How many emails do you get a day? You might be one of those lucky souls who doesn’t get many at all. But there’s far more chance you’re deluged on a daily basis. If you are, you’ll probably appreciate how tough it can be to make your emails stand out.
Done right, email marketing can be the channel with the lowest cost and the highest ROI. But it’s easy to fumble it and end up getting lost in people’s inboxes.
To help your email marketing campaigns stand out as much as possible, give these a try:
#1 Think about your customers’ needs
When you send out a marketing campaign, you’re thinking primarily about what it is that you need. Sales, sign-ups, bookings, downloads. But you should also think about what it is the customer needs.
If you can try to put the customer at the heart of your email marketing, you’re likely to build stronger relationships with them and ultimately, get better results.
You can do this by going for the soft sell. Don’t just use your email marketing to push sales messages in your customer’s faces. Tell them a story, give them advice or tips, establish yourself as a thought leader, and start a conversation.
Over time, you’ll build a more meaningful relationship with your database, and there’s a better chance they’ll actually engage with your brand.
#2 Write like a human
Another easy trap to fall into is to make the language in your emails too dull or professional. Obviously, a certain level of professionalism is called for – but there’s a balance you should strike.
Your aim should be to make your email marketing engaging and entertaining. Nothing will switch your audience off more than a dry, corporate copy.
When you write your emails and your subject lines, try to make them sound like a real live human being has written to them. Make the language as informal, chatty and relatable as you can.
Some quick tips for sounding more like a human:
- Don’t think of your customer as a customer – think of them as a friend you haven’t emailed for a while
- Use conversational language – read the email out loud and ask yourself if that’s how you’d speak to your customer face-to-face
- Use contractions (for example, “it’s” instead of “it is”, or “we’re” instead of “we are”) where it makes sense
#3 Segment your database
So you’ve built up a pretty hefty database of subscribed customers. The chances are that not all of your customers are exactly the same. So why would it make sense to send them all the same email campaign?
To make your campaigns as effective as possible, you should segment your database based on what you know about your customers. You can then target your emails to those different audiences
For example, you could segment your audience based on what products they’ve brought from you in the past. Or maybe even on demographics, like location or gender.
Another option is to let your customers choose when emails they want to get when they first sign-up. You can then use this to segment and target. Some customers might be happy to receive regular promotions, but others might only want to hear about new products, for example.
#4 Get to the point
The most important thing about your email is the overall message or action that you want the customer to perform. A lot of email marketers spend too much time making their emails look pretty and actually end up crowding out the central message.
Go for a clean, streamlined format. Don’t overuse images and animations; push the message and call to action front and centre.
Try to avoid burying your message in too much irrelevant, flowery text. Keep it short, sweet and sharp.
You might also get a better response rate if your email looks less like a mass-mailed newsletter, and more like an email that’s been personally typed. Don’t be frightened of stripping everything back and trying a plain text email, for example.
#5 Create an attractive call-to-action
Ideally, every email you send out should have a call to action. Whether that’s a big old ‘buy now’ button or a link to a great in-depth guide that your customers will want to read. It could even be a request for your customers to email you back or follow you on social media.
Just bear the following in mind:
- Don’t overload your email with calls-to-action: Ideally, you just want just one or two. The more calls-to-action the throw-in, the less focused your email will be and the less impressive your response rate will be
- Make it clear what your call-to-action will do: Try to make the text for your call-to-action as clear and as descriptive as possible. For example, “Browse our store” or “Read this article”. Don’t be too cryptic or you’ll risk putting people off from clicking or tapping it
- Give the customer a reason to follow it: You could go for something like “Buy our stuff” or “Give us money”, but try to think about what the customer’s getting from it. For example, instead of “Shop now”, you could go for “Treat yourself”.
#6 Test, analyse, adapt
The definition of madness is said to be repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. Don’t fall into the trap of doing the same thing with your email marketing – you should always be testing new approaches to see what works best.
Ideally, you’ll want to A/B test your campaigns – split your audience into two (or three, or four) and send each one a slightly different version. You can then analyse the results afterwards to see if there’s anything you can learn.
Here are some examples of things you could test:
- Email subject lines – for example, email with emojis in the subject line more likely to be opened?
- HTML versus plain text – are customers more likely to engage with a plain email compared to an all-singing, all-dancing HTML template?
- Calls-to-action in the email – you could test a different colour for the call-to-action in the email or other text