Every day, consumers open their email accounts and are faced with a barrage of messages, but how can you make your message stand out and achieve those all-important click through rates?
We’ve compiled a handy list of our top 10 email marketing tips for email success, but first, let’s talk a little more about the importance of email marketing and why, contrary to popular belief, email marketing is alive, well, and necessary for your business.
Over 90% of us scroll through our emails every day, which makes email one of the most effective ways to reach consumers.
We’re used to emails, we like emails! Emails feel personal – ‘just for us’ – (even when they are not) and when done right, the information we receive is welcomed and wanted.
In fact, we are using email more than ever before, so if anyone tries to tell you that email marketing is dead, don’t listen – it’s not. Think of it like this, more people use email than Facebook, and in our Facebook-centric world, that’s something!
So, now we have established that email is here to stay, what about email marketing and successful lead generation?
As consumers, we’re a savvy lot, we want to be challenged, entertained and enticed to respond, and that means clever, well-thought-out email marketing campaigns that deliver not only what they, the consumer, want, but what we, as a business, need.
With this in mind, here are our top 10 email marketing tips for email success…
1. Enticing content
Does your email message hit the spot? What you don’t put in is as important as what you do put in!
Consider your content carefully; your message should entice consumers to want more… Don’t overload your emails with too much content, give your message slowly… You want people to click through to your website and read more, not stay on the email.
When it comes to content, always remember your aim: to build traffic to your website and turn those leads into sales. Tease people with just enough content and they’ll click through – we’re curious, and this works.
2. Subject lines
Your subject line can make or break your email marketing campaign – that’s how important it is.
Subject lines are sometimes the last thing we think about when we create emails, but what you write in that little space is so important as it is the first thing people see when your email pops into their inbox.
Think about it, when you receive an email, what makes you open it? That’ll be what’s written in the subject line…
Our tip? Be creative. Be intriguing! Be different. Depending on what you are ‘selling’, avoid being too sales focused as this can put people off. What we said earlier about savvy consumers counts here – draw people in with smart copy and cool offers (if that’s what you’re giving them) and they’ll want to know more.
Oh, and keep your copy short too – stick to 50 characters or less. The best email subject lines are descriptive, but short. Avoid done clichés too and get creative instead to increase open rates.
3. Alt tags
ALT tags are funny little things. When we receive emails, we take it for granted that images will have their own ALT tag, which explain to the recipient what the images in the email are, especially if the images are switched off when they receive their email, but really, they mean so much more.
ALT tags play a central part of page optimisation when it comes to SEO and, when used in the right way, they’ll help in search engine results (we all want our page at the top, don’t we?) and even image search results.
For maximum results, take the time to ensure that ALT tags are accurate and behind every single image you use. And yes, you should keep ALT tags short, but there is still room for manoeuvre… Here’s a few tips:
Be short, yet descriptive: whilst it is important to be concise, you need to have enough detail to convey what the image is showing us. For example, don’t just say ‘cat’ for a sleeping tabby cat. Say ‘tabby cat napping’.
Don’t use sentences or paragraphs – whilst it is important to be descriptive, don’t start using lots of words! It’s a fine line.
Be strategic – look at your page keyword or theme; using your keyword in the ALT tag can help with page ranking.
But, beware of appearing as spam! Using keywords is good, but don’t go overboard and try and rank all your images. Google will read this as spam and that’s not what you want.
4. Don’t spam
On the subject of spamming, take care not to overwhelm your audience with too many emails as you may find they hit the unsubscribe button. Whilst most users are happy to receive regular information, they will soon tire of companies who email too often.
5. Responsive emails
The whole point of sending an email is to generate a response, and one of the most important considerations is making sure your emails work on desktop views all the way down to mobile ones when potential consumers click through. This will ensure your audience can see the content of your email easily, and will increase the likelihood that they will read it.
And yet, it is estimated that over half of all marketing emails are not optimised for mobile viewing. Mobile websites are not just a pretty add-on, they have become a necessity in today’s mobile world. We are more likely to access our information from mobiles, smart phones and touch pads – and an interactive, fully responsive mobile-website that is clear, concise and easy to use on mobile devices lets consumers see what they need in a mobile-friendly way.
6. Relevant content
Don’t you just hate receiving emails that are of no interest to you? Remember this golden rule when it comes to email marketing and you’re halfway there… Keep it relevant!
A good email marketing plan takes time to put together so make the best use of that time by engaging the right audience with your content – if it interests them, they’ll pay attention! And, when you devise your content, apart from making it interesting and engaging, try segmenting your data into categories, such as targeting particular topics to the right gender, age or interest as this could dramatically improve your click through rates.
7. Clear call to action
What’s the most important thing a recipient can do after reading your email? Click through! As soon as your email is read, clear call to action buttons should be right there, but of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method, so when thinking about what would work for you and why, consider the following:
Make your call to action(s) stand out – use different colours or containers.
Keep copy short, clear and beneficial – try using between two and five words that give readers the impression that they are gaining something by clicking through.
Use ‘do it now’ language – copy needs to be present, urgent and feel immediate.
Be ‘above the fold’ – don’t make them scroll down to click through! Where you place your call to action is crucial as your recipients may not read through your entire email but may still want to click through, so keep call to action buttons ‘above the fold’ and you’ll capture clicks.
Stick to one call to action per email – we know, it’s hard, but it works. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with a choice of click through buttons – they only need one – and if it stands out and uses clear language, you’ll see results.
Avoid saying ‘click here’. People need more than a simple instruction – impress them.
8. Top your Message
This ties in nicely with our ‘above the fold’ message as it follows the same formula.
Your main message is the most important one, so give it pride of place at the top of your email to give readers the best chance of seeing it – and even if they don’t read anything else, they’ll read that.
Your supporting messages can then go below your main message, that way you have laid out the email in a way that the user can digest more easily.
9. HTML text
Whilst using HTML emails is the ideal choice, avoid creating image heavy emails as what you say is just as important as what your email looks like. Aim for at least 50% HTML text as this, along with proper coding (don’t add code copied from a Word document for example as email spam filters recognise this) will make it less likely that your email ends up as spam.
10. Test, test, test!
Before you send any emails out, ensure that they work! Invest in an email tester so that you can make sure emails can be opened in all email browsers and displayed correctly. We know Outlook and Lotus notes can be a pain, but it’s worth taking the time to get it right, even in older emails systems.
Ready to start a new email marketing campaign? We hope you’ve enjoyed our top 10 email marketing tips; look out for more top 10 tips in celebration of our 10 year anniversary coming your way soon.