Seven step for successful email campaigns

Applying these seven simple steps helps ensure the success of your email campaigns.

1. Know your audience

Experienced salespeople understand the concept of “putting yourself in the buyer’s position.” They carefully consider what features and benefits to present.

To avoid misunderstood communications, choose language that is understood by most (preferably all) of your audience. Demographics to consider might include age, gender, nationality, native language, level of understanding about the topic, degree of familiarity and/or established trust, economic class, political orientation, etc.

Think of specific individuals within your audience and write to them. Consider the following questions:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What are the relevant needs and wants of this audience, and how am I addressing them?
  • What do I want this audience to know or do?
  • Why would this audience care about the information I'm sending?
  • What is this audience's level of understanding about the information I am sending?
  • What is this audience's most likely attitude or response?
  • Is email the best format for conveying my message?
  • How will I measure the success of this communication?

2. The long and short of the subject line

Writing catchy subject lines is more an art than a science. Because technology trends are shifting rapidly, the consensus on good subject lines regularly shifts from short is better to long is better. The Web is currently transitioning to mobile-first, therefore shorter subject lines are probably preferable at this time. However, as with all marketing rules, creatively breaking commonly accepted standards can be wildly successful–if done at the right time and in the right way. A few principles seem to apply in all cases:

  • Consider the reader's perspective, not your own. 
  • Appeal to the reader's wants and needs. Be sure the title answers the often unspoken question, “What's in it for me?”
  • Don't waste the reader's time. Keep it short, relevant, and to-the-point.
  • Appeal to reader’s curiosity
  • Seek catchiness; avoid triteness.
  • If seeking maximum SEO, include key terms from the article within the title.

3. Content is king

The commercialization of the Web has transformed consumer behavior. Many go first to the Internet when seeking information. They expect to find useful content, and if they don't see it fast they are quick to click away, often never to return.

This behavior applies equally to email messages. Given the flood of messages arriving in email inboxes, a message must capture the reader's attention within seconds. For these reasons your email campaign should provide content that is genuinely useful–even indispensable–for your intended audience. Seek to develop a reputation for providing valuable, actionable information that positions you as a trusted resource.

Aim for short sentences, with one clear idea per sentence.

For easier reading on screens, break long paragraphs up.

Many scan the first sentence of a paragraph before deciding to read more carefully.  For this reason, it's often best to place the main point of each paragraph within the first sentence.

4. Encourage active responses

Most if not all communications are designed to elicit some kind of response from the recipient. Know what responses you hope to achieve. Sometimes it is enough to know that the email was delivered. But how will you know if it was actually read or if your audience understood the message as intended? 

Including opportunities for active response has many advantages. In particular, it helps ensure that your message was received and understood, it helps you verify the accuracy of your contact lists, and it increases ongoing communication and engagement with your audience.

Here are a few suggestions for encouraging active responses.

  • Include calls to action: Drive traffic to your website by including tantalize Read More... links.
  • Encourage immediate responses by including time-sensitive offers.
  • Including links to additional information, free downloads, etc.
  • Include links to valuable, free content on your website. Note that both valuable and free are key.
  • Verify and build your contact list by requiring voluntary registration.

5. Design for mobile devices

The Web is rapidly evolving into a mobile first platform. Here are some quick design tips to ensure that your message looks great on all devices:

  • To quickly adapt older, non-responsive templates for mobile devices, convert them to a one-column format.
  • Increase the font size for improved readability on smart phones.
  • Use resizable image techniques.
  • Include the smallest possible image size.
  • Make the call-to-action obvious and easy to tap. Above the fold is preferable.
  • Consider ergonomics. Many people use their thumbs to navigate on small devices. To increases the ease-of-use for thumb navigators, place navigation elements in the center of the screen.
  • More detailed information on optimizing for mobile devices can be found at Apple's iOS guidelines.

6. Follow up, follow up, and then follow up...

Effective email messages should be part of a larger campaign. New sales are often closed after the third contact, but many sales efforts stop after the first or second attempt. Repeat your message in follow up newsletters and other channels.

7. Track your success

Before sending your email message, quantify your goals and prepare to track your success. The information gained can be used to clean up contact lists, ensure that your message is understood as intended, and provide important insights for improving future communications.

We can help you optimize, send, track and analyze email campaigns. Contact us to learn more.