Many business owners may understand the do’s of email marketing, but it's just as crucial to understand the don’ts. With years of marketing experience, I’ve seen first-hand which strategies companies should avoid and which tactics they should emulate. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Don’t use a boring subject line. The subject line is the first thing your reader sees so it’s important to get it right. A hook that’s not engaging may actually deter readers from even opening the message in the first place. That wastes your time and possibly your money as well, depending on the newsletter tool being used.
Keep your subject lines enticing, short and to the point so the reader will want to see more. And don’t be shy: If you’re offering a discount, mention it in the subject line as a reason for subscribers to read further. Being topical or including calls to actions can also improve open-rates.
2. Don’t forget to proofread. This seems obvious, but too many commercial emails are sent with spelling errors or incomplete fields if using a template based application. Check, double check, and even triple check everything that you send to your audience. Errors in spelling or grammar reflect poorly on your business. Have a second person look over the text since even the best writers can miss some mistakes that jump out to readers.
3. Don’t send large files. Just like with a website, you have such a short amount of time – merely a few seconds – to grab your readers’ attention. If the size of your email, or any attachment, is too large, your bounce rates will drastically increase. Keep things simple, and your email should preferably load within a few seconds to get your message across in the most efficient way possible.
4. Don’t lack a call-to-action. You need to motivate your readers with your email. This is often accomplished by including a clear call-to-action, or CTA, in the body of the message. Spell out what you want your audience to do after reading your email. Include embedded links that say “Order one today” or “click here for more information.” Informational emails are great, but if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, and ultimately drive sales, you need to push your customers in the right direction.
5. Don’t ignore your numbers. No matter how good your email communications are, there will likely be room for improvement. It is just as important to evaluate the success of your email campaigns as it is any other aspect of your marketing. When evaluating your analytics, pay attention to the 4 biggest “rates” of your email success:
a. Open Rate: Percentage of subscribers opening your email
b. Bounce Rate: Percentage of emails that do not reach their intended recipient
c. Click Rate: Percentage of clicks on links in the body of your email
d. Unsubscribe Rate: The number of people who unsubscribe from your email list
Understand the importance of these numbers, and use them as a baseline. Each email you send should seek to improve these numbers. For instance, if the Click Rate is too low, evaluate how you are wording your CTA message, and try to improve. If the Open Rate is low, think of how you can improve the subject line of your emails. Since every business is different, much success will be determined through trial and error.
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