I believe I mentioned last week that I have more than my fair share of unread emails in my inbox.  At some point in the not too distant future I will have to delete some and yes, most of them will probably remain unopened and therefore unread.  I am sure that the content of some will be of interest to me but sadly that content shall forever remain in my ‘trash can’ as I simply wasn’t prompted to open it from the offset – in other words, the subject line was probably not appealing enough.

This is the clincher for me when it comes to opening an email that I know will have gone to hundreds if not thousands of recipients, as I am sure it is for many of you too.  But it is not the first thing you should think of when compiling an email despite being the first thing people will see… Come on, you didn’t think I’d make it that easy, did you?

The first thing you need to do when compiling an email, or any form of communication for that matter, is define your objective.  What is it that you are trying to achieve with your email?   Perhaps it is brand exposure, or maybe you want to drive traffic to web content or perhaps you want a direct sale.  Whatever it is, it is important to keep this as the main focus as it has the biggest effect on the design, tone and call to actions contained within your email. In other words – the objective shapes your email.

Of course the open, click and conversion rates are all relevant as KPIs for email marketers, but there are occasions where one may take priority over another and be more relevant to the objective of your email.

For example, if your objective is brand exposure then the open rate will be most important to you; a desire for traffic means that you will be looking for a high click through rate and if it is sales that you are after then you will be keeping an eye on conversion and £ revenue per click.  I don’t want to deviate too much so will leave KPIs for next week and get  back to content that your recipients will want to read.

You need to give your subscribers or recipients relevant content  and make  opening your email worth their while.  In today’s environment, we get more and more emails than ever before. Therefore it is important to give readers valuable content.  To do this the content of your emails must be relevant, not repetitive and be beneficial to the customer. This will satisfy and create continued interest and engagement and will encourage them to keep opening your emails. Depending on the objective of your email you could use various tools to keep your customers’ interest including:

– Promotions and offers – these could be exclusive to email subscribers

– Company, product or service news

– Videos and hints & tips

– Competitions

I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “you don’t get something for nothing” and this is true in this instance also. Your email should aim to get your reader to do something, so once you have given them the interesting content you need  to make it clear what it is you want them to do by giving them a clear call to action or actions (CTA/s)  It may sound simple but I have found myself going round in circles on more than one occasion trying to find my basket, trying to find more information or trying to find contact details all because the CTAs weren’t clear enough.

So take note, make it clear what the reader is to do with your email. i.e Do you want them to buy now? If so give them all the information they need (product, spec, price, delivery charges etc.) and a buy now button. Or if you want them to click through tell them to click somewhere specific and what they should expect i.e. click here to read more, click here to sign up, click here to download – so on and so forth.

But be sure that if you request a customer to take action that you deliver what you promised.  A half-hearted effort, drawn out process or simply the wrong thing will get you negative results.  If subscribers signed up for tips and tactics delivered twice a week, that’s what you should deliver. Or if you promised exclusive promotions remember to uphold your end of the bargain. Part of keeping your email readers engaged is sending the information they actually wanted and gaining their trust. It’s a two way relationship.

Is your email user friendly and physically engaging enough?

That’s a good question because an email with all the right info. can become boring if it is just screeds of text.  Variety is the spice of life and to truly engage your audience you also need to think about the design and follow through of your email.  You should always try to include a mix of images and text, and include links back to your website, products or services. Make sure if the customer clicks on something it will take them to the right place and that any new windows open separately so as not to take them away from the original content without an easy means of getting back there.

Make it visually readable.  What do I mean by that? Well, at every step of the email creation process you need to consider your readers, perhaps there is bad lighting in their office, or maybe their screen is really small… therefore you should always use a clear and sizeable font. As pretty as they can sometimes be, curlicues and swishes are out, and fonts such as Verdana, Arial or Times New Roman are in. I’m also going to say that you should be aware how some font colours can look against contrasting background colours.

As you probably know, I’m not a graphic designer, I’m a content writer so my final point is (Ha, I just need to share this with you, I mis-typed point and missed out the ‘o’ – I promise I haven’t been on the pints – honestly!) proof read and test the links of every campaign before it is sent.  This one speaks for itself really, but trust me, readers will quickly lose confidence in your content if it is poorly written and full of mistakes or the links don’t work or click through to the wrong areas. I swear by this tip: Once you’ve read it a few times, send it to someone for an independent read – you will be amazed at what you’ve missed!

Okay, so I have already spilled the beans about the next topic so I shall bid you farewell and see you back here next Thursday for some KPI chat.

Increase your Email Open Rate

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