Thursday March 31, 2016
Email is a vital component of any marketing strategy, and if the 116 billion business emails sent per day is any indication, businesses are keenly aware of its potential benefits. Unfortunately, too many businesses don’t have a strategy behind their emails, and worse, don’t utilize email marketing best practices. Emails are often crafted spontaneously and blasted out without thinking strategically about what will make them truly effective. The following are some of the most common blunders we have seen and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.
1. Uninspired Subject Lines
Of all the tactics you can use to increase your email marketing effectiveness, your subject line has the greatest impact. It should be carefully crafted to appeal to the interest of your audience to get them to open your email in the first place. Yet we see emails come through everyday with subject lines such as “Your [choose a month] Newsletter” or some other non-descriptive subject line that mentions the title of the newsletter itself. I have news for you, no one cares what you name your newsletter, what they do care about is what’s in it. So if you simply tell people they are receiving their “Monthly Awesome Newsletter,” they are more likely to delete it than open it. Instead, give your readers an intriguing subject line, such as the title of one of your blog articles, to encourage them to read deeper. Remember, in 2016 the average person receives 91 emails per day – so if you don’t give them a reason to open your email, you might as well not send one at all.
2. Too Much Content
A common practice among small business owners who unfortunately don’t know any better, is to inundate their audience with too much information. Far too often we see newsletters come through that include 1-3 blog posts…in their entirety. The scrolling alone is enough to make you want to delete it as it is much harder to read information in an email pane than on a website, but you are also missing the primary purpose of sending an email – to elicit some sort of action from your audience. If you include the complete verbiage of your best blog post in your email, your recipients will have no reason to go to your website to continue engaging with your brand. They will consume the information and move on with their day – if they read it at all. Instead, craft 2-3 brief sentences describing your blog post and encouraging people to read it. Then, include a link to the full article on your website. If you’ve done your job correctly, you will also include a call to action on that blog post that will encourage readers to dig deeper into what you have to offer.
4. Not Leading with Your Best
The more links and call to actions you have in your newsletter, the lower your engagement will be. We have seen, with few exceptions, that the top link in a newsletter gets over 75 percent of clicks, followed by approximately a 20 percent click rate on the second link, and about 5 percent or lower on each subsequent link. Which means that if your top content is poor your overall response rate will drop dramatically. It may be tempting to put a hard sell at the top of your newsletter, simply because it will get more views and possibly more clicks, but hard sells are often a turn off to an audience already inundated with too much email, so give them a gift rather than request a sale and you will have fewer unsubscribes, higher clicks, and a greater open rate over time.
Email is still one of the most effective forms of marketing when done correctly. When not done correctly you are not only wasting your time, but damaging your brand as well. For more best practices on how to increase your email effectiveness, ask us about our upcoming workshop: How to Build Emails That Convert.