Email Marketing

Email Marketing Isn’t Dead! 8 Ways to Revive Your Email Marketing Efforts

02.05.2013 4 Minutes

I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor that email marketing is a dying marketing tactic, but don’t stop sending them just yet! Email marketing is still the most direct line of communication and can provide real value for your contacts — when executed correctly.

Nearly 9 in 10 marketers say email is their primary channel for lead generation, according to Forrester Research. But what about social media? Isn’t social media replacing email? Just like television advertising didn’t kill radio altogether, social media hasn’t replaced email yet.

Social media is a great channel for sharing content and having a two-way dialogue with followers and fans, but email outranks social when it comes to generating website traffic.

With that said, how you approach email marketing has to fundamentally change for it to be effective. Here are eight ways to improve your email marketing efforts.

Determine your audience and objective beforehand

This may sound obvious, but many times companies will send out a mass email that may appeal only to one segment of their list. To make sure your message is relevant to your audience, first determine the audience that you want to reach. Segment your list to narrow it to that one audience. You should also have a very clear objective; what do you want the reader to do once they read the email? Once you have these two elements well established, it’s easier to craft an email that’s relevant to your audience and conveys the message you intend.

Spend time writing a compelling subject line

The subject line is critical to your response rate. Email readers first see a subject line. If they open it, they are likely to act on whatever call to action is presented to them. If they don’t act in that moment, only about two percent will reopen that email on another device. Generic and vague subject lines will ensure your email ends up unread and in the trash. Remember, your audience receives a high volume of email each day and scans subject lines to decide what to open. So make sure yours piques their interest. (This too is easier if you know exactly who you’re writing for…see tip 1.)

Personalize the email

Nothing says SPAM like a generic email sent from a generic email address with a generic greeting. Stop sending emails from your company’s “info@” or “marketing@” email addresses. Send them from a real person. People are more likely to read an email from “Bill Parker” than “ABC Company,” especially when they are prospects and not customers. Additionally, use the contact’s first name in the greeting whenever possible as opposed to a generic “hello.” And finally, sign off as if you were sending a personal email to one specific person. Whether a webinar invitation, a whitepaper download, or some other offer, make your offer personal. Include your contact information and use a real email signature.

Keep the email short, sweet and to the point

This cannot be stressed enough. Don’t send out a dissertation. Don’t make your whitepaper offer a whitepaper itself! Make it compelling and attention grabbing but also concise and direct. If you’re making the right offer to the right audience, and they’re interested in what your offering, don’t frustrate them by asking them to read a long missive before they can take the desired action. According to Chris Brogan, a common mistake of business owners is to “cram too much information and fancy graphics into their emails, which are challenging to read on 3-inch smartphone screens.” You should limit your email to about 400 words and make it easy on your audience to know what the purpose of your email is.

Give your audience the relevant content they signed up for

Your company’s email list is made up of current customers and prospects that have signed up for a webinar, whitepaper or some other content that you offered. In other words, they gave you permission to send them emails! Your subscribers will want quality content that is relevant to them. This means that sending out one general email to your contacts is probably not going to work. This goes back to tip #1; be strategic and segment your emails. Learn as much as you can about your readers so you can provide them with the content they want.  Content + Context = Effective Emails.

Use CTAs effectively

If your email is an offer, be sure to use a well-designed, clearly distinguishable call-to-action (CTA) button. Design the button so that people are compelled to click it. Make it look good, but also use compelling, action-oriented words on the button itself. Don’t include more than one offer or CTA in an email, and make certain it maps to your primary objective for the email. If your email is an informational email or a “thank you,” a CTA should still be included, perhaps one focused on learning more about your company or a particular product or service you offer. Again, make sure it is tailored to your audience.

Make it social and shareable

Integrating all of your marketing channels is a necessity. Including social content within the context of your email is a powerful way to add social flair and provides the reader with a succinct view of what is happening with your company, according to Kara Trivunovi, VP of Marketing Services for StrongMail Systems. Give email subscribers a reason to share your email campaign. Be sure to include a “forward to a friend” link and social sharing buttons to make sharing easy.

Make sure your email is mobile-friendly

A recent Email Opens report from Knotice found that 36% of emails are now opened on a mobile device (smartphone and/or tablet) and that number is expected to reach 50% or more this year. Email marketing is becoming the new mobile marketing! As mobile open rates continue to climb, it underscores the importance of having a mobile-first mindset when creating email campaigns. Why? Because according to BlueHornet, 70% of consumers delete emails that don’t render well on a mobile device immediately. If the email can’t be read easily, it is likely that the customer will delete the email before reading it on their laptop. You need to be able to catch their attention regardless of what device they are viewing it from.

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In short, the data proves that email marketing is still alive and well, but it has to be executed effectively. Email campaigns are often half-baked, under-thought and rushed out. This doesn’t need to be the case, however. With just a bit of planning and forethought, you can improve the product you send out and increase the effectiveness of your efforts.

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