So you are well on your way to master the art of blogging and social media. You have gathered a large community of followers in the 6 digits and counting, and you’ve been honored as a top contributor on sites like Twitter or Quora. That’s great! Well done! But now what? How are you capitalizing on your online presence?
Well, the first thing you could do is compile an email list and start emailing people, but don’t be too salesy on the first contact. Read on for some other dos and don’ts of email marketing.
DON’T: Email every one of your followers with one template.
DO: Segment your audiences and target the ones who will most likely benefit from your services with a well-thought-out message.
Not every one of your followers is active consumers in your market niche. Find the ones who are and craft an email that addresses the interests and needs of that group. You may want to further segment your recipients by location, gender, age, race, etc. and create different templates that cater to each segment. This is your first point of contact, make sure it makes impact.
DON’T: Skim on the subject line.
DO: Experiment with different subject lines to find your sweet spot.
The subject line is a science. People get hundreds of emails each day and many don’t get opened at all. To minimize the chance that your message gets auto-thrown into the trash (or spam) box, you need to come up with an eye-catching and appropriately formatted subject line. Return Path looked at over 2 million emails from 3000 retailers and found that, contrary to popular belief, subject lines between 61 and 70 characters had the highest open rate. This doesn’t mean that your subject line must be in that length to get opened—especially with mobile devices now only displaying 25-35 characters—but it does demonstrate a link between length and open rate. Therefore, invest some time in your subject lines and experiment around to find ones that work best for you.
DON’T: Crowd your message with lots of images.
DO: Opt for clean, mobile-friendly layouts.
Did you know that two-thirds of emails are read on mobile devices? (Marketing Land, 2015) Design accordingly to ensure that your messages look great on all platforms. You might consider adopting a single column template, follow the iOS guidelines on button sizes (at least 44px x 44px), use bigger fonts to improve readability on mobile phones and make your call-to-action link easy to access. Lastly, when it comes to pictures, less is more. Use fewer but effective images that best represent your products and intentions, and make sure your image attributes are thoughtful and descriptive.
DON’T: Address the recipient by her first name.
DO: Personalize your message with its content.
This one really depends on your level of engagement with the recipient on other platforms. In most cases, if you’re emailing them for the first time, it’s better to address them by their proper title. This is because familiarity needs to be earned. Due to the increasing concerns surrounding email phishing, identity theft, and credit fraud, consumers may be wary of informal greetings from strangers. Instead, personalize your message with its body content. For example, list recommendations based on the recipients browsing history or introducing a service that’s very specific to their needs.
DON’T: Be too salesy in your first email.
DO: Implement call-to-action naturally.
The first impression can make or break your conversion process, so craft your verbiage sensitively. Your first email shouldn’t be about selling your products. That’ll come later of you do things right. Rather, continue to offer quality contents to further engage your reader. Remember that in a consumer’s mind, the best content is free content. Bridge the gap between blogging and selling by offering a limited free-subscription or a sample of your product, then naturally make the call to action by asking for permission to continue this line of communication. My personal favorite call-to-action line is from Poncho (weather app): “this is awkward for me, but would you want to hang out outside of email?” It’s cute and inviting.
DON’T: Send schedule emails around your convenience.
DO: Monitor your open rates to establish the optimal day and time.
Marketing 101 tells us that we should reach the consumer as close to their point of decision as possible. Same goes for email marketing. If your email reaches the recipient just as she’s checking her Gmail, then it’ll have a better chance of being read. Therefore, don’t limit yourself to the 9-5 schedule. Studies have found that 8pm-12 midnight and 6am also have good open rates. Check out this CoSchedule blog for statistics on email days and times, and play around with the schedule to find the most effective times for you. As a general guideline, you want to shoot for a 10%-15% click-to-open rate (CTOR).
BONUS: Do use email marketing as your retention strategy.
Give your inactive subscribers a little nudge with a re-engagement campaign. Reach out to them to make sure that they’re still satisfied with their services and update them on new products. The sustainability of your business relies on your longtime client base. Email marketing is a wonderful way to personally thank them for their loyalty.
I hope these email marketing tips will bring you closer to your CTOR goals. Please share your best practices in the comments below!