Everything you need to know for successful email marketing
You’re a smart marketer to use email marketing – it’s the most cost-effective of all marketing channels and it’s better than other channels at driving sales. But do you know all the ways to get your best results from email? Here’s how.
Follow these Steps to More Powerful Email Marketing
Start with your goal
Why are you sending this email? What do you want your recipients to do? Make sure you craft your message toward that goal and make it easy for them to take the desired action. The first thing you want them to do, of course, is open your email. And they’re most likely to open your email if it’s from someone they know and trust, the subject is something they care about and it’s expressed in a compelling way.
Check your sender name
- Make sure your “From” name is one they’ll recognize and that your “From” email address can reach a real person who will respond. Make it easy for them to contact you; don’t make it look like you don’t want to hear from them. Use “Jane@mycompany.com” NOT firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Keep your “From” address at no more than 22 characters to make sure it’s not cut off.
Follow these subject line guidelines
- Your subject line should promise unique value (“What’s in it for me?”), be specific, be useful or timely, and be irresistible.
- Research and test subject lines. Study your own inbox habits and note which subject lines motivated you to open and which you deleted unopened? Segment your lists and do testing with different subject lines to find out what resonates with your audience.
- Subject lines no longer than 50 characters and eight words get the best results.
- If your email contains more than one topic, try to write subject lines that emphasize only one or two topics.
- Write your headlines and subheads with active verbs and vivid nouns.
- Jazz it up with alliteration or humor.
- Do a web search for “Best email subject lines” to find inspiration.
Try these types of subject lines
- Ask a question: What’s your competitor doing on LinkedIn that you’re not?
Provide a How-to: How to boost your home’s curb appeal.
- Offer a list: 12 things your accountant won’t tell you.
- Make it a teaser: ‘Living in the Moment’: The key to happiness?
- Create urgency: Going…going…our fall models are almost gone!
Spam-proof your email
- Using certain kinds of words in your subject line can get your email sent into spam folders. Avoid words like these: free, sex, video, trial, sample, buy, double your, winner, just about any word related to money. Use spam testing tools to check.
- Don’t use all-caps or extra exclamation points.
Write for the preview header
- Don’t forget about that snippet that displays after the subject line on mobile and in many email clients. This is your chance to grab their attention.
- Start your message with your strongest content – try an offer or teaser.
- Don’t repeat your subject line as the first line of copy.
Using your recipient’s name – in your subject line, your greeting or in the body of the email – can significantly increase results.
Try these content ideas
- Write as if you’re emailing one friend, not a subscriber list.
- Use a warm, friendly, conversational tone. Use you, your, I, we, me.
- Create a sense of urgency: Make your offer available for a limited time only or say that the number of items is limited (if that’s true.)
- Clearly explain benefits: Describe how their life will be better with your product, program or service.
- Tell stories about your products, services, programs and the people who provide them, use them or benefit from them.
- Share a recent success story.
- Offer a special downloadable resource, such as a checklist.
- Feature a How-To article.
- Talk about a problem your readers worry about and provide a solution.
- Offer proof with before-and-after photos.
- Share a testimonial from a customer, client.
Make your Call to Action work
- Place it near the beginning of your email.
- Make it stand out with bold or larger text, or with a button
- Secondary calls to action might include social media buttons or a link to your website. Limit your CTAs to no more than three.
- A PS at the end of your email with a CTA will get noticed.
Format for success
- Short is better than long. Sending shorter, more frequent, emails is more effective than sending longer, less frequent ones.
- Try to get your point across in the first 5 seconds.
- Make it scannable – use headings, subheadings and bulleted lists
- Use the inverted pyramid – start with the most important and compelling content and finish with the less-important.
- Don’t try to promote everything you do or sell in a single email.
- Use your content to send the recipient to your website.
- Include white space.
- Include images, but make sure your message doesn’t rely on images. If images are turned off, they’ll show as blank spaces and if they take too long to load, readers may move on.
- Optimize for mobile: Two-thirds all emails are opened on a smartphone or tablet. Use a simple, one-column format with big, tap-able buttons. Don’t use sidebars (Include extra info in a footer instead)
- Make it easy for people to unsubscribe. Don’t tempt them to mark it as spam
- Add screenshots of video – they can double your click-through rate. Most Email Service Providers (ESPs) provide ways to link to videos.
- Include a “forward this to a friend” feature. Most ESPs make it easy to do. And include a button for subscribing, so these friends can sign up
Proof and proof again
- Make sure your content is error-free.
- Test all links.
- Send yourself a test email.
- Test in more than one email client, ie gmail and yahoo mail.
When to send your email
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are often cited as the best days to email. That’s why our inboxes are flooded on those days. Why not send on a day when there’s not as much competition? Test to find out when your recipients are most responsive to your messages.
And, finally – Measure your results
- Watch your open rates to see which subject lines are most effective.
- Watch your click-through rates to find out what content gets results.