Email marketing is a viable online marketing strategy, in fact, it’s one of the best tools to have in your digital toolbox, as you can see from the graphic below. While not an easy strategy to implement, learn to rock your email marketing in 2021 with these updated tips and tricks.
Tips to rock your email marketing in 2021
First, start with your purpose in using email marketing, which comes in two general categories; 1) lead nurturing and 2) relationship building. Your email marketing messages and tactics vary depending on your purpose, as well as other aspects of your email strategy such as subscriber groups. Most brands want a strategy to rock your email marketing that meets both goals with slightly different tactics.
The other thing to remember is that email marketing is a two-pronged marketing strategy as you must first gain subscribers (preferably ones that match your marketing personas) before you can rock your email marketing with messages to subscriber groups. Rules in both the US (CanSpam) and much of Europe (GDPR) make it illegal to send email messages without the permission of subscribers — that’s why email marketing is often called permission marketing. In the US, regulations impose a $10.000 fine for each infraction of the permission rule; making violations expensive and dangerous to your reputation. Cleaning your subscription list frequently to remove subscribers who rarely or never open messaging also helps your subscriber list performance. We’ll leave this aspect of email marketing for another post so we can focus on just the messaging aspect of email marketing strategy.
In assessing the performance of your email marketing strategy, consider metrics such as open rates, click rates, the number who unsubscribe, undeliverables, and the number of opens per subscriber. You can use this information to retarget subscribers who represent a clear opportunity for your brand, such as those who opened the message more than once or who clicked on something. You can also follow your email performance through your website, although you can’t access personally identifiable information on your site. You can, however, determine how many visitors spurred by a particular email message added a product to their cart or converted. These metrics help you rock your email marketing.
Start with the best subject lines
Many people delete emails upon receipt because they don’t have an interesting subject line. Over time, poor subject lines generate more unsubscribes. With the right subject line, the recipient might consider reading the rest of the email.
Hallmarks of a good subject line are:
- Contain the most impactful words at the beginning
- Ensure the email content is clear upfront
- Highlight the value offered
- Are personalized
- Elicit a fear of missing out (fomo)
- Stimulate curiosity
- Evoke emotions
Limit blast emails
Sending a blast email to the entire list makes sense sometimes; for instance, to share some newsworthy event. However, segmenting your list and sending salient emails to subscriber lists makes a lot of sense. Users want personalized email that goes much deeper than simply inserting their name into the message. They want emails that provide value based on their past purchases or viewing patterns. For instance, if a subscriber viewed a specific product page, send them updates on that product. Sending discount offers or notices of price drops gets a high response rate from subscribers interested in that product.
Send emails designed specifically for one of your personas to a group of subscribers who fit that persona. Adjust your message and images, maybe even your subject line to spur interest from a specific persona.
Use the recipient’s name
The heading and subject line help rock your email marketing when you personalize them with the subscriber’s name. Talk to the recipient and start by including the name. Deep personalization shows that the message is designed with the subscriber and their needs in mind. There’s a greater chance that the content gets opened using this personalization and, because the message matches the subscriber’s needs, the chance of gaining a click is greater. You can even include where you received the recipient’s information, such as referring to a specific webinar or page the subscriber joined your list from to build trust.
Customize the content
Be clear about the reason for sending the email. If you’re attracting potential customers, talk about your brand and what it stands for. You may also include links to your website where the recipient can get more information. Of course, you can’t have the same message if the email is for existing customers. For them, you need information about promotions and discounts. Make them feel that they’re first to know about these details because they’re loyal to you. Understand the needs of these recipients before sending out the emails to avoid confusion.
Often, companies use email marketing as part of a lead nurturing program and messaging revolves around where the subscriber is along the journey. Hence, interactions with prior email messages or offline activities, such as meeting with a salesperson, determine which messaging branch is followed for the next message.
Keep the message short
You don’t have to say everything in the email. No one has time to read lengthy emails. Therefore, it helps to keep the message short. Try being straightforward and send the message across quickly. If you want to offer resources, embed the link within the message. If the recipient wants to know more, it’s easy to follow the link.
Use a strong, appealing visual design for your email to make it easier to skim the content and more attractive through the use of images.
Include a call to action
After reading the email, the recipient should know what actions you expect next. You must include a clear call to action that links to an appropriate landing page that fits your message content. Use a straightforward call to action that’s highly visible when scanning the message. Using a button in a contracting color receives more clicks than a hyperlink, so keep that in mind.
Create mobile-friendly emails
Your emails must be easy to view using a mobile device. Over 41% of email messages are opened using a mobile device, a number that grows every year, so test your messages on email before you send them out. Also, consider the bandwidth necessary to view your email properly on a mobile device by limiting images or allowing users to determine whether to download images or not. Finally, remember you have limited real estate on a mobile device so ensure your links are far enough apart to avoid accidental clicks.
Follow up, but don’t spam your target audience
Sometimes, subscribers simply blow past your email, especially on Mondays when they try to quickly clear their inbox after the weekend. Try sending a follow-up email to give them a second chance to read your message. Perhaps, some subscribers were too busy to check their email before your message got buried under an avalanche of new messages. You can send a follow-up email, if necessary. Follow the same tips as the initial email and provide an opportunity for the subscriber to open before sending a follow-up. Don’t keep sending emails since the subscriber may have purposely ignored your message because it didn’t interest them. Your new email must also offer something different from the first message. It can’t be the same message sent the last time.
Write a preview text
If the recipient is too busy to go through the entire email, offering a short preview text. This preview shows in a different pane in most email programs such as Outlook and should contain enough information to entice the person to read the whole message. Include something catchy in the preview text. If it’s boring, no one will read the remaining information. Most email providers, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact automatically create a preview and let your edit it before sending.
Highlight positive reviews and testimonials
You keep telling people why they should patronize your brand. However, they also want to know what others have to say about what you offer. Therefore, it pays to post reviews front and center in your emails. Let these existing customers do the talking. You become a more reliable company when the details come from the perspective of regular people.
Go back to plain text
Over time, many companies became creative in attracting people to read emails. From images to gifs and videos, these strategies are useful in keeping everyone engaged. The problem is they don’t necessarily increase people’s interest. Test whether it’s better to use plain text and simple language by doing A/B testing of various versions of your message. Keep it short but enticing. In 2021, this is the trend, and it seems to work. More people respond well to simple emails over the most creative ones. It might be surprising, but it’s worth the try.
A digital marketing agency could help you
You might find it challenging to decide how to move forward with your email marketing strategy. You may feel frustrated that nothing seems to work. Of the thousands of emails you sent, you achieved few clicks. Or, even when you got a click, it didn’t turn into a profit.
Before you lose hope, realize that you can work with a digital marketing agency. These experts help you determine how to boost your email marketing strategy. The good thing about working with an agency is someone monitors the progress to help optimize performance. If it works in your favor, keep doing it. Otherwise, tweak your strategy or retool your message. You can still convince more people to patronize your brand and become loyal customers.
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