Write Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

Lots of good email marketing tips are all over the internet… but here I shall share the best tips that I’ve learned during my work as a marketing copywriter.

eMail marketing is still relevant in today’s online marketing activities. (And poised to stay there for some long time)

Lots of businesses rely mainly (and in some cases only) on sending out marketing emails to generate sales.

Companies sending several million emails each month is quite the norm.

More  than 205 billion emails were sent out every day in 2015. (Source: Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019, RADICATI.)

I’ve learned the following email marketing tips and tricks from my long years of working as a marketing copywriter.

For the last 10 years, I’ve been:

  • Writing and tweaking emails, e-flyers, newsletters, online sales offers, landing pages, etc.
  • Building related and effective distribution lists,
  • Maximizing open & click through rates,
  • Enhancing email deliverability,
  • Using autoresponders, transactional emails, email triggers

And so, I’ve learned some email marketing tips that would make more people open your emails, not delete them straight away. Read on:

Best Email Marketing Tips Start with a Good  Title / Subject line

Your first line should be a catchy headline / teaser text to encourage your recipients to keep reading.

This line should summarize the purpose of each email.

Use a shorter version of your title as your email subject line, BUT:

  • Avoid using any words that can flag the email as spam (i.e. Free, earn, make, money, income, cheap, !!!, $$$, save, profit, [numbers], etc.)
  • Refrain from using baits like RE: or FW: in the beginning of your subject line. SPAM filters will catch you red-handed.
  • Email apps (i.e Gmail) truncate the email subject line truncated. They add an ellipsis after 27 characters. Stats show that more than 50% of all emails sent worldwide are read on a mobile phone. Your subject line better say something useful before crossing 27 characters.
Marketers who use personalization in their subject lines see 26% more opens. -Campaign Monitor Click to Tweet

Create a focal point

Make one thing on your flyer that is huge, interesting, and strong.

Catch your readers’ eyes with your focal point and they are more likely to read the rest of your text.

Anything out of the ordinary will make people stop and look, so…

… make your titles out of the ordinary.

Use a huge headline or a huge clipart.

Always remember that email design has to be symmetrical with boundaries, white spaces, and typography.

People ignore design that ignores people. #LPT Click to Tweet

Call To Action(s) CTA

Emails are sent for a reason.

Emails expect some action from the recipient.

A Call To Action (CTA) has to be defined, highlighted, and shown right away…

… before the reader has to scroll down (aka above the fold), usually in the form of a relatively ‘big’ button.

Each e-flyer must have ONE MAIN CALL TO ACTION, in the shape of a round icon.

The CTA round icon(s) should show max 3 words, followed by the >> arrows.

All the Email Marketing Tips in world will be useless without a clear Call To Action.

All the Email Marketing Tips in world will be useless without a clear Call To Action.

The Call To Action button must show up before the need to scroll down (aka above the fold).

You need to REPEAT your CTA before the footer…

… so if the reader was not yet convinced / missed the first CTA / too lazy to go back up, the second CTA will seal the deal.

Foot-in-the-door technique (FITD)

Researchers found that asking for smaller requests leads to compliance with larger requests (link).

When you ask your recipient for a small favor and he complies…

… most probably he will agree when you ask him for a bigger one.

  • Before you go for your CTA, it’s a good practice to start with a small request.
  • That request receives a Yes answer from the recipients.
  • Once you have your first small favor, move on to ask for your CTA.
89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. -Mailigen, 2016 Click to Tweet

Photos

If there was one king to all email marketing tips, it will be choosing a good photo for each email.

By nature, humans gravitate toward human faces.

Showing a human face near the top of the email encourages recipients to read more of the email.

Use humans in photos.

Humans interact more with human faces.

Make the eyes of the humans in the photo look in the direction of the Call To Action in your email.

Doing so increases conversions and clicks.

On the other hand, the best ratio between text:images is 60:40. More or less than that and the SPAM filters will trigger.

65% of users prefer emails to contain mostly images, compared to 35% who prefer text. -HubSpot, 2016 Click to Tweet

Directing the Eye

Your email design and stock photos should drive the recipient to look in the direction of your Call To Action.

Your visual hierarchy should send cues to the viewer as to where to look next, next, and next.

Clear associations in your design should establish a look of order.

Color can boost the ability of the compositional factors in your design…

…to attract and guide viewers’ attention and to create visual interest.

Finally, pointing elements (i.e. arrows, lines, pointing fingers, etc.) can be used to direct the eye toward chosen elements if the email design.

Keep it short. Like you, people are also busy.

Watch your demographics

When using photos for people in your email blasts, make sure to choose wisely.

If you are catering to males and females then use photos of both males and females.

Should your conference caters to all doctors, your list of speakers should show white and dark skin doctors.

If your exhibition is open for all, then use stock photos for Americans, Europeans, Asians, etc.

Don’t fall in the trap of using certain sets of photos if your business is open for all. If not, then choose accordingly.

Colors

Use max 4 colors (+ the black color of the text) in one design.

Use colors sparingly to highlight important information.

Colors help tie the written content with the visual content.

Use one color only for titles, product names, CTA, etc.

For text, use a maximum of 3 colors.

More than that and the SPAM filters will mark your email as spam and block it, or move it automatically to the SPAM folder.

Recommended read: The compilation of the best email marketing designs.

Information overkill

Don’t overwhelm the reader with loads of information, no matter how important.

Make it short and simple.

Straight to the point.

Don’t mention too much information.

In 2016, TechCrunch found that 75% of Gmail’s 900 million users access their accounts on mobile devices. Click to Tweet

Divide

Use short paragraphs. 50 – 75 words per paragraph.

More than that, use sub-titles for each paragraph.

Don’t write long paragraphs.

People skim through emails, not read them in full.

