You’re relatively new to email marketing. You know the basics, and you’ve already fired off a few internal tests through your shiny new marketing automation platform. Now all you need is to develop and deploy a brilliant email engagement strategy that produces immediate and sustained results.
The first step in any successful email marketing strategy is to create compelling content that reaches the inbox, generates opens, and drives engagement through clicks and conversions. At first, this can feel like a complicated mystery — but by following these simple steps, you can increase your knowledge in short order, modify and optimize your efforts, and leverage email marketing as the centerpiece of a brilliant customer experience.
It Starts With Strategy — Plan Ahead
First of all, you should gather all relevant stakeholders to determine what you’re hoping to accomplish. Every aspect of your email marketing strategy (from your subject line to your signature) should work in unison toward your defined goals and objectives at every stage of the customer journey as you guide them through a well-manicured funnel.
Next, you need to plot how every email you craft will fit into that strategy. Every subscriber should represent a specific buyer persona who is at a different stage in their purchasing journey. So, you need to make sure that every email you send is tailored for and targeted to a relevant grouping of subscribers. More importantly, each of these emails should be focused on persuading your subscribers to engage with your communications and convert to a qualified lead.
Watch Your Tone!
Craft your email so that it stands out. Be friendly, and try to avoid jargon or overused language. Studies show personalization can significantly increase click-through rates, so make your email as relevant as possible. With Act-On, you can leverage our easy-to-use personalization features to make the most of the demographic and behavioral insights you collect and import.
And of course, never ignore the subject line — or take it lightly. The subject line is one of the most vital aspects of any email, as it’s your first and best hope of enticing the recipient to engage with your content. Therefore, it should always be clear and concise; you have about 3 seconds to capture your readers’ attention, so make the most of it by conveying the who, what, where, when, why, and how of what’s inside. You can also add humor with a clever turn of phrase or intrigue with a compelling statistic. And since research suggests that the optimal character length for successful email subject lines is 41, keep it short.
Oftentimes, the best evidence is already in our inbox. If you’re not sure what works best, think about which emails you’re most likely to open and which you’re most likely to ignore (or, worse yet, send to the Spam folder), and go from there.
Match the Subject With the Body
Immediate and long-term engagement is built on trust and clarity, so the body of your emails must reflect the subject lines. If your subject line says one thing, but the body discusses something entirely different, you risk damaging your relationship with your subscribers who might then unsubscribe from your communications or place your emails in the Spam folder. Build trust with your subscribers early to encourage further engagement, which will strengthen your email reputation — in turn creating further email inboxing and engagement.
Clearly Express the Value of Your Offerings and Content
You have a valuable product or service that you’re proud of and want to share with your prospects and customers, but how do you convince them of the value of your offerings (especially when compared to your competitors)? For starters, you have to grab their attention quickly — and then captivate them throughout the body of your email. To do so, tell your audience exactly who you are, why they’re receiving your email, and what you have to say within the first paragraph. If you want to embed images, make sure they don’t confuse the issue or cause any problems with readability. And when it comes to color, iconography, and other design elements, maintain brand consistency so that your emails are instantly recognizable.
Empower Your Audience to Take Action
Most importantly, you need to maintain control of that engagement. Be concise and stay focused on the message with direct language free of any filler or fluff. Provide valuable information that is easy to absorb and make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is strong, commanding, and easy to identify — even to (and especially for) someone who quickly scans your email. If contacts are interested, they should know where to click almost immediately.
Anticipate Spam Filters
Every organization configures its Spam filters uniquely and can block an email due to even the smallest details. You know that your email is valuable and that you’re sending to contacts who are seriously interested in what you have to say and offer. So, follow these tips to ensure that your emails hit the inbox on time, every time.
- All of your internal links work and lead to sites secured with SSL
- The image-to-text ratio is balanced and every image contains alt-text
- The email renders correctly on both desktop and mobile
- The email has no emojis in the subject line and body content
- The subject line does not include “red flag” words for Spam filters — such as “purchase,” “free,” or “great offer”
Finally, edit and proof every email and send internal tests for quality assurance and accuracy. Send each communication to a colleague for a second opinion and carefully consider any suggestions they might have.
A/B Test Your Email Content for Continued Improvement
Once the testing process is complete, you’re finally ready to send a great email — but that’s not the end of your journey. Continue to A/B test various elements of your emails and campaigns, gather and collect the data, and optimize your future efforts based on behavioral and engagement insights. And as you continue to sharpen your skills through trial and error and success and failures, you’ll continue to improve email reputation, deliverability, and return on investment.
Contact Act-On for All of Your Email Deliverability Needs
If you need help along the way, Act-On is here to turn you into an inboxing pro. Our Email Deliverability Team brings years of experience, a wealth of knowledge, and several innovative strategies to the ever-changing world of email marketing. If you’d like to learn more, please follow this link or click here to schedule a free demo.
Or, if you’d like to learn more, please download our eBook, “Email Deliverability: Content Is King.” It’s full of great information to help you go even further in your email content journey to achieve awesome email engagement rates and email-attributable revenue.
Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about best practices related to the double opt-in process, please read this Act-On playbook.