"It's almost the end of the month, and we haven't hit our targets. Let's put a quick eBlast together and see if we can drive some sales!"
This is (unfortunately) the starting point for a lot of email marketing strategies, so it's no wonder so many people hate irrelevant promotional blasts.
I am at the forefront of changing this perception, so while the title of this post may sound a little click-baity, it's for good reason. I want to teach you how to create email campaigns that your audience will love!
😊 + 📧 = ❤️
As a starting point you should carefully think about which email list/segment you are going to target, and how your messaging will align with your objectives/goals. This is the basis for your email campaigns.
A few things to think about:
I highly recommend never buying or renting email lists, as this more often than not will give you a bad reputation (both in the digital world, but also with ESPs).
If you haven’t emailed your list in a while (i.e., it is cold), one starting point would be to warm it up by re-introducing yourself and your company.
If your list has been abused (i.e., by static eBlasts), you will need to re-gain your audience's trust; and
If your list has been ignored (i.e., you only email your audience when you get around to it), you will need to get their attention and convince them that you are serious about helping them. This is why consistency is key.
If your list is warm (i.e., your audience already engage with your content) and you want to take it to the next level, you will have to provide them something of value. This could be an eBook, a white paper, a virtual coffee, a resource sheet, whatever you think your audience will appreciate as it aligns with your company.
There are of course many more things to think about, so while some these may not pertain to you, there are still several tactics you can use to avoid your email marketing efforts falling short. So let's get into the meat and potatoes...
1. Have a goal in mind
As mentioned earlier, all marketing campaigns should start with a goal/objective. Email marketing campaigns are designed to help your brand reach more people, wherever and whatever they are. It may seem self explanatory, but the reason most campaigns fail and get deleted is because they simply lack purpose.
So by picking a specific purpose and defining your KPIs before you start writing will undoubtedly help you improve the performance of your campaigns.
2. Your emails should come from "real" people
I don’t know about you, but the only emails I open are from real people.
Sending from a real person’s name is a very simple, yet very impactful tip.
By changing your "From-Name" from email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org to a real person's name, you will instantly see an improvement in both deliverability as well as increased open rates.
Not only does using a real name create more engagement in your campaigns, it also boosts your brand reputation as you are building personal relationships with your audience. Marketers can talk about B2B vs. B2C all day long, yet the most important form of marketing remains P2P (person-to-person). Most people can see through automated email marketing fluff anyway, so by creating affinity and loyalty, you ultimately become influential in their buying decisions. Not bad for a simple tweak, eh?
3. Use short, simple, and (sometimes) thought-provoking subject lines
Emails from real people should always go hand-in-hand with good subject lines. Subject lines should be clear and concise about what the email contains, but can also be used to create curiosity with your audience by making a promise that this email is definitely worth their time. Some of the best subject lines I’ve seen include:
"Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)"
"The timer’s going off on your cart!"
"What Did You Think? Write a Review."
"Black Friday shoppers are the worst customers"
"*Don’t Open This Email*"
"🔥 Hot freebie alert! 15 free gifts, you pick 5."
"Hey" (Yep, this one will make me open your email)
4. Encourage your audience to click on your CTAs
Don’t waste your audience's time. Give them actionable information. Always encourage calls to action.
That's really all there is to this section. The best emails are between 80-125 words, and usually have a response rate well over 50%.
5. Provide value, value, and more value
This goes without saying, but people opt-in to email lists to get something of value. Typically, that means you "sell" something of value because you’re an expert/industry leader/brand personality, etc.. Spam complaints and unsubscribes happen when you waste your audience's time or don’t deliver anything of value, not when you provide value. This goes back to the first point – always have a purpose with your campaigns; most people can see through automated marketing fluff.
6. Make your campaigns visually engaging
Drive your reader through the email with informative graphics or videos. You can even use GIFs!
*Blanket statement alert* People don’t read anymore.
Visuals are becoming more and more critical to driving engagement. Give your audience a button to click on, and/or a reason to keep scrolling, or get them engaged with your content. Nobody wants to read an essay on their smartphone.
Real people + engaging subject line + call to action = success!
Warm up your email list by conditioning your audience to expect your emails (i.e., schedule your emails, and send out frequently)
Be personal. Tell anecdotes, give actionable advice, and come up with suggestions. Be a thought leader!
What email projects are you currently working on?