Emailing leads and your current customer base can serve as one of the key strengths in your ongoing marketing efforts. As Daniel Newman pointed out less than a year ago, “Email is definitely NOT dead.”
According to references made in the same article, an overwhelming percentage (over 70%) of surveyed adults in the U.S. expressed that they prefer being contacted by companies via email – and even more stated that they appreciate getting promotional emails from businesses that they use.
Clearly, emailing consumers is still a highly viable practice that enables businesses to cater to the preferences of their customers. When you can respect such a preference and empower your client base – all while marketing your brand and build web traffic – the end result should be favorable for all involved.
However, you must keep one crucial detail in mind when you’re developing your email campaign: While email marketing is a vital aspect of reaching out and staying connected to customers, it only works when you’re doing it right. If you’re relying on the same techniques that countless other businesses and individuals (including spammers) use, you will likely find that the majority of your emails go unopened (and thus, unseen and unanswered by your target audience). Instead of repeating the mistakes of many marketers who may have already irritated some of the same customers you wish to reach, you might avoid some of the least effective email practices and save yourself much time and energy.
1. You Aren’t Asking for Permission
In the same way that millions of people loathe being approached via cold call by telemarketers, they may be apt to ignore “cold” emails and send them straight to the spam folder. Think about how many spam emails you are sent on a regular basis; do you open most of them? As numerous computer security professionals will assert, uninvited emails are some of the worst sources for fraud and phishing scams – and the word has long been out that clicking on the links in such emails (or even clicking on that type of email itself) could expose a computer network or single-unit PC to various sorts of harmful malware. You can also get into legal trouble if you send emails without the expressed consent of the recipients, so be sure that you’re contacting only those who want to receive your emails.
You might utilize several methods in order to secure permission to send your intended audience emails. Here are just a few that plenty of marketers have found to be effective:
Offer a link people can use to sign up for newsletters and other types of emails when they visit your website. Chances are good that a reasonable percentage of individuals who browse your site will also be interested in getting more information, which a newsletter will provide. They may be receptive to emails that contain discounts and other special offers, too.
Remember to incentivize site users to register for your email list. A link that looks like millions of others is not apt to get noticed. The way that you frame the subscribe link can make all the difference in how many responses you get. Try using graphics designed to grab the attention of page visitors. Color Marketing Group experts have even confirmed that “Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.”
This means that using powerful visual cues that include color images could be a determining factor in whether you obtain permission to send emails to a large number of individuals.
Invite current customers to be the first to know when you’re having a flash sale or other promotions. By making it clear that they’ll have access to special offers because of their loyalty, you can build an email list and make your customers feel important.
If you have a bricks and mortar store, provide a place where people can register to get your emails. A simple sign-up sheet located near the cash register is an excellent location for such a list. You don’t need to run your business from a physical store location in order to do this, though; you might also provide access to a mailing list registry when you are networking at trade shows and other events. You could be surprised by how much interest in your newsletter you can generate.
2. Your Subject Lines Are Boring
Once you have permission to send emails, you will need to create subject lines that inspire people to open them. Simply agreeing to receive correspondence from your brand isn’t a commitment to open emails when they arrive. Consider for a moment how many emails you might receive during the course of a day; and then, think about how many of those go unopened or are sent to the trash folder. One news site reported in 2014 that a global report revealed that workers at the time received more 13 more emails daily than they had three years earlier – and by 2018, they could expect to receive an average of 12 emails per working hour. Whether they receive your emails at work or through personal email, you can bet that the individuals on your list see an abundance of emails on a routine basis.
You need to make your emails stand out if you don’t want them to be deleted upon receipt. One way to catch the attention of your email recipients is to personalize the subject lines. You could do this by adding the name of each recipient in the subject line.
Make sure that you keep the subject line content easy to read and on point (vague subject lines, such as “We appreciate your business,” will likely be ignored). Try not to use language that seems as though it is leading to a sales pitch (avoid words such as “buy” or “sale”), but don’t be afraid to pitch an offer directly from the subject line (as in, “25% off of your next purchase until midnight tomorrow”). Asking a specific question can get the attention of a recipient; if your business is a household cleaning company, an example might be: “How often does housework prevent you from being with your kids?”
3. You Don’t Follow Great Subject Lines with Winning Emails
Grabbing the attention of those on your email list won’t do much for you if you don’t follow those eye-catching subject lines with emails designed to hold interest.
Once email recipients realize that your emails are long, tedious, or don’t offer any real value, they won’t be inclined to open them in the future. Keep the body of every email as concise as the subject line. Don’t fill the emails with fluff information that seems like nothing more than useless advertising to your customers. Get to the point quickly and provide useful information (such as special discounts or important details regarding upcoming promotions). Your audience will appreciate this, and they will be more apt to open subsequent emails you send.
4. You’re Not Segmenting Emails Properly (or At All)
Demographic segmentation is a key factor in sending emails that get the results you want. Marketing via email gives you the perfect opportunity to advertise in different ways to different people. As Michael Peggs puts it – just like website hosting services, you should forget about the “one size fits all” mentality when marketing with email. You can divide your audience into various groups based on their needs and wants. Past customers could be sent discounted prices for upgrades to purchases they’ve made. Potential customers that have registered for your newsletter via social media might be sent introductory information and prices that specifically target their needs.
5. You Don’t Run A/B Tests
If you aren’t split-testing your emails, you really aren’t maximizing the potential of email as a marketing tool. In an article for Marketing Land, Chris Hexton illustrates that running A/B tests does not need to be an overwhelming task. One way to test the effectiveness of the different emails you’re testing is to simply ask for feedback within the body of an email. He offers two examples of this technique (used by Indeed and Amazon) that are straightforward and that make a response from the recipient easy and quick to implement. Mr. Hexton also discusses the importance of performing split tests tailored to mobile users – as “a huge percentage” of emails are already opened via mobile devices.
You certainly don’t need to be a mind reader – or even a marketing expert – to motivate customers to open your electronic correspondence. However, if a high number of your emails are not being opened by your audience, you should be willing to replace some of your current strategies with ones that have proven successful for others. By making a few small changes, you could drastically improve the ratio of the unopened versus opened emails you’re sending the people on your list.
Article by Jerry Low, founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR).