While many organizations are embracing social media marketing, email still remains one of the most effective tools for ecommerce and subscriber engagement. However, in today’s increasingly growing networked economy, improving customer relationships requires that you interact with them via multiple customer-facing channels.
One of the most important aspects of email design is a purposeful call-to-action, as it needs to compel recipients to engage further with your brand. Although all marketing content needs a clear call-to-action, in this post I’m going to focus on calls-to-action (CTAs) for non-profit and political email campaigns.
Evergreen content, defined as perpetually relevant, is always fresh, always worth reading and always worth sharing. This blog post, originally published in March of 2011, is just as relevant now as it was then. Newsletters speak directly to the need for you to
nurture your customers so they keep your company top of mind. Planning newsletters so they educate your customers will keep them coming back so that when they are ready to make that next purchase, you will be the de facto vendor.
The days of blast and batch emails are long over. Now, the tendency for customers that receive generic, unfocused marketing messages is to hit the delete key without ever opening your email. You need to give the recipient a reason to open your email.
A popular theory in email marketing is that in order to get the best open rates, you need to use the “Four U’s” when creating your subject lines. According to this theory, your subject line should be at least one of the following:
Let’s take a closer look at each “U”.
How long have you been using your current email template? Really, think about it. At least try to ballpark it within a few months. And how often do you send email? Let’s say your template is a ripe two years old, and you send once a week. That’s over a hundred messages your subscribers have received that look exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your email template looks just fine…but think of your poor subscribers. Every week, it’s the same old thing. It might start to get mundane after a while.
Think of your morning commute. Boring, right? But what if, one day, somebody planted a beautiful tree on the side of the road? Wouldn’t that be great? It’s always been the same mind-numbing commute, but now you have that tree to look forward to every day! Sure, the tree will get boring eventually, but what if someone planted some flowers by it? Then maybe they’ll build a nice fence around their little garden…and who knows, they might even paint the fence a different color some day. Suddenly, your morning commute isn’t so boring any more.
Today’s content-driven online marketing world makes it essential for organizations (be it commercial or political) to become publishers if you want to compete for the attention of your audience, whether they are customers, prospects or constituents.
If you want to be part of an online conversation and achieve one or more of the following objectives, you must become a publisher:
- Build thought leadership in your industry
- Publish trends and topics that engage your audience
- Drive more quality traffic to your site
- Attract more leads and acquire new customers
- Strengthen the relationship with your readers
- Rank higher in search results
- Produce revenue by charging for advertisements
Opting out may seem like a small issue if the percentage of customers doing so appears to be trivial, but marketers must understand that the impact of opt-outs is cumulative. It’s not just a moment in time, it compounds with every campaign. When customers opt-out of email, you can no longer market to them; thus, impacting your company significantly in lost sales and profits. And these are the opt-outs you know about. There are also the “silent” opt-outs, those customers who are opting-out by filtering your emails to automatically go into their “junk” folder.
Email campaign success depends upon subscriber engagement.
Marketers must understand that trust-building content (i.e., white papers, how-to-guides) and educational content (i.e., ebooks, newsletters) only become powerful if they facilitate a value exchange (both sides must benefit from engagement). Marketers looking to acquire customers and drive high engagement need to focus on consistent and engaging content that delivers value to the recipient in exchange for something (e.g., time, email address). The more valuable the content (built to serve your audience over time), the easier it will be for them to engage with your brand in a value exchange.
Here are a few thoughts on how to engage prospects more fully with your brand:
- Deliver engagement by offering recipients something valuable. Content only delivers engagement if it confers value. Your subscribers need to know they can trust you. When you build trust by offering valuable, relevant and timely content (informative content; not ad speak), you can turn your audience’s precious attention into long-term interest that drives repeat traffic and sales.
The goal of subject lines is to encourage readers to open your email and take action. For this reason the subject line is one of the most important components of successful promotional emails and newsletters.
Consistently coming up with subject lines that are engaging can be tough. But you don’t need a creative mind to build the perfect subject line. You can get inspiration by monitoring your own inbox and assessing newsletters and promotions that others send to you. More than likely you’re marketed to nearly every day. Take notice of the emails you’re personally opening and why. You can save a lot of time by learning from others. No need to reinvent the wheel! Many of the companies sending you marketing emails have already tested their own subject lines and you can learn from their research.