Email Marketing

Email (Still) Isn’t Dead…and How to Bring Your Email Marketing to Life

August 23, 2016by Amanda Fier

When it comes to Freddy, Jason and other horror movie antagonists what seems to be the end is never the end. All are bent toward survival and revival.

The same appears to be true for email, which was supposedly dying at the hands of Slack and a half dozen other communication tools in 2014 and 2015. But here it is 2016, and email continues to reign as the info-sharing implement of choice (and default). While it may not be the most efficient, email abides. Consequently, email marketing still matters and packs a lot of potential for brands:

  • With an estimated ROI of 4300 percent, email marketing is a cost-effective way to connect with customers, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
  • The benefits of this tool are multiple: awareness, acquisition, conversion and retention, per Gigaom Research.
  • 70% of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies, says Exact Target. (Sidebar: I am one of those people – and I open every email Anthropologie sends.)
  • And many more

For those considering adding an e-newsletter to their marketing mix, here are tips to help you get started:

1. Create a road map: In short, your road map – or editorial calendar, as we call it – underscores the truth that email marketing involves commitment and consistency over time in order to grow and achieve success (like gardening and raising children). If your team can’t handle this truth, don’t do it.

2. Realize looks matter. You wouldn’t roll out of bed to go to an important meeting, so don’t send an e-newsletter that looks like it needs to shower, comb its hair and brush its teeth. Dress your campaign to impress your audience, whatever that means in terms of simplicity and style for your brand.

3. Let your target be your guide. You know where you want to go with your content, but you must let your target be the driver for getting there, i.e. why do they care and how is the content relevant to their journey? Send out surveys every year to ask subscribers what they like or long for – and check in with folks who haven’t opened the e-newsletter in many moons. There’s no need for cluttered inboxes or skewed statistics.

4. Make subject lines count: Considering the attention span of a human (eight seconds), your subject line is your lifeline. Go with 8-12 words; make it catchy; and include incentives, CTAs, tips and tricks. (BuzzFeed does this masterfully.)

5. Incorporate compelling content, images and videos: For content, think snack vs. feast – make it tasty for the target’s palate, test copy lengths and let metrics reveal your target’s text tolerance, which may vary by industry.

Break up content into bites and appropriately apply pithy headers for easier digestion. Also, include images with ALT tags and URLs, and use videos to improve engagement and boost open and click-through rates.

6. Always be testing: Unlike midterms and final exams in school, testing is your BFF in email marketing. Test, and test again – using data to make course corrections and amplify what’s resonating with your audience.

7. Don’t forget about ACQUIRING minds. Keep lead-gen front and center. Include sign-up options on your website, social channels, point-of-purchase and beyond. Make the opt-in process simple and easy, incorporating topical and frequency selections as appropriate. The reasoning here is that you want your target to be happy to hear from you when and how they want to — vs. feeling frustrated about timing and topics.

8. Embrace best practices:

  • Personalize emails with subscriber names (whenever possible).
  • Choose a mobile friendly format (clean single-column design with bold headers to break up content).
  • Be engaging above the fold (what you see before having to scroll).
  • Provide a path to further engagement (contact info, social icons, cart abandonment pings and “we miss you” offers).
  • Request product reviews (following purchases).
  • Don’t get lazy with the closer (end thoughtfully).
  • Recycle and reuse content strategically wherever you can (online, on social, collateral and more).

Have email marketing tips or success stories to share? We’re all ears!

Subscribe to Blogworthy
Stay fueled.

Sign up for Hiebing Marketing Fuel, our monthly newsletter, and we’ll send even more real-world inspiration and information straight to your inbox.