Whether you’re looking to promote a new product or share your latest blog, email marketing is a great way to encourage customers to visit your website. Unlike social media, email has a far more ‘permanent’ nature, due to the fact that users must actively dismiss posts as opposed to simply overlooking or bypassing them. In order to ignore or ‘opt out’ of a particular message, users must delete the item from their inbox, making this a great way to catch and hold the attention of customers.
It’s all very well having gained a list of emails, but it’s what you do with this information afterwards that will really create a lasting impact for your brand. By acquiring this information, you have established a bond of trust between yourself and your customers/audience, and it is important to ensure that this sense of trust is implemented correctly. Emails should provide useful, engaging content for your customers, and should reflect the services advertised when you encouraged them to sign up in the first place. This refers not only to content of your emails, but more importantly your subject line, which could mean the difference between someone opening your email or sending it straight to their junk folder!
In order to help you get the best from your email marketing campaigns, we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts in order to help you provoke interest from your readers, and avoid being categorized as spam.
Devices to Avoid
Over-use of ‘sales’ language as well as the excessive use of capital letters and/or punctuation can trigger spam filters, which means that the intended recipient will miss out on the content of your email altogether. Even if a message with a poor quality subject line manages to make it to its intended destination, words like ‘free’, as well as unnecessary exclamation marks and other potential triggers could cause the message to seem useless or untrustworthy to the reader, leading them to disregard and delete the email without even viewing its content.
When used correctly, personalisation can be a great addition to the subject line of your email, but it's important to avoid unnecessary/template style personalisation in order to improve the impact of your campaign. Subject lines which name the recipient can often be off-putting as opposed to engaging, creating no real value and chipping away at your precious character count.
Due to the large volume of emails being received by audience members, it is of great importance to provide straightforward and easy-to-comprehend information for them to digest. Long-winded and overly descriptive titles take too long to read and react to, making them unappealing for the average recipient. Due to the multitude of emails which will undoubtedly surround yours, it’s important to make your email stand out. The title should of course, provide some clue as to the content, but this should be seen as more of a gateway as opposed to an exact outline.
Techniques to Implement
Appropriate and Intelligent Use of Punctuation
While excessive use of punctuation marks and symbols can harm the impact of your line, using these sparingly and effectively can attract the eye of the viewer and encourage them to click on your email. The best example of this would be the use of question marks; a proven way to provoke interest in your reader. Not only do questions cause them to wonder how the information provided affects them, it also arouses a general sense of curiosity regarding the subjects mentioned.
Target Your Audience
As mentioned previously, poor personalisation can do more harm than good to your campaign, but if used correctly, it can attract the desired response without seeming gimmicky or desperate. Effective subject line personalisation encompasses a range of approaches, from location targeting to demographic-led language. For example, offers or suggestions which relate to the recipients specific locale are sure to gain a better response than those which give more general information. This step could also relate to the language you use and the subjects you choose to emphasise, based on your audience demographic.
Use Witty, Engaging and Inviting Language
Having considered the previous point regarding audience awareness, you can then decide what type of language is best suited to target your chosen demographic. Conversational elements are usually a good choice, as they avoid seeming cold and robotic. It can also be impactful to pair this with humour, although as always, you should consider whether or not this is an appropriate angle for your recipients.
Controversy is also a great way to get people clicking on your emails, as it provokes an emotional response from the reader, causing them to question the statement while reflecting on their personal reaction to this information. It is important, however, to use this tactic with caution, as it can sometimes be frustrating for readers who find there is no valuable pay off for their action.
While we have noted that ‘sales’ language can be detrimental to your efforts, appropriate calls to action can, in fact, be beneficial when used correctly. This involves techniques such as invoking scarcity, which could range from advertising a ‘limited time’ offer to stating that a product is low in stock or is selling out quickly. Customers feel compelled to act due to a fear of missing out, prompted by the suggestion that they must act quickly to gain the advertised benefits.
Experiment with Length and Numbers
As mentioned in the ‘devices to avoid’ section of this post, overly-long titles can cause the reader to switch of immediately. Using uncharacteristically short titles could be an interesting tactic to consider, as they will stand out visually in a cluster of emails, and will also provoke a need to reveal additional information. For those looking to apply a more conventional approach, 50 characters or under is a good figure to stick to.
Numbers could also be a great addition to your subject copy, as they offer something visually unusual for your brain to analyse and become attracted to. In the context of lists, they also work just as well as they do in blog post titles, by appealing to the human brain’s desire for short and easy-to-comprehend information.
As is the case with most marketing techniques, the best way to gage which subject lines are working for you is by measuring the responses they receive. This can be assessed in a variety of ways, from viewing how many of the emails sent out were opened, to the quantity of voucher codes redeemed as part of an offer circulated via email. When using services such as MailChimp for example, you will be able to use subject line research tools to get ideas, and try AB testing your subjects to see which performs best and meets your desired aims.
When used correctly, subject lines can massively impact the efficiency of your email marketing campaigns, first by getting them noticed in an inbox, and then by getting the recipient to click on them. Like any other online marketing strategy, you may have to try a few different approaches before you find what works best for you, but in time you should find yourself writing eye-catching and engaging subject lines with ease. Just remember to keep your copy clear, concise, and free of errors, whilst also following the guidelines mentioned above.
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