Email marketing presents a whole host of opportunities (and challenges) for companies that want to engage prospects and customers on an ongoing basis. You may have found that creating quality email content on a consistent basis can seem like a lot of work. Which leads you to question if it’s really worth the effort.
In 2014 eMarketer found that email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. With research like that backing up the usefulness of email marketing, it’s a tactic you can’t afford to ignore.
If you’re tired of seeing your unsubscribe and spam rates increase at a steady pace, incorporate these 7 steps to connect with your email audience on a more engaging level.
#1 – Personalize the Message
Imagine if you received a letter in the mail and the opening read “Dear Customer” or some other sort of generic greeting. Chances are you would quickly toss that mail into the recycling bin.
Emails can be personalized in a few ways. The simplest include adding the recipient’s name to the subject line or greeting. Another option (which often requires the use of marketing automation) is to personalize the message based on different trigger points.
For example, if someone signs up for a demo of your service or made a purchase, you can then set appropriate trigger points for them to receive a welcome or thank you email with additional next steps or information.
#2 – Let Readers Know Right Away What the Message is About
Consumers today are busy. One way to help them cut through the clutter and is to clearly let them know what your email is about right away. The subject line offers a great opportunity for them to understand at-a-glance what you’re offering. If you send different types of emails (newsletters, offers, etc.) on a consistent basis, you can call those out right away.
#3 – Create Exclusivity
Who doesn’t want to feel like they are appreciated and part of something special? Now there is a difference between asking your readers to “Act Now!” and saying “We Have Something Just For You”. The latter helps reiterate to your customers that they’re important to your business. While the former creates urgency, and sometimes anxiety for readers.
Here are 4 ways that you can help create exclusivity for customers with your email marketing:
- Offering deals or incentives that are only available to a select group
- Sharing updates or new content to this group prior to releasing to the general public
- Bonuses for referring other people
- Sneak peeks into new products, or even ask them to provide feedback
#4 – Send Updates from the Founder/CEO/President
From time to time, it’s good to include special announcements and thought leadership content from leadership within your organization. These types of messages are typically meant to engage and inspire readers.
This approach can be especially impactful if there is a well-known person within your organization that is associated with the brand.
#5 – Include Compelling Imagery
Hubspot found that 88% of subscribers prefer to receive HTML emails from companies versus the 12% that prefer plain text. Additionally, 65% prefer emails that contain mostly images while 35% prefer mostly text.
When delivered properly, well-designed emails can be very impactful. However, all email clients render HTML and CSS differently. SendGrid provides some helpful do’s and don’ts for marketers designing email campaigns for multiple email clients.
#6 – Make it Easy for Your Audience to Take the Next Step
Any calls to action within your email campaigns should be very clear, compelling and visually appealing. There should be no question in the customer’s mind what step they should take next.
Email calls to action should:
- Be succinct
- Tell your audience what to do
- Stand out from the rest of your content
Another best practice to follow is that your email message should typically only include one call to action so as not to confuse the reader.
#7 – Above All, Offer Valuable Content
All of the tips above will help you create a more impactful email marketing campaign, but this step is the most important.
It doesn’t matter how great your email looks, or how clear your call to action is if your content is not high-quality it will not provide value to your customers. Don’t send email campaigns just for the sake of meeting a monthly quota, make sure that you are always offering something valuable that readers can’t get somewhere else.
Where do you think the biggest email marketing opportunities lie within your organization?
Header image via Shutterstock
© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. | The TopRank Marketing 7 Point Email Marketing Engagement Cheat Sheet | http://www.toprankblog.com
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