You’ve spent three days, fourteen hours, fifty five minutes and eight seconds crafting an e-mail marketing campaign. Your stomach is churning. Your heart is in your mouth. Your palms are sweating. You’re about to hit send…
You worry that the time, effort and energy you have spent writing and re-writing every sentence, linking every image, and proof-reading the copy over a hundred times, will fall flat on its face. Will it have the effect you hope?
Let me tell you, everything will be okay, we have all been there. But you’re asking the wrong question. When it comes to e-mail marketing, the question isn’t whether or not it will work. It just starts with this: Will people open it?
Worry about everything else after that.
The two things people see when they open their e-mails is your name and the subject line. If they already know you, half the work is done but it’s still no guarantee they will open the e-mail. If they don’t know you, an engaging subject line can be the difference between it being opened and the information consumed, or merely left to linger a dying death in the trash/spam folder.
Crafting a subject line can be an art form and every customer will respond differently.
There are several things to factor in when writing the subject line alone but you should always be yourself and stick to a style you are comfortable with.
Three things worth considering are:
1. According to Kevan Lee’s blog on Buffer, avoid subject lines 60-70 characters in length. Based on research undertaken, subject lines less than 50 characters saw good open rates, while subject lines with more than 70 characters saw higher content engagement.
2. People love competitions, offers and freebies, so, taking in to account the information above, include incentives to improve open rates. Use words, numbers, percentages and currency symbols that tap in to people’s financial sensibilities.
3. Don’t tell people what you can do for them, get them to ask if they could do something better.
Example: “I can help you hit your sales target” vs “Will you hit your sales target this year?” One is rude and obnoxious, the other is inquisitive and asks a question of the reader.
Once you’ve got your subject line nailed, it’s time to focus on the rest of the content. The worst example I ever saw was from a Customer Relationship Management software company who did an e-mail marketing campaign and called people by the wrong name. Uh Oh.
There’s no coming back from something like that easily, but if you’re going to do your own e-mail marketing, here are a few things that can help it go a bit smoother:
• Logo positioning – A major benefit to e-mail marketing is brand reinforcement. Typical behaviour is to read top left to bottom right, so put your logo top left. If people regularly see your logo on websites, social media etc., it will reaffirm trustworthiness and familiarity.
• Be sincere, don’t fake friendliness – If you don’t know someone, don’t use their first name. It can create a false sense of knowing them and if they haven’t met you before, or spoken to you in a long time, it will not come across as the sincere opener you hope for.
• Keep the call to action near the top – If someone only opens your e-mail and reads what they see in the top half, get your call to action near the top so you can still influence their decision making. A clear, simply-worded call to action with an obvious benefit to them works best.
• Link to your homepage – Make the most of every opportunity to link to your website. I’m not saying link the whole e-mail, but article titles, images, calls to action etc., are all places people hover over. If they want to know more, make it easy for them to find the info they want.
• Optimise delivery and optimise for mobile – Another great nugget of info from Kevan Lee; 47% of e-mail open rates are on mobile phones – so optimise formatting for this platform. Test different days and times to optimise when to send your e-mails by tracking results in terms of open rates, link clicks and enquiries.
• E-mail still holds the power – Using numbers and statistics that make my head spin, those clever chaps at mediapost.com showed that e-mail marketing provides a higher conversion rate compared to social media, making it a marketing channel worth spending time to develop.
• Get permission! – A big topic from the data protection guardians is about making sure that you have permission of the people you are contacting.
Include a disclaimer that explains how you got their e-mail address and an option to unsubscribe. Big fines are no laughing matter and with GDPR coming up in May 2018, you need to make sure your company is ready.
There are lots of great tools out there to help you get your e-mail marketing right with templates, reporting and easy-to-manage features. Getting it right doesn’t happen first time, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a worthwhile investment to build a list of people who you know are interested in what you have to say.
Like all types of marketing, make sure you are measuring effectiveness and opportunities. If the hard work isn’t translating to enquiries/sales, make sure you review what you’re doing before asking whether or not it’s worth you continuing.
More about the author:
Becky Lodge is the Business Founder of Little Kanga Ltd, a B2B digital agency that provides outsourced sales and marketing services for businesses in the UK.
BA (Hons) and CIM qualified, Becky has 25 years’ business development experience at senior level in the UK and is now using that knowledge to help other businesses grow and become more profitable. She is the Founder of StartUp Disruptors a support group for start-up companies with over 360 members and Founder of Hampshire Meet The Buyer, an event devised to support STEM based industries across the UK. This year, it was attended by National Grid, Morgan Sindall, Uber and many more.
Get in touch: www.littlekanga.co.uk
Phone: 0333 444 0364