June 06, 2019 Betty Kaufman
At ON24, we’re all about webinar marketing. But webinars are more than just the event — they require a full suite of marketing expertise. That’s why we’re thrilled to share this article by Betty Kaufman, Senior Director of Content Marketing for Position² . In it, Betty lays out the email marketing rules — inspired by Webinar World 2019 — you need to abide by. This article originally appeared on Position².com. Shared with the author’s permission.
Email continues to be a critical piece of most demand-gen marketing campaigns. But sadly, email doesn’t always perform the way you need it. Often leaving you to wonder if the email was opened, was it just deleted, or even worse, was it seen at all?
You know how it is, we have all done it. We skim through the long list of emails we receive daily and delete the ones that do not grab our attention. We are busy, in a hurry and usually on a different mission.
I recently attended Webinar World and took away a lot of great ideas that apply not only to webinars but also to email marketing.
Many of these ideas you will probably know, but do you use them on every email? Do your emails grab your email recipients’ attention and hold it long enough for them actually to open the email, and click through?
What can you do to send an effective email and to improve that email’s performance and get better click-through rates? If you follow these seven tips to improve emails, you’re likely to see much better open rates and marketing ROI from your email marketing strategy.
Email Tip #1: Enhance your Emails
Start with your email subject line. This is where you will grab or lose your email recipient’s attention. Spend a little extra time on your subject line. Treat this as if you were creating a thought-provoking, engaging blog headline. However, keep the length in mind. The optimal range should be between six and ten words. Keeping subject lines short and sweet will ensure that they look and read great for both PC and mobile users. Subject lines that are too long are often cut off on mobile devices. Thus, your reader will not get the best view of your email and may delete it or send it to the spam folder.
Your subject line should include action verbs that help direct the reader before they even open the email, and:
- Be disruptive
- Address a specific pain point
- Promise change
- Build curiosity
- Create a sense of urgency
Try titles like these:
- Top 10…
- How to…
- Insider’s Guide to…
- 2018/2019 report…
If you really want your email to have personality, consider adding an image, an icon, a dynamic gif or an emoji to the subject line or header. This will help use fewer words but get more information in a fun, engaging way.
Make sure to optimize images using alt text to help give a context for your email images. This helps if your images get blocked by the spam filters or email clients. Also, if you can, make the whole email clickable. If not, at least make the entire header clickable.
Try to alternate between HTML and plain text. Include images and colors along with plain text with no graphics or formatting.
Email Tip #2: Prepare Preview Text
The preview or preheader text is a quick snippet of text that follows the email subject line. Many email programs show a preview to help you decide whether to open the email or not, especially on mobile devices. If you use the preview text in the right way, it presents an extra shot at picking up the reader’s interest and sway them to read past the subject line. However, you only have a few characters to do so.
- Keep preview text short and engaging
- Keep the keyword or buzzwords to the beginning of the preview
- Keep your headline promise the same through your preview text
- Include a sense of urgency
Email Tip #3: target your Target Audience
Writing email copy that meets the needs of your audience can improve conversion rates tremendously. When you know your audience, you can better target their need and provide solutions. Build out a persona list before drafting your email copy. Use a segment list and sort it by demographic, gender, age, and type of industry. One piece of advice is to target the subscribers who interact with your emails the most.
There are times when people will look, but not download an asset. Send these people an email saying something like “We know this is very important to you. Here is one last reason why you should look at…” Make these on-the-fence emails look different from other marketing emails. Build those loyal customers and clients, one email at a time.
Email Tip #4: Personalize
Forget those email templates. Address the reader by their name and make them feel like a friend. Personalized emails can improve open rates tremendously and keep your email from being sent to the spam folder. Let’s face it; when we see our name, we feel a sense of belonging and feel that the email is created especially for us. Stay away from templatizing your emails and create them on a more personalized level by signing off with your own name instead of a generic company name. By keeping your email personal, you are instilling a sense of trust.
Improving Emails Tip #5: Use more you and less we – write in the second person
Keep your email targeting towards the reader. Try to refrain from the “me, our, we,” syndrome. Create your emails by using the pronouns “you,” “your,” “yours,” keeping the focus on the brand of the customer. Remember to give them answers that explain what is in it for them, how you can help them or their company.
Improving Emails Tip #6: Short, Sweet and Scannable
Recognize that the earlier somebody is in the sales cycle, the less time you have to talk to them. Get to your enticing point or value proposition quickly. Be respectful of their time. Do not use technical or sales talk. Keep it jargon-free and in layperson’s terms. Steer clear of overly promotional claims. Overall, create your email for those that scan read with subheads, bullet and numbered lists and small bite-sized information that is quick to digest.
Don’t forget those images!
No one said it better than Elliott Erwitt. “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” Images help support your marketing email message and tell your story.
Email Tip #7: Make those Calls to Action Shine
Never send an email that doesn’t have a follow-up call to action. If you want to increase your conversion rate, you need to think of your email campaigns as a customer journey. Each email should be an experience for your email recipients. Remember, when you’re on a journey, you’re always looking for the next step. So, figure out what path or following action you want the email recipient to take as a result of reading each email. Use your calls to action to make that step crystal clear.
A Couple Email Marketing Tips Beyond Email Content
Share your Information First
Forget about getting names as a priority strategy. This was the hardest takeaway for me. However, I am going to try to abide by it. The moment you ask people to fill out a form, you get pushback. How many people do not download your asset because they are not ready to tell you who they are? Therefore, you do not get their name or information. However, if your information is so valuable that everybody should see it, let everybody see it. Share it instead of hiding behind it. Wait until the bewitching hour – perhaps when somebody’s ready to request a demo – to get their information. This will also help with your subscriber list.
A/B Test Everything and Learn from Every Drop
Remember your email marketing strategy does not stop after sending the email. Don’t write all of your emails in advance. Learn from each email drop. Build a stronger marketing strategy by A/B testing everything – from the titles to the headers to the text to the images. Use what you learn to create subsequent emails to make them more effective.
Remember, your email copy and subject lines are only a part of a larger email marketing strategy. Get the strategy right and follow through with compelling email messages to get better open rates, conversion rates, and marketing ROI.
I hope these email tips have a positive impact on the performance of your next email campaign.