There is much more to email marketing than simply writing note and blasting it to a list of contacts in your address book. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you write and mail successful email campaigns that we have learned through first hand experience. Take a look at the list below and start taking advantage of your eNewsletters today:
1. Use a catchy, funny, or interesting subject line
Your email open rates start with the subject line. Here you have a few valuable characters to entice your recipients to open you email. If you are stuck for ideas, try browsing news websites or magazines and take note of some of their titles or headers. You may be able to take these story headlines and modify them for your own product or service. For example: “Discover Obama’s secret past” could be used as “Discover our secret recipe for success”.
2. Write in short paragraphs and use headers
This applies to your website content as well as eNewsletters. Readers tend to skim content when reading. By writing in short paragraphs and including headers that highlight the key points of your article will help break up long text and enable you to get the point across to the reader even if they don’t read it all.
3. Use images but not too many
Images again help break up long portions of text and are visually engaging (if you use them appropriately). Do not use too many images though, they could become cluttered and have adverse effects on the reader.
4. HTML is nice but include a text version
Many web users and email accounts have images and html content enabled, which is great to display your high impact email. However, do not leave out those that have only text-based email capabilities. This could be a large portion of your readers that will miss out on your message if you do not include a text-only version. Most good email software applications have the feature to include a text-only version. If you do not send the text version, these readers will simply see the html code and not be able to read your content.
5. Provide a call to action
The whole point of your newsletter is to try to make a sale, generate a lead or traffic to your website. That said be sure to include links to your landing page or conversion form. These pages should be pre built and ready to link to before sending your email message. I would suggest including more that one references to your website and especially at the end of your message include a call to action. Examples are, “Click here to get your free widget” or “View more photos in our online album”. Note: Don’t include too many links here if you want to avoid the SPAM box.
6. Test your frequency
The number of emails you send per week, month or year will depend entirely on your audience. For those in a not technical field, once per month maybe sufficient. If you are dealing with a particularly savvy audience such as the software industry, you may have better conversions and customer retention with a weekly newsletter. To know for sure, run some tests with your list and monitor the results. Once you have found an optimal frequency, be consistent and meet your readers’ expectations.
7. Write content for your specific audience
Don’t blanket email. Many companies serve several industries niches. In these cases, your contact lists and newsletters should be kept separate. For example, an electronics manufacturer may have a customer list for TV’s, Hair Dryers and Dishwashers. It would be pretty pointless having these all on one mailing list, sending special offers for dishwasher maintenance to a list that included hair dryer and TV customers would not only yield minimal open rates and click throughs, but you would also be doing yourself a disservice to your customer base and may end up with losing email newsletter subscribers. In certain circumstances an email to all lists may be necessary, for example an office move notification or store-wide discount coupon. In these situations go ahead and mail them all. But keep your lists separate for specific newsletters.
8. Establish the optimal day and time for email sending
As with “frequency” of email sending, an optimal day and time is also an area for testing and different depending on your industry. Try sending your emails on different days of the week and different times day, then monitor the open rates. You’ll be surprised at the difference. As a general rule of thumb, we have found that sending emails either Monday or Friday are generally less effective than mid-week. Monday emails get lost in a full inbox from over the weekend. Friday emails are ignored as being the end of the week. That said, we suggest experimenting with Tuesday through Thursday and monitoring the results.
9. How to or tip related get a higher open rates
In general terms we have found that “How To” or “Tip” related content gets more attention than any sales-related information. Readers see more value in learning how to do something, learn to use their product better for example, than are put off by an intimidating sales pitch. Get readers to your site first and strategically place, offers and more sales related content around the how-to article and try to generate leads that way.
10. Track campaigns and act on the metrics
Finally, all of this email writing and testing is pointless unless you are tracking how effective your efforts are. Therefore, take note of which types of campaigns, days sent, time of year, number of links, images etc are in the newsletters. When you find a “winning” combination for open rates and click-throughs try to mimic the email with new information and present it in a similar way. This will not be a quick solution, it may take several emails before you start to notice winning trends.
We believe that by following these tips you will be well on your way to creating some winning email newsletters that will help you grow your business.
For more tips, ideas or suggestions for your particular organization, or for a price quote on a custom eNewsletter campaign and configuration, contact us at email@example.com or (612) 669-5985.