Email Marketing Starter Guide
Email is still a strategic piece of your marketing strategy, with 91% of marketers rating it as important. The two main goals that marketers prioritize when it comes to email marketing are to increase sales revenue (59%) and to boost lead generation (49%).
But there are many factors at play that can determine your email campaign effectiveness. Build your strategy on these four strong blocks, and you have nothing to worry about.
Your subject line plays a starring role in your campaign success. Those 50 or so characters might not seem like a lot, but they carry an incredible amount of weight.
If your subject line fails, then your email campaign stops dead in its tracks. No email opening means no one will see your message inside, which means no one will click through or respond.
How can you craft more effective subject lines to give your email marketing efforts a boost? Here’s our top advice:
- Think of it as a title: You surely know the importance of writing compelling titles for blog posts or pages on your website to catch people’s attention. The process of crafting an email subject line is no different. The same best practices (i.e., using numbers or surprising statements, injecting the reader into the mix) should apply.
- Make use of past learnings and conduct A/B testing: What resonates well with your prospects? Listen to what they’re telling you! Look at past emails you’ve sent to see which subject lines performed well and which ones didn’t, and see if you can identify any patterns.
- Keep it simple: If someone doesn’t immediately understand your message, they’ll move on to the next thing. With that in mind, make sure that your subject lines are clear and easy to understand, even if someone is skimming (because there’s a good chance they are!).
- Don’t mislead: Don’t market an event as exclusive if anyone can register and attend. If you apply the “exclusive” label to an event, it better be because only a certain number of people got invited, or you must meet specific qualifications to attend.
- Be yourself: Whatever defines your brand, make sure it comes across in your email subject lines. Being consistent with your brand voice can help prospects easily identify which emails are yours and help you stand out from the pack in that crowded inbox.
Include Plain Text Email
Some recipients in your targeted list won’t be able to support HTML, and without a plain text version waiting in the wings, they won’t receive your message at all.
Whatever the reason, your text emails need to be just as awesome as HTML since you never know who’s not receiving them and why. Don’t treat them as HTML’s boring, younger step-email, but instead consider them an opportunity to develop creatively without depending on modern marketing tools. Here are some tips you might use:
- Focus on the copy: You don’t have the luxury of depending on images, hyperlinks, or design to convey your message—only your writing. Text emails’ copy should be simple, relevant, and actionable. Divide up your content with clear headings. One of the best practices is to press Enter (or the Return key on Macs) about every two sentences. This way, readers will be able to access the information they need quickly.
- Stay as close to your HTML version as possible: Your text email isn’t a middle-man to direct readers to a web version of the original HTML email. Provide the same information as if this is the only email being delivered. Indeed, links often don’t work in text-only emails (depending on the reader’s email client). However, it’s still worth a shot to include them, especially shortened URLs. Highlight a couple of links as references for recipients to type URLs manually in their browsers.
- Find creative alternatives: Since you can’t capture the readers’ attention with colors, bold letters, or bullet lists, you need to find other ways to highlight specific messages. Implement old standbys like asterisks (*), dashes (-), exclamation points (!), and Capitalizing Headlines. However, do not capitalize your email’s subject line, as this is a red flag for spam filters.
Include Strong CTAs
A marketer’s entire email campaign or product page is centered around the action they want recipients or visitors to take.
CTAs are all about engagement. Email recipients who click on your call to action and engage with your website have a higher chance of becoming knowledgeable, qualified leads who evolve into knowledgeable customers with time and nurturing. So, what’s to be done:
- Use the Jedi Mind Trick: Like a moth to a flame, we want customers to have no choice but to engage with the CTA. Don’t write a CTA that’s too wordy and sounds passive; your language should be targeted and actionable with a high verb count. Use contrasting colors and simple language.
- Follow a clear, simple path: When a customer or lead clicks on a CTA that promises to take them to a recorded webinar, then it better take them straight to that recorded webinar. Don’t route them to your homepage or provide additional offers. Also, be sure this path relates to your overall marketing goal and the lead’s placement in the nurture campaign.
- Exit through the gift shop: If you want leads to explore other pages on your website, give them a chance after completing a call to action, not before.
- Repeat yourself (repeat yourself): Include multiple CTAs throughout your email. This increases your click-through rates and simplifies reader engagement by preventing unwanted scrolling and searching.
Pay Attention to Your Email Deliverability
Email deliverability is the rate at which emails arrive in the inbox. All your other email metrics depend on it since nothing can be measured if you can’t ensure your email reaches the inbox and not the spam folder.
But email deliverability is constantly changing by industry from year to year. We’ve put together a list of a few things you should watch for when it comes to getting it right:
- Spam Traps: Someone marking your message as spam is worse than someone unsubscribing. It affects your email reputation. A few common spam traps include:
- typo traps—domain addresses that have been misspelled
- grey/recycled traps—addresses that were once active but have been out of use for a period
- pristine traps—real email addresses that have never opted into any email communications.
- Laws: As email spam continues to become a major issue, governments around the world have put specific regulations in place to protect their citizens from unsolicited emails. Not following these laws could mean major fines for your business.
- Clean Database: Nothing is worse for email deliverability than a messy, outdated database to pull your lists from. To keep your email database clean, make sure you have a visible unsubscribe link in all emails and remove inactive recipients after a certain period. Try using a preference page that allows people to choose how they want to interact with you (with options like subscribe to newsletters, promotional opportunities, or all email).
- Quality Content: Content is key even when we talk about email deliverability. Remember to personalize your content and keep your images small and lightweight (below 30KB) so you can make it to the inbox. Avoid URL shorteners like bit.ly as they are on blacklists and can easily get your emails marked as spam.
The hardest decision to make as an email marketer is when it’s time to stop trying to reach those unengaged recipients. While it may be tempting to keep trying to send to these recipients, your perseverance may hurt your overall deliverability in the long run.
All that being said, we hope we have brought you closer to your goal of understanding what it takes for an email marketing campaign to be successful and get you the engagement you wish for. If you have more questions starting your email marketing efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!