5 Email Marketing Tips for Beginners
3. Write effective subject lines. There are few elements that determine the success of your email campaign more than the subject line. Often egregiously overlooked, subject lines have the power to make a persuasive first impression, as well as the propensity to land you in the spam folder. In addition to educating yourself as to the anatomy of effective email marketing subject lines, continually analyze data metrics pertaining to the success of individual campaigns, testing and tinkering to find a formula that works. While following best practices is wise — e.g., avoiding using all caps or outlandish language — taking a grounded yet more adventurous approach to crafting subject lines can potentially yield more dynamic results. Consider trying the following:
- Keep your subject lines short (less than 50 characters) and relevant to the specific purpose of the communication.
- Address your subscribers by name — a personalized invitation or announcement has proven to be more compelling.
- Start subject lines with attention-grabbing action words, and include your brand name when possible for easy recognition.
4. Get to the point. In the fast-paced online environment, there's rarely time to waste working up to a big sales pitch. When someone who has opted into your communications clicks on an email, it amounts to an invaluable one-on-one opportunity to make your most compelling offer. If you meander for a moment, you risk losing your audience forever; if you offer irrelevant content, you'll end up in the spam folder. Effective email content makes its point with persuasive visual imagery; clear, comprehensible details and instructions; and a genuine tone that supports your marketing mission and core branding points. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Skip the sales lingo that's passé to online users in favor of casual and economized language consumers can better relate to.
- Present a clear and obvious path to conversion that allows users to take action with a single click.
- Deliver personalized content based on the subscriber's stated preferences and data from past shopping experiences.
5. Invest in success. While email marketing is cost effective and yields a healthy return on investment when done correctly, it takes sustained commitment to unlock its full potential. From producing compelling copy and professional-looking designs to culling data and analyzing results, it's necessary to allocate the resources and acquire the support to fuel your initiatives. Whether that means taking a team approach that utilizes the existing skills of in-house staff or bringing in a consultant with a broad e-marketing background, in the end you'll get back what you put into your email marketing program. Consider the following options:
- Work with a professional, experienced designer to create visually pleasing HTML emails that function properly and follow best practices to avoid being labeled as spam.
- Use a comprehensive software tool that does everything from helping you build a subscriber list to simplifying tracking and analytics to providing features to increase engagement and cultivate relationships.
- Never stop working to improve the quality of your email program. There are new developments, trends and techniques that emerge every day that can impact the results of your campaigns.
Email is once again among the hottest trends in internet marketing because it makes sense to reach consumers where they're most receptive to receive your message. By building an extensive list of qualified recipients, employing a combination of industry standards and innovation in reaching your audience, and supporting your campaign with ongoing analysis and reinvestment, you too can tap into the impressive results email marketing can produce.
Barry Michael is a business owner and online marketer who writes about technology and e-commerce.