Give Your Audience What They Want with Email Marketing

In the last post in this series, I discussed identifying your audience for your email marketing strategy. Next we’re going to talk about making sure you deliver what your audience wants to see. Your email’s message is vital from the subject line through to the unsubscribe link.  Every element needs to be developed for your audience, their interests, and even how they access the email. Here are some of the aspects you should consider when building an email:

Hook ‘Em with a Subject Line

Your subject line should be succinct and attention grabbing. Keep in mind that while witty or cute subject lines may appeal internally, they can lose your audience if they don’t relay your message or give the wrong impression of what your topic is about.

Feed the Message with Content

Your content should be valuable and follow certain guidelines:
  • It’s succinct enough to get your message across without being a drawn out novel.
  • What you provide your readers caters to their interests and needs.
  • Your links are text and not images. A majority of email programs do not download images by default, so you run the risk of losing valuable click through opportunities if your links are embedded in images.
  • Make sure your email content differentiates from your website. In addition to unique content, think about including newsletter only coupons, offers, downloads, and deals that support your message.
  • Call out important pieces of content throughout the email with headers, bullets, bold text, and italics to make scanning easier.
  • Compress the images so they reduce load time, and make sure to use as few images as possible.
  • Include social media sharing options and easy forwarding capability.
  • Make sure to include trackers in the URLs of your links so you can identify referral traffic.
  • Make sure your unsubscribe option is easy to find so that you’re not reported to CAN-SPAM.  If you notice that your unsubscribe rate is high, look at factors that may be contributing.

Narrow In with A/B Testing

Testing is a great way to narrow down your audience’s interests. With A/B testing, you can gauge interest in areas such as:
  • Optimal time of day to send: Is your “open rate” better in the morning or afternoon? Make sure to allow for time zones.
  • Areas of interest: Test the type of content you deliver including offers, deals, and discounts.
  • Layout: Does your audience respond better to a newsletter layout or a simpler text-based layout? Don’t forget to test content length and headers as well.
  • Subject line: Take advantage of this to test length, keywords, and messaging. Does your open rate increase when you mention sales, deals, and offers?
  • Use of images: Will your audience download images? How many images can you include before your reader bounces since images increase page load time? If you embed links in images versus plain text, how many links are clicked for each?

On the Go with Mobile

According to comScore, 55% of people in the US owned a smartphone as of January 2013. That’s 129 million people using mobile technology for everything from social interaction to email to basic Internet browsing. How do your emails fare on smartphones and tablets? Here are some questions to consider:
  • Do you look at device usage to see how many users on your list access your emails and newsletters on a mobile device?
  • Does your newsletter take longer than 2 seconds to download?
  • Can the message be easily viewed, or does the user have to scroll and zoom?
  • Is your email design responsive?
  • How close to the top of the message is your CTA?
As you prepare your emails and newsletters, make sure you keep your audience, the message, and how the message is viewed in mind. And don’t forget – you can’t go wrong by testing!
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