by David Depman
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
Mark Twain is dead though, none the less. And some day the same may be said for email. Hard as that may be to imagine now, it’s possible there will once again be a world without email. Or at least we may see a world where email has evolved into something that is so different from what it is today as to be unrecognizable. But for fortunately for us, we live in the present. We have email, we use it every day and contrary to many popular beliefs, the reports of its insignificance and death are, by all measurable data, greatly exaggerated.
According to a Madison Logic stat, 122,500,453,000 emails are sent every hour. That’s 122 billion, and that’s every hour. Yes, that’s a lot of emails. And with this kind of volume, it validates the view that email is far from irrelevant, but is in practice, very relevant indeed. And it’s relevant for a number of reasons.
For opt-in email lists, your clients and prospects have asked you to update them, and the preferred channel is email. This group wants the info, and email is a cheap way to deliver it. Emails can be easily personalized. Names, preferences, interests can all be quickly customized into email. And the best reason for the relevance of emails is: it’s inexpensive.
And what’s more, email ‘gets’ mobile. In a recent report from the Pew Research Center, 52% of cell phone owners used their phones to check their emails. And email works on other mobile devices too. With the current migration of users from PCs to mobile devices, this is becoming a greater and greater space in which you need to be seen and heard.
So with email being all these things, it makes sense to use it well. Here are 5 tips for your emails to get them noticed, and bring up your email open rate. After all, if your emails are not getting opened, then it doesn’t matter what the content is.
1. Focus your list – Email is one of the most effective channels you have when it comes to targeting the right people. The key is email lists. Building the right email list from past or potential customers who have opted in will ensure you are hitting the right people. When you have created the right list for your message, odds are that the majority will show an actual interest.
2. Keep it simple – Back in the 60s, Archie Bell and the Drells had a dance called the Tighten Up. Your emails need to listen to that song. In an email campaign, your first email needs to be concise, to the point, well written and poignant. Not an easy task by any means, but very important. Emails that are too long, and too rich with information tend to be glossed over, deleted or simply ignored. Keeping your email message tight and to the point will get your message across in the few seconds you have the readers attention.
3. Get your Subject Line Right – Well written subject lines increase open rates. Capitalizing emails helps and punctuation isn’t really relevant (But, keep in mind: using all caps is a sin that is UNFORGIVABLE). You should also keep your character count to a minimum, MailChimp suggests that subjects with 10-49 characters are most effective. And lose any spammy words to avoid getting dinged by filters. Words like FREE, $$$ or 100%. Following these points, the email subject line 5 Steps to a Better Mortgage works better than five steps to a better mortgage.
4. Ask a question or include a deadline – Where there’s a question, readers will naturally want the balance of an answer. Americans simply don’t like leaving things half done. Questions challenge and inspire readers to find out more. In relation, implying a deadline is also an effective call to action. Register Today! is a great CTA, but the subject line: Open registration is not so great.
And don’t do both together. Why Aren’t You Registering Right Now??? is probably not the right tone to get voluntary action on the part of the reader.
5. Personalize the ‘From’ field – This is the 2nd line of defense for many of us. When an email is balancing on the razors edge of ‘Open’ and ‘Delete’, the ‘From’ field can tip the balance in Open’s favor. Having the ‘From’ field populated with NoReply@SomeCo.com is not a way to communicate authenticity. Having the field populated with a first name and company can be the hail mary that scores an open.
The point of all this is that while email is about as old as most readers, it is still as relevant as you are. The barriers to getting started with effective email marketing campaigns are low compared to other options, and if you are too busy to handle email marketing on your own, it is an easily outsourced effort that can bring in solid, traceable ROI.
On top of that, when email marketing is tied in to rich content on your web site and in your blog, the results can be amplified many times over. Including email as a core part of your overall social-marketing effort has the potential to create and reinforce a direct connection between you and your prospects.
Do you use email in your marketing efforts?