7 Secrets of Successful Email Campaigns
Given how we all groan about the horror of email inboxes stuffed with spam, you might conclude that email marketing is a waste of time. The facts, however, tell a different story:
- 44 percent of the recipients of marketing emails made a purchase based on a promotional email during the previous year.
- People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people who don’t receive marketing emails.
- 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies.
- In 2012, email marketing campaigns produced a 4,000 percent ROI.
In other words, while the power of inbound marketing can’t be denied, the death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated. When done with expertise and skill, email marketing works. And that’s the catch: It takes skill and expertise if you don’t want your emails to be sucked in by a spam filter or sent to the trash by an uninterested reader. So let’s take a closer look at a few best practices:
1. Make every message count
Marketers need to have a laser-like focus on the purpose of every email message, from top-notch writing and personal relevance to visual impact. It can be tough to cut through all of the clutter online, so every email has to answer the “Why should I bother reading this?” question. Think about solving customers’ problems, answering their questions, and fulfilling their needs. If you’re not sure you’re hitting the mark, take a close look at your metrics. Once you know what makes customers click, you’ll be able to figure out what makes them tick.
2. Align your email and the end point
Most marketing emails invite a first-decision click that leads to an online destination. But what happens next depends on the landing page. Never dump readers onto your homepage when you’ve offered a specific deal or product. Instead, take them to a landing page that features well-crafted and seductive copy about that deal or product. And remember to optimize for mobile. According to Google, the majority of users will abandon a mobile site that gives them trouble and go elsewhere — possibly to a competitor.
3. Personalize your message
Successful email campaigns must be highly personalized. That doesn’t mean plugging a name into the greeting of a mass message — it means delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Take a lesson from highly successful flash-sale sites that send thousands of emails a day, each one finely tailored according to past browsing, purchasing, and click-through behaviors. Or Amazon’s emails, which highlight items related to something you just searched for.
Here’s the bottom line: Customers already know you retain and analyze their data. In exchange, they hope to get a personalized offer or two. Whether it’s an offer that reflects your in-depth knowledge of their past purchases, a happy birthday greeting, or a weather-based trigger that makes them feel like you’re standing right outside their window with a thermometer and a rain gauge, taking the time to personalize is well worth the effort.
4. Nail the subject line
In email campaigns, the smallest piece of your content strategy is actually the most critical. In fact, 35 percent of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. On the other hand, 69 percent of email recipients mark an email as spam based on the subject line alone. That makes it pretty clear: If that subject line falls flat, no one will open your email — much less see your dazzling copy and graphics. Lively, action-oriented subject lines are far better than passive statements; but here again, relevance rules. If you’ve done your homework, your intended customer or prospect will care about, benefit from, or be intrigued by your subject. Catchy, clever, funny subjects, or those that pique curiosity, can be very effective — but clarity and entertainment have to work together. When readers open an email and fail to find what the subject line hints or promises, click-through rates will plummet and, eventually, so will email-open rates. Other subject line caveats: Never yell by using all caps, and avoid using terms that draw the attention of spam detectors, such as “free” or “act now.”
5. Talk to your readers in the second person
Language can play a role in personalizing your email campaigns, beginning with a strong emphasis on second-person statements. Count the times the words “we” and “our” appear in your message versus “you” and “yours.” Second-person language keeps the focus on your customer’s needs and wants rather than directly promoting your brand.
6. Be brief
Less is definitely more in email campaigns. One company that specializes in small-business online marketing set out to discover the optimal parameters of successful marketing emails by studying 2.1 million emails sent out over 13 weeks. Their findings will not surprise anyone who is familiar with email marketing: No more than 20 lines of text and no more than three images. Concise, well-written messages are far more effective than lengthy ones.
7. Be crystal clear
Brevity and clarity are best friends that need to go hand-in-hand. It may not be easy to step back and give an objective evaluation when you know too much about the subject matter. Smart marketers often test for clarity by asking people who are less familiar with the content to provide feedback.
No matter how excited you are about all the benefits, the whole story, the big picture, just remember that readers are easily overwhelmed. Focus on relevance to capture their attention, then lead them one strategic step at a time. It works. Not sure how to pull it off? Not to worry: A lot of people in your shoes feel the same way. That’s why so many brands outsource to content creation professionals like Prose Media. Sign up today to learn more or to obtain a no-obligation, free custom-quote.