Email Marketing Fundamentals
Learn how to craft an effective email marketing campaign that will convert leads into sales
Email marketing is one of the most profitable marketing channels out there, generating an average return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent.
No digital marketing strategy (Intro to digital marketing) is complete without email marketing included. Email marketing is able to connect a business with its target audience (Connecting with the customer) to increase both brand awareness and sales.
When a business needs to find new prospects, launch a new product or service, or advertise a promotion, email marketing is the top source that’s relied on. Why? Because email marketing is 40 times more effective at customer acquisition than Twitter or Facebook.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is the digital marketing strategy of sending promotional messages to people who have signed up. The most common reason for email marketing is to help generate sales and leads.
In the past, email marketing often consisted of spammy, one-size-fits-all mass mailings. Now, to truly connect with people and turn them into loyal customers, email marketing must be personalized.
Email Marketing Fundamentals
Email marketing is meant to convey either promotional or informational content that affects the buyer journey.
When the email marketing campaign is promotional, the content centers around advertising a product, service, special offer, etc. A promotional email will also have a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the end. The CTA is to get the reader to take a specific action, such as visit a site page or sign up for a subscription.
Informational emails serve to inform readers and come in the format of either newsletters or announcements. Newsletters help to deepen and maintain connections with the customer, while announcements introduce important news. Emails serve to inform readers and deepen connections to the customer.
Whether the email is promotional or informational in nature, the business won’t benefit at all if they aren’t actually opened. So, to help improve email open rates, there are basic fundamentals that should be followed:
Humanize the communication
In this digital age, people’s inboxes are flooded with daily emails. For a business to have its email stand out and not be trashed without even being opened, every detail must speak directly to the consumer.
Corporate, formal phrasing should be avoided. Instead, use a friendly tone of voice that will appeal to readers on a personal level. By writing like a friend, the email will have a better chance of being opened.
Keep the subject line in scope
The subject line might be one of the more important elements of any email marketing campaign. This one sentence determines email open and click rates. If the subject line doesn’t stand out, then the odds increase it’ll be trashed without ever being read.
The email subject line should be on point and create a desire to click on the email with the use of just a few words. You’ve likely heard the term “clickbait,” where a headline is sensationalized and leads to an article or video that often fails to deliver on what was advertised. Avoid using this tactic, as it can disenfranchise email subscribers and ensure they mark all future emails as spam.
When crafting an email subject line:
- Limit it to 50 characters or fewer
- Include numbers when possible
- Use a friendly, non-corporate tone
- Highlight an interesting aspect within the email’s content
- Appeal to reader’s wants, needs, or emotions
Craft engaging content
The copy of the email should fulfill one of three key objectives:
- Brand awareness
- Customer loyalty
However, remember that email is a curated space. Customers are only interested in reading emails that pique their curiosity or interests or are offering something they desire. If the copy rambles or lacks a focused goal, readers will be fast to lose interest and delete the email.
When drafting email copy, it’s easy to lose focus and think in terms of the thousands of people who will receive it. But it’s more effective to treat the copy as if only speaking to a single person. This will help tailor the content to have a more personalized message.
It’s vital to know the buyer persona of the audience to craft compelling, personalized content. To zero in on what the audience will be most interested in, you need to understand the problems of the reader (pain points), as well as their likes, dislikes, and values.
In short, make sure that every time an email is sent, it is offering real value to the audience. If readers know they can expect high value from every email received, they’ll turn into loyal customers and, in turn, open rates will increase.
Focus on benefits
Every email sent should focus on benefits for the reader. In order to achieve this, the goal of the email marketing campaign must be known.
Each email should have a clear goal. This goal could be promoting a new product, advertising a special deal, or even updating subscribers on important company news.
Essentially, the audience should know that they have something to gain by opening the email.
Make the call-to-action interesting
Each email should have a point to it and the call-to-action helps draw attention to that. The CTA is there to persuade the reader to take further action.
The goal behind the CTA will vary depending on the objective of the email marketing campaign, as well as who the intended target audience is. For example, the CTA might be directing the reader toward a purchase, or sending them toward the company blog for more content.
No matter what, the CTA should capture the attention of the reader. To help achieve this, use clear language and emphasize its design with contrasting elements.
Use color wisely
Design is almost as important as the content itself. The look and feel of the email will reflect the business and its values. Be sure to devote time to using the right colors to represent the personality of the brand.
Don’t use neon colors that are so bright they will hurt the eyes. Combining light colors with white text will also be difficult to read, so avoid doing this. If a reader has to struggle to read text or squint through bright colors, the email will likely end up trashed before even reaching the CTA.
Finally, put effort into matching colors (best case follow a brand guide – see our examples). Just like you wouldn’t decorate a home in clashing colors, neither do you want to have an email full of colors that don’t compliment each other.
Use high-quality images
When using images in an email, there are certain best practices that should be followed.
For one, don’t clutter the email with the overuse of images. This can harm the deliverability of the email and decrease load times.
When using images, avoid using ones that are either too large or too small (<100kb). Large images will make load times take longer and take up too much space, whereas small images can be difficult to see. Images should also be high-quality and not blurry.
Last, add in ALT text for all images. This serves two purposes. One, in case the image doesn’t load, people will be able to refer to the text. And two, this makes the image more accessible to those who utilize screen readers.