With so many accessible channels available to us in digital spaces, it can be easy to forget one that has had proven conversions across a wide range of industries: the standard email. While the servers we use might have changed, the purpose has not. We access our email to access information in a direct and curated way. From both personal and work updates to newsletters from brands we know and trust, we look to our email to give us the information we need most. With features like tab separation in Gmail that keeps tabs on social specific and promotional emails, we scan subject lines and have the ability to go directly to the emails from brands with which we’re already familiar, while in-line ads show us relevant information that speaks to the content of our inbox. It’s not enough to send a mass email to a large list of long-time subscribers and expect conversions, there’s some very real strategy that goes into this important piece of digital marketing.
Think Big, But Small
Email marketing presents a unique advantage in terms of presenting more content than you’d normally include in a traditional digital advertisement in the form of display or social media-based ads. Visualize your email as a microsite, giving you more space to include things like eye-catching images, recent blog posts, a mini menu leading to specific sections of your website, or calls to action that lead to landing or contact pages. With services like Mailchimp, it’s simple to choose layouts and other aesthetics of how you want your email to look.
As much as reading our emails is a normal expectation, the visual component is also extremely important. As our emails serve both professional and personal purposes, our inboxes are filled to the brim more than ever. Slick photography and ye-catching graphics that tell your brand story are perfect for the very top of your email, especially if they look good on both desktop and mobile. The layout design should be simple enough to look good on a variety of devices. Also consider making use of GIF images to create visual interest, as the animations offer a fresh take on traditional images in your design. This can also provide a great workaround for video, where embedding hasn’t been implemented across all email clients and a brand wants to skip the click-through. This can also act as a preview of a video that can still be linked to within the email.
Using vague language and building suspense may work for some brands, but most of the time you are better off being transparent and concise in how you get your written message across. From the subject line to the closing sentence, ensuring the reader has all the necessary information will make or break the effectiveness of your email marketing attempts. Linking to your website for more information should go to a specific place, and not simply to the homepage. It’s also crucial that your website is mobile friendly for this exact reason, as around 65% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. It’s important to have as much of this straightforward written information as possible, as some users may still have out of date desktop or mobile browsers that won’t display your images.
Speaking of mobile, if your brand has an accompanying app, be sure to provide those links directly in the email instead of prompting users to search on their own. This isn’t the say consumers are lazy, but capitalizing on micro moments mans anticipating requests and accommodating the fact that most people are on the go when catching up on their messages.
Stick To One Goal
You may have a sale, new product and new blog posts, but it’s important that the main focus remains on just one of those aspects; and that your final call to action reflects that. Stick to a single call to action as the main purpose of the email while some of the other items can feature prompts like “click to read” or “more.”
It’s important to include email marketing in your strategy just as much as other types of digital marketing, as it feels more personal to your existing and new clients and can give you some of your best conversions.