Adhere to these five email marketing best practices to maximize your opt-ins, leads, email subscribers, conversions and sales.
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The following excerpt is from Susan Gunelius’ book Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound
Whether you’re marketing to consumers or other businesses, and regardless of the industry you’re in, these five key email marketing best practices have a direct effect on the success rates of your email marketing efforts.
Email marketing funnels include a sequence of messages that are automatically sent out (or “dripped”) at specific times. You set this timing up when you create the automation in your email marketing tool. Since the power of email conversion funnels is in their ability to remind, engage and persuade contacts to take specific actions, the timing of when people receive your messages matters a lot.
If you were speaking with someone, would you tell them something and then continue to remind them every five minutes? If you needed to call a prospect to close a sale, would you call them twice a day, every day, or every other day? How often is too often?
Most email recipients act on a message within 24 hours. Therefore, an automated sequence of messages should be configured to send messages every two days unless there is a deadline or other urgent reason that requires messages in your funnel to be sent more frequently. You can extend the number of days between messages when you reach the third message in a sequence so it doesn’t seem like you’re spamming people with too many messages. Your goal is to find the right balance that your audience will accept between staying in front of your contacts and looking like a spammer.
The heart of every email conversion funnel is the offer to your target audience—what they’ll get in exchange for taking the action you want. Your offer must be extremely relevant to the target audience and highly desirable, or they won’t be motivated to act. In other words, your email conversion funnel won’t convert. Therefore, spend time researching what your audience wants and needs. Search Google, online forums, question sites like Quora.com and your competitors’ content to find the problems and pain points that your target audience is seeking solutions for, then offer those solutions in your email conversion funnels.
For example, you could create an email conversion funnel to motivate people to read your new case study, join your upcoming webinar, watch your latest video or buy your product or service. The trick is matching the offer to the audience depending on where they are in the buyer journey and where you want to move them to in your overall marketing funnel.
3. Subject line
It could be argued that the subject line of each message in your email conversion funnels is the most important element. The reason is simple: If your subject line isn’t powerful enough to convince people to click and open your messages, you have no way of converting those people. Your subject lines should be short enough to fully display in most email inboxes without being truncated. With that in mind, keep your subject lines shorter than 50 characters. The best subject lines are interesting and pique the recipient’s curiosity. Address the audience’s pain point and the solution you’re offering, but keep your subject line clear.
It’s also very important that the content of your messages matches the expectations created by your subject lines. Not only will recipients be unhappy when they click through a subject line to discover the content of the message is unrelated, but doing so can also destroy your chance of creating brand trust. Ultimately, you could lose conversions because of it and increase unsubscribes.
4. Design and messages
Make sure your messages are well designed and look professional to create the perception of quality and build trust with recipients. Furthermore, they should be optimized for all devices. This is particularly important since more than half of email messages are opened on mobile devices today.
Unless your product or service is complex, shorter messages are almost always better in email marketing. The truth is, most people don’t want to spend a lot of time reading email messages, so keeping your messages succinct is a good rule of thumb. Just make sure your messages are compelling, action-oriented and tap into recipients’ emotions. Explain what recipients get when they follow your call to action and how that action benefits them by addressing their pain point or solving their problem. In addition, be sure to use a real reply-to email address and your real name in your messages and signature to improve the authenticity and trust factor.
What happens when your email conversion funnel sequence is done? Don’t abandon people in the funnel when it’s over. Instead, make sure you continue to nurture and engage them with future email campaigns and automations based on the behaviors they display on your website and when interacting with your future email messages. This is essential even if the conversion funnel ended in a sale. The relationship isn’t over when someone makes a purchase. In fact, the relationship is even more important because it costs less to keep an existing customer and turn them into repeat customers and loyal brand advocates than to attract new customers.
For people who purchased products at the end of a conversion funnel, continue to send them your email newsletter as well as renurturing and re-engagement messages that continue to build a stronger relationship with them.
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