7 Building Blocks to Email Marketing Success

emailFeeling overwhelmed with your email campaign? Not getting the engagement you’re looking for? With all the email applications, personal settings, firewalls, anti-virus programs and spam filters out there, sending even the most basic email can be a lot trickier than it looks. Here are 7 core building blocks to email marketing success.

1. Good Content

Always be informative. Give your readers something they can use to impact their business by providing information that helps them reach their objectives. Help them solve a challenge or meet an unmet need in their business. With each email you send, ask yourself — am I telling my audience anything new? Your emails should make their day-to-day lives easier or increase their bottom line.

To do this, you need to know your audience. Not sure what they need? Do some polling and market research. Find out how they like to be communicated with; what products they are buying and how they’re buying them.

2. Targeted Segmentation

Once you know your audience inside and out, consider segmenting your list. This will help you send highly targeted emails to different groups based on their interests. You can even program your emails to dynamically alter subject lines, images or copy depending on the recipient. It sounds complicated, but if you use a simple database to fuel your email platform, you can send individualized emails to thousands of viewers with the click of a button.

You’ll see ROI instantly with personalized content that your readers can connect to. Pretty soon, they will start thinking of your e-blasts — not as intrusions — but as an invaluable resources that truly help them move the needle in their businesses.

3. Captivating Subject Lines

Your subject line is the gateway to your email. Make sure it captures their attention. Here are a few tricks to make that happen:

  • Be honest. The number 1 rule of content marketing is: do not trick your readers. It’s quality, not quantity. You want the right people looking at your content (the ones that are going to buy your products or services.) Misleading them won’t get the sale. In fact, it’s more likely they’ll opt out of your campaign altogether.
  • Be succinct. Streamline your subject line to 50 characters or less. Nobody has time to mess around, and a lengthy subject line will just get cut off in the Inbox anyway.

Not sure if your subject line will draw recipients? Try a testing program like Litmus. It will show you what information will appear in the reader’s Inbox. You can then rewrite or reorganize your titles for maximum impact! Of course there are other factors that will affect your email getting opened like the time of day and frequency. But if your subject line compels the reader because it’s personalized and relevant to their business you have a higher chance of being seen.

4. Functional Images and Links

Linking your readers to your website is a great way to increase traffic and boost SEO. And nothing motivates your reader to learn more than a compelling image that evokes emotion or empathy. But don’t get too sexy. Most email programs block images until the viewer enables them—and studies show that up to 45% of email recipients don’t really bother to do that. Also, heavy images and graphics can weigh an email down making it too large for delivery or sending it right to the spam folder.

Here are some things to remember when using images in your emails:

  • Use photos and graphics sparingly. Don’t use them to communicate your main messages or any calls-to-action. If the image gets dropped from the email, those messages will disappear with it.
  • Don’t use background images or color gradients behind HTML text (any text that’s not part of an image or graphic).
  • Use “Alt Text” and captions. This text will be visible to your reader even if your graphic is not.

5. Compelling Calls-to-Action

Always ask your reader to do something. Whether you’re asking your audience to share your e-blast, contact an account manager to learn more, or click on your social media icons to increase overall campaign engagement; your call-to-action should stand out more than anything else in your e-blast.

6. Extensive Testing

Not all browsers are created equal. The most popular web browsers right now are Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. But don’t assume everyone is using the most up-to-date versions of these browsers. IT restraints and compatibility limitations force some companies to maintain web browsers that are over 10 years old (e.g. IE6).

Here are some ways to ensure your email gets seen on any browser:

  • Limit the width of your email to 600 pixels or less so your audience doesn’t have to scroll from left to right to view your content. (See our post on Responsive Web Design for more information.)
  • Add a link to an online version of your e-blast in case someone is having difficulty viewing the content in their email application.
  • Make a separate text-only version for people using older devices or email applications that might not be set to view content in HTML format.

Browsers aren’t the only concern. Don’t forget email applications and the unlimited variety of laptops and mobile devices your viewers are using today. Some major email applications include: Apple Mail, Entourage, Lotus Notes and Thunderbird—not to mention the 5 major versions of Microsoft Outlook.

7. Detailed Metrics

Measure, Evaluate, and Act. Use an email platform that will allow you to run reports and capture key metrics. (e.g., opens, clicks, bounces, opt-outs, etc.). Try one of these: Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Exact Target. Look for clicks; not just opens. Interaction is the only true measure of engagement. Then, actually use your analytics! Review your reports once a week and adjust your campaign based on what’s working and what’s not. Experiment with new layouts or edit your copy to improve the effectiveness of your communications.

Parting Thoughts

Email can be overwhelming. In addition to engagement and functionality, there are also legal guidelines called CAN-Spam requirements that should be followed with every email you send out. Using an agency that is familiar with these components and employs expert HTML and CSS coders can save you time, money, and headache. Putting the right people in the right roles will help ensure that your next email reaches your audience and motivates them to take action.

If you need an e-blast campaign fast, call the experts at Creative MediaWorks. We have decades of experience in multimedia web design and development. Call us today at (800) 737-1123 or send us an email info@creativemediaworks.com. We’ll make your next e-mail stand out in crowded Inboxes.

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