Email Marketing: How To Be Awesome, Not Annoying

03.08.16 / Digital Marketing

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It’s the ideal scenario for marketers: you create a message, you deliver your message directly to your customer, and your customer gets a “bing” or a “bzzt” telling them, “Hey. Someone has something to tell you.”

For this reason, email marketing is inherently intrusive. Unlike other media, it cannot be ignored and everyone’s already receiving too much of it. It’s also the easiest medium to block out. It takes one click (well, maybe two or three) for your customer to say “Sorry. It’s not me, it’s you,” and unsubscribe. So your job is to make sure your customers continuously see your messages as relevant, valuable and ultimately, desired.

When approaching your email strategy, there are three things you should keep in mind: your list, your subject line and your content.

Step 1: Your List

Most of all, you want your message to reach as many people as possible. Quantity beats quality. But this is a mistake many marketers make when approaching email. In email, it’s quality over quantity. Because it’s so easy for users to block your message, you want to ensure you’re reaching out to people who already care about what you have to say.

When users give you their email, whether it’s at the end of a transaction, to receive a white paper or some other reason, make sure they know what they’re signing up for. Avoid tricking your customers. At the end of a transaction (or form, box, etc.), keep the email opt-in unchecked by default. This will ensure you avoid the dreaded spam folder.

Step 2: Your Subject Line

Inboxes are a bottomless pit of noise. We all receive dozens of emails a day about all sorts of topics. You have to compete with every single other person to make sure your email stands out enough to get opened. Your subject line is your one chance to do this. There are several ways to approach creating an enticing subject line.

From the get-go, your subject line should tell users what the email’s about. You don’t need to use fancy words to get your customer to open – your content should allow for an enticing subject line already. If you’re having a hard time coming up with an alluring subject line, your email probably isn’t very enticing either.

Try using words that will make the recipient feel something. Words like “insider,” “jackpot,” and “conquer” inspire certain feelings in your customer. Sure, many of them may be clichés, but they work. Jon Morrow has accumulated a list of words he uses to make his writing more enticing. Working some of these into your subject line can grab a reader. They may not remember what exactly your subject line was, but they’ll remember how it made them feel.

Another new trend for subject lines: emojis. Many email platforms have emoji support. This could work particularly well for younger audiences, but it’s an easy way to grab the recipient’s eye from everything else in their inbox.

Step 3: Your Content

Alright. You’ve grabbed their attention. They’ve opened your email. Now what?

For starters, be conversational. Your customers already like you enough to receive your emails. Make sure they continue feeling that emotional connection. To do this, try to avoid writing to a group – write to one person instead. Many email platforms will allow you to customize your emails to include your subscriber’s name. Make your recipients feel like you’re writing exclusively to them.

Another easy trick: keep it short. No one wants to open an email and see a wall of text. It’s overwhelming and many users may quickly decide, “Nope. Don’t have the time,” and delete it. So keep it simple and to the point.

Bonus Step 4: Testing

I know. I said I only had three things to keep in mind. But this one’s short and is equally (if not more) important.

Any good marketer knows that every audience is different. Every group of people responds differently. What works for one group may not work for another. Your job is to make sure your emails are narrowly tailored for your specific group of subscribes. Many email platforms allow for easy testing to optimize your campaigns. Test everything from subject lines to imagery, from button colors to deployment times.

So there you have it. Three (plus one) easy steps to a successful email marketing strategy: (1) only email users who already want your emails, (2) use a subject line that is informative and invokes feeling (3) keep your content conversational and short, and (+1) test constantly. If you keep these things in mind, you should avoid those dreaded unsubscribes.

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