We’ve been waxing poetic about email marketing for a good long time, and there’s a solid reason; it works. On the other hand, there is a salty bucket of words dedicated to describing how people feel about spam email. I’m sure you can think of a few colourful, descriptive words for these time thieves. Like, how the %$#! did they get my email address? We also know that malicious spammers never provide reasonable methods to unsubscribe and resort to sketchy, old-school requests like “reply to this email with unsubscribe in the subject”. All this does is notify the spammer that they have a live fish on the hook and they double-down on the emails; never do this.
Ultimately we never want to email people that don’t want to hear from us. This is why we ensure that we manage our lists with the utmost integrity and make sure that anyone who doesn’t want to be there has the opportunity to remove themselves automatically; no pressure. With all that out of the way, we want to share a handful of useful, but simple tips on keeping your emails fun, informational and relevant. But, most of all, you want your emails to get read and kept out of the trash!
Here are a bunch of easy ways to help your marketing emails get read
There’s a solitary, human person reading your email
That might sound slightly sarcastic, but really, it’s not. It’s to hammer home that you need to have a conversation in your email. Use an informal, personal tone; be conversational. Further, there is one person on the other end of that email so don’t write your message as if you’re speaking to the whole list. You’d be surprised how many times we are rewriting content that begins with, “Hi, everyone”, or refers to the readers as clients, they/them (as in a group of people). So, refer to them by name and speak to them using you and you’re; make a connection. Writing your content as if you are speaking directly to that person will give you a head start in making a meaningful connection before you try to market your services or stuff.
Keep It Simple, Silly (yes, we know what that really should say)
Honestly, people don’t have a lot of free time these days and even less time for your marketing emails. Keep it simple, keep it short, and stay on topic. You will have significantly more success with a couple of short emails rather than one long email. Bite-size emails are quick to understand and easy to get reader’s attention early so you can guide them into action. Trying to do too much makes writing a killer subject more difficult and you risk the reader completely missing some important info later in the email if they move on before reading it. It’s perfectly reasonable to send two or three emails a month that are concise and to the point.
Know your list
This should be common sense, but you’d be surprised. You need to know exactly how your subscribers entered your list. This will influence the type of content you send to them. Contacts who you have added based on implied consent did not directly sign up for anything and will not have knowingly given consent for you to email them. Contacts added by way of express consent have actively subscribed and are expecting emails from you. The content that you send to each of these contact segments can be very different. If you are unfamiliar with the terms implied content and express consent, stop reading and read this first! While we know that CASL is dead, this is still very important information and will allow you to adjust your tone and context. Really, know your list.
Cut the chaff
If you want to keep your dismally low open rate for your email list, keep sending to all those contacts who never open your emails. Or, try this, build a test segment that only includes contacts who have opened one of the last five emails (or 10, for that matter). What was the number? The missing contacts can be safely archived which will immediately give you a noticeable, more accurate boost in your open rates. Your old open rate was skewed since you keep sending emails to low-quality contacts who would never open your emails. Get rid of them!!
Always be giving
When you are writing your marketing emails, put yourself in your contact’s shoes (or sandals, or boots, or Crocs, they’re all different) and ask “what’s in it for me”. You need to always be giving. Whether that’s a coupon code for their next purchase, a really killer article, a free thing for doing something like completing a survey, you know the deal. Every time you craft an email you need to think about what the value proposition is and this value needs to meet or exceed the value of the contact’s time. Let that last sentence soak in; the value of your contact’s time.
Always be testing
This should be a given but sometimes we lose track of time or spend too much time on the content research. Yet, missing this important step can lead to the steady downfall of your list. Testing your emails allows you to send variations of content to your list and they choose the best versions based on how they engage with the email. Did the $5 gift card attract more clicks than the promise to enter a draw for something bigger? Did subject B get more opens than subject A or C? Be intentional and systematic in your tests. Only test one thing at a time, identify a clear winner and develop a new test. You are only improving the quality of your communication over time.
Quality before quantity
It’s no surprise that people prefer small, high-quality emails to drawn-out, rambling emails. Marketers often get caught trying to do too much when simplicity is actually a better performer. Try to limit yourself to one or two really great items that are easy to understand and sound personable and value-driven. Even that might be too much as some research has shown. Content that is short, relevant, and leads people through a wicked call to action will get much more engagement than having to weed through several screens of text.
BONUS TIP: Know your devices
Reading email on a desktop computer is Ying and Yang compared to reading on a mobile phone. Do some research on your subscriber base. Learn what the dominant device is and write content to support the device. A one-screen email on a desktop could be 4 or 5 screens of boring, drawn-out words on a small device which generally gets a DELETE from this picky marketer. Learn from your readers and put the right content in front of the right device, it can make a world of difference to your click-through rates.
Go forth and write wicked emails
There should be at least 2 or 3 points here that you can immediately put into practice. In particular, we find that the easiest is that writing shorter emails has the quickest uptake! It’s dead easy and you can create 2 great emails out of one longer email which you can schedule ahead of time. Creating shorter, ‘more good’ emails also takes less time so you and your team can do more subscriber research and more testing on your segments.
Still, a bit baffled? We’d love to help!