10 Secrets of Successful Email Marketing - Part II
Email is one of the fastest, most cost-effective marketing techniques available today. But it has it’s own set of unique challenges that require email marketers to fight on two fronts: getting your email to the inbox and keeping the subscriber interested enough to open your emails and respond to them. On the brighter side, if you follow the 10 "secrets" below you will easily cruise ahead of your competition that pays little attention to these strategies (If you need a refresher on the first five "secrets", check them out here).
6. Make the best use of the subject line
This really could be it’s own blog post, and much has already been written on this topic - it’s that vital. The subject line is like the headline of your email and can make or break an email campaign. Keep in mind that your subscribers will scan email subjects in their inboxes to decide whether your email is worth opening. This means that the first three words of your subject line have the biggest impact, so make sure you use them and put the most important information at the beginning of the line. Ideally, your subject line should be friendly, build curiosity and promise a benefit for reading the rest of the email - but every audience is different so you should consider testing subject lines to see what works with your audience and what doesn’t. One other best practice: Try to keep subject lines between 35-55 characters to keep them from getting cut off.
I could write about subject lines all day, so let’s move on to...
7. Be attentive to email formatting
The majority of email clients are now capable of rendering HTML emails so you have full control over how the email appears in the customer’s inbox. The choice of font, text wrapping, and location of your graphical elements can lend professionalism and credibility or damage it. It's important to use an email-rendering tool that can show you exactly how your email will render in all of the top email clients, such as Gmail, Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook. This will allow you to see how your email will appear to the reader when images are blocked and where the typical "fold" is so that you can be sure to include your main message in plain view so the reader doesn't have to scroll down (or over) to see it. Just because your email looks fine on your own computer screen doesn't mean that it will look fine on your recipient's. You’ll also need to be aware of the unique restrictions of each client. For example, Outlook 7 does not allow the display of animated GIFs, so you’ll want to keep those things in mind when designing your email.
8. Keep your emails focused
Avoid trying to share too much information in a single email. If you find that your email is getting too lengthy then it’s best to make this email a teaser that would lead to the full information on a landing page or on your Web site. Subscribers expect an email to be an appropriate length and to go beyond this is to risk losing their attention. A Web site, on the other hand can present complex ideas without the risk of losing attention. No one expects to get a personal letter the length of the Sunday Newspaper.
9. Provide value upfront
Your email recipients expect to receive value from you in return for reading your messages. Whether it is a hot tip, a discount or some other special offer, you must deliver or lose your subscribers. The more value you provide, the more anticipation to receive your next email builds, and the more likely your subscriber’s loyalty will translate into increased business for your company.
10. Track everything
Tracking is probably the single best thing you can do to improve your email marketing. Knowing what elements are successful and which ones aren’t will help you to create your next email message. Here again it becomes important to use an email vendor with the latest tracking software so you can determine the open rate, deliverability, click-through rate and conversion rate for your emails. This is the only way you can determine your email marketing effectiveness and so make incremental improvements. Tracking is the direct marketer’s huge advantage over brand advertising. You will want this advantage too.