The Best Email Marketing Campaigns Have These 5 Things in Common
A strong email marketing campaign can be one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools in your marketing arsenal. The primary advantage of email marketing is that you are sending your message to people who have opted-in to receive your content, which means that you already have an audience that is willing to consider what you have to offer. Although this would seem to make lead conversion a simpler task, many marketers still find themselves launching more “dud” campaigns than successful ones. So what is it that separates the best email marketing campaigns from the so-so? Below are 5 key ingredients that are commonly found among the most successful and effective email marketing campaigns.
1. An Attention-Grabbing Subject Line
This is perhaps the most important of these email marketing best practices. The average email inbox is flooded with all kinds of offers, so you will have to make an extra effort to ensure that your subject line is noticeable enough to get clicked on. According to a study published by Impact Branding and Design, 33% of email recipients will open an email based on the subject line alone. This means that one out of every three people on your list will open your email simply because they are intrigued by the wording in your subject line.
Test different subject lines, and don’t be quick to rule anything out; you may find that some of your most unorthodox subject lines can dramatically increase your response rates. Several master email marketers have found success using provocative or somewhat quirky subject lines such as “I’m sorry…” or “Really?” These types of headlines tend to pique the user’s curiosity and entice them to open the email. A word of caution on this, however – you don’t want to use subject lines that are completely unrelated to the content of your email, as this may be perceived as a bait-and-switch tactic, which could cost you subscribers.
2. Personalized Communication
Even though mass communication is a norm in today’s digitally driven world, nobody likes to feel as if they’re just a number. Although a certain amount of generic content is generally acceptable, strive to personalize your email communications as much as possible. For example, most email marketing software solutions will allow you to customize the “To” field, so that your email will read “Dear Joe” instead of “Dear Valued Customer”. Of course, your ability to personalize this information will be dependent upon how much of the customer’s data you are able to capture on your opt-in form. Try to get as much data as you can, such as interests, ages, etc., but leave these fields optional so that your visitors won’t feel as though they’re having to jump through hoops to fill out your form.
3. Visually Appealing Text Blocks and Images
Try to break up your paragraphs into smaller chunks instead of potentially burdening readers with large, unbroken blocks of text. This will make your emails more visually appealing and easier to read. Countless studies have shown that people skim first before they actually go through and read an email or web page, so if you’ve optimized both your text and images to appeal to the skimmer, you’ll have a greater chance of engaging your readers’ interest and directing them towards some particular call to action. As a general rule, keep your message as short and to-the-point as possible, focusing on adding value in a concise manner.
4. A Compelling Call to Action
The most successful emails do a great job of directing the reader to a clear and specific call to action. As an email marketer, you only have a very limited window of opportunity to catch your readers’ attention, so you cannot afford to be vague or ambiguous about what you’d like them to do. Be direct without being bossy, and give your readers a clear indication as to what they need to do next.
5. Social Links/Buttons for Sharing
A recent study offered by Impact Branding and Design revealed that emails containing social sharing buttons receive a dramatically higher click-through rate (CTR) than those that don’t. Social sharing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to spread your email messages to an audience that extends beyond your subscriber list, as they are allowed to share your content with their social followers. Most email marketing service providers include this feature in their functionality, making it easy for you to include social sharing links or buttons within the body of your email messages.
Don’t Forget to Test
As you conduct your email marketing campaigns, it’s imperative to test the performance of your emails as much as possible. For example, if you have 30,000 subscribers on your list and you are struggling between two different subject lines, you could send an email with Subject Line A to 2,500 subscribers, and another email with Subject Line B to 2,500 other subscribers, and whichever headline performs the best, send that one out to the remaining 25,000 subscribers. This is just one example of how you can use split testing to gauge subscriber responsiveness; the important point to remember is that you must continue to test, test, and test some more in order to fine-tune your email marketing efforts.
As you develop your email marketing campaigns, don’t be afraid to experiment with each element of your email in order to continue improving the effectiveness of your message. Just remember to implement the five ingredients listed above into your email campaigns, and you may find your response and conversion rates increasing to surprising levels.