At a recent family event, I was asked about my position as the Digital Marketing Fellow at GovLoop. What exactly did I do at my job? To my chagrin, my mother answered for me.
“She writes spam,” she said.
In those three words, my mother voiced the greatest challenge in email marketing—piquing enough interest to avoid spam folder purgatory. Everyone has multiple email addresses these days, and convincing people to click on an email is an uphill battle. Oftentimes, the emails I write for GovLoop are competing with the likes of Amazon, Instagram, and Michelle Obama. While the FLOTUS doesn’t personally write her mass emails, both seasoned professionals and lowly interns like myself spend a lot of time trying to get you guys to open our emails.
Thinking of that catchy subject line is not a skill—it’s an art. In this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday, I’m revisiting a guest post by Darren Caveney that outlines how to write a great marketing email. He identifies the top 10 things to consider when starting an email campaign.
Email? Send them an email? But, hasn’t the world all shifted across to social media, I hear you cry?
Well yes and no. A whopping 94% of UK adults have an email address (source: Ofcom, 2012) That knocks into a cocked hat just about every social media statistic you’ll ever see.
Actually, most of us switch back and forth between both without really thinking about it too much. Smart phones and tablets have made it all so easy and seamless.
As [communications] professionals we know that we need to be confident using both mediums, but understand the subtle differences, the advantages offered by both and where synergies exist.
Crafting, targeting and loving your marketing emails. Now that’s a skill which will come naturally for some. For others it needs a bit of thought and a bit of work. Just think about the array of approaches, of content, of style of the emails you receive each day – the good, the bad and the ugly. Occasionally, I scan through my spam folder with sheer wonder at some of the nutty stuff people have thought appropriate for me.
As always, there is much to learn and case studies a plenty out there so when I nabbed a ticket for the excellent mailcamp at the swanky National Audit Office’s HQ I was all ears.
So, here’s a top 10 things you need to consider when sending an email, as suggested by the speakers at mailcamp
- 80% of your email’s content should sit at the top of the email – above the fold, as we used to say
- What you put in the subject box is vital. Make it interesting and relevant, make it stand out in a busy inbox
- Use links rather than pictures – pictures may look nicer but links will generate more click-throughs
- Include surveys and competitions to encourage interaction, but only if the content of them is relevant to what your subscribers want
- Be fleet of foot – think about relevant opportunities which breaking news, current affairs and live events can throw up, and how you might time your emails to coincide
- Timing is key – if you want people to attend a weekend event, hitting their inbox on Friday late morning/early afternoon can be key in influencing their weekend plans
- Your ‘call to action’ must be clear and simple. And it must be referenced in your email subject line
- Integrate your email activity with your social media channels – cross-promote, co-ordinate, converge
- What works for social media can also work for email – be authentic, be honest, tell stories
- Measure, measure, measure – study the analytics. But do measure the right thing – don’t fret about openings if your goal is click-throughs and sign ups.
Of course, there’s more to running successful email marketing campaigns than this but if we nail these as a starter for 10 then we can expect a decent return.