Tag Archive: Email Marketing

  1. Email Design 101: Tips for Better Email Marketing

    email design

     

    We’ve all been there. You go to check your email and BAM, that eyesore of an email newsletter comes through and you immediately want to unsubscribe from ever receiving it again.  

    No one likes to read a lousy, long email, so how can you prevent yours from being categorized as one? We’ll walk through the steps to ensure that you are on top of your email design game so that you can send something to your audience that is worthwhile and engaging.

    Why is Email Design Important and How Can It Play a Factor in My Overall Results?

    If your email design isn’t easy to follow, chances are, your audience will quickly “x” out and possibly unsubscribe from your emails completely. Your email design should help navigate users to main call-to-action (CTA) areas of your email. Ask yourself, “What are the most important parts of my email and how do I attract users to these specific buttons or articles?” When you address these questions in your email design, you’re promoting areas of clickability, which help your overall click-through ratings. Another item that is often forgotten is linking your imagery and headers. You wouldn’t believe the number of areas where your users will click. It’s important to capitalize on this in order to make your email as engaging as possible. This practice also prevents users from being able to download your imagery.

    Check out this feature example showing the number of clicks (green bubbles) our newsletter, HOT AIR, received on its June 2017 issue. Users clicked on every available link, especially imagery.

    email design

    Design for Your Audience, Not (Necessarily) You

    Understanding your audience and clientele will help determine what works and what doesn’t work. Not everyone wants to read pages of your company updates and read about Suzy Q’s birthday (sorry Suzy). Think about what they’re looking for and design for that. Keep your content quick, easy, and on point. Information that is highly visual, easy to read, and of interest to the user are emails that tend to perform very well.  

    Beyond design, emails that produce positive results are ones in which the user knows what they’re signing up for and can expect the type of information they receive.

    What We Can Learn from Recent Email Design Trends

    • The use of GIFs

    With our current HOT AIR newsletter, we’ve incorporated a moving hot air balloon to provide playfulness and visual appeal to our newsletter logo:

    email design

    We’ve even changed it to incorporate the holidays:

    email design

    Nike does a great job of employing this tactic into their emails by taking snippets of their video content and turning them into GIFs. The one shown below was created to inspire Crossfitters to buy their equipment:

    • Clean design:

    Mineral Emporium: 

    email design

    • Using color & large imagery

    Handy:

    email design

    Elements of Creating a Clean Email Design

    Have clear CTAs. Buttons that are descriptive and visually clear:

    email design

     

    Keep your content brief and to the point. If you provide all of your answers in your email, then why would anyone click for more information? Keep in mind, your objective is to have users engage. Give them just enough to interest them in hearing more about what you’re discussing:

    email design

     

    Providing imagery will keep users intrigued.  Full-width imagery is a trend for 2017 and 2018:

    email design

     

    The result? It could look something like this clean and intriguing design:

    email design

    Email Design Done Better

    If an email is not aesthetically pleasing or not easy to read, the likelihood of having a good open rate or click through rate will be slim. In addition, you may have users opt-out of your audience list. Email, after 30 years, continues to be the king within your marketing deck of cards as it allows you to interface directly with your audience and not be hidden amongst an ever-scrolling social media news feed. Make sure you put the time and thought into designing not just for your brand’s needs, but, for your users interests too. The end result may surprise you.

     

  2. How Do I Build An Email Database?

    Email: One of the most efficient ways to get your audience’s attention right at their fingertips. Before creating your hot masterpiece of a newsletter, the first step is to know the loyal audience that will be receiving your important news.  Please note that I used the term “LOYAL.”  This means, it’s your job to curate an audience that incorporates people that love you and won’t cheat on you.

    There are several ways to create a good email database, but trust me, buying a list is not one of them.

    How Do I Build An Email Database

    So How Do You Build Your Email Database?

    1.)   If you have a website, one of the most effective ways is to place a small signup form in a well visualized area of your website.  Meaning, don’t make this a “Where’s Waldo” and hide this in a secret box that no one can find.  Put this in an area that people see right away.  This signup form should be creative and explain to the user why it’s worth it to sign up for your newsletter.  What will they gain from receiving your emails?  Will they learn about how to prevent spaghetti from sticking together, or maybe they want to learn more about the Spotted Bluetick Coonhound breed that you know so much about?  Either way, you get what I mean.  It’s important that you let your users know what they will be receiving information about.
    When using a sign up form to collect email addresses, it’s essential to monitor what addresses are coming through this online form.  Having spammy emails will only hurt your results if you don’t keep up with removing junk email addresses and keeping the healthy addresses current.

