There are two types of people: those, who believe in the power of Email Marketing. And those who don’t. This post is for both the types, outlining email marketing best practices that tell you exactly WHY you should put your money into it to drive your inbound marketing efforts and HOW you can hit the bull’s eye.
Why Email Marketing?
There are a lot of numbers to prove the effectiveness of email marketing. But before we get to that, let’s answer a few logical questions:
Q. What’s the only information we are asked for while registering for a new service/product online?
Ans. Yes, it’s our email account.
Q. Which is the only place online where we can directly communicate with our prospects without losing them to distractions?
Ans. If you guessed Skype then video content is your thing mate, but the answer is actually their email inboxes. Besides distractions could always be there for a Skype chat.
Q. Which is the only touch point online where you are not an intruder but an expected acquaintance/advisor/friend?
Ans. Once again, it’s their inboxes, provided your mailing list is genuine and not bought from somewhere.
Q. Which is the only online platform that allows you for the highest level of personalization?
Ans. Again, email lets you do that.
Now you know exactly WHY email marketing continues to be a buzzword. And we haven’t mentioned the cost-effectiveness yet! ??
So, before jumping on to the best practices of email marketing, here are some staggering facts which we have compiled to put all the above reasons into perspective.
By now you might have started to believe in the power of Email Marketing. Now, it’s time to figure out HOW you will make this work for your business: how to design an email that your prospects can’t resist clicking through.
The Anatomy of a Great Email
Any email has various components like subject line, from name, preview text, body, Call-to-actions(CTA), etc. But there are some components which are not even visible but are equally important.
We will talk about each component of a high-performing email and how you can perfect them using the best practices of email marketing.
A component which is often overlooked because it’s not visible. But it actually determines how the rest of your components should be crafted. So, before diving into anything else pick a primary goal for your email and pick only ONE.
Good primary goals are clear, specific and measurable. They should clearly tell you about your target audience, specify what you want them to do, and tell you the metrics to measure the results. Always remember that open rate, click-through rate, etc. are not goals. They are the metrics to measure the effectiveness of your emails. Goals are the ultimate action you want your prospects to take.
For example, a good primary goal will say, “I want 100 people of XYZ persona to download the ebook through this e-mail”. A bad one will say, “This e-mail must have an open rate of 30%”.
“First impression, is the last impression”. Your subject line is the first thing your prospects will see regarding the content of your email and more often than not, they decide to open the email or send it to trash based on just that. Also, if you have used words like ‘free’, ‘gift’, ‘lottery’, etc. in your subject line, then chances are that you’ll end up in the spam folder.
You can find a number of articles about the best email subject lines, some even say that you shouldn’t write a subject line as it grabs attention. We say you should always write a subject line which clearly describes your email content and sets expectations. It’s not good in the long-run for your brand to fool people into opening your emails. Also, try to keep it between 6 to 10 words, but there can be exceptions.
For example, a good subject line will say “Increase your visitors by 300% through On-page SEO techniques” (Mentioning the end benefits). A bad one will say “5 Techniques for On-page SEO” (A statement only).
From Name and Address
Writing from an address which says ‘email@example.com’ sends out only one message, that we are here only to tell you stuff and not to listen to you. Ask anyone if they enjoy listening to that automated voice recording. No one does. We want to interact with real people who don’t just tell us things but also listen to us. So, always send your emails from a genuine person’s account.
This content of your email is shown as a preview in the inbox. Most businesses don’t even care about the preview text because they don’t understand its importance. Think of the preview text as a quote from a book which intrigues people to try out the book.
If your prospect is busy and finds your subject line to be interesting, then your preview text will help in amplifying or nullifying that interest. You should put something which intrigues the prospect to open and see your email content. Never repeat your subject line in the preview text.
Once you get your prospects to open your email, it all boils down to the email copy. To craft an email copy which delivers value and compels your prospects to take an action you should focus on your buyer personas and their journeys. To amplify your email content you can make use of the following techniques:
- Highlight the important points through bullets or bold-text. But, avoid using too many fonts.
- Make use of white space. Never make your email look like a wall of text. No one will ever read it.
- Use a catchy headline or image which is consistent with the content of your email.
- Put your CTA in components like headings, images, etc, through a hyperlink.
- Personalize your mail wherever appropriate. People love being called by their names!
Remember your primary goal? You want your prospects to take some action. To achieve it, your CTA button must be big enough to be not just visible but also clickable, even on a mobile screen. Use action-oriented words on your CTA buttons to make them stronger. If it’s not a newsletter or a blog archives email, use only a single CTA button per email.
For example: A strong CTA will be “Register for the Event”. A weak one will be “Click Here”.
Once you have designed your emails you can optimize them for deliverability, opens and clicks. As for now, you can get started on crafting that perfect email using the best practices. And share with us how it went. After all, “Happiness is real when shared”.