Creating Effective Content: The 411 of Email Marketing
My inbox is constantly overflowing with emails, but I, like most people, only take time to read about 50% of them. The number of marketing-related emails that I actually read is even lower than that. Those mostly get deleted, unless there are elements at work that really make them stand out.
While evaluating my own reactions to mass emails and the key factors that hold my attention, I uncovered essential features an email must have for a company to successfully engage their target audience. Below are a few approaches that can improve your email marketing techniques and increase your responses.
Understand Your Target Audience
From sports cars to fine dining experiences to gaming systems, there are millions of products and services offered for sale to consumers of all types. Consumption is prevalent, and each person has different needs. The point is that companies must narrow down messaging to target the right audience in order to be effective.
Think about it: The more narrow your audience, more specific and personal you can be with your message. Customers will feel as if they are getting personalized attention. For instance, if your goal is to promote a higher-end women’s winter coat, it would not make sense to send the email out to all age groups, genders or all areas of the globe. Limit the email by cold weathered regions, targeting the consumers who currently need this specific attire. Focus on women, and narrow it down to specific age and class demographics. When consumers can genuinely relate to the message, they are more likely to consume your product and take action.
Adhere to Quality Objectives
Alas, your efforts will fail if your only message is “buy our stuff.” Necessary thought needs to go into each email that you craft. Reflect on the following two things:
- What specific points do you want to convey to consumers in this message?
- What action do you want the consumer to make after reading your message?
The promotion of a wine tasting event shouldn’t just say “Come Experience Wine Tasting” with the date and time addressed. Customers expect information describing exactly what they will experience during the event to prepare for what they are getting into. A catchy call to action, an image that prompts clients to take action, or an online sign up is also essential in executing the email.
Use Eye Catching Subject Lines
Now that you’ve got your messaging down, and you know the audience you’re targeting, it’s time to craft what might be the most critical component of your email, the headline. The words contained in your headline (ranging from two to seven on average) are crucial. They need to grab peoples’ attention and encourage them to take a desired action. The last thing you want is for your customers to click “delete” or glance right over your email.
Consider these two subject lines:
- “Items on Sale”
- “Just for You, 30% OFF Sale Items”
“Just for You” is attention grabbing and seems directed towards “you.” Additionally, “30% OFF” gives exact detail regarding what the consumer will see next. On the contrary, “Items on Sale” is a broad subject line making it easier to skim over. One company that is utilizing effective subject lines is Anthropologie. On Thanksgiving Day 2014 one of their subject lines read, “A Special Thanks to You,” indicating they are thankful you are their customer. Additionally, their use of content marketing displays the company’s values while making each individual feel appreciated.
Focus on the Message
After you have mastered the subject line, your must present a message that executes your objectives and is consistent with the messaging. In order to keep your customers adventuring forward in the buying process, think about these three things when composing your message: Is it short? Is it direct? Is it engaging?
You are striving for the most accurate and concise message that instantly speaks to your audience. Too much information will overwhelm them. Allow your content to direct each person to a specific destination, followed by an action. The goal is to engross your customer with your message and direct them to take an action like clicking through to your website, so make hyperlinks and social media links visible.
Build Customer Relationships
Ultimately, you want people receiving your messages to appreciate and look forward to the information you are delivering. Valuable information helps individuals make decisions and become successful. Your quick messages can save customers money and time, provide tips on healthy eating, or deliver convenient vacation options. The more valuable and personal your information is, the more customers will look forward to receiving your email.
Now that your clients rely on your messages, consistency is key. For instance, I expect certain companies to email me daily, and it would be quite odd if they skipped out on a few days. Customers should have an idea when and what you will be sending, which supports your relationship with the consumer.
The job is not finished after clicking send. Tracking and analyzing customer reactions will help you improve the effectiveness of your email. Organize your results and data in an Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc, and look for patterns that could help improve your next email.
If you aren’t a fan of spreadsheets, there are several tools and programs out there that can do this for you. Mailchimp has several features including reports that track average open rate, average click rate and subscriber profiles. Take advantage of these software programs to better understand your customers. You don’t want all your effort to go to waste, so make sure to do your homework.
The most important thing to remember is that you are creating this email to achieve a particular goal for your company. Stay focused on your company as you create relationships with your target audience. Delight them with excellence as you apply the above methods, and your investment will be worthwhile.
Karly Chapman—Content Creator