    2.)  Another way to add valuable audience members to your email database is by capturing information on new leads, or contacts that you’ve recently corresponded with.  Exchanging business cards is a great way to manually start capturing legitimate email addresses.  Create a spreadsheet and add these as you go, you’ll find that this will grow with time if you make it a priority.

    3.)  Promote that you will be sending a newsletter about XYZ on your social media.  Explain that the only way to learn or hear about this information is by signing up for your newsletter.  You’ll find that the audience that follows you via social may want to pick up what you’re throwing down email style.

    4.)  Add a share button to your newsletter so that users can share your newsletter on their social media channels and through email.  If you’re proud of your e-blasts and feel that it is worth showcasing, share them on your website to show new users what they could be receiving.

    Once you’ve captured a good amount of email addresses, it’s time to import your list into a email platform like EMMA or MailChimp.  These platforms help prevent your database and emails from being spammy by providing you guidelines and tips to follow.  In addition, these platforms allow you to send email to hundreds and thousands of users with one click of a button.

    (Disclaimer: you may feel like a big shot when hitting that “SEND” button or you may panic with nervous sweats and sit in a corner afraid.  Either way, it’s a gratifying feeling once you see your results.)

    Grow Email Database

    The best part about having a good list is that it grows organically.  If you want your message to be heard, you want people who truly care to be the ones to read it.  It’s like planting a garden, you collect the seeds, watch it grow, and continually keep up with maintaining the growth.  If you neglect your plants like neglecting your email database, you won’t get the results you’ve hoped.

  3. How To Write A Good Email Subject Line

    Editors Note April 19th, 2016:

    Taking a look back at this blog, the reasoning and algorithm suggested below still pertains to current best practices in subject line strategy.  Creating an engaging subject line is one of the only ways you can truly get your audience to open the email you designed, wrote and worked so hard to craft. Putting all your time into writing your email, blog or book could be wasted if the subject or title doesn’t intrigue anyone enough to actually read it. Consider spending significantly more time on strategizing how best to entice your audience into opening your work; it’s time well spent to avoid missing out on precious potential readers.


    “What’s all the fuss in creating a nifty subject line? I’ve written creative content, and I think that my subject line will make my audience want to read my piece, plus, why wouldn’t they want to anyway?”

    In any piece of writing, whether that be a blog or an email newsletter, the subject line or title is the key for someone to want to read your content.

    “Think of your subject line as the title of your book.”

    The statement you’ve heard is true: You should spend more time creating an engaging subject line than it takes to actually write your content. It makes sense; others won’t read your story unless you create a compelling title that MAKES them want to read it. Map it out, play with different words, ask for advice, and try using the algorithm I break down, below.

    Subject Line Algorithm:

    Use a Trigger word or Number + Adjective + Keyword + Value

    Trigger Words: 

    “What, “Why”, “How”, or “When.” You can also use a number as a trigger as well. Trigger words are typically used to create purpose of what the subject will reflect.

    Adjectives:

    Think engaging. Some examples would be:

    • Addicting
    • Energetic
    • Successful
    • Rare
    • Lucky
    • Tasty
    • Incredible
    • Awesome

    Keyword:

    Think of one item that you want your email to focus on. There may be many aspects that are included in your email, but create one that sticks out the most.

    Value:

    What purpose and benefit is your reader going to get from opening your email? Ensure that your subject line represents a statement or question that your reader is going to want to know more about.

    You can move around the algorithm as well to better situate your subject line. For instance, if you were to send an email talking about cooking string beans, a subject line of “Cooking String Beans” could be:

    “12 Awesome Ways To Cook String Beans” or “Why Cooking String Beans Is Fascinating”

    Recently, our monthly newsletter, “HOT AIR” (we’d fancy you for signing up), focused on our 20 Year Anniversary. We could have used a subject line such as “Our 20 Year Anniversary,” however this wouldn’t be enough to make a reader say “YES. I WANT TO READ THAT.”

    Instead, we used “20 Years and Still HOT.” You can see our trigger was a number, “20,” “Years” was our keyword, and “HOT” was our adjective. We wrote a statement that engages the reader to want to know what “20 Years and Still HOT” means.

    Don’t let all that hard work you put into writing your masterpiece go unnoticed. It’s time to step it up and show that your content is worthy.

