7 Steps to Email Greatness

Email is still one of the most cost-effective marketing channels Email Timing Infographicavailable to all sizes of business. The art and science are in getting it right so you don’t land in the spam folder or get too many unsubscribes. If you write at least some portion of your own content, here are some basics for your email strategy that even contributors should keep in mind.

Focus Your Goal
Plan your campaigns strategically for each audience you target. A client engagement campaign will have different content and intervals than a limited offer. What is this email meant to accomplish? (How to measure success is discussed later.)  Each campaign needs to be thought through completely before writing the first line of content.

Which Devices Do Your Audience Use
Knowing the top devices your readers open your email on most frequently will help you make the best content and image choices. Adestra states – 45% of email opens occurred on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client. While this is a general number, check your own data and KPIs at least quarterly for changes.

Write a Worthy Subject Line
People read what appeals to them. Grab their attention without landing in the spam folder by staying on goal and true to your brand’s voice. This reassures the reader that your content is relevant. A basic refresher from this article will help avoid getting your email labeled as spam.

Use a Relevant or Provocative Image
Once you get your target to open your email, you want them to be interested enough to read it. Your choice of image is an important answer to the reader’s question, “Is this email worth reading?” Sometimes there isn’t an obvious image that conveys your message so you might try something fun or disruptive to make them wonder.

Which Day Is Your Best
While more email is sent and read on Mondays, your best day for this target might be different. My client, Tanglewood Works, sends her new items email every Thursday before the weekend shopping trend to current subscribers. (She now devotes more time to her social media channels on the other days. Smart resource management!) If you have many products that target different audiences consider each one’s reading trends uniquely. It’ important to monitor your audience’s trends and analyze your data often for shifts.

Test One Element With Each Email
Having a written email testing plan will optimize your efforts over time. If you have a large list you can run multivariate tests and gain insights much more quickly. If you are new to testing, try something easy such as subject lines. Advanced users can follow Email on Acid to venture further into geeky tests like variable text headers.

Plan KPIs In Advance

As you plan your email campaign and it’s goals, determine what your KPI should be for each campaign and each email within. Your end-goal might be to get the target to request a product demo. Often, these are part of CTAs within the email. Plan the path you anticipate your target will take. If you can imagine multiple routes to your goal, then you plan those separately. This is a perfect chance to test multiple versions of the same email with different paths.

Before, you could write an email and blast it out to your subscribers. Today with so much noise and competition, being strategic and having SMART goals for your campaigns is the best way to manage your resources, measure results and make sound decisions for your next campaign. If you’re new to SMART marketing, here’s an easy template to get you started.

Contextually Relevant Content or Just Blogging

My clients and future clients sometimes ask why I don’t practice what I preach – blog regularly to help support a larger SEM goal. That would require me to have a personal SEM goal for my practice, I say. However, many bloggers out there just blog to blog. This is a fine strategy if you are building your brand awareness, However, most businesses today whether they wish to reach consumers or other businesses rely on content to perform multiple duties that it isn’t optimized to deliver.

Having a primary goal for your content production is key and while it’s exciting to try to crack the code where your content ticks many boxes, it’s a ton of work that most content teams are not skilled in doing. Perfect content is: interesting to the target audience, creates conversions, helps SERP, helps PPC, helps organic and meets the moving  target of Googles content-rich algorithms. As most companies have copywriters who strive to be interesting, how can this same content also be optimized by the same person or another who doesn’t wreck the message?

This is why I don’t blog often. But when I do, it’s audience relevant.