More than 75% of small business owners surveyed by the Direct Marketing Association say email marketing is considered an “important” aspect of their marketing strategy. While email marketing campaigns can be a cost-efficient way to reach a broad audience, the high volume of promotional emails hitting your customer’s inboxes demand that you go the extra mile to get noticed.
Here are a few simple ways to make your marketing emails more impactful.
Focus your efforts. Email marketing campaigns are low cost relative to traditional forms of direct marketing, but they still require effort and time to craft, deploy, measure and refine. Perfect your email marketing strategy on the campaigns most likely to provide the most bang for your buck. In the DMA’s survey, for example, more than half of respondents said that regular newsletters and welcome emails were important contributors to business goals, while fewer than 20% of respondents realized a business benefit from emails like abandoned cart reminders, birthday/anniversary-related offers, or product replenishment notifications.
Prioritize common sense over consistency. Consistency is often cited as one of the most important aspects to a communications strategy that builds relationships. While establishing a “voice” that customers can begin to recognize when it arrives in their inbox can boost the impact of your email efforts, common sense prevails when determining the right cadence for your email marketing strategy. If you don’t have anything noteworthy to say (from the recipient’s perspective), don’t hit “send.”
Get to the point. Your subject line is the first and potentially only thing your recipient may notice about your email. Keep it concise, accurate, and relevant—based on the user and what you know about them (which may mean writing multiple subject lines). Avoid trite phrases like “FREE!” and “Time is running out!”
To experiment with concise subject lines, pretend you’ve got about three seconds to explain the contents of your email on a good friends’ voice mail. What would you say?
Let your success speak for you. Prospects place high value on the opinions and experiences of others. If your product or service has been particularly well received by other customers, let the numbers speak for themselves in your email marketing copy. A phrase like “See why 98% of our customers gave this product five stars” will likely be noticed more than a claim backed by no one (other than your marketing team).
Find the hook. Despite the prevalence of emailed promotional offers, just 18% of respondents to the DMA’s survey say these messages impact their business goals. Incorporate a creative “hook” into your email marketing campaign with a compelling story that is meaningful to your audience, and makes them want to read what you have to say. Think less about a “hard sell” and more about giving your audience information they can use, based on what you know of their interests, hobbies, and lifestyle.
Be contextually appropriate. Nearly two-thirds of emails are opened on mobile devices. Not only should your email campaign’s design, structure, and copy should be functional to mobile devices, consider your user’s reality when they receive your message. For example, people tend to check email on a mobile device when they’re bored, waiting for a meeting or appointment to begin, are in transit, or are otherwise multitasking. Understand your audience’s lifestyle enough to know which scenario most likely applies. An email message that uses many large graphics or too much text may take longer to load or navigate than a hurried user can invest. If you link your email text to many pages in an effort to be brief–but your audience is in an area where Wi-Fi connections are spotty– you’ll miss an opportunity to reach them, too. Schedule your email release times appropriately based on your user’s lifestyle—considering factors like work hours, time zones, and peak commuter times—and how they may be able to respond to the content/call to action in your message based on where they likely are when they open your message.