email-marketingIn this series we will be identifying some of the biggest questions and concerns associated with email marketing. From finding the right vendor to understanding how people read emails, we will be diving into it all to help you make your email marketing efforts more successful and profitable. 

After you’ve chosen the right vendor for your email marketing efforts, it’s time to start thinking about your messaging.

6 questions to consider before sending out an email

1. Does it match your overall marketing plan?

Your email marketing campaigns should be part of your businesses overall marketing plan. Every quarter you should sit down with your marketing team to make a plan of action that includes all media channels. When you do this, you are able to schedule emails around other marketing efforts that go along with the goals of your business. This also helps you asses the frequency of your emails, the topics you will cover, and the information you will need to gather ahead of time. If your email campaigns don’t work alongside your overall marketing plan, social media plan, website content plan, etc. you will be sending non-sensical, sporadic emails that won’t make sense to your customers.

2. Do you know your audience?

One of the easiest ways to figure out what matters to your customers is to dive into your analytics. Where do most people go on your site? Where do you want them to go? What are they reading? What are their buying behaviors? Analytics can give you great insight into how your customers are interacting with your brand.

Communicate with your sales team – They are the ones who have direct interaction with your customers. What are they saying about our products? What about our services? What are the most frequently asked questions?

Finally, check out how people are talking about you on social media. Better yet, ask your social media followers what they think through a post or contact form on your website. Going directly to the source is one of the best ways to start thinking about the content you will use to fill your emails and how you are going to deliver that content to cater to them.

3. Are you delivering quality content?

Once you have a plan and figured out your customer’s needs,  you can start to think about the structure of your emails. The first step is coming up with a good subject line that makes sense and compels people to read.

Keys to a successful subject line:

  • Give the bottom line up front
  • Tell what’s inside, don’t sell what’s inside
  • Be short – 50 characters or less works best
  • You can use all CAPS, the word FREE and exclamation points – Just don’t overdo it.

Keys to an unsuccessful subject line:

  • Symbols and special characters – Smileys and hearts are okay for Victoria’s Secret, but even they can overdo it. Don’t come off as juvenile
  • Cheating – Don’t use “FW:” in your subject line to make it look like a friend sent the email to the customer
  • Scams – People have become weary of subject lines like, “WE NEED YOUR HELP”
  • Numbers – It’s okay to tell people you are running a 50% off deal, but don’t always use numbers to sell your emails – you will just look like a sales merchant.

4. Do you look like spam?

  • Make sure your emails are coming from a familiar email address. If your company doesn’t have an info@ account, create one.
  • Always provide a way for your customer to “opt out” with an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of your emails

5. Is it easy for your customer to see the “point” or call to action?

If you can’t see the point, your customer won’t either. Make sure that every email you send has a clear call to action, something that your customer can do, some kind of goal. Simple calls to action include sending them to a landing page, a blog post, a coupon code, or your social media channels. On the other side of the coin, make sure that you aren’t giving people too many calls to action. You don’t want to overwhelm, distract or confuse them.

6. Are you making yourself accessible beyond the email?

Always provide people with a way to contact you. This can be a phone number, email address, social media links or all of the above. Let customers know that you are easily accessible and there to help.

One other important part to all of this is that you don’t have to be an e-commerce website to deliver helpful  and successful emails. Everyone is selling something even if it isn’t a physical item. Figure out your main goal and provide people with the information they need to achieve it for you. You can always give people important content because at the end of the day, we are all trying to sell our brand.

In the next section of our Email Marketing Series we’ll talk about email design and how look and feel can make or break a campaign.