  4. Should I Consider Email In My Marketing Plan?

    It’s been over four decades since email was first created. Through the years, it’s evolved into being the King within a marketer’s deck of cards. Before we get into the nitty gritty of why email is so essential to your marketing plan, it’s best to explain how it has impacted us from past to present.

    History of Email Marketing

    Email Marketing From Past To Present

    Presently, it’s evolved in being the top dog in ANY marketing plan. Here are a few reasons why:

    • You can create a database of those you want to connect with by collecting their email address and contact information. This, in turn, can be new clients, new relationships, and new business.
    • You can target the audience that you specifically want to reach. This is DIRECT EXPOSURE of your company and your brand, right in the inbox of your next customer. They open this email and see YOU, think of YOU, and possibly want to work with YOU.
    • You can send custom-designed e-blasts or newsletters that are appealing and tie directly into your brand. These blasts can vary anywhere from announcements, tips & tricks, marketing a new product, information about your business, or Holiday greetings to event information. This can be anything that you think your target audience would want to read about, find value from, and ultimately, learn about you.
    • Without an email marketing platform (we use emma), if you’re sending 100 emails all at once (or even 10 emails with 10 recipients each) your account will more than likely be blocked. This can look like a spamming effort to your provider. When you have an email marketing platform, you can send over 25,000 messages directly to your audiences’ inboxes.
    • Using an email marketing platform, you also have the ability to view who is opening your email, how many people (and who) clicked through your blast, if they are opening your message on a mobile device or desktop computer, and even what email platform is being used to view your message (i.e., Yahoo, Outlook, Mac Mail, Gmail, etc.). This helps you to determine what to deliver by being able to view the behavior of what your audience is interacting with.

    As you can see, Email Marketing provides an unlimited amount of resources, flexibility, and an overall front seat to your customers. So what’s holding you back? You’ve got the cards in your hands, now it’s just time to add the King.

  5. Holiday Email Marketing Know How

    ‘Tis a sad day to admit when it’s no longer PSL season (Pumpkin Spice Latte) at Starbucks. Fear not though, as your business approaches the holidays. Instead, prepare your taste buds for a Peppermint Mocha (extra peppermint to feel uber wintery) and take advantage of this occasion, email marketing style.

    Email Marketing

    Facts on Holiday Email Marketing

    First step: GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW.

    Ask yourselves these questions:

    • What are your goals for the end of the year?
    • What value can you offer your customer base during this season?
    • What seasonal strategies or holiday promotions could you implement to meet your objectives and serve your customers’ needs?

    It is important to first be aware of  your objectives and then understand who you can target to achieve those goals.

    Will your audience be an existing customer, a new customer, or both? Next, develop a strategy on when and how often you want to reach out to this audience and how email can create valuable touch points.

    If your goals don’t translate directly into a viable email campaign, consider creative ways to engage your customer base that may be supported by action-driving email. Some ideas could include hosting a holiday event, contest, or promoting new things happening in the New Year for your company.

    Second step: READY… AIM… FIRE!

    Once you’ve developed your campaign concept, start compiling a draft of what you want your customer base to know and how they can reach you. Keep it simple and to the point. Email marketing is most effective when it’s brief, informative, and creatively designed. Secondly, use your email program (we love Emma) to create an audience group specific to this campaign. For example, if your campaign is geared toward prospects (rather than existing clients) hitting “SEND ALL” wouldn’t target the particular group you want to reach.

    Third step: SUBJECTS… THEY AREN’T JUST FOR SCHOOL.

    There are creative ways in which you can effectively target your audience to open your e-blast. I always compare an email subject as if it were a title of a book.

    Chances are, if a title of a book read “Book” or “This Is A Good Book,” you probably wouldn’t open it— right? Your subject line is the same thing, it’s the title of  your email.

    Make it count. Don’t be afraid to take as much time as you need to create something compelling and worthy to read.

    Fourth step: SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED.

    Before sending your e-blast, be sure to get an extra pair of eyes on your content. The testing phase for email marketing is one of the most important steps in building your campaign. Ensure that no matter where your audience is, or what device they’re viewing your email on, they can read it… and take action. Check your email on multiple devices and platforms. Is your email mobile friendly? Do your images display on all platforms? It’s worth the extra effort to confirm your email is viewed the way you intended.

    Once testing is complete, schedule a sending date and time the e-blast(s). If you don’t already know, take time to research what day of the week and time tends to work best for your audience group – this ensures your campaign achieves the highest possible open rate. Once you’ve established a time, you’re set to sit back, observe your analytics and enjoy your holiday peppermint mocha!