Email Marketing Step 2: Tips on How to Get Your Emails Opened, Read, and Clicked
So you've learned about producing quality and relevant content, now it's time to go into more detail and learn how to get your emails not only opened, but read and even clicked. For many small businesses, email marketing (monthly newsletters, email announcements, etc.) is a primary medium for communicating with customers. There are several elements that go into getting your emails opened, each equally meaningful.
EFFECTIVE SUBJECT LINE STRATEGIES
For email marketing beginners, subject lines are the first thing your recipients will see; it's arguably the most important factor that goes into a successful email. The subject line and sender determines whether or not the email will be opened, regardless of the content inside of the email. No one will get to see that great content you've written if the receiver doesn't open the email.
- Make a good first impression. The subject line and who the email is from, are the first things your readers will see before actually opening the email. This means that the subject line is now associated with/tied to the sender, meaning if the subject line doesn't make a good first impression, that reaction/opinion is now correlated with your business.
- Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Ideally your subject line should not exceed 50 characters , which does sometimes make it challenging to get your point across. This takes practice, but it's important to keep in mind that shorter subject lines on average will get higher open and click rates.
- Minimize boring words and maximize unique, personalized content. Yes, it is important for your subject line to portray what the email is about, but that doesn't mean it has to be dull and predictable. Keep your recipients surprised with each email.
- Use numbers, questions, and a sense of urgency to draw readers in. Incorporating numbers attracts attention, as our brains are naturally drawn to them; it sparks curiosity and lists are easier for us to process. For example:"10 jaw-dropping drift videos on YouTube" or "5 ways to improve your social media presence." Using questions is another way to draw in a reader through curiosity and immediate engagement. For example: "Having a rough day?" or "Have you optimized your website for Mobilegeddon?" Another great way to get your emails opened is through urgency. For example: "Sale on Sweatshirts ends today! Hurry, this is your last chance."
- Avoid using "spammy" words. Certain words or phrases can send your email straight to your recipients spam folder. Mailchimp, one of the primary email marketing providers, says to avoid common words that are associated with sales, like "free," "help," "percent off," or "reminder." Even if they don't trigger a spam filter, many subscribers will ignore them.
SENDING EMAILS TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Expanding on what I talked about in the Email Marketing Step #1 post, targeting your emails to the right people and catering to your different types of consumers will definitely improve open rates. Email marketing services include features that allow for you to segment your subscriber lists, sending targeted content to each group. When certain consumers have expressed more interest in one service/product over another, then send them emails focused on what they want! For instance, send follow up emails that are customized to the items they clicked on in the earlier email. Note that automation tools exist that will automatically send these follow ups based pre-defined actions in your previous email.
Another important factor is timing – especially when it comes to getting subscribers to open and read your emails. There are many different theories on best/worst time to send email newsletters. For instance, try to avoid sending your emails out on weekends; more importantly on Mondays because that's when people are flooded with emails they've collected over the past two days. Yet, we have clients who sell hobbyist products that get the highest open rates on Sunday afternoons. Mailchimp says that Tuesday and Thursday are the two most popular days to send email newsletters, suggesting that 2pm is the optimal send time. Okay so now you know, send your emails mid-week and mid-day, but also keep in mind that there is no single "best time" to send an email – it all depends on your audience. The best way to find the optimal send time/day for your business is through A/B testing. A/B testing, also known as "split testing," is a way of working out which of two campaign options is the most effective/successful in terms of opens or clicks.
SIMPLE CONTENT IS KEY
Okay, you've learned about subject lines and targeting/timing, now our final piece of advice: keep your email content simple and get right to the point. Most people scan through their emails, so the best way to get your email read is to keep the content easy flowing and short!
A good way to do this is to provide a link and the end of your short paragraphs. For example, if you feature some of your blog posts (from your website) in your email newsletter, you can write a sentence or two about what the post is about and provide a link to the full post, so if their viewer wants to read more, they will click. To the left is an example of a featured blog post in our email newsletter and how we include a link for those who want to read more. This is beneficial for two reasons:
- Your readers are still getting an overall idea of what you want them to know. Whether they click to read more or don't, they've still absorbed that information.
- For those readers who do click, that means they were interested and wanted to learn more! That's the overall goal. It also sends traffic to your website which is typically a primary goal.
Email marketing can be tricky, but also very beneficial. For further questions or inquiries contact Igniting Business for a complimentary email marketing evaluation. Look out for the last blog post in this series next month, Email Marketing Step 3: Email Marketing Best Practices.