Today’s era of business is exceptionally fast-paced. Modern marketers have become spread thin due to historically recent advances in technology and online community. To say that time is of the essence would be an understatement, but with so many web publications and news feeds updating us with the same information all at once, it seems competition is less about the source and more about the content.
Despite the tremendous number of social media users and bloggers these days, email lists are still a tried and true method of updating your customers with any relevant information and/or special offers. E-blasts have the potential to be extremely effective, assuming your list is composed of emails from customers that signed up with direct interest to your product or service. This being said, marketing automation software can be a great tool to save some time with email campaigns while trying to manage and update every other channel of virtual communication with customers. While you can’t ensure your customers notice all of your social media updates, you can make sure your customers receive your information directly by email on a scheduled and timely basis.
However, one problem with marketing automation is that it can open the door for irrelevant, spam-type messages that end up being discarded and ignored – or better yet – delivered straight to the junk box. This obviously defeats the purpose of sending information directly to your customer, and may just earn you a spot on the “blocked” list – defeating your sending information to customers entirely. In order to avoid this common “fail”, you can keep your e-blasts relevant and improve your click-through-rate by employing the following fundamental tips.
Generally speaking, the mission statement tells the public what the purpose or goal(s) of your organization is. In terms of email, the “mission statement” can be likened to the subject. The subject line is your chance to state the purpose of your email, letting your reader know what they’re opening before they open it. You don’t want to give too much away, but it should be enough of a tease that it entices your reader to open it out of relevance and important. A few best practices to keep in mind when writing your subject:
- Keep it short – under 50 words – and be specific.
- Capitalize the first letter of each word, but don’t sweat the small words.
- Keep punctuation to a minimum. Refrain from using too many exclamation points, as this is sometime a one-way ticket into the trash bin.
When crafting a successful subject, you should also consider if there is a particular type of subscriber you are targeting. If so, you should address them first. Remember to keep it unique and attention grabbing, while making sure to convey to your readers why they should open it now instead of later. You can check out some great subject line examples here.
Before you address the body of your email, make sure you know what you want the end result to be in terms of reader response. Consider if your intent is to have readers interact by signing up for a new set of updates, providing user feedback, going to your site to make a purchase, or simply reading any general updates you’ve sent. You also need to consider whether or not your desired effect is aligned with your subject – do you think your subject helps elicit this response?
Now that you know your desired effect, you can create an appropriate call-to-action. You should place your call-to-action at the top (this should generally be the first thing your subscribers see apart from any header image you may choose to include). Two best practices of writing a successful CTA are:
- Keep it under 5 sentences.
- Action words attract action – “join”, “read”, “sign-up”, “mark your calendar”, etc.
While you want to be direct in stating clearly your purpose and desired effect, make sure to keep your tone light and personable as to not sound too demanding. Also, if you do choose to use a header image (which is the most common choice), make sure it’s eye-catching, relevant, yet not too detracting from your actual content. You can check out some more how-to’s and examples of effective CTAs here.
Last, it’s time to cover the main points and important details.
- Be specific – mention any time-sensitive details and/or locations in bold.
- Limit yourself to 2-3 sentences per topic, providing a link to any further information of interest that is too long.
Emails should, in general, cover one purpose per message. One perk about an email campaign is that it’s a campaign, so multiple messages are allowed to address various topics. Monthly newsletters are a different beast, though all of these tips are just as applicable. However, for purposes of campaigns, its best to keep the body of your email focused on one or two issues directly related to your call-to-action and of course your subject.
Using marketing automation software gives you the freedom to focus more on the mission, effect, action, and text of your content, making your e-blasts that much stronger and effective. Honing these four points will allow you even more time efficiency when producing content (not exclusively to emails). Inboxes get flooded every day, but applying these fundamental tips can make sure your email messages read like M.E.A.T. amidst the spam.
This is a guest post by Kasey Larsen, a real estate marketing consultant as well as a freelancer with Clever Zebo. As a member of the Activecampaign community, you can claim a free 30 minute consultation at a value of $250 with Clever Zebo.