If you aren’t effectively using email marketing as a channel for your content, you’re missing out.
Email marketing, the potential of which is often overlooked, is actually rated as the most successful content marketing channel by Australian marketers. The 2017 Content Marketing Institute report revealed that 92% of Australian marketers use email to distribute content, with a whopping 95% saying it is the most important channel for their overall content marketing success.
While social media is often the more attractive option, there’s no guarantee that your followers will see your posts. Changes to algorithms can restrict your ability to reach your followers, and these days unless you’re willing to pay for your social promotion there’s a good chance it won’t generate that much traffic or engagement.
Email, however, goes directly to people’s inboxes. These people are already connected to you so you have a much warmer connection than what you would have with people through paid promotion. Yes, they could simply choose to delete and not open your email, but it does get your content right in front of their eyeballs.
Here are 8 tips for improving the quality of your email marketing to encourage readers not only to open your emails, but to engage with your content and click through to your site.
1. Include CTAs
We want to provide our audience with as much useful and relevant content as possible, but our main goal is to direct them to a certain action.
If your emails are lacking direction to a certain goal then you are missing out on opportunities for conversions.
Make sure you include call to action (CTA) buttons at relevant sections of your emails to guide your readers toward your desired conversion – whether that be downloading a whitepaper, requesting a demo or registering for a webinar.
2. Great user experience (UX)
When designing your email, ask yourself if you would find it engaging. If it’s lacking in the looks department it may not get more than a glance from your readers.
Great user experience encourages people to stay on the page and engage with your content. Take into account the look and feel of your email, as well as how easy it is to navigate around it. Be sure to test how the email appears on a number of different devices, so that mobile users will have just a good experience as desktop users.
Write your email as if it’s meant for just one recipient. Mass emails often lack personalisation, which is the one thing that could help them stand out from the crowd.
If you have marketing automation software, use tokens that will pull the name of each subscriber to give your email that human touch. If you don’t, use language that makes the conversation feel as if it’s 1:1 by addressing the recipient in second person. For example, ‘We saw that you are interested in product X so wanted to send you our most recent article about product Y – we hope you enjoy it!’.
Try segmenting out your email list so that recipients will only get content that is relevant for them. For example, if you have a record of your prospect’s preferred products or services, send related product releases or articles about that topic to them. Your click and open rates will improve and your email subscribers will maintain interest in your brand.
4. Test, test and test again
In relation to the previous point – make sure you test all emails before sending!
Even we here at Castleford have been guilty of sending an email to our mailing list without triple checking. Luckily for us, the results weren’t disastrous, but they certainly can be.
There are a number of elements you want to ensure you’re getting right before hitting the send button. Make sure all your links are working and opening in a new tab or window; check that images are loading properly (and quickly), and check that your tokens are pulling the correct information. Re-read your text and scan for any typo’s or errors (Grammarly is great for this) and if it’s a scheduled send, double check the time and date.
5. AB testing
As well as testing for accuracy, it’s important to test how changing certain elements of your email affects your overall engagement rates.
AB testing is a great option for testing two different versions of your emails. The test will send out two different options to a sample of your recipients and after a set amount of time, a ‘winner’ will be determined, which is then sent to the remainder of the list.
There are lots of different things you can do with AB testing, like experimenting with subject lines, email content, CTA buttons, images and overall design. The results provide a much deeper understanding of your audience’s preferences which will assist you in creating future email campaigns and hopefully increase overall engagement.
6. Subject Lines
Similar to article headlines, your subject line is like the window dressing to your store and is, therefore, the most important element of your email. If people don’t like what’s on display, they may not enter the shop.
There are a variety of formulas for creating the perfect subject line, and AB testing will help you to find the one that gets the best response from your subscribers. You can personalise it to include the reader’s name, you might pose a question, or you could use a fact from the article.
Overall the most important thing is that it gets your reader’s attention and interests them enough to open the email. Remember that they will only see what fits into the preview pane of their inbox so keep it concise and to the point.
7. Follow the rules
No legitimate business wants their emails to be regarded as spam. To ensure that your content reaches and stays in the inbox instead of the trash or spam folder, it’s important to follow some email marketing etiquette.
Marketing guidelines vary in different countries and regions, but these are some simple rules to keep in mind when crafting and sending out emails.
- Make sure that you include an unsubscribe option in your emails that is both easy to find and to execute.
- Your company name must be obvious and clearly outlined in your email – the recipient needs to know who the email is from.
- Provide a valid reply-to address that will actually be monitored, so that if people want to get in touch with you, they can do so.
- Most importantly, do not contact people if they have not given you permission to do so. It’s ok to reach out to new leads, but if you have obtained their email address without their permission (implied or express) you should not be contacting them.
8. Only send emails that people want to receive
This might seem obvious, but sometimes emails are just sent out for the sake of it. Unless you have something valuable to offer your readers, don’t be another email clogging up their inbox.
If you continue to send emails without useful or relevant content, people will be much more inclined to unsubscribe from communication, and you may never be able to reach them again. Put effort into understanding your audience’s interest so that you can send them content they actually want to engage with. Make sure your email is worth their time!