The Essentials of Email Marketing
While there are many technical aspects to email marketing the focus of this blog is the essential ingredients required for effective email marketing i.e. Content, Design, and Deliverability.
Reader want quality content; without it, everything else is academic. Let’s look at all the factors that help to make content compelling, effective, and relatable.
Respect your reader — don’t waste their time or attention.
The typical user is probably not waiting with bated breath for your email to arrive so, when your email shows up, make sure it doesn’t waste their time. Get to the point quickly, instead of burying the value under a mountain of greetings, headers, and photos.
Address your reader.
Failing to address a subscriber by his or her first name is one of the biggest mistakes. This simple gesture can have a major effect on click-through rates. In fact, emails that include a recipient’s name have, on average, a seven percent higher click-through rate than those that exclude it.
Write compelling subject lines.
A good subject line should contain no more than thirty to fifty characters (including spaces). It should also create a sense of urgency and it should give readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.
Note: The maximum characters an Outlook client will handle before it breaks and inserts a tab-length break in your subject line is 65.
The one email metric that trumps everything else is engagement. Once someone opens an email from a sender, they’re more likely to open another. These recipients also tend to be more forgiving when a marketer makes a blunder.
To ensure that everything possible is done to target, marketers should segment their engaged subscribers and send them specific, personalized content to build up the relationship. One-size-emails do not fit all subscribers.
Keep the design simple.
Emails are not like complex website designs; they should be nicely designed, but somewhat basic. Many of the most effective designs begin with a main header image followed by the main content.
The cleaner the design, the easier it will be to code, and will lessen the likelihood of abnormalities occurring between the plethora of browsers, email clients, and operating systems.
Keep your email narrow and simple.
With the understanding that many recipients will be viewing your emails on a mobile device, the best practice is to limit the width of your design to six hundred pixels at the most, four to five hundred pixels is best. Anything wider than six hundred pixels may result in asking users to scroll horizontally to read your entire message.
Determining the length of content.
How much content appearing in an email is also important. You want to put enough content in to get your message across, but at the same time you run risks of losing your audience if your content is too long.
Avoid background images.
Stick to block colors rather than images for the backgrounds for your text; only use funky gradients, images, etc. when no text is involved. This is especially important when sending to Outlook clients, who use Word to render emails. (Background images will not display when viewed in Outlook 2007-2016.)
Don’t send email campaigns from your own server.
Professional marketers use a dedicated email service provider (ESP) like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, or Emma. Sending email campaigns from privately-operated mail servers is likely to cause deliverability rates to suffer because most don’t have the required credentials recognized by Internet Service Providers and other email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.
Words to avoid in your email content.
There are about two hundred words that can possibly get you into spam trouble. The following short list constitutes what are often referred to as “email disaster words.” You certainly can use these words in your email, and you’ve most likely seen emails from companies that use these words.
Recognize that the word list is different for each email service provider. Use this list to reduce your spam chances.
- Visit our website
- 50% Off
- Save up to
- Information you requested
- Important information regarding
- Guarantee, Guaranteed
- Special Promotion
- Great Offer/Deal
- All New
- One Time
Prompt users to add your email address to their address book.
You should encourage recipients to add your address to their “safe senders” list or address book, so that even if a message has characteristics of spam, it will not be placed in junk box.
Provide visual reassurance that you are a trusted brand.
- Ensuring the email branding is clear so that your company is identified.
- Ensuring the email branding is the same as the branding the user would have seen at time of sign up.
- Put your company name, address, registration number, contact details in the email footer. This is also a legal requirement in many countries
Email marketing is a powerful channel for driving real business results and achieving a measurable return on investment. Here’s a few key takeaways:
- Content is still king. Without quality, compelling content, everything else is purely academic.
- Like most effective marketing — simple is better.
- From your content to your design, strive for easy-to-read, scannable content with clear calls to action buttons.
- Have a purpose. Design all email marketing campaigns with an end-goal in mind. Use your lists with segmentation.