You might have heard the radio commercials from Constant Contact that claim email marketing is “easy.” The implication is you’ll be flooded with new business shortly after you launch your email marketing campaign and send your first few messages.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m going to repeat that, just so we’re on the same page: Nothing could be further from the truth.
There’s a lot more to email marketing than filling in a template and throwing a bunch of names onto a list and “blasting” out an email message.
Unfortunately, that is what most people are doing.
Also unfortunately, because of this approach, email marketing is becoming more difficult to produce and to a degree is less effective than it was a few years back.
My advice: get some expert advice and do it right, because there is a lot more to email marketing than filling in a template and clicking a SEND button.
Like most things on the Internet, if you don’t know what you’re doing you WILL waste time and money. Sure, there is a *slight* chance you might see some initial success, but in the long-term you won’t see much of a return-on-investment, if any at all.
Here is some of my expert advice, from the “front line of email marketing,” to keep in mind:
It’s VERY important to treat someone’s inbox with INCREDIBLE respect. I approach each new subscriber as though they were an egg – fragile and without the proper care it easily cracks and breaks.
If all you do is throw advertisements at people, send too many messages, or have a poorly formatted presentation, you can expect low open rates as well as high-unsubscribe rates. Neither of these things are good and both lead to miserable results.
And it gets worse. You also risk someone being so aggravated they report your email as spam – even if they subscribed!
And STILL worse (yes)… it can actually HURT your company’s reputation.
Keep It Short
People’s attention spans online are very different than offline. Long email newsletters DO NOT WORK and WILL NOT WORK. Long emails have a tendency to scare people off.
In most cases, I recommend you keep your newsletter to under 400 words.
If you have more to say than that, give people either; (a) a link to go to at your website or blog, or even better (b) a downloadable/printable .PDF that has your company name, phone number, and other call-to-action information on it.
Bite Sized Blocks of Text
“Chunk” your email content into small paragraphs with only six to eight sentences. When people see large blocks of text, whether in an email message or on your home page, you risk having them “tune out” because subconsciously they are saying to themselves “hmm… this is too much.” Again, people do not read online like they read offline.
Get Someone’s Attention Immediately
I’ve talked about the importance of the “Oh Yes” moment at your website and the same principle applies to email marketing.
Your first objective is to get people saying to themselves; “Hey, here is an email message from _________ , I always enjoy reading their messages.” At the same time, carefully crafted attention grabbing subject lines are more likely to get people to open your email messages and actually read them.
SIDENOTE: Ridiculous or misleading subject lines, used simply to get people’s attention and open your email message, should be never be used!
Have a Powerful Call-to-Action
Again, similar to your website, all of your email messages should have a powerful call-to-action. Test different call-to-actions and avoid putting too many offers in any one broadcast. In most cases, you’ll get better results from ONE call-to-action than if you use multiples.
I’ve read a lot of studies recently that show more and more people are connecting to and reading their email via mobile devices. One, conducted for Google this past April, showed that 82% of Smartphone users check and send email with their device! Holy Mackerel!
Mobile devices are generally harder to read with, so with that in mind it’s even MORE important to have “inbox respect,” keep it short, and format your newsletter so that it is easy-to-read.
SIDENOTE: Make sure there is a complete phone number, area code and phone number, at the end of your email message. This allows mobile users to easily call you.