Lasting relationships. Trust. Loyalty.
These are all elements that a successful email marketing campaign can help you build with your audience. Whether you realize it or not, email marketing is still one of the most used and effective marketing tactics out there according to Smart Insights, a learning platform for digital marketing. Its effectiveness is tied to the fact that it’s an immediate mode of communication, cost-effective and as wide-reaching or targeted as you need it to be.
Who wouldn’t be interested in utilizing such an approach?
If you’re just beginning your email marketing journey or have years of experience under your belt, everyone can do with a few reminders for best practices to implement in their campaign. As trends fluctuate, ideas fall out of style and new concepts replace old, the dos and don’ts of the business change as well. That’s why SGA is here to provide you with our (current) top 7 tips for a successful email marketing campaign.
1. Subject Line
What’s the first thing you notice when you receive an email? The subject line, of course! It can either be the reason your email is read or ignored. That is why it’s crucial to think about your subject line and how it relates to your readers. Is it catchy? Is it short and to the point? Is it easy to understand or does it captivate the audience in a way that makes someone want to learn more? Getting a subscriber to open your email is the first barrier you must overcome to have a successful marketing campaign. Consider A/B testing different subject lines to see which resonates better with your audience. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a way of working out which of two campaign options is the most effective in terms of encouraging opens or clicks.
In an A/B test you set up two variations of the one campaign and send them to a small percentage of your total recipients. Half of the test group is sent Version A, while the other half gets Version B. The result, measured by the most opens or clicks, determines the winning version. This is then sent to the remaining subscribers. This is a quick and easy way of ensuring your subject line is a winner.
If you don’t take your email design seriously, then neither will your subscribers. This may be obvious, but always double-triple-quadruple check for spelling and formatting mistakes. Break up paragraphs and use bullet points/numbering so your reader’s eyes don’t tire. Use legible and larger fonts (14-16pt). Less obvious tips? Images are a great addition to emails to add visual stimulation, but be careful to not go overboard. When using images, use them sparingly and thoughtfully and remember to include descriptive alt tags for email subscribers that disable images in their email browser. Keep your email width to about 600px to make sure it’s seen in its entirety, no matter the device it’s being read on. And while links inside the body of the email to more information are great, avoid including attachments. This will flag spam warnings which increase the likelihood of your email never being seen at all.
The most important point to remember? Your email design should reflect your brand. Consistency with style, color palette, and overall design should follow your brand standard to make sure readers instantly recognize your email before reading any of the content.
Subscribers don’t want to know (or have to think about the fact) that they are being marketed to. Make your emails as personal as you can to ensure this. Try to understand your subscribers and who they are. Make your emails about them. This could mean addressing the subscriber by name in your email or personalizing the content to their specific interest or location. You want them to feel like you care (and you should care!). The email should be the start of a conversation with your subscribers that potentially leads into a long-lasting relationship. And NEVER send emails from a “no-reply” email address, this sends the exact opposite message.
You don’t want to bombard your subscribers with emails, but you don’t want them to think you’ve forgotten them either! You may want to start with only 1 or 2 emails a month. Keep your email timing as consistent as possible. You will also want to consider the day and time you send out your emails. While studies vary significantly when it comes to the best time to send an email, the tried-and-true strategy is to send out email blasts in the middle of the week and in the middle of the day. Generally, somewhere between 1pm – 3pm is what works best for email marketing (although some also suggest mornings between 9am-11am).
Our lives have become mobile-friendly, so your email marketing campaign should too! With over 55% of people checking their email on their smartphone or tablet devices, your templates need to be mobile-friendly. Buttons should be easy to click on a mobile device, emails should be short enough that subscribers don’t have to scroll for long, and links should easily transition to a mobile-friendly landing page.
6. Call To Action
A call to action (CTA) is an easy way for you to encourage your subscribers to delve further into your brand. It’s how you can get them to interact with your content. It tells them where to look and what to do next and sometimes that’s all anyone really needs. Make sure your call to action is clear and concise and make sure that it is a relatively simple and actionable ask. You don’t want to ask for too much up front, as that can scare subscribers away. Below are examples of some creative and interesting CTAs.
- See What’s Next
- Join Millions of Others
- Reserve Your Spot
- Learn More
- Don’t Miss Out, We’re Just a Phone Call Away
- Give Us A Try
- Talk To Us
7. GDPR Compliant
As a relatively new policy, it is important to make sure that you are aware of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and comply as needed. GDPR took effect in Spring 2018 and means that subscribers will have to explicitly opt-in to receive your emails and explicitly consent to having their personal information made available to you. Although this law is only specifically for European Union (EU) citizens at the moment, we believe being in compliance with this new regulation is incredibly important regardless of location. Not to mention, even if you are not an international organization, there is still a chance that you will have an EU subscriber on your list and you will be held liable. So, for your own safety and to respect your subscribers, we encourage you to take this last tip as seriously as the rest!
As you can see, there are many, many different aspects to an effective email marketing campaign and strategy. These useful suggestions should get you well on your way to a successful campaign. SGA Marketing creates, manages, and executes various email campaigns for our clients. We utilize these tips and more to ensure our messages are getting through to the right audience. As things change with time (and technology), we also make sure to stay up-to-date with trending best practices. If you need help crafting the perfect message and creating a strategic email campaign, or simply have questions regarding the content you’ve read here, please contact us today.