Emails are great. They’re the windows to the many parts of the world. If you are a marketer, emails are the pitchfork, the weapon of choice. So, if your emails aren’t that good, then they won’t lead to any open window. It is important to have a great email experience whether you’re a diplomat, salesman, or even the CEO of a company. And it is important to understand how.
“100 Billion emails are sent and received each day.”
The Baby Steps
Some of your prospective customers will begin in the digital world, it is crucial to have a proper and respectable email address. Sure, it may seem like the most obvious one, but plenty of business players still rely heavily on their own personal email to handle business. No, it is not okay. Make sure to set up an email address matching your business name. Set an easy one with Google Apps for Business or just Hire a Freelancer to do it.
There are various tips that will help to elevate your email game. A simple point like keywords in the subject line is paramount. More than a third of email recipients determine whether an email will be opened or just automatically go to the trash.
The next thing you can do is simply keep your emails short and sharp. People get tons of emails in a day. Make it clear on the message you’re trying to pitch. Keep your email to 150 words or about five sentences as the majority of emails are read on a small screen of mobile smartphones or tablets.
The Real Deal
Now, those are the simple things. To put email marketing to your advantage, you will need to learn and iterate on how to create an email optimal for marketing that is crisp, tactical, and well-designed. Those things include:
Writing engaging subject lines,
Planning proper format,
Crafting beautiful content, and
Optimizing Mobile view.
Let’s dig in.
Take Subject Lines as the very first impression of your company — and from it, people judge the entirety of your company on that one email. This is where you should be extra careful and effective. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself this question: Will opening this email be an utter waste of time? Or will it give you $2,5M in a fundraising campaign? (see below)
Here are some of the advice for brilliant subject lines:
1. Definitive subject Line
Use carefully thought subject sentences with clear intentions. Don’t ever lead your readers to read 2 different messages from the subject and the email copy. They would feel like being lied to.
2. Catchy words
Differentiate your email from the rest. Use attention-grabbing words (Sale, New, Limited, etc.) to secure your clicks. If you can, be visually different, and use timely topics that bring urgency to the top of mind.
PS: Spam filters have coded this word, avoid it at all cost: Free
3. Asking Call-to-Action
Only a handful of people uses this trick: Make your Call-to-Action a question that is important to the readers. This will give a sense of personal approach and familiarity to the common problems.
4. Avoid repetitive subject lines
Finally, you have created the perfect blend for your subject lines. Here’s the catch: do not use it too much. Just like a casual joke you’ve heard during those parties, people will get tired of it eventually. Especially if you’re pushing it.
5. Personalize using the leading name of the company
Don’t forget about the sender’s name. Alongside the subject line, this is also a point of importance.
Create a personalized message by making your email seem to be typed directly by the CEO of the company. Hell, why not make it come straight from the mailing box of President Obama? It worked perfectly for his presidential campaign.
Did you know that most of the USD 690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails?
6. A/B Test
A/B tests or testing two discern strategies is a usual playbook for email marketers. The simplest? Review the performance of one subject line campaign and compare it with another subject line (in the same goal). Continue with the better one.
I usually use Mailchimp to test between 2 subject lines. In an email campaign, the killer part is this: You can test 2 subject lines for a subset of the audience, review the performance, and send the rest of the email using the subject line with the best open rate. All automatic.
For further reading and strategies, read this Best Practices for Email Subject Lines piece by Mailchimp.
Emails should be fairly easy to read, no message should be lost in translation. That is why the way you plan your message should be aligned with how you’re going to format the email’s appearance. Make it beautiful, crisp, and engaging. See below.
7. Use images or icons
It’s largely proven how people can process images about 60,000 times faster than text. Don’t waste the opportunity! But always remember not to overdo it.
8. Use bullet points and short paragraphs
You’ve probably heard about how the average adult’s attention span is worse than a goldfish. Yes, I will admit that I don’t even remember the email I’ve read just from 5 minutes ago. Use simple bullet points to convey your multi-message if necessary, and use short paragraphs to make your emails easy to skim.
Copy is one of the top variables of whether an email campaign thrive to survive. It’s also what makes it great. After the subject line, the best practices should be applied to the message body itself. Always ask yourself whether your copy ticks all of the boxes.
Here are several key ingredients you should take into account:
9. Keep It, Super Simple
One person clicked on your email and you have only seconds to capture their interest. Avoid difficult words or technical mumbo jumbo. Write as you were talking to a relative. Do not annoy them. And don’t forget to make your content powerful and to the point!
10. Focus on the Readers
Keep the focus of your content around your readers, rather than providing too much unnecessary information about your company. For example, upon launching a new program/product, focus on how it would benefit the customers rather than explaining the features. Let them know that you are trying your best to help the customer.
11. Know your target market.
The more you can find the details about the people inside your email list, whether it’s through market research or your own customer database, the better you can personalize the message to meet their needs and tackle their problems. Research them, learn their language, and write accordingly.
Notice the first one? Highly segmented emails have better open rates — 39%. This is possible because the more segmented your email list, the better able you are to personalize the subject line and provide relevant content to that email recipient.
12. Create a sense of urgency
Creating deadlines for a sale, gift, or any kind of deal you need to close, leads to a bigger potential of success. Including a sense of urgency in your emails will help encourage readers to take immediate action. Take this: even if you have stellar content for a product to sell, if a reader has a reason to delay the action, he/she will most probably get it done later. The result? Your email will sit in their inboxes for God knows how long.
A good example would be a bonus gift/percent-off for the first 100 buyers or buy before December 25th. Another perfect example is this (again): How Obama asks for donations from their supporters because Romney has too much money. If the possibility of Romney winning the election is not a national urgency, I don’t know what is.
13. Triple Proofread
Obvious isn’t it? however, the majority says otherwise — proofreading is often overlooked. Typos and later-correction in your email can hurt your credibility and may lead to a loss in your email prospects.
14. Read Many Emails
As Gregory puts it: To write more Damn Good Sentences, read them. Read tons of them. He added that New York Times columnist Stanley Fish said that “many educators approach teaching the craft of writing a memorable sentence the wrong way — by relying on rules rather than examples.” They said it; You will produce better writings if you dedicate your time to reading the best.
With that being said, please do read these. They are among the best email campaigns in the planet. Learn, copy, and iterate!
Optimize for Mobile View
Finally, all of the above won’t even matter if your email is not optimized for mobile viewing. Imagine all of your hard work, scouring through the 14 steps to find the perfect blend, only to be obliterated by the failure to account for mobile viewing. Don’t be that guy!
Your email should be easy to read on a mobile device no matter what email clients or smartphone types. It should be good-looking, easy to interact and provide a clear message.
Writing your email to grasp the attention of the many is no easy task. As described, it requires a lot of details and a lot of experiments. Writing is about art and science. You can write a compelling email if you write lots of them. And you can deliver the most of your campaign target if you properly design your strategy and execution.
Write engaging subject lines,
Plan a proper format,
Craft beautiful content, and
Optimize mobile view.
Write, edit, iterate and repeat.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!