“You’ve Got Mail.”
That sentence brings many of us back to the beginnings of the online communication phenomena that is email. Although we no longer hear that AOL voice when opening our inboxes, email has cemented itself as a large part in the life of the American consumer. This is confirmed by Cognique, a digital marketing agency, in a study finding that 91% of customers check their email at least once a day. With daily contact, email is a primary communication channel to reach potential customers.
Email doesn’t just serve to communicate, it creates customer action. McKinsey reports that emails prompt purchases at a rate three times higher than that of all the social media platforms. With its minimal costs, the return on investment for email marketing is around $38 for every $1 spent. Getting into inboxes can convert prospects into customers and turn customers into loyal fans, but being in their inbox isn’t enough. The emails sent must be effective at resonating with customers and getting them to follow through with their call-to-action. This effectiveness lies in how well the company creates attention-grabbing subject lines, personalizes the content, and provides a quality action step.
Subject lines are the first point of contact with the email subscriber. The subject line needs to be compelling enough to get the subscriber to want to click and open the email. They should be quick and to the point, but also be able to stand out in the crowd of unread emails. Depending on the audience you want to reach and the nature of your company, there are different strategies for creating an effective subject line. You can entice curiosity alluding to the content of the email and piquing the interest of subscribers. You can also use a fun conversational tone that speaks in the language and style that your customers use themselves. Buzzfeed is a master at subject lines, pairing their subject with complementing preview text that drives interest and engagement with the email itself. The most effective way of making a great subject line is to make it relevant to the subscriber. By personalizing subject lines with the likes/dislikes or persona of the customer, the emails are 26% more likely to be opened.
Personalization is not only important when crafting a subject line, it is essential to creating email content that is relevant to subscribers. Emails can be personalized through segmenting subscribers based on many different criteria. New subscribers can become a segment receiving a welcome email or email series. Customers who indicate certain interests through their past shopping habits/selections can be targeted with specific information for them. Subscribers in a certain geographic area can be emailed with local event information. Subscribers with different open rates can be targeted with content that either rewards them for their continued engagement or reminds them of how/why to engage with the emails.
These are just some ways to segment the subscribers to create more personal messages rather than sending out one mass message to everybody. With personalized emails delivering 6 times higher transaction rates, it is worth the additional effort it requires. Amazon does an exceptional job with personalizing emails, providing information on products that is clearly catered toward the recipient. This online retail giant makes use of all the data they can collect on customers and acts accordingly.
Subscribers should be able to interact and engage with the emails that you send them. There should be a simple and clear call-to-action that induces your target audience to click and interact with your content. An urgent, direct call-to-action gets the recipients to follow through immediately. There should be some sort of incentive or sense of urgency to act now, without being pushy, otherwise customers might think they will come back to it later or never at all. The links that customers can click to “act now” should be presented in a clear, easy to recognize fashion. In this smartphone era, about half of emails are opened on a mobile device. When designing emails, make sure to have the call-to-action links presented in a way that is easy to tap with a finger. This means two links should not be located close to one another and larger buttons to tap are your friend when designing these emails. Apple exemplifies these tips, making ‘ordering now’ sound appealing and providing a clear button for their desired customer action.
Having an accessible action step is important, but the links must lead the customer somewhere they want to go. Customized landing pages that send the user directly to the item or offer featured in the email can increase conversion rates by more than 25%. It is important that the journey from the marketing email to the site of the desired customer engagement is as effortless and direct as possible. Whether the goal is to have the customer make a profile, purchase a product, sign up for a service, or find out more about a topic, the customer must have a clear path to attaining this goal through your call-to-action on the email.
MAKING THE INBOX YOUR ‘IN’
From the first glance at the subject line to the landing page, subscribers must feel that the marketing is relevant to them. Email marketing is fast, affordable, and effective when implemented properly. By putting in the effort to address the wants and needs of your particular audience, your company can take advantage of email as a direct ‘in’ with customers resulting in more custom