When used as part of an inbound marketing strategy, email marketing is an incredible way to communicate with your audiences, attract prospective customers, and delight current clients. Consider the following suggestions to improve your email marketing effectiveness in 2018.
- There are rules, and we suggest you follow them. Did you know there are laws in place that establish rules on email and messaging? For your emails to be CAN-SPAM compliant, it’s important that your emails adhere to the FTC guidelines and rules. A few highlights to point out:
- Within every email that you send, you must include your physical postal address.
- There must be a clear option for the email recipient to opt-out of your emails; this request must be honored within 10 business days.
- Don’t use misleading header information or subject lines. You must accurately provide who you are, who you’re sending the email to, and who the recipient can reply to. The subject must accurately reflect the content of your email.
- Send your email from a real person. The “open rate” of your email will dramatically increase if you send from a real person. Your audiences are much more likely to trust an email with a personalized email address versus a generic company email address. As an example, you’ll notice when we send an email from our company, it comes from “Lauren Veres – firstname.lastname@example.org” instead of “DuBose Web Group – email@example.com”.
- Increase your open rate by providing action-oriented subject lines. Let’s face it, your email is likely not the only email that will be sitting in your recipient's’ email boxes. To increase the open rate of your emails, it’s important that you have subject lines that are clear, accurate, and action-oriented. Make your reader want to open your message!
- Use language that your audiences are familiar with. You want to include action-oriented verbs; this will create a sense of urgency and excitement.
- Avoid terms that can trigger spam filters.
- Use smart subject lines that can include dynamic words like their name or company name.
- Stop with the mass email, blind carbon copies, please! Still, to this day, we notice that many businesses still send a mass email and blind-carbon-copy (BCC) all recipients. Not only does this remove the personalization opportunities you have to address the recipient, but there is no option for the recipient to opt-out of the email. This removes any way for you to track any metrics of open rates, click through rates, or any other helpful data. It’s time that you graduate to a professional email marketing tool like Hubspot or Mailchimp.
- Segment your email lists. According to Hubspot, 62% more website clicks could be received on targeted email sends compared to non-segmented lists. Instead of blasting out the same message to multiple different audiences, divide your email lists and send content-specific, personalized emails to each of your audiences. For example, if we have a helpful website blog that would specifically appeal to the higher education vertical on attracting new students, we should supply a personalized email to only our higher education recipients.
- Keep your emails short. People are skimming their messages and prefer short, concise emails rather than long, arduous novels. (So, your emails shouldn’t look like this article!) If you must have a lot of content, break it up into organized paragraphs or funnel the user to your website blog, case study, or eBook. Longer emails can also prompt being flagged as spam by filters.
- Include a clear CTA. Now that you’ve successfully engaged the user to open your email with a captivating subject line - they’ve read your short, concise, and interesting content - how do you get them to act? Implement a call-to-action (CTA) in a location where it's easily visible and benefits the user. By doing this, you are increasing the chance of someone going further into the sales and marketing funnel and potentially increasing your lead conversion.
- Add social sharing buttons. Your content may be finite, but the distribution can be infinite. To increase clicks and exposure of your message, include social sharing buttons in your email. Most email tools like Hubspot and MailChimp have built-in social capabilities for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other major social media outlets.
- Clean up the plain-text version. Not everyone has HTML enabled email on their smartphones and tablets and prefer a plain, text-based email. When setting up your emails to your audiences, be sure to also spend time on a clean, text-based version to ensure you don’t send a jumbled mess of HTML code that could decrease the effectiveness of your email.
- Keep your email lists current. According to Hubspot, the average email list decays at 25% per year. Therefore, it’s important that you should continuously ensure that you keep your contacts up-to-date as you go. After you send your email campaigns, most software will report which email addresses are no longer active, or which addresses never open your emails.
- Make mobile users a priority! According to a study by Litmus Research in April 2016, 56% of opened emails were viewed on a mobile device, while 19% were viewed on a desktop. As the user of mobile devices continue to rise, it’s crucial that your team keeps a mobile-first approach as you design and distribute emails.
Increasing your value and improving the user’s experience should be at the top of your priorities with all your company’s digital marketing. Keeping the customer’s experience in mind before, during, and after their interaction with your company will help successfully progress them through the sales funnel and increase the chance of them converting from a prospect to a customer of your organization.