Email Marketing Tactics: Creating the Right Message

Email marketing is proving itself to be one of the most successful marketing services, but, it must be done well. In a series of posts we’ll look at how important it is for a brand to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time

Why use email marketing?

  1. Proven ROI – Email campaigns are more likely to drive instant website traffic, offer redemptions, bookings or downloads that can all be measured and used to track your return on investment.
  2. The overall cost to sending an email is significantly cheaper than that involved in sending a direct mail.
  3. In 2013, more marketing emails were sent out than in 2012. And in 2012, more marketing emails were sent out than in 2011. The numbers continue to rise and prove its success..
  4. IMRG/Capgemini data indicates that revenue generated from email marketing in 2013 accounted for 11.4% of UK e-retail sales (7.7% in 2010). Representing almost a 50% growth, with expectations that 2014 will continue to see these figures grow.
  5. Ascend2 published a report in February 2014 that found 87% of companies rated their email marketing as either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ successful.

Creating The Right Message:

1. Subject Lines and Pre-Headers.

The subject line is one of the most important aspects of your email. Why? Because you generally have around 30 seconds to capture your readers attention and it is sometimes the only thing that is visible (along with the ‘from sender’) for the crucial decision on whether to click through, delete or ignore it. Based on both our own research and external findings, it is best to try short punchy headlines for subject lines. Consider the use of capitalisation on certain words and to use personalisation in the subject line – don’t be afraid to check out your competition and what they are doing too.

Subject Lines From missguided

Why not take a look at your own inbox and see which subject lines and pre-headers have enticed you! It’s also vital that you test your subject lines. Some tools will do this for you but another quick and effective way to do this is to run an A/B test on your audience. Send out a “Subject Line Version 1” to 10% of your database and a “Subject Line Version 2” to another 10% of your database and see which version gets you the best click through. Use the findings to decide which subject line to send to the remaining 80% of your database. You can obviously extend this to test more versions but, typically, we wouldn’t suggest going further than four tests so that you have at least 60% database remaining.

Use pre-headers to promote your emails, they should be seen as an extension to your subject line. Consider how the different email clients will preview each mail and what initial messaging will be visible to the user. Try to have your main messaging at the very top of the mail, this will appear as your preview.

Topshop Pre-Header

Pre-header example from a Topshop email.

2. Clear, Enticing, Engaging and Relevant Content.

After reading the subject line and deciding whether to click or not (and let’s say you do click) you then scan the email for content. Make sure that your content flows so that the reader’s eye can focus and pick out all of the key pieces of information. It is important to ensure that your content is relevant and there is a reason behind why you are sending it out and you know what you aim to gain from it: be it clicks, purchases, downloads etc. We believe a good ratio to be 50:50, 50% image and 50% text, to balance the content out. Not only does this help the reader as they scan through the content, but it can also improve your deliverability rates as it will be less likely to be mistaken for spam when the ISPs scan the content.

Debenhams Summer Email Campaign

50:50 content example from a Debenhams email.

3. Include a Clear Call to Action.

Including a clear CTA (call to action) in your emails is vital to achieving your goals. A strong call to action can help to improve your click through rates and encourage traffic to your site. You need to ensure that the reader knows which areas to click on and understands where this will take them too, you must also use the call to action to attract their attention and make them want to find out more – this can be done with colour and design as well as the correct placement. Call to action buttons include ‘Buy Now’ which link through to ecommerce sites, or ‘Book Now’ that take the reader through to a reservations page or a ‘Download Now’ for whitepapers etc. If you already use CTA within your email campaigns then make sure that you monitor your click through rates and test which colours, fonts, placements perform the best for you.

BeautyBay Email Call To Action

Call to action example from a BEAUTYBAY.com email.

4. Create a Two-Way Dialogue.

Communication is so important. Make your content sound as though you are speaking directly to your readers – every business and brand will have an individual tone of voice ranging from extremely corporate and top level through to a more humorous tone. No matter whether you are B2B or B2C, at the end of the day the recipient has given something of value to you, their email address and with it they have given permission for you to speak to them, so make the most of that opportunity! A great place to start is by saying ‘Thank You’.

Thanks for subscribing, email SupremeBeing

Tone of voice example from a Supremebeing email.

5. Legal Requirements.

There are certain requirements you need to be aware of in order to comply with legal obligations and to ensure that your emails reach your subscribers. Within every email footer you must include your physical address, an unsubscribe link and a link to your privacy policy. For further reading on the UK Requirements you can read, The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations.

Email Footer From missguided

Footer example from a missguided email.

6. Complete an Audit.

Taking the time to review your email campaigns is crucial when it comes to maximising your campaign success. If you have the internal resource and skill then you may wish to assign someone within your team to complete this task but we find that the majority of businesses benefit from and prefer to use a third-party, such as our D&W Auditing services. Audits will look at the way that you lay your content out, the font size, styles, colours, messaging etc and ensure that you are reaching your true potential. A valuable extension of audits is user feedback and you can be creative about how you do this (a basic approach would be to email out a questionnaire, however we love to take it to the next level and set-up user experience labs to get instant, direct and interactive feedback).

*Featured image source: Reiss newsletter sign-up.

The purpose of this blog is to share with you examples of successful campaigns and ideas that can easily be adopted into your business and email marketing campaigns, both B2B and B2C. It is important to begin by knowing your goals, what does success look like to your organisation – is it a click, a purchase, a call, a download, a booking or so on – whatever it is, you and your team must be aware of the end goal for each campaign. Make sure that your messaging is in keeping with your brand and don’t forget the general 50:50 text to image ratio. And, give special consideration to the subject line because this will be the ultimate decider as to whether your message is opened or not!

Read Part 2: Email Marketing Tactics: Reaching the Right People

To talk to us about our email marketing and auditing services, please contact us on 0161 946 3851. 

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