Help them and highlight the important parts of your email with font size, type, and color.

Make the titles in BOLD (preferably in different font + color).

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ration has to be among your email marketing tips.

The Golden Ration has to be among your top email marketing tips. Image @companyfolders.com

Artists and scientists have discovered what they call the golden ratio, or 1.6180339887 (or 1.62 for easy reference).

This ratio is used in nature in everything we lay our eyes on (i.e. a leaf’s vein).

It is considered as visual perfection.

In your mailshot, say its width is 600 pixels, then the perfect height will be (600 x 1.62) 972 pixels.

Same goes for font size.

If your font size for your body text is 10, then the font size for your titles should be 10 x 1.62 = 16.

Recommend read: How to Use the Golden Ratio to Create Gorgeous Graphic Designs

Adding video to an email can increase click rates by 300%. -Emma, 2016 Click to Tweet

The footer

Very few of your recipients will read your emails till the end.

Those who will, are more likely to be converted to clients and buyers.

To maximize on this fact, remember to:

  • Repeat your CTA icon(s),
  • Show your social media accounts,
  • Show your contact info, company logo, phone number, personal email address, company website, Google Maps coordinates, etc.
In 2016, Litmus found the top email client are the iPhone with 33%, Gmail with 15%, iPad with 12%. Click to Tweet

Six email marketing mistakes you should avoid

Any list of email marketing tips needs to point out the mistakes people do when using email marketing.

Email marketing has to follow certain rules and guidelines to maximize its potentials…

…and achieve the utmost return on investment ROI.

Below, I list 6 of the most common mistakes in Email Marketing, and how to easily avoid them.

1 — Wrong Target

One of the most common mistakes in Email Marketing is when your targeted customers are wrongfully picked…

…or do not show the slightest interest in what you are marketing to them.

The more the merrier is not always the right approach in email marketing.

The more the merrier is not always the right approach in email marketing. Click to Tweet

You need to research, plan, and test your list of targeted customers.

Think about the best ways to identify the audience most likely to respond favorably to your offers.

2 — Wrong Purpose

Nothing is more irritating than an unfinished business deal.

Marketing for a product / service that hasn’t been launched yet…

…or won’t be available in some regions…

…results in alienating prospect clients whom may not deal with you in the future for wasting their time.

If the targeted audience can not buy your product / service for some reasons related to you, hold on till those reasons are sorted out and then make your pitch.

As it is, clients are hard to find, don’t make it any harder.

3 — Wrong Contact

Another common mistake in email marketing is…

…when you find the right customer…

…but your point of contact with that customer is not in charge of taking the decision of buying from you.

You may approach the husband, but it’s the wife who is in charge of buying.

You may engage in a long list of emails, just to find out that this employee is not in charge of buying and can not help you close the deal.

Before wasting both of your times, ask for the person in charge of buying.

4 — Wrong Reason

Announce the aim of your email marketing activities upfront, so as not to waste anyone’s time.

You have to speak out and list the benefits of reading what you have to say in your email / eflyer / newsletter.

The person reacting to your emarketing activities has to know what outcome to expect from doing so.

5 — Wrong Attitude

The best email marketing tips must tell you that:

… Email marketing is not meant to be communicated in one-way only.

You have to listen to what your targeted audience have to say back to you, and you need to be able to act accordingly.

Email marketing should never be one-way only.

6 — Wrong Practice

The mother of all marketing mistakes is when you find the right customer…

…and have the right product / service…

…and then not attempting to sell…

…or giving up after asking for the sale only once.

The second mistake on that list is not trying to up-sell when possible.

The third mistake would be not to ask for referrals after closing the deal.

Close the deal, up-sell, and ask for referrals, those are some of the best email marketing tips I can tell you.

For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average ROI is $44.25. –EmailExpert Click to Tweet

Email marketing tips from the numbers:

According to an online US survey [Harris Interactive, Strongmail.com] (Jan 7-9, 2013) of 2,166 online adults ages 18 and older:

67% of U.S. online consumers bought online during the 2012 holiday season as a result of a sale or promotion.

Of those, 51% said an email from a retailer influenced their purchase decision..

followed by TV ads (45%), print ads (42%), online advertising (33%).

According to RADICATI, there was a total of 2.6 billion worldwide email users. By the end of 2019, this number will be 2.9 billion, with over one-third of the worldwide population using email.

The U.S. consumer is continually on the hunt for deals and sales, evident by:

74% of people signed up for email notifications from retailers to get coupons,

66% signed up for sales announcements.

Why do US online adults unsubscribe from retailer email notifications (2012):

  • 67% said they just received too many emails
  • 45% were no longer interested in that retailer and their goods/services
  • 37% said content of the emails were no longer relevant

You want more email marketing examples, but not related to the US?

How about the French online shoppers? According to the Digital Cafe report in 2012:

Nearly half of online French consumers made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on email, Facebook or Twitter.

The report is based on a survey of more than 1,500 online French consumers, ages 18 and above, and it found that:

Email marketing dominance in France

  • 90% of online French consumers subscribe to at least one email marketing program
  • 51% of consumers that subscribe to brand’s email programs have made a purchase after receiving an email marketing message
  • 28% of consumers report checking email constantly throughout the day

Final thoughts:

  • International regulations stipulate the inclusion of the company name and unsubscribe link. Failing to do so will mark the sending IP / server as a spamming source.
  • Marketing does not justify lying. If your product / service is not good enough, don’t give the illusion that it is. Don’t give the illusion of something that is not correct or true. By nature, people are programmed to sniff liars and catch scammers. Lose your recipients’ trust and you’ve lost everything. Earn their trust so they trust you with their money.
  • AVOID FULL CAPS LIKE THE PLAGUE. Doing so will land your email in the SPAM folder automatically.
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