Posted by Brian Berg Google+
So you’ve decided to add email marketing to your businesses regular consumer mailing list marketing approach. Email can be a great way to bring your marketing into a digital arena, while creating a multi-channel marketing tactic when combined with your regular direct mail tools. So, you have your email marketing lists ready. You know exactly the kind of client you want to attract and you have composed an outstanding message which is simply guaranteed to convince your target audience that your business is by far the best in the industry. You know it and it’s high time they knew it too. Unfortunately, however, as many as 80% of all emails received are either deleted without being read or worse, default straight to the folder labeled Spam. So how can you avoid your carefully composed message going the same way? How can you increase your email open rates so that your email is seen and appreciated by the people you are trying to reach? The answer is simpler than you might think and this post aims to give marketers an insight into effective email communication.
1) Make it Personal: Think about your own inbox. You probably receive hundreds of emails a week, and you probably automatically ignore those emails that come from generic addresses. The fact is, an email received from, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org is more likely to stay unread, whereas a message from email@example.com seems to speak to the reader before it’s even been opened. Basically, a personal address is more direct and tends to pique the reader’s curiosity, making your email marketing campaign far more effective. If you can, try and send your emails from a personal (but business related) account, preferably with a first or second name in the address line.
2) Keep it Simple, Keep it Short, Keep it Direct: This advice relates to your subject line and you can almost think of it in relativity to your consumer mailing list mail piece’s call to action. If your email header is overly complicated, doesn’t relate to your business or email content and gives an offer that seems too good to be true, it will end up heading to the trash folder. So, instead of including a lengthy subject header that promises fantastic discounts, think of ways you can get your message across without sounding too “salesy”. People are bombarded with overt sales and marketing messages on a daily basis and as a result have actually become desensitized to it, so avoiding this angle in your email marketing literature is imperative.
3) Be Aware of Spam Filters: Spam filters are there to protect the innocent email user from unsolicited emails. You know those messages that seem to shout at you about AMAZING 50% DISCOUNTS!!! and Save Money On Your Favorite Products- Sale Now On!!!!!!…? You get the basic idea! For the most part, these types of email will naturally default to the Spam folder, for obvious reasons. The spam filter is pretty clever and if it catches too many exclamation marks, lots of shouty capital letters or even a generic sales subject and it will throw them away and rightly so. Similarly, emails that contain too much HTML, images or videos are likely to end up in the bin.
4) The Time is Right: People access their email at different times of the day (and night), but statistics have shown that open rates tend to increase depending on the time an email is received. Week days are the best for making sure your message is seen, with weekends and evenings proving less successful. Having said which, the demographics of your target readership could dictate the best time or day for you to send out your emails. If a company wanted to inform their readership about potential savings regarding vehicle expenses, they might benefit from targeting an ‘at home’ audience who take care of personal errands after a full day at work. It’s always a good idea to try experimenting with different times and subject headers in a bid to establish the most profitable time for you to click ‘send’.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, just as with consumer mailing list campaigns, make sure you respect your intended readership. People aren’t stupid and even if they open an email, if the content fails to match up to expectations they will ignore or delete the message immediately. Your email content needs to be engaging, pithy, informative, not too salesy and, where possible, helpful. People love learning new things, especially regarding subjects about which they are already interested and if your email can deliver this, then your prospective client is far more likely to carry on reading again and again.