Friday, August 1, 2014

Inbound Marketing Best Practices: Don't Forget the Basics in Email Marketing

Inbound Marketing Best Practices: Don't Forget the Basics in Email Marketing
Today’s plethora of online tools allow marketers to create beautiful emails while using inbound marketing best practices that their customers will be sure to enjoy. Services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot assist in creating HTML emails via simple drag-and-drop, allowing even computer novices to create gorgeous emails. But it’s easy to get lost in these tools. Creating a good email is about more than just its design. If you want to create a successful email that guides people to your website, it’s important to stay true to the basics of email marketing.

Make The Subject Line Count

The most beautiful email is worthless if no one ever decides to read it. That’s why the email subject line remains the single most important tool in creating a successful marketing email. In fact, 69% of recipients report emails as spam based solely on the subject line, while 35% of recipients open email based on that same subject. The importance of an effective subject line cannot be overlooked. So how do you go about creating one? As a guideline, you should spend about as much time on coming up with the perfect subject as you should designing the rest of the email. If the service you use offers personalization, take advantage of it: Studies have found that personalized emails receive about 3% higher open rates. Once you think you have come up with a nice subject, run it past your coworkers. Would they open the email with that subject and if not, what would they change? Brainstorming remains a crucial tool.

Let Them Know Where To Click

Much like the subject line, the most beautiful emails will not benefit your business if the recipient has nowhere to go. Once they open the email, provide them with clear directions on where to click and what will await them at the link they’re about to click. Try linking the pictures you include to your page, or include a CTA in different spots, and see which location and method gets the most clicks. A-B Testing, offered by many of the services mentioned above, can come in very handy to check which link placement works the best for you.

Keep It Short And To The Point

Every email your company sends out should have a singular purpose. In most cases, that will be the link we mentioned in the previous paragraph, guiding recipients to your website. Do not include multiple links to separate spots; the links will cannibalize each other, and it will become more difficult for you to track which recipient chose which link. One easy way of keeping your email’s purpose singular: keep it short. Only 1-3 short paragraphs should be enough to explain what the link is about, and why the recipient should click on it. If you need to provide more information, try to include it on the page that the email links to – it provides more incentive for clicks. If your emails receive high open rates but low click-through rates, chances are the text is too long.

Inbound Marketing Best Practices: Don't Forget The Spam Laws

This last one is particularly important. None of the steps above matter at all if your beautifully designed piece lands in email hell AKA spam folders. To avoid it, make sure you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Letting your recipients know where you are located and why they receive emails from you is not a guideline, but absolutely necessary. So is providing a clearly legible unsubscribe link. But the single most important tool in avoiding spam filters is keeping a clean email list. Purchasing lead lists may be tempting, but will lead to high unsubscribes and spam reports, which in turn poison your account for all customers. Instead, rely on lead lists from people that have actively subscribed to receive your emails, and be sure to regularly clean your lists. That way, you avoid sending pieces to users who have previously reported your emails as spam. If you follow the above steps, nothing should be in the way of getting your beautiful designed emails delivered, opened, and clicked through by customers.

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