Email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient methods of getting your message out to prospective customers. Several easily accessible email distribution platforms allow even an email novice to create professional-looking emails in a matter of minutes. But, no matter how great your email looks, your efforts are for not if it doesn’t increase sales. Here are a few easy tips that will increase your email marketing campaign’s effectiveness and, most importantly, increase sales!
1. Clean your mailing list regularly and forget purchasing contact lists.
Before you put an electronic pen to digital paper, take some time to look at your contact list.
First – don’t buy an email contact list. Everyone with an email address has probably received an ad from someone promising to sell an award-winning email list that is bound to send customers knocking down your digital door. Delete that offer and move on. Email campaigns depend on a healthy open rate. If you’re contacting people whose information you bought — rather than earned from a previous interaction — you’ll quickly see your email’s performance drop.
Even if you have personally amassed every contact in your contact list, you’ll need to do some occasionally thinning. Some of your email contacts might not opt-out of your email campaign but still, never open your emails. It’s tempting to email as many people as possible to reach more prospects, but keeping your least-engaged recipients on your mailing list can kill your open rate. People who never open emails make your campaign look worse since you’re not analyzing the campaign’s quality against your most loyal recipients. Analyze who hasn’t engaged with your emails over a certain period, and remove them regularly. This routine maintenance gives you a more accurate email open rate, keeps your email campaign clean, and allows you to analyze results and teak your focus if needed.
2. Write compelling (but concise) subject lines and preview text.
Three seconds—that is the amount of time you have to gain the reader’s attention and persuade them to open your email; this makes the subject line and preview text-critical to your campaign’s success.
The subject line should be brief but compelling—no more than five SHORT words that provide a teaser of things to come.
Next, the preview text, by default, pulls in the first several words of the email body and displays it next to the subject line before the person opens it. The problem is custom email templates often stick conditional statements like “can’t see images?” or “not displaying correctly?” along with the top banner, allowing it to slip right into the preview when it goes out. But keeping it in the preview text of your email could be a death sentence for your campaign. Take a few minutes to delete the auto-generated text and create a short, compelling sentence that will add more context to the subject line.
Remember—you have three seconds, so keep it short.
3. Make your email recognizable.
Put your logo in the center or upper-left-hand side of the email. Eye-tracking studies have found that people instinctively look for logos in the upper left-hand side of emails — often because it’s consistent with the placement of a logo on most websites. However, it’s also acceptable to put your logo in the center to align it with the email content beneath it. Whether your logo is centered or on the left-hand side, branding your email’s header reminds your recipients that it came from you and is part of a series.
4. Write like a friend.
Research shows that a reader is much more likely to open an email from a person than from a generic email address such as sells@ or info@. If you own a small business, you’ve spent years creating relationships with your client base. Now is the time to take advantage of that hard work. Use your name in the ‘from’ line. Likewise, if possible, include a personal intro and or a signature on the email itself. The same theory holds true for the body of your email. Write like a friend- don’t be stuffy. Rather than saying, “We have a vast selection of merchandise that is reduced.” Try something more personal like, “You have to check out this deal! You won’t believe the markdowns!” No screaming (avoid typing with all caps) and limit the type of fonts used in the email to no more than two.
5. Keep it in the open!
Be sure the main details, your logo, and a call to action are all above the fold. Your message should display clearly on the screen. Don’t make the reader scroll horizontally or vertically to find the deal. The optimal width for your email should be no more than 500 – 650 pixels wide.
6. Allow recipients to subscribe to your newsletter.
This is probably the most overlooked pointer in this article. You might be thinking, “Wait, if they received the email, to begin with, shouldn’t they have already subscribed?” Usually, this is true, but remember, once an email leaves your screen, a subscriber can forward that email any number of times. So, while a “Subscribe” button doesn’t help those who’ve already agreed to receive your emails, you should take full advantage of your subscriber’s marketing efforts on your behalf and add a “Subscribe “button so these potential new clients can receive your emails.
7. Closely tie the look and feel of your emails to your website.
Your website landing page should match the email in terms of headline, copy, and content. Your landing page’s look and feel should also look like the email — consistency goes a long way toward a customer’s trust in the content they’re receiving.
8. “Phone a friend” — Conduct a five-second test.
Send a copy of the email to a friend or business associate. Can they quickly tell what your call-to-action is? If so, you’re golden. If not, keep working.