This is the 3rd and final post of our “Marketing’s Nucleus” series. In this blog, I will be examining factors and concepts which contribute to email marketing campaigns being considered quality marketing material. As you probably have experienced first hand, in today’s quick paced, email centric society, literally billions of emails are sent everyday! With that being said, the task of getting into an individuals inbox can be quite a feat, and actually getting them to read the newsletter is even harder. So, what makes a quality newsletter? What are the elements that will take your campaign from simply being another email sent to a subscriber, to a newsletter the subscriber is excited to open. These are the questions we all need to ask ourselves when preparing email campaigns.
Quality of a product, in this context, can be described as the individual visual and functional capabilities of the email. If any aspect, in the development of a campaign is flawed, you can potentially weaken any value adding service offering of the newsletter. This is why it is so important to test and take time developing newsletters that are worth opening. To pull from the analogy given in the last blog, would you rather have a list of 100,000 subscribers with a 1% open rate of a list of 10,000 subscribers with a 50% open rate? Even if the point of the newsletter is not to generate direct sales (i.e. through a sales announcements or coupons , an engaged reader is probably much more likely to support your brand and your business over the long run. Long term, engaged clients are certainly nothing to scoff at. I believe there are two major questions you can ask yourself for a quick quality assessment.
- Would I read this email?
- Would I interact with this email?
I think about the various newsletters from around the internet that I subscribe too, and ask the question, “what makes me open them?” First and foremost, I open e:newsletters because I believe there is content within the email which is value adding to my life. It might be value adding in the mere fact that I will laugh or ponder the contents, but value adding in some manner. I do not care to open a newsletter that has the same old bla bla bla content. I want something which is fresh, personal, and creative. Even if its a flyer for a sale. Generic emails will NOT take your email marketing places. Lets look at it from another angle. As a twenties-something young adult, I use the internet for almost everything. If I am looking for a new business to visit, chances are, the company with the better website is the one I’ll choose (unless the reviews for it are terrible). I figure, if a business do not have enough time to make a modern website, they will not have enough time for me. Email marketing is on the same thread. If you build a newsletter that the reader views as boring or time wasting, something which seems simply slapped together, there is a good chance they will not be actively engaged. And when its all said and done, that is the point of all of this. To have people who are actively engaged?
With that being said, I am a firm believer that every element of your email should be questioned. Why is it there? If the answer is simply “because,” get rid of it. Maybe you keep the idea, or even the link, but you change the wording, add a new picture. Something! Remember, no one ever reached greatness without the help of a few critics. This does not mean you destroy your entire newsletter. The point is, be willing to examine every aspect of it with a fine tooth comb and evaluate if the information provided is value adding for your potential readers. Lets look at a quick example. Many blogs could be (and maybe there will be) written about the importance of each element of your newsletter, however, for this blog there is one which will be highlighted. Unfortunately, it is is often neglected and not given much thought. It is: The subject line.
The subject line is the gateway to your reader. It is the first thing they see and in many cases will determine if an email is opened. Do not be in a rush because you think the subject line is not important. It is the proverbial key to your ignition. Be willing to take the time developing it. Again, to reference my personal preferences, it is the subject line that often determines if I go beyond just seeing the email in my inbox, or doing a quick once over scan. ActiveCampaign’s split-testing campaigns are a great way for testing out your subject line, determining what is best, and reacting accordingly. You can use the data gathered to email your lists after measuring success with a small sampling, proving to you what subject line is stronger. Stronger might mean more opens and/or stronger might mean more clicks on a certain link. This is up to you, but know you have the choice.
As you evaluate the entirety of your email, I encourage you to remember the overall message of this blog. Quality, cannot be based on one AMAZING feature in your email. Instead, it is the networking of every aspect of the campaign. Each part contributes to the success if your email in some way or another. If it is just there to simply fill space, I recommend removing it. Quality is not had because a certain element is present, instead, it is the sum all all elements which engage the subscribers to your email campaigns. In the end, quality will work hand in hand with the other core marketing elements discussed in this blog series: Establishing goals and Understanding You Audience. These nuclei of email marketing are the building blocks to your success.