5 Email Marketing Tips I’ve Heard and Tested
Everyone has an opinion or piece of advice on how to achieve email marketing success-all aimed at issues from improving open-rates to avoiding spam filters to remaining CAN-SPAM compliant. Yet with the increased importance email continues to play in most marketing plans, I feel the topic warrants another look at five successful email marketing tips I’ve heard and tested:
TIP #1: Write better subject lines. With the crowded inboxes email marketers continue to face, a compelling subject line is even more critical to the success of any email campaign. One very successful technique is to write your subject line as if it were a headline for an article. In general, subject lines that position the content of the email as a “tip” yield much higher open rates. That being said, you don’t ever want to over-promise or mislead your audience. This will lead to irritation, disappointment, and severe brand damage. Also, make sure to be consistent in your subject line style from email campaign to email campaign, as this will build recognition for your emails and gradually increase open-rates, as recipients know you can be trusted. And finally, try to keep your subject line under 50 characters.
TIP #2: Stay true to your brand. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: successful branding begins with a well-defined brand that is RELEVANT to your market. Once you’ve developed and defined a relevant brand, you must begin building the brand through CONSISTENT execution. Repetition is key to the success of the branding process. It’s easy to falter “just this one time,” however this will make the fact that you have a good brand completely irrelevant. No one will ever really know or remember what your brand is, unless it is represented the same way every time they are exposed to it. Make sure your email campaigns remain brand consistent with every element-from messaging to logo to colors to tone to content.
TIP #3: Never stop building your subscriber list. It takes perseverance to grow your recipient or subscriber list in a relevant and meaningful way. I agree with the experts that some of the best-yet overlooked-sources for your list is through networking events, professional associations, reciprocal newsletter recommendations (co-registration), and the tried-and-true asking everyone who contacts your company (or who you contact while doing business) if you can add them to your subscriber list. Create a quick list of the key benefits of subscription that each member of your team can reference. And lastly, always remind each and every prospect that they can call to unsubscribe at anytime as well as through your emails themselves.
TIP #4: Remember the Preview Pane. Many email users keep their preview pane feature turned on, allowing them to view at least the top two inches or so of your email before deciding whether or not to open the message. Use those top two inches to your advantage by emphasizing the call to action or key point of your email in that area. Remember: the key is to compel your recipient to open the email, and then include your explanatory copy in the middle section of the message. Repeat your call to action at the bottom of your message for those “scrolling” types who only read the top and bottom and simply scan in-between. Also remember that the preview pane counts as an “open” even if the recipient doesn’t actually click to open the message. Keep this in mind when renting lists and reviewing the vendor’s open rates-they can be falsely inflated by the preview pane.
TIP #5: Make sure you always have a functioning “unsubscribe” process. Allowing your reply address to function as one of your unsubscribe mechanisms is necessary to remain CAN-SPAM compliant. As you know, unsolicited commercial email messages must include either a “return address” through which someone can unsubscribe or another “Internet-based mechanism, clearly and conspicuously displayed.” For this reason, many experts recommend, and I agree, that you send your email from an address that is checked regularly for “unsubscribe” requests. This way, you are protected if the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails are someday considered non-compliant or do not function properly.
These tips contain just a sampling of the advice I’ve followed over the years-including some aspects that you may or may not have considered in your own efforts. Email marketing is still one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to reach your prospect base and requires trust, patience, and perseverance to execute successfully. Once you have the mechanics of how to reach your unique audience established and well-practiced, remember to remain true to their needs (and your brand) by evolving and learning from each campaign. Remember: if you stay relevant, you’ll stay top-of-mind.