. Adding a human touch to your email marketing instantly makes those on your message list more likely to respond, click on the provided links and interact with your content.

During the holidays you likely receive a wide range of cards, spanning from family members back home to friends who just moved into a new house. Mixed in with the cards you may receive a handful from businesses. When you open a card, not knowing whom it’s from, and you see a hand-signed holiday card from your insurance provider, a doctor’s office or the school you graduated from years ago, how does it make you feel? More than likely there is a sense of appreciation here, as it shows you’re dealing with people, not just a faceless company. You need to do the same with your email.

So how do you do this with email marketing? Include a P.S. at the bottom of the message, add your own name (and position within the company), and consider including a digital signature. All of this goes a long way in helping your email stand out (and not suck).

5. Use Media

A block of text is boring. Boring emails are far less likely to be read. Instead, use an image, GIF or video. It upgrades the visual quality of your message while increasing the likelihood of your recipients looking over and taking in all the information.

6. Call to Action

Remember your specific call to action. What’s the exact purpose of your email? Do you want someone to purchase a product, sign up for an email list or make an appointment for a free consultation? Make sure to include this in a call to action. Make it obvious and easily visible.

7. Make it Easy to Share

If the email you’re sending is for those on a subscriber list, you already know they are interested in the information your company offers. However, what about their friends, family, and colleagues? When a customer feels satisfied with their shopping experience, they become more likely to recommend the product or service to others. Referral marketing makes it possible to bring in additional customers while spending very little (or nothing at all). Due to this, you need to make your email easy to share with others.

Within the body of the email, offer the recipient of the message a handful of different sharing tools. This is no different than offering sharing options on blogs or other posts on your website. From an easy forward email feature to embedded Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other share tools, all of this goes a long way in not only providing your current email list with the quality content of your messages, but you make it possible to expand the marketing’s outreach beyond just those initial recipients.

8. Check All Links Before Sending

There’s no faster way to completely kill an email marketing campaign than sending messages with dead or invalid links. Enticing an email recipient enough into opening your content is hard enough. If they find links within the message don’t lead anywhere, they become far less likely to ever open another message you send again. Not only does a bad link cost your potential sales this time around, but it will also cost you during subsequent emails you send to the same recipient down the line.

Checking your links only takes a few moments. Simply double check all links to make sure it leads a recipient to where you want them to go. You spent a good amount of time producing the latest round of email marketing material. The last thing you want is for it all to go for not due to a bad link. One of the best ways to make sure everything looks good and works is to send the email to yourself before sending it to anyone else. This way, you can see what the subject line and sub-headline look like. You can click on the internal links and check formatting. It only takes a few seconds yet goes a long way in making sure you have created the best-looking email possible.

In Conclusion

There’s a reason why companies of all sizes utilize email marketing. The inexpensive method makes it possible to connect with prospective clients for far less than other outreach options. With so many companies using email marketing though, you need to do what you can to boost the quality of your emailed content while taking the appropriate steps to prevent your advertisements from not sucking. By taking advantage of these eight tips, it doesn’t matter how large or small your business is, you’ll see a sizable and nearly instant improvement in your lead generating and return on investment. So, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to retool your email marketing and take it to the next level.

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How would you rate your email marketing experience? Are you using any of the email marketing strategies right now and have they helped with your campaigns?

Written by Mike Williams

I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business experience. My goal with this blog is to pass on some of what I have learned in order to help you achieve success in business.

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