Spam email. In this day and age, it’s pretty much just a joke. No one takes it seriously, and even your grandmother can tell just from the subject line that it’s not worth reading. So who cares? Well, ummm… marketers do. And if you own or run or even just work for a business or e-commerce site, this is something you should care about too.
Why? Because email is still one of the primary and most successful ways to reach your customers, leads, and influencers. And if your emails aren’t catching attention, or are catching the wrong kind, you’re in trouble. So how are you supposed to know what they’ll read and what they’ll instantly delete? Start by asking yourself a few questions before you send out that newsletter:
“Would I open this email?”
This can be further broken down into a few categories: sender, subject line, and spammy-ness (yeah, I know it’s not a real word, but work with me here). These are the three parts of an email that people regularly look at before deciding whether or not to open it; which is kind of common sense. What isn’t common sense, however, is how these seemingly innocuous items can completely change the likelihood of someone opening it.
- General vs. Personal: Which would you be more likely to open? An email from “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “Karen@examplesite.com”? If you answered the first, you’re in a small minority. People don’t like the idea of being sent an email by some autonomous company; but they DO like being sent emails from actual human beings. Granted, the email needs to be relevant.
- A <insert subject here> by any other name: There are some words that, when seen in the subject of an email, people will automatically associate with spam. It’s just a fact that words like free, new, offer, sale and others (as well as all caps) are a huge deterrent, even though modern spam messages don’t use these words that often anymore. Try to shy away from them, and instead use subject lines that are more appropriately tailored to your clientele.
- A stitch in time saves nine messages: Have you ever woken up one morning, checked your email, and found 14 of the exact same message in a row? I have, and on many, many occasions. It’s the worst. Don’t be that person. Just… just don’t. If you’re message wasn’t opened the first time, it won’t be open the 2nd. Or the 6th. Or the 14th. (I wish spam robots could read my words.) Doing this could even cause those who would read your email to delete it, as duplication is a sign of spam.
“Would this message interest me?”
This question is about the content of the message. That means text, video, images, design, color, and whatever else you have in the body of the message. Everything – from the main header to the smallest sentence, to the images and the color scheme – needs to be engaging and relevant to your audience. And since your audience may be diverse, it’s a good idea to have a few different newsletter templates set up. Even more distinct, is whether or not your newsletter is going to leads, conversions, customers, influencers, etc.
The bottom line is, break your email contacts list into categories that properly define distinctions between these groups. This is common practice in email marketing, but not everyone does it. And breaking groups up like this can have a huge impact on the CTRs (click-through rate) of your messages and offers.
“What news is being reported in this newsletter?”
If you can’t answer this in one or two sentences, you have work to do. It needs to be really obvious to the recipient of your newsletter what the content is about, so if it isn’t obvious to you, there’s a problem. Your headlines/titles should be short and sweet. The body text for each should be only a few sentences as most. Images and videos need to be clearly related to what they’re near. And the layout needs to really help the reader digest all the work you’ve put into the message. Consumption is key.
“What else can I do?”
After you DO send out that handsome and wonderful newsletter, you’re job’s pretty much over!
Nah, just kidding. You still need to fine tune your newsletter for next time, set the tone a little bit better each time, and check the metrics of it’s overall value to see what you can do better. Maybe do some A/B testing (sending out one version to half, and a different one to the other half to see which will do better). Maybe you can find ways to attract different conversions based on the way you lay things out. Maybe you can design new and better CTAs (calls-to-action) to see what really grabs the readers’ attention.
The point is, the job never stops. Market trends are always changing, and we have to evolve with them. So keep your chin up, get to your computer, and analyze the heck out of that newsletter!