How many marketing emails do you get in a day? 10? 20? More? I guess the real question is: how many do you actually read? I know I skim through the titles and if something catches my eye, I might read one… maybe two. Then I delete the rest without a second thought.
Being in marketing, it’s sad for me to think about all the hard work that’s just going straight into cyberspace trash. And when I think about it that way, I feel extremely cold-hearted for not giving most of the emails a “chance.”
It makes me wonder… would I cold-heartedly delete your marketing email? Would youÂ cold-heartedly delete your marketing email?
Here’s a reality check: Cold-heartedness has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with whether what you’re sending is actually worth reading.
These five email marketing tips can help steer you in the right direction and make your campaign a victorious one.
1. Give your reader something valuable. Don’t send to sell… send to educate, entertain, or inspire.
This starts with a change in mentality. Based on your business, either educating, entertaining or inspiring will all take you a lot further with your customers or clients than a straight-sell. In fact,Â the folks at HubSpot sayÂ you should balanceÂ the content of your newsletter to be 90% educational and 10% promotional.Â Offering information of value (for free) to your reader will build rapport and credibility.
Christine Comaford of businessweek.com says this:
Sales is about building rapport, not breaking it. When you sell or pitch, you’re often breaking rapport because the prospect may be skepticalâ€”no one wants to be “sold.” When you educate, you are building rapport. Your credibility is increased significantly when you begin meetings with data that is of value to the prospect. Launch all your meetings by teaching your prospect something or by offering data that establishes that you’ve done your homework.
Think about it from a personal perspective. Do you want to be “pitched” over and over again? No way. Those are the emails that get really annoyingâ€“the ones we unsubscribe from. Even if the sender is a business where you frequently shop, it becomes monotonous to see an email in your inbox everyday telling you to “buy, buy, buy.”
For example, I have a favorite home decor store. I want to be subscribed to their email list because I’m a big fan. But (I’m not exaggerating), every single day I get an email with a sales pitch. The thing is, I do want to know about their sales. But I’m seriously contemplating opting out, because I’m just not sure if I can stand it anymore.
What would their email content look like in a perfect world?Â What would I love getting in my inbox? (Not just: what would I tolerate?)Â I really, really wish they would send me something to educate or inspire me! One of my hobbies is decorating my home, so tips, before and after room makeovers, inspirational design… I would be reading (and enjoying) those emails every single day. In that circumstance, I’m happy and so are they. Not only are they keeping their name in front of me, but I become much more loyal to them as well. (And much more likely to follow that link to their latest collection.)
2.Â Only send if you have something to say.
Don’t send an email every week just because you think you need to have a “weekly newsletter.” If you don’t have any new content (or anything interesting to share), just forego the email. Sending “just to send” will ruin the credibility you’ve established in step #1. Readers can tell when you’re faking it.Â They aren’t stupid.
(Speaking of that…)
3.Â Keep it simple, stupid.
“Great advice… hurts my feelings every time.” (As Dwight Schrute would say.)
You’re only going to capture your reader’s attention for a few seconds. So, make sure that’s all it takes for them to get to the meat of why you’re sending your email in the first place. Everything about your email should be “skimmable.” This goes for both design and copy.
There are tons and tons of promotional email templates out there. (MailChimp has more than you could ever need.) Just make sure you don’t go overboard on your design. The more sections and graphics you add to your email, the longer you’re asking your reader to look at it, and the more confusing it could become. Just make sure you know where you want the reader’s eye to hit first, second, and so forth, and then choose your template accordingly.
“Keeping it simple” will mean different things for different companies, so make sure you decide what your purpose is before determining your layout.
Some advice that spans all companies, though, is making sure that your call to action (whatever it may be) is clearly defined. This article describes the “squint test.” If you can squint at the email you’re creating and your “call to action” (maybe a link, button or phone number) stands out, then you’re good to go. If you squint and it blurs into the rest of the email, then you should reevaluate.
Instead of writing long paragraphs, or verbose sentences, try to keep everything brief.
Here’s some great advice I heard once. Write out your “long” version and get out everything you want to say. Then, pretend like you have to explain that same thing to someone in 150 words or less. It may take a little longer, but it helps you organize your thoughts, which makes it easier to write that shorter email copy.
4. Create an enticing subject line.
If you get everything right, but this wrong, I hate to say it, but all your hard work will have been in vain. Creating an enticing subject line is just as important as everything else. It acts as gateway between the reader and your content. Your marketing email can’t be a success if no one opens it!
You might think you need to get your creative juices going, but actually, clarity is more important than creativity. This research firm did a study comparing “clear” titles (explanatory) and “creative” titles (catchy and clever). The “clear” titles got more clicks and social likes by a long shot!
For example, that same research firm walked through creating a subject line for a business’s grand opening event.
A subject line shouldnâ€™t give away all of the information inside. Instead, it should clearly explain what that information is about.
For example, if a tea shop were celebrating a new locationâ€™s grand opening, its emailâ€™s subject line wouldnâ€™t read, â€œTea Party at 4 p.m., 9/12/12 at 8 Main St.â€
Thatâ€™s not clarity â€” itâ€™s throwing itself at readers.
And, it wouldnâ€™t read, â€œThe Mad Hatter on Main.â€ Thatâ€™s creative, but it doesnâ€™t tell subscribers what theyâ€™ll find inside at all.
Instead, it might read, â€œYour Invitation to Our Grand Opening Tea Party.â€
See the difference? Here areÂ 10 Awesome Headlines that Drive Traffic and Attract ReadersÂ from Jeff Bullas to get you started on your quest to that perfect subject line.
5. Know your analytics and always keep testing.
There are all kinds of ways to track opens, clicks and statistics about your email campaigns. Any email marketing service provider can help you with those. You can even get a specific call tracking number for your campaign to see if it’s generating the response you want. Just make sure you’re always evaluating and reevaluating what you’re sending and the response it’s getting. Then you can make sure you’re always putting your best effort into the areas that work.