The MECLABS team is back from last week’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit, where our Managing Director (CEO), Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, presented a two-hour session about email optimization, complete with live optimization of audience emails.
As usual, the audience wanted more. So in our next Web clinic, Crafting an Engaging Email Message: How a properly focused email message can increase conversion by 85% (plus live optimization, ten email campaigns will be selected (double the amount we usually choose) from attendees who send us their email marketing efforts when they register.
Live optimization will allow us to give hands on advice in the practice of crafting engaging email messages. Plus, Dr. McGlaughlin will review a recent, never-released experiment conducted by our researchers using the findings from this experiment to help you optimize your own email campaigns.
But before we share some effective tactics, we asked your peers – how can marketers craft an engaging email message? (hey, we don’t know everything, we’re making new discoveries every day). Here are a few of our favorite responses…
Two critical parts to an effective email
1. Make it personal
I’ve had clients surprised at the passionate, engaged email replies they get to the emails I write for them. It’s because I write the emails to sound like it comes from a real person – not a distant business tone. I bring in stories they can related to, tidbits about their day, feelings – revealing bits about the company spokesperson that readers can relate to that pulls them into the email and its contents.
In fact, the truth is when I write more “personal” emails, they’re still going out to thousands of people. They just sound more one-to-one.
However, I certainly want to clarify that I’ve found success also in segmenting the lists I’m working with to make sure that the people who are getting these emails are the best people to get them. And larger numbers do not necessarily mean better response. People who want to hear from you do.
2. Make it focused
The most effective emails I’ve written focus on getting the reader to do one thing. Only one link is offered and I focus the email around eliciting one response.
Whenever I try to bring in another link, side action, etc. it dilutes the effectiveness. Sure, I may still provide some helpful content and that in itself isn’t bad. But if I want the reader to take an action, the more focused the email the better.
Finally, I’ve also learned that frequency really helps. I know for myself how many times I mean to do something but shuffle the email to another to-do folder or let it scroll up in my inbox screen and then only take the action when I’m reminded by a subsequent email.
Certainly you don’t want to overdo it – keep tabs on your open rates and unsubscribe rates. But most people need – no, correction, want – a little nudging about the good stuff you’re offering.
Here are the highlights to get you started
1.) Always split test subject lines.
2.) Regularly test email layout.
3.) Write awesome and unique content.
4.) Include videos on landing pages to boost click rate.
5.) Constantly test landing page components.
6.) Follow up messaging strategy after conversions.
At its core, optimization is about achieving maximum efficiency
While some strive to create mind-blowing content, they often do so at the expense of the basics, which ensure your email arrives safely, and gets read.
Without a great subject line, your goose is cooked. Write a subject line that will pass spam filters. Don’t use the word “free.” Don’t talk about sex. Don’t shout in caps about your “MONEY-SAVING OFFER!!!” Do be personal, as if you’re writing to a friend. “Great job on your new ebook” is far more attention-getting.
Don’t forget the “From” line. Company From lines may say ‘spam’ to readers. Use a more personal ‘from’ address. And for heaven’s sake, use the BCC to avoid sharing the potentially private emails of your entire mailing list.
Use plain, non HTML text and keep it short and sweet. Your email is about your message, not fancy graphics, so get to the point! And watch those URLS. If the URL you want to share looks like the secret formula for the atom bomb, use bit.ly or another URL shortener to clean it up.
Make it easy for people to take action. Include a complete signature, with your full name, company name, Web address and phone number.
If your writing skills aren’t solid, hire a professional copywriter. It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about results and increased business.