Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about email marketing. Check out Part Two from Oct. 21st.
According to recent studies, email marketing remains one of the top drivers of revenue for businesses. This is the case with B2B, e-commerce, professional services, even SaaS (software as a service).
Email effectiveness even crosses the age demographic. In another study, seniors, middle-aged professionals, and even Millennials said they prefer to do business via email. If you want to generate more leads, inquiries, sales, or revenue through email marketing, keep reading.
The Nine Components that follow are in no special order, except that based on your experience, the earlier components may be easier to understand and execute than the later components.
Component #1) The Subject Line and Pre-header:
You can find volumes and volumes of information to writing effective email subject lines and pre-headers. If you don’t know the difference, look at the images below.
The red lines (in Images 1 and 2) highlight what the subject line looks like in many email clients (i.e. Apple mail, Gmail, Yahoo mail, Outlook, your company email program, etc.). All email programs display the subject line.
The blue lines (in Image 1) highlight what the pre-header line looks like. The pre-header is displayed on mobile email platforms and in many desktop email programs, but not all.
For example, Image 2 is a screenshot from Apple mail desktop, which does not display the pre-header text.
Write subject lines and pre-header copy that encourages your reader to OPEN the email.
As a rule of thumb, write three to seven potential subject lines/pre-headers before selecting to use one. A better approach is to choose your top two subject lines/pre-headers and send them as an A/B split test to a portion of your email list. Then send the winning subject line/pre-header to the remaining names on your email mailing list.
Component #2) From Name:
The From Name is probably more powerful than the subject line/pre-header text in determining if you email gets opened or not. If you’re like most people, you look at the from name first and make a split second decision to delete it or keep it.
The green lines (in Images 3 and 4) highlight what the from name looks like. All email platforms will display the From Name.
If it’s a name you recognize, like your mom or your mortgage company, you probably keep that email and read it. If you don’t recognize the from name or it’s not appealing in some way, the chances are high that you’ll delete that email without even reading it.
In one campaign, I sent emails using the client’s company name. This made the From Name very “corporate.” But when I sent the emails from the CEO’s name, the emails got a much higher open rate. Experiment with your From Name, and A/B test this, too.
Component #3) Send time:
Depending on your industry, and even the time of year, when you send your email can affect the open and click through rates, too. Again, test this out. You don’t need to find the “perfect” minute or hour to send your emails. Instead, you want to get a general window of when to send, and just as important, when not to send.
Component #4) CTA (Call to Action):
The most powerful use of email is to get prospects and customers to click on the email and get sent back to the website (or app) to take an action. It doesn’t matter the action, just focus on one.
As powerful as the CTA is and as important as it is, only two mechanisms exist today that enables your reader to click and take the action you desire. You will either use a text link or an image link; or both.
Try to get creative and test different ideas to improve your click through rates. With text links, you can experiment with copy, text style (i.e. bold, italicized, underline), and even link color. Image links give you more creative options. You can test the text on or near the image, icons, colors, shapes (i.e. rectangular vs. circular vs. a star), cartoon vs. live photo, and video or video thumbnail.
These four components should get you started on improving your email marketing effectiveness. Check back on Friday, Oct. 21 to see the last five components.