Despite all the newfangled ways to keep in touch with current and prospective clients, the simple, mild-mannered email continues to dominate the field. Its stickier than social media and more precise than a blog post.
Since email remains one of the most effective marketing tools in your arsenal, it's important to send it off well equipped. Here are some key considerations when crafting your email campaigns.
1. INTRIGUE FOR OPENS
The subject line of your email is the first thing people skim before sending it to the trash. Get it read and opened with a subject line that intrigues.
Witty, pithy, and/or thought-provoking subject lines will stand out in the onslaught of emails your subscribers receive on a daily basis.
While it may be tempting to do otherwise, avoid using overly promotional words like "free." They can land your email in the junk folder and suffer lower open rates regardless -- no one wants to be blatantly sold to.
2. SOUND HUMAN
Somewhere between fingertips and flashing cursors it's easy to lose a human voice and go robotic, or worse, over-compensate and sound like a used car salesman for your firm.
Avoid both by adding genuine personality to your writing and remembering that you're a person speaking to a person, not a company speaking to a collective.
One suggested tip for sounding personal is to add the name of your recipient into the body of your email.
As with any tip, its important to consider the finer points. Names are incredibly personal, which is what makes them such powerful tools, but their power isn't necessarily all positive. Employing a name can be friendly and familiar, formal, or forceful and accusatory.
Context is key. If you dont believe me, take it from Christopher Voss, a 24-year veteran of the FBI, whose job as hostage negotiator was to talk people into doing the opposite of what they wanted. He says:
Do not use the other persons name over and over again during an interaction, use it in the beginning and the end. Using someones name to begin statements in conversation creates defensiveness, they know you want something.
Another hard and fast rule: no last names. Nothing will come across as trying (and therefore failing) to sound authentic more than using someone's full name.
3. PROVIDE VALUE
Your email campaigns may serve to benefit you, but above all else, they should provide value to your audience. Whether it's answers, information or entertainment, people should get something out of every email.
Consider this the carrot to make people click. Your subscribers may not be interested in everything you offer, but if they enjoy what they read regardless, they'll continue to open your emails, giving you the opportunity to find what theyll want to click on.
4. DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISE
The majority of your marketing emails are meant as a gateway to something else, such as an e-book or blog post.
Because of that, you can't simply link people to your homepage to flounder around in a sea of confusion trying to find what they clicked for -- you have to take them directly to the value you promised and then not distract from it.
Creating value within the email is essential, but no less important is ensuring that value remains on the other end of the link. If your incentive fails to impress, your subscribers will be less inclined to open future emails.
5. TIME IT RIGHT
Timing is everything, even when it comes to sending emails.
Unfortunately, the right time to ensure optimal engagement with your email differs across the board and depends on everything from the day of the week to the individual receiving it.
The only way to find your right time is with 'guess and check,' either on your own or through an email service like MailChimp. If you lack the time or resources for guesswork, most studies point to Tuesday as having the highest email open rate.
Kellie Gibson is the marketing writer, grammar fairy, and resident bibliophile at Advisor Websites, where she manages the companys blog and contributes to their e-book publications, newsletters, and various marketing campaigns.
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