Targeted email is a versatile communications and marketing tool that on the surface can appear difficult to master. If done right, your organization can enjoy great success in your efforts to get your message in front of the right people.
However, the reality is that in todays fast-paced, technology driven world, most people are overwhelmed with the amount of email they receive. Forrester Research claims that in 2014 the average consumer will receive over 9,000 emails. In this era of information overload, how do you make sure your message gets the attention it deserves?
To help you avoid getting stuck trying to sort through all of advice and best practices available on the Internet, we’ve selected a few of our favorite email marketing strategies to share with you to make your email efforts a little less daunting. Try to implement a few of these suggestions in your next email campaign.
Getting to an Inbox
Often, getting your email delivered successfully is the hardest part. Since your organization is likely to be sending emails from its domain be sure to set up an SPF (Send Policy Framework) Record. What this basically does is verify that mail coming from your domain is not spam. And because of the SPF record, spammers and phishers are less likely to forge emails from your domain. Why is this so important? According to Internet security company Kaspersky Lab, almost 70% of email sent in 2013 was marked as junk mail. You do not want your campaigns included in a statistic like that.
Asking recipients to add you to their Safe Senders White List is another way to ensure your email gets to a mailbox. This is especially true in the wake of Google’s redesign last year of their Gmail inbox. In this new design Gmail users have the ability to filter emails by using tabs and category labels. Since initially your email might not make it to a visible or prominent tab, asking recipients to classify your emails will ensure your future messages make it to the most readable tab.
Getting the Open
Three simple things that get your email opened are From Name and Addresses, Subject Lines, and Pre-headers.
Do not overlook the ability to send your email from a name and email address that is recognizable or important to a recipient. Sometimes using the organization’s brand name or an executive leader is the best way to represent the importance of the message.
Quite simply, subject lines are the holy grail of email marketing. Crafting the perfect subject line is art form and should be given proper attention, because for most people it is the single most important factor of whether an email is ever opened. If you catch a recipient’s attention, intrigue them or notify them that your message contains important information, you’re more likely to get that open.
Pre-Headers are the quick snippets of text that usually precede the headlines of your emails. Most people just use them for a general functional statement like “To View in a Browser Click Here.” That space is valuable real estate – especially on mobile devices – and should be used to your advantage. Use that text to expand on your subject line or insert a valuable call to action.
Getting the Action
Each email you send should have a designed purpose. While it may contain basic news and information for your recipients, more often than not the information included creates a need for the recipient to take action. It sounds simple, but it is critical to include a clear call to action! If you want people to click, tell them to, if you want people read more, tell them to, if you want people to visit, tell them to. Use emails as an extension of your website – ultimately you want a reader to open your email and then visit your website for more information. Using the standard long ago established by newspapers, keep valuable information above the fold so it’s more likely to be seen, and always include links to your website and content.
Putting it all Together
By making these tips a part of your normal routine when developing an email campaign, you’ll experience increased deliverability rates, open rates, and click through rates. In fact, if you’d like you compare your efforts against industry standards, take a look at this recent Benchmarking Report from Experian. Some of these suggestions only take a few minutes to implement but could have a tremendous impact.
Also, as an added bonus, if you’re attending YourMembership.com’s customer conference this year, Xperience2014, and would like to learn more about email marketing, be sure to attend this session: Email Marketing: Standing Out in a Sea of Noise.