ABC’s of SEO – E is for Email Marketing
It’s surprising how many companies ignore the value of email marketing, not only for selling a product or service or sending out a valued message, but more importantly, the value it holds for brand awareness. Email marketing can generate significant growth in brand equity, your reputation, and general awareness of your company and what you have to offer.
There are lots of different types of emails, ranging from short, single call to action emails known as postcards, to sales emails, newsletters and press releases. The trick is to choose the right email for the right campaign, then send it to the right people.
The great thing about email marketing is that you don’t need a huge budget. These days you don’t even really need to know html or be a designer – lots of online companies and services offer templates and wizards to help you write and send your campaigns. They also offer monitoring services so you can see who is opening your emails and who is clicking on what.
However, as easy as it is to create and send an email, it’s just as easy to end up straight in someone’s junk folder, so what are the tricks to a successful email campaign? We’ve put together a quick list of 13 “dos and don’ts” (why not, we aren’t superstitious) to make sure your email is the best it can be.
1. Make sure your subject line has a strong clear message. Experiment with different subject lines and choose the one with the highest open rate. Free product offers, discounts or recognised brand names can increase the click through rate, whereas excessive punctuation or capital letters will do the opposite.
2. Make sure there is a clear message/call to action. Why are you emailing the person? If you’re not actually sure, then don’t send it!
3. Make sure you actually have some good content. Are your subscribers engaged in your email? Keep it short and easy to scan and make sure that you can read all the important stuff without scrolling. 67.78% of customers unsubscribe from email marketing lists because the emails contain no relevant products (Emailcentre UK, April 2009) and 26% of people will ignore long emails (Epsilon International via E-Consultancy blog, June 2009).
4. Keep the design smart but clean with small compressed graphics and simple fonts. Don’t be too proud to use a template – it’s better to use one that’s been tested and you know works.
5. Make sure you have a plain text version of your campaign for people who can’t view your html version – some mobile devices can’t read html emails properly and there is always one person out there using a stupidly old version of Outlook (you know who you are).
6. Give a clear and easy way to share or send to a friend and always have a clear unsubscribe/opt out link. You’d be surprised how many people report emails as spam because they can’t find out how to unsubscribe from emails and want a way to get rid of them.
7. Test, test and test again in as many different email clients as you can. Annoyingly, all email clients display emails differently, usually only ever so slightly, but on some occasions totally enough to screw up your campaigns (I talk from experience).
8. Create your own list rather than just buying a list. This way you can target the right people. Ask people what they are interested in so you can make sure you send them the right information and don’t be afraid to get in touch with customers from time to time and check they are happy and ask them what they want.
9. When you have the right list, tailor different versions of the email for each group. This is where most companies fail, because they don’t personalise their emails enough. And make sure that you send a personalised welcome message immediately upon subscription.
10. Make sure you clean your list regularly so you don’t lose money by continuing to send emails to ‘bouncing’ email addresses.
11. Don’t send out too many emails and give people ‘email fatigue’. Over 60% of recipients will unsubscribe if too many emails are sent (Emailcentre, April 2009).
12. Track everything and use this information to review and refine your campaigns. Look at the trends from all of your campaigns and recognise a jumper before they jump – why are people leaving you, how do you stop this from happening again?
13. Make sure you send your emails out on the right day…Mondays are considered the worse day to send emails as you get the lowest open rate, and on Fridays everyone is too busy thinking about the weekend.