Six ways to improve your email marketing

An email marketing campaign can be a brilliant way to promote sales and reinforce your brand. Whether you’ve got a sale on or a special discount available, this can be a perfect opportunity to get your products in front of the eyes of your customers. But for a variety of reasons, email campaigns can often fail to reap the rewards businesses feel that they should. Here are six ways to improve your email marketing.

shutterstock_245268751Avoid images

When someone opens an email from you, they aren’t going to give you an awful lot of time to make a good impression. Many people consider email marketing to be nothing more than spam in their inbox so you need to grab them and draw them in immediately. Some companies think the best way to do this is through stunning banner images – impressive visuals tend to work best in most forms of marketing. However, trying to do this in your email campaigns is a mistake.

A large number of email client software actually block images automatically, meaning the receiver will have to unblock the image to allow them to see it. When you’re trying to make a good impression, the last thing that you need is broken images. Instead focus on the text being the main part of the email.

Ensure your emails are mobile friendly

It’s an unfortunate truth that many companies spend hours crafting a beautiful email campaign only for it to look broken and messy to the majority of users who open it. This happens because the massive majority of email campaigns are created and previewed on a full size computer screen, but many users will read their emails on their phone or tablet. This will cause the email to render incorrectly and it will look terrible.

We have already discussed the importance of making a good first impression with your email, so ensure that you preview your emails on different screen sizes. Also consider the numbers – if the majority of your audience open their emails on a phone or tablet, maybe it’s worth considering creating the content with a mobile-focussed mentality.

Have a compelling subject line

The subject line is vital. Get it wrong and you can see your open-rates plummet as people delete your email without giving it a chance. But get it right and it can draw people in. Of course the key is finding a balance between having a persuasive enough sales message but avoiding coming across purely as a sales pitch.

It’s worth putting in a time-based call to action like ‘ending Monday’ or ‘only until 6pm’ as urgency can be an excellent motivating factor.

Personalise the email

No-one likes to receive an email that just feels like it’s trying to make money. We like to feel that our emails are personal documents that are sent to us. So it’s always worth making the changes to ensure that the campaign feels personal. For example, instead of having the email arrive from ‘sales@yourbusiness.com’ consider having it arrive from someone’s name. This feels like a real interaction.

Adding the customer’s first name and using personal message based on their purchases or history with the company can go a long way to show people that the email is designed for them, not just as a way to make money.

Get better data

Sometimes you can spend a long time crafting a perfect email with excellent offers and smart, snappy language, but the campaign still falls flat and fails to perform in the way you would like. At some point you have to face facts that even a truly brilliant email marketing campaign will not succeed if you are getting the email in front of the right people.

If your data is the key factor that is letting you down, it’s worth noting that it is possible to purchase relevant and specialist data lists. When your campaign is viewed by people who are actually interested in making use of your products and services it can make a huge difference to your success rates.

Understand the best time to send your email

It is vital for you to monitor all of the data around your past email campaigns. When you see examples of high or low open rates you can look at those campaigns to see if there is an obvious reason why one succeeded and the other didn’t. Similarly you can apply this to click-through rates to get a better idea of what contents works and what doesn’t. But one of the key factors you need to understand is timing. Do you email perform better if they are sent out first thing or late in the day? Do your customers prefer to read about your products on their lunch break or at the weekend? When you can see what time works best for you, it gives you a template for when you should send your emails out.

Lloyd Wells; independent content writer, graphic designer and email marketing specialist working with Selectabase.

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