The Art of Email Marketing

 - April 8, 2014, 2:45 PM

Making email marketing pay off isn’t easy in a world where literally billions of emails are sent every hour. In the B2B industry, open rates are around 11 to 15 percent and click-through rates average just 2 to 5 percent. Want to do better than that? Here are four ways to create an email-marketing masterpiece.

1. Generate curiosity with a great subject line. A brief, intriguing subject line is crucial to increasing open rates. It helps a lot to include the recipient’s name and company name, because when people believe they’re getting a personal email rather than spam, open rates skyrocket. In fact, users are 22 percent more likely to open an email if the subject line addresses them by name. Most email providers make it easy to use mail-merge techniques to turn a weak subject line like “Four Marketing Solutions” into a strong one like “Tom, Four Marketing Solutions for ABC Aviation.”

2. Create good content. No, great content! Content remains the most important element in email marketing. Focus yours to fulfill the promise of the subject line. And remember, sometimes less is more. Great email content is typically less than 500 words (after the click through). Always keep in mind why a person would subscribe to your emails and adjust your content to address that objective. Keep recipients excited with video, contests and infographics.

3. Understand your audience. Growing a comprehensive, double-opt-in email list is the best practice. People who actively ask you to send them emails are much more likely to open and click through. Make sure your list is clean and compile data on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. That will ensure that you have the facts about your most loyal subscribers. And once you have a solid list, make sure you understand the people on it. Who are they and what sort of content do they want?

4. Develop a can’t-miss call to action. Why do you send emails? Once you define your goal, you can create a clear call to action. Do you want people to visit your website? Understand the information you’ve communicated? Reply to your message? Multiple calls to action (“Create an account!” “Buy Our Product!”) can confuse people. Determine the purpose of your email and make sure your call to action serves that goal, and that goal only.