Originally Posted on Forbes May 10, 2017
6 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns And Boost Sales Online
Gabriel Shaoolian , CONTRIBUTOR
I critique digital marketing.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Mealpal, Leatherology, and Postmates, exemplify the effectiveness of email marketing.[/caption]
We all get emails. Far too many emails. As a decision-maker at Blue Fountain Media, a digital marketing agency, I get far too many emails myself. I am bombarded by them. But perhaps what is more aggravating than the sheer volume of email I receive, is how poorly many of these emails are done.
Each email in a user’s inbox only gets a split-second of attention. Everything from how the email starts off to how it’s formatted has a big impact on whether I’m going to give it another three seconds of my attention or not.
Our agency does email marketing for many of our clients. We use certain best practices to get some pretty darn impressive results. These practices are quite straightforward, and not complex, but they represent simple ways to help your business improve your email marketing. Let me share what those rules are.
1. Know your audience
Know who your audience is and make sure to send them messages that are relevant to them. One of the worst mistakes you can make with your email marketing is to simply blast every subscriber on your list with the same message.
As I’m writing this I just received an email from my health clinic promoting a female wellness program. It’s obvious that the content in this email is not relevant to me or my health needs, and yet, it ended up in my inbox. Using list segmentation to send the right message to the right audience is critical to success with email marketing. You can be sure that the email I just received from my health provider is not going to do much to improve my relationship with that business because I know they don’t care about who I am and what my specific needs are. Not to mention that when you’re dealing with serious topics like health-related information, blasting the same content to all your users can have some pretty bad results.
List segmentation is simple to do. I suggest working with an email marketing platform, like Marketo, to make sure your email campaigns are segmented to reach the right audiences.
2. Keep it short
In the early days of email marketing it was common to get email newsletters that had two or three columns packed with content rendered in small text. Even though they’re less common now, those types of emails still get sent with surprising frequency. When you receive one you’re immediately overwhelmed by the amount of content to take in. Your eye has no idea where to focus.
People want to read one main message. They don’t want to look at a spreadsheet, a table of contents, or an entire article contained within an email. Keep your emails simple by writing messages that are clear and concise. If users are interested in what you’ve presented, they’ll go to your website to read more. Don’t try to cram too much information into your email. The truth is that simple messages are the ones that people react to.
One big reason to keep your email messages short and to the point is that most emails are read on mobile. There’s no way around it — the emails your business sends will be read on mobile devices. Decision-makers especially are busy people. They’re reading emails on their way to and from a meeting, or when they’re in transit because when they are at their desktop, they’re using that time to get work done, not to sift through their inboxes.
So be sure to keep emails short and concise. Get to the point. And remember that four sentences in an email on mobile looks like a novel. Keep that in mind when determining how much content to include.
3. Cut out the fluff
How many of you get emails that begin with “Hello Sir, Good day to you?” Or my personal favorite, “I’m sorry to be bothering you.” Or, even better, “I know you’re busy, but…”
Not only are these opening lines stiff and awkward, but they’re also a huge waste of valuable real estate. The opening of your email has to immediately capture the user’s attention and make him or her feel compelled to read further. Your opening needs to grab the user by speaking to his needs. All of us, especially the decision-makers a lot of email marketing campaigns target, are pressed for time and we aren’t going to read past the first sentence of an email if we don’t see clear value in doing so.
If you have value to offer to your customer or prospect, get straight to the point and tell them exactly what you can do for them. Your email marketing is about what you can do for your customer or prospect. So make sure they don’t miss the point because they got lost in the pleasantries. Cut the fluff and get straight to presenting a clear, compelling message that speaks to a user’s needs or desires.
4. Make it personal
Along with the fluffiness factor, there’s another strong reason not to begin your emails with “Dear Sir” or “Dear Mrs.” or “Dear Customer.” Those aren’t personal introductions and in email marketing, it pays to be personal. Email intros that begin with “Dear Sir” sound generic and are a signal to users that the email content is probably not very tailored to them.
If you’re sending out a letter, put the person’s name in the introduction. If you’re sending out more image-driven emails that won’t have an introduction, you can still personalize the email with the user’s name in the subject line. Both of these things are easily done in most email platforms with minimal effort. Personal introductions show users that you care, and they’re likely to be more effective at capturing user attention than generic introductions are.
5. Have a Call-to-Action
Of course your email needs to have a call-to-action (CTA). Otherwise, how will your users know what they’re expected to do? The trick is to have one single CTA in your email directing users what to do next. Multiples CTAs in one email risks confusing the user and making them less likely to click altogether. The job of the email marketer is to make the user’s life as easy as possible, so provide one clear CTA that leads to a landing page that matches the expectations you have created for users.
6. Make it easy to read
One of the most important components of email marketing is to make sure your emails are easy and enjoyable to read. Don’t make users squint or strain their eyes to see your content. Use large, readable fonts that can be easily seen on desktop and mobile. For text-heavy emails, always use black text on a white background — that’s the most readable combination. Not white text on a black background, or white text on a neon blue background. If you’re serious about your business, make your emails professional and easy to read.
How frustrating is it to open an email on your mobile device and have to pinch and scroll back and forth vertically in order to read the content? Pretty frustrating. Frustrating enough, in fact, that you might abandon the email and never return. That’s why, from a mobile perspective, it’s a good idea to use a stacked layout, which presents content in a vertical alignment that works better on narrow screens. This will ensure maximum readability on mobile devices.
Leveraging Email Marketing To Drive Sales
Take note of these best practices. Designing an email that is clean, simple, and focuses on one clear message takes less time than it does to design one that’s crammed with extraneous content. Simple, straightforward emails are also more effective. Save your creative flourishes for your oil painting hobby. When it comes to email marketing, err on the side of simplicity.
For nearly all companies within the B2B and B2C world, if you have something of value to say, get to the point, say it simply, and make follow-up action clear and easy to accomplish.
Marketing Calendar 2017
|New Year – January 1||Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed)||Valentine’s Day – February 14||President’s Day – February 20|
|St. Patrick’s Day – March 17||April Fools – April 1||Easter – April 16||Earth Day – April 22|
|Mother’s Day – May 14||Memorial Day – May 29||Flag Day – June 14||Father’s Day – June 18|
|Independence Day – July 4||National Night Out – August 1||Labor Day – September 4||Columbus Day – October 9|
|Halloween – October 31||Veteran’s Day – November 11||Thanksgiving – November 23||Christmas Day – December 25|