Everyone can recognize a spam e-mail from a mile away. Typically, there are obvious misspellings and sometimes things that are just downright inappropriate- and that’s just the subject line! It can be difficult to set yourself apart from all the eSpammers out there. But what if you are a quality business with a great offer for people? How do you get your potential clients to first open the e-mail, and then actually read it?
There are two main components of your e-mail that will have the most impact on whether or not it gets read. The design/ layout of your e-mail and the content. Let’s take a look at each of these categories and see what we can do to improve your e-mail marketing efforts.
If your e-mail looks like junk, people will assume that it is junk, and it will quickly end up in the electronic version of the circular file. They will not even give your content the chance to sell them on your topic.
There are several elements of design and layout to consider, but the most important thing is just that it has an overall professional look. The best way to get started with the layout design of an e-mail marketing letter is to visit a site like MailChimp. They offer a variety of basic templates and even some pre-designed templates to make it easy for those who may not have a lot of html experience.
There are many different types of e-mail marketing, from newsletters and sale announcements to catalogs and press releases. It is important that your format matches the occasion of your writing, and also reflects the personality of your business. Use your branded colors and logo so as soon as they open the correspondence, they know that it is from you. If your logo contains dark colors, you may want to use a lighter shade of those same colors in your e-mail design. You may also want to do 2-3 different layouts or designs and test which one works the best for you. Remember, you want a professional look that is reflective of your brand- effort and attention to detail is what will indicate to your audience that you are worth reading.
So, now you have a good idea of what you want your e-mail to look like. Now, you have to figure out what you want it to say. Start by figuring out what the purpose of your e-mail marketing campaign is, and who your audience is. Are you sending out information regarding a specific promotion, or are you sending out a general newsletter with industry information? Is your audience current customers or are you using a purchased list?
If you are sending to customers that are already familiar with your brand, then you already have an advantage in the open the e-mail game. They will recognize your name or your brand in the return email address, or in the subject line, and will give you at least a little bit of consideration. (That is, of course, if you haven’t been sending them spammy e-mails in the past.) If you are marketing to potential customers who are not familiar with your brand, you will want to make sure that you introduce yourself and your company, either through your logo, slogan, and USP, through images used in the message, or by a short introductory paragraph.
Whether you are sending a long newsletter or a simple sales announcement, make sure that you are being honest and direct, and that you are genuinely offering them something of value- either a great deal, or great information. Be very specific with what your offering is, or if you are sending out a newsletter, then keep it interesting and entertaining. Remember your audience, and write things that are important to them and relevant to your business. There are tons of tips out there for writing good content, and we will give you more in other articles, as well.
One key component, however, is the subject line. This one little 6-word blurb can determine if your message ever gets seen. Different types of subject lines can work for different industries- the best research you can do on this is to go to your own inbox. What e-mails have you opened lately that had subject lines that got your attention? What was it about that subject line that interested you? Sometimes it is buzzwords that can get attention, sometimes it’s a genuine approach, sometimes it is just a one-liner joke. This article from Volusion has some great tips on how to get your message across. Now look in your junk mail box. You probably have 10-20 examples of what not to say!
The best e-mail marketing campaigns, like most marketing campaigns, are those that are customer focused. As always, it’s about what you are able to do for them, and how using your products or services is going to make their life better. Develop a strong and descriptive subject line, a clean design reflective of your organization, with content that rocks, and you will be on your way to a successful e-mail marketing campaign!