Email was first introduced in the 70’s and by the 90’s it revolutionized the way we communicated with one another, it opened doors that postal mail could never have accomplished in reaching the masses instantly. Then the SMS appeared, this enabled us to send shorter messages to each other via mobile phones, this made email seem a bit archaic coupled with the explosion of social media to our everyday life. Approximately 40 odd years later, however, email has been given new life and has prevailed as the best way to communicate effectively with intended recipients.
Email’s resurgence continues to revolutionize the way we communicate with each other in a smarter and more effective ways; it is mobile friendly (stats show that around 65% of all mails are first opened on a mobile device), it delivers rich content with the likes of graphics, icons, buttons and very importantly it can track the engagement of readers tell us how many people have received, opened and clicked on the emails and even what they have clicked within the emails. All of these factors combined is why in 2016 email is noted as the most effective marketing tool available.
Have you adapted?
Now, considering that email is a far cry from what it used to be it begs the question, have you adapted to capitalise on the new way of managing email campaigns or are you still emailing in the same way as you have always done?
Here are some pointers to take into account when sending out emails to your clients:
1. Create mobile friendly emails (responsive)
Before you start ensure that your emails are built using a mobile friendly platform. The majority of readers are now reading email on their mobile phones and therefore your emails need to be easy to read on a phone. Responsive emails simply means that the size of the email will automatically be altered to the device the email is being viewed on – small and readable if opened on a mobile device, normal size if opened on a computer, also. Creating one big image as your mailer with all the text within the image is a bad idea as you will have to zoom in and scroll around the page to view the entire message. The more “html” the better.
2. Have a very clear purpose
Establishing the purpose and objectives of the email campaign you are about to embark on will keep you focussed on what is important as you create content for your mailer and sure that it flows logically in a top down manner.
As part of this process try and stick to just one clear message per email campaign. Just because you now have a very powerful way to share content with your readers doesn’t mean you should do it all in one email. In this process think about what you want to say to your clients and what you want them to do in response. This way of working also makes it easier to measure the success of your campaign.
3. Use catchy subject lines
Your subject line will determine whether or not the reader continues reading. It must be catchy yet also have great integrity, ie if the reader does open the email then the content of the email must directly relate to the subject line (it must deliver on its promise). This will further re-enforce the message you are trying to get across as well as increase the chances of the reader opening emails from you in the future.
For catchy subject lines try using the headline approach as our Newspapers and Magazines have taught us (relevant, short & catchy), it’s been capturing readers since the beginning of time – so make it short and catchy – “Summer is Here – Time for a Change”.
Or, try using a question – as recent studies show that subject lines phrased as a question perform better than using statements in the subject line – “Need a Beauty Boost?”
Or, if your email campaign is targeting by a specific location – incorporating the location reference into the subject line could also add a touch of relevance – “Special Offers at our Sandton Spa.”
4. Keep your message as concise as possible
Stats also show that readers generally only spend 15 seconds scanning an email – therefore we have to catch their attention from the get go. Capturing our audience will determine the success rate of the campaign. A good combination for this is a good image that tells your story, then a brief write up that further elaborates on the image – all of which must be consistent with your subject line. The less you can say to get your message across the better.
Put the most important information first as people have stopped reading longwinded text therefore let the content expand or flow from the subject line. Also note that you can add more value by providing access to exclusive content. Remember that email marketing success is to get credibility from the first email so readers look forward to the next email campaign, rather than delete upon receipt because we didn’t get it right the first time.
If you do have a lot to say on a particular matter then add this to the blog page on your website and put a link for the reader to “read more” on your web site. This allows the reader to easily scan your mail for topics that interest them and then focus in on that particular part of the email. It also helps drive traffic through to your website, which gives you further opportunities to engage with them.
5. Include a clear call to action
A call to action is an instruction to the reader to provoke an immediate response by clicking a button and engaging in whatever the required action is. Preferably only use one call to action per email and make it easy to see. Examples of Call to Action buttons are – Book Now; Contact Us; Find Out More; Click here to Enter.
Provide incentives for readers to respond to the call to action. Readers love getting offers, discounts etc. Competitions is another sure way to entice the reader to participate using the call to action button and thereby assist in increasing your email open rate.
6. Identify yourself clearly
This may seem very obvious, however, it is surprising how overlooked this very simple requirement is. This is a simple matter of making sure the from address and reply address are correct as well as your business name being used. This will help the reader to trust the mail before they open it. Ensure that you have your own domain name rather than using free email accounts like Google for your business. The domain name is what you get when you set up your web site address, ie www.yourdomain.com. You will then be able to use “yourdomain” for your emails.
7. Segment your recipient list
When sending emails you want to try and reach the people who are most likely to open the mails as well as respond to your call to action. Sending emails to your entire database is not always the best way to do that. In many instances it is better to target segments of your database based on things like gender, purchase history, loyalty status etc. This will also help connect the content to the reader more effectively and be more meaningful for them.
8. Analyse reader engagement
Not only is Email Campaign the No.1 digital marketing channel, it is also the top source of data for analytics as the data generated from the tracking stats enables us to get results quickly to determine the success rate of our campaign as well as the relevant stats to assist us in other marketing outlets.
Data from stats include – how many of your mails are opened on a mobile device, total number of emails sent, total number of emails delivered, the breakdown on opened mail on Mobile, Desktop & Web, what the click rate from and more.
Its not enough to just have the stats though. Each time you do an email campaign you should be smarter than the last time. In order to do so you actually need to learn from the analytics and change your behaviour accordingly.
Email has changed and so must you if you wish to remain competitive. Therefore create mobile friendly emails, have a clear objective for each campaign, create subject lines that grab the reader’s attention, have clear concise messages consistent with your subject line and objective, store bulky content on your website with links to read more, segment your database in order to target specific recipients and finally have a clear call to action. Most importantly be ready to respond. It would be a shame to run a successful email campaign only to drop the ball when readers respond.