Crafting Compelling Emails
By David W.B. Parker, MBA IT-PM
Email ranks atop the most effective and inexpensive direct marketing even today. All other online marketing techniques still pale in comparison to the effectiveness of email (in a recent Relevancy Group survey, 91% reported it to be the most effective in delivering revenue results). But, not if you don’t do it right. You have to craft a compelling email with the right subject line, content, and user experience to get to that level of effectiveness you seek. How do you create the most effective email? Read on.
Successful brands use email marketing…
Email is reported to have a 4,300% return on the investment generating $42.08 for every dollar spent. This is an extraordinary marketing benefit. Most marketing executive plans define a mix of mediums. According to US Marketing executives, as per the survey, the most effective channels for delivering revenue results were found to be the following:
- Email – 91%
- Display – 81%
- Paid Search – 72%
- SMS (Short Message Service is text messaging) – 54%
Email is clearly the winning solution, but it will only be as effective as the message. So, what is a good email?
The Subject Line is critical.
Before you hit send, ensure you have a captivating subject line that connects your customers to your brand with a compelling and relevant message. You subject line should consider the following:
- Capture the attention of the reader
- Be personal when you can
- Be concise (5-10 words)
- Drive the reader to open the email via Urgency or Curiosity
- Do not have a deceptive or generic message
- Possess a pre-header that is engaging and relevant to the Subject Line
- Accurately depict what is offered in the email
- Use special characters when appropriate
It has been found that 22.2% of all emails are more likely to be opened with a personalized subject line. Now, it’s not always convenient, or appropriate, to include personalized subjects, but use them when you can. In fact, the primary attribute of a good retailer email Subject Line, according to US Digital Buyers is saying something is on sale. Offering a deal is the deal, but beyond that, making it personal is the next best thing.
Send the right message
If the Subject Line has been enticing enough to get the reader to open the email, you now have a captivated audience. People don’t like to read, so make the message right by making it with the following thoughts:
- Stay short, clear and to the point
- Be relevant to the email subject line
- Have correct grammar and spelling
- Have all information checked for accuracy
- Incorporate an opt-out or unsubscribe link for future campaigns
- Include a Call to Action (CTA) toward the top of the email
- Have a CTA that stands out, is clickable and is linked to an appropriate landing page
The following are leading marketing tactics from which digital retailers have seen the highest ROI:
- Email marketing – 59.3%
- Word of mouth/referrals – 45.8%
- SEO – 42.5%
- Social Media – 32.2%
- Digital Marketing – 27.1%
- Native – 9.3%
- Mobile – 4.2%
There is a side note to this data. Personalized CTAs convert 22% more ROI than basic CTAs. The Call To Action is an important aspect to the message and should be given some thought. Once the email is opened, there isn’t much time to provide the user something he or she is interested in. Provide the user with a simple design and a compelling Call To Action. This experience can make or break the perception of the message and the company.
Perception is everything
People are changing the way they purchase products or services. As per Walker Information’s research, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This is an important change. As we’ve seen in the recent Presidential elections in the US, it’s not about the product or the price as much as it is about the presentation. We are no longer focused entirely about the product and price. Not so much.
To achieve a positive user experience, include the following:
- Provide the reader a clear message
- Incorporate a message that is consistent with the email subject line
- Organize the largest elements toward the top of the email
- Identify links and buttons in a clear manner
- Avoid any unnecessary, confusing or contradictory information
- Include a phone number linked to call for mobile devices
- Have the company address linked to an online map in the footer
- Images may be the key
Visuals are important
Moving forward in our digital development, complementing your message with visual experiences is going to be important. This ties in directly with the changes to how people are choosing products and services, not by product or price but by visual perception as it regards to the overall experience the reader has. Your image and design should:
- Visually support the email content
- Have an image-to-text ratio no greater than 2:3
- Fashion links as buttons to stand out
- Include design HTML that is responsive for any device
- Portray brand consistently in color and imagery
- Be clickable and linked
- Stay within the ideal width of 500 to 650 pixels
- Include alt-text descriptions for all images
With the message itself, the reader is interested in linking to valuable information about the product or service. The Top Three most effective marketing channels according to marketing professionals worldwide is as follows:
- Email Marketing – 22%
- Company Website – 20%
- Social Media – 18%
These are all interaction with the customer and must be maximized. People no longer have time to waste. Every second is important and is a battle with other things the reader is trying to do. Striking the balance is critical.
Mobile is MORE than relevant
As in a recent poll, 67% of all emails are opened on a mobile device (including smartphones and tablets), and smartphones alone make up 50% of ALL opens. This is as important an observation as anything mentioned previously. If your email is not Mobile Friendly, you’re missing the boat entirely.
Keep the email rolling
If email is not a major part of your marketing plan, then you’re missing a large part of your potential customers. With the cost of email, there’s a huge ROI potential you can’t ignore. Keep emailing and you’ll keep the clients coming.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions