Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is not dead. It is, however, much more difficult to get through to customers than before. Not only has spam soured the experience for everyone, but modern customers are much more sophisticated. Companies have to put their best foot forward and get into the mindset that it’s not just an email; it’s your very first sales pitch.
Tip # 1: Determine the Objective
Think of the goal first, and then work backwards. If you’re trying to sell a product, think about the sales cycle and how it would be most convenient for the customer to initiate the sales process, and give them that avenue within the email. If your purpose is to establish and maintain a relationship with an existing customer, determine what the customer would find valuable and structure your email to that effect.
Don’t try to mix multiple objectives at once. If you do, your email may come out disjointed, contradictory, and over-long. If you want to sell, sell. If you want to inform, inform. But don’t do both.
Tip # 2: Check Your Mailing List
Are you purchasing the list from a third-party vendor? Or do you have your own list of opt-in email addresses? Scan through the list (you’re going to have to do that anyway to remove duplicates) and try to piece out specific demographics and useful bits of customer information. If you bought the list, it should already be pre-vetted based on your criteria, but it’s always best to be sure. Hopefully, you will be able to find some clues as to how you should write your email—for example, localizing the copy for a specific culture, or including photos from their region.
Tip # 3: Think of Reader Experience
You want to make email as easy and convenient as possible for the customer to read. This means keeping your message short and concise, with as many calls to action and as little fluff text as you can manage. Minimize the use of images so that the email is entirely readable even with images disabled. I would recommend only your logo design as the only image necessary If your email is a little text heavy (an informational email, for example, or a newsletter), consider organizing it into distinct sections that have anchors and links for easy navigation.
Tip # 4: Personalize
If you want to effectively personalize your email, you need to think beyond the simple “Dear XXX” method. Not only is this hit-or-miss (and who knows if that’s really the name the customer goes by), but customers are already so jaded they don’t really pay attention to it anyway.
Consider other ways of personalizing an email that can still provide value such as by adding social proof. You could, depending on your business, provide a link to either branch locations near your customer or a link to local events. Both are possible if you have their billing address. The point is moving beyond shallow personalizations and providing the customer with something useful that would also help drive sales.
Tip # 5: Make it Easy for the Customer to Reach You
You never know for sure what would be the most convenient method for your customers, so do your best to provide for all of them. This includes the email address you’re using to send out the mailing list. Many customers would rather hit “reply” and go straight back to the sender—despite the presence of a “do not reply” disclaimer in the original email. So why not make it a viable email address? Have the address forward any emails to your sales or customer service team. It’s simple enough to set up and saves the customer a lot of time and effort.