Almost every week there seems to be a new way of communicating with your audience: the internet has made marketing as exciting and fast-moving now as it has ever been.
But there is one tool that has been the most popular for a number of years: people may call retro, but is actually a classic online tool – email marketing.
Just because email marketing has been around for a while doesn’t mean that it is done perfectly by everyone. In fact, most email marketing is of a poor quality and even with low costs, ROI can be disappointing.
So what makes a perfect email campaign? Here are some elements that every email campaign should have:
- No surprises: Emails that are received as a surprise are rarely welcome. So you should know your audience and they should be expecting to hear from you. You audience should have opted in recently, or even better completed a double opt-in. In terms of frequency, a daily or even weekly email could be too high, it depends on your market – do some research or check your own results
- Words and pictures: The email should consist of a mixture of text and images: sounds obvious, but it is important as images do not always display when an email is initially sent. Using a combination will ensure your email is visible (i.e. not all images) and engaging (i.e. not all words)
- Clear call: You should make it clear what you want the recipient to do. There are lots of emails that don’t make this clear and this is where the recipient gets confused and will most likely delete the email and forget about it. This call to action should include a sense of urgency too, e.g. time pressure of a promotion only being available for one day – but choose your language carefully to avoid the spam filter (see below)
- Snappy subject line: Avoid emojis or animation in your subject line unless they are very relevant for your audience, and make the subject line enticing. All it needs to do is encourage the person to open the email, no more
- It’s personal: Being addressed by your name in an email is now an expectation of the recipient. This is so easy to do, there is no excuse!
- You should be doing everything you can to avoid the spam filter, i.e. your email disappearing into the spam filter with questionable medical and online ‘friendship’ opportunities! So, avoid using block capitals (they just make text harder to read), avoid trigger words like ‘free’, ‘click now’, etc. Most email providers will allow you to test your email for spam. There is a lot more to avoiding the spam filter, but this should give you a flavour of what to avoid.
- Bad HTML: This is a bit technical, but still important. If you copy your text from Word straight into your HTML email, then I’m afraid you are guilty of this. Run the HTML past an expert if you are in doubt.
- Get the look: Before you send the email, you should see how it looks on various devices – tablets and smart phones are where a lot of emails are opened, so make sure that your email works on these devices as well as PCs
- Don’t overwhelm: If you send a large amount of emails all at once, some email providers can use this as a trigger for spam
- Size is almost everything: The file size of your email is very important. If the file size is too big then email providers will simply not deliver your email, wasting your time and money. Guidelines vary, but I find that a maximum size of 100KB works
- You should track these measures as a minimum:
- Click Through Rate
- Replies / Forwards
- However, you should also invest some time looking at the behaviour of the recipient once they have clicked through to your website – it is likely that this is where the recipient will (hopefully!) turn into a conversion, so this is a key step
Do you have an element that you always look out for before you send an email campaign? What parts of the anatomy have been missed out here? Leave a comment and let me know!