Even in the days of social media and native advertising, email marketing continues to remain a valuable tool in the belt of any digital marketer. In fact, a recent marketing survey by the research firm Ascend2 revealed that email marketing remains the most effective tool in digital marketing, fending off buzzwords like blogging, SEO and social media. But how do you make sure that your email is a successful part of your digital marketing strategy? By internalizing these 5 keys to effective email marketing.
The subject line is, unsurprisingly, the most important part of your entire email. If it's uninteresting, your audience won't open it. But if it's misleading, they will report it as spam or unsubscribe from future messages. The key is to find the perfect middle-ground: an interesting subject line that prepares the recipient for what awaits them inside.
That subject should be less than 50 characters long, and advertise the value that the actual email contains. Whether that's a new eBook, a discount, a behind-the-scenes look at your company or something else entirely, make sure you mention it early in the subject.
The subject line should also include some degree of personalization. Most email services include the option to personalize any of the text, and you should absolutely take advantage of it for both the subject and the body copy. Personalized email subjects and copy have been shown to significantly increase open and click-through rates.
In the subject line, it's fine to restrict that personalization to the recipients' first name. In the body copy, feel free to go a little crazy. If your email list contains data about the recipients' past contacts or even purchases, why not mention it? The more personal you get with your audience, the more likely they are to trust you and follow your call to action (see below).
When most marketers hear responsive design, they immediately think of web development. In truth, they should be paying at least as much attention to responsive email design. Up to 65% of all consumers now open email on a mobile device first. If they're met by endless scrolling by desktop-optimized emails, they're unlikely to do anything but hit 'delete.' Responsive design ensures that no matter what device your audience uses to view your email, they'll find a well-designed marketing piece that guides them to the next step in your marketing strategy.
That next step is achieved via a call to action, which should be present in all of your email marketing pieces. After all, how valuable is an email if it's also a dead-end? But don't take this importance as an invitation to plaster your email full of varying calls to action. Doing so means the different links will begin to take away clicks from each other.
Instead, focus on a single call to action for your entire email, usually a link to a product or landing page. This call to action can come in the form of a button or linked text; the important part is that it's consistent throughout your email, preventing internal pirating.
Having just one call to action also means you can easily measure the success of your email after sending it. You don't have to dissect your click-through rates to see which links did better than others, but know that all went to the same place.
Measuring success is absolutely crucial when seeking to continuously improve your email marketing. A/B testing can be helpful when experimenting with different subject lines and personalization options. At the end of the day, the numbers will let you know if your email was successful and what you can do better next time.
Keeping in mind these 5 keys to email marketing, you should be well prepared for what is still the most effective and popular digital marketing tool.