Since the first email was sent in 1971, it has grown to be one of the strongest ways to reach your customers. Email is still one of the most underrated but valuable tools for any person who wants to grow their business while also nurturing potential customers.
I say underrated because many people have falsely speculated that email will die out due to new technology and the changing digital age. However, according to the DMA, emails had a median ROI of 122%, much higher than social media, paid search, and direct mail. Additionally, according to Radicati, there are 205 billion emails sent worldwide every day. This number is expected to grow to around 246 billion emails sent worldwide in 2019.
There are many other statistics, but you’re here to read about how to make your emails more compelling and ‘better’ right?
As a precaution, these are tests I’ve done during my days of sending emails and they mainly apply to the B2B market. However, my findings are easily applicable to the B2C market as well.
To make it easier to digest, I’ll separate the types of emails I send on a regular basis into the following five categories:
- Lead Captures
- Personal or Meeting Emails
- Selling and Giveaways
- Feedback and Surveys
- Other Learnings
1. Lead Captures
Keep it simple but add an image to capture attention.
The misconception is to make the email design look complex and beautiful. By providing as much information as possible, recipients are more likely to convert, correct?
I had this idea when I designed email for programs in the past, but quickly learned that people have a limited attention span online. In fact, they only spend on average 11.1 seconds reading an email before they want to convert or close.
Although there are MANY blogs that state their strongest emails have been the ones with no images, I find providing one image performs much better than having no images at all, especially if it’s to encourage someone to download a report or asset. Have a clear CTA and show what report or e-book you’re giving away in the image and back it up with some content within the email.
2. Personal or Meeting Emails
If you want to set up a potential meeting or be more personal—go with all text.
This is one of the few places I would say to go with all text. It feels more personal, especially if you want to set up a meeting. No one wants to see an email full of banners and images if you’re asking them for a coffee or a conversation. Address it directly from you and always personalize.
Subject lines: Be more personal and direct, as if you’re talking to someone on a 1-on-1 basis. Example: ‘Would be lovely to catch you for a coffee <name>!’
Email Content: Similar to your subject line, keep it simple. Put a simple CTA such as ‘schedule a meeting’ through a calendar invite or ask the recipient to reply directly. You want to capture them from the email and get them to reply back to you. If you MUST get them to take an action, make it easy with a simple form, instead of something complicated like a long landing page full of content and a detailed registration form.
3. Selling and Product Giveaways
If you’re selling or doing a giveaway, it’s ok to be visual!
It might seem like I’m contradicting myself here, but emails with images have their place. In terms of giveaways or having something that is of physical value, it’s good to be visual. Even with images, you have to go straight to the point. Having a photo of the giveaway or the items you’re selling is important not only to capture attention but also to show what exactly it is.
Subject Lines: Stick to headlines that create urgency and be descriptive in your subject line. Pay attention to regional differences in language, current trends, and your organizational brand guidelines.
Email Content: Keep it straightforward with the images of the items you’re selling. Post your best specials if you’re selling and the giveaway items when you’re doing freebies.
The point of this is you don’t want to make your audience guess what’s in the giveaway or what you’re trying to sell. Give them an image so they’re tempted to convert if they’re already interested.
4. Feedback and Surveys
If you want survey feedback—be humble in your approach.
No one likes a bragger. Don’t say something like ‘Thanks for coming to the best event in the world, here’s a survey.’ Always take one step back and ask for feedback because there are always improvements that could be made to an event.
Subject Lines: Be humble and friendly and use the words feedback and advice rather than survey. Examples include: ‘We would love your feedback on our last event’ or ‘I need your help.’
Email Content: Start off with a thank you in your banner or first heading. Once again, I would avoid mentioning survey in your CTA. Instead use phrases like ‘provide feedback’ or ‘give your advice,’ which tend to work much better than ‘complete this survey.’
5. Other Learnings
The 48-Hour Rule: I have started to implement this advice from SEO expert Matthew Barby. Basically, 48 hours after sending your first email, you should send a follow-up email with a completely different subject line to those who didn’t open your email. With marketing automation software, this should be easy to adjust and implement.
Not only do you increase the number of people you get to read your emails without looking spammy, it ensures you get the maximum reach from your emails.
Test, Test, and Test: It’s pretty straightforward and obvious but reinforcing is always important. If you don’t have time to test your content, at least test subject lines. Usually, you should aim for around three email tests.
Always Personalize: According to Campaign Monitor, on average, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Additionally, according to Aberdeen, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.
Keep Content to the Landing Page: Always remember the average reading span of an email is around 11 seconds. Hence, you want to tease readers to actually click and then redirect to your landing page, with few exceptions (personal emails.) House the rest of your content on your landing page instead of your emails.
What other email tips do you have? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.