In the age of SEO and social media marketing, one type of marketing still reigns supreme in terms of online conversions: email marketing. But email is so widely used by businesses that unless you know how to write a stellar email, your emails are likely to get lost in the overloaded inboxes of your prospects.
There’s nothing worse than managing to convince someone to give you their email address, carefully drafting a sales email and sending it only for you to check the stats and see a low open rate.
So here are 10 tips on how to avoid getting your email overlooked and make sales instead:
1. Use a sender name that’s familiar
Prior to even starting on the subject line, it’s important to consider what name will appear in a recipient’s inbox when they receive an email from you.
Because people are so wary of spam, even if you write an amazing subject line with amazing content, if your sender name comes up as a company name or your job title you won’t see a very good open rate. Instead, you want to use a sender name that’s more personable like your first name. If you feel your first name isn’t enough you can put your first name “from _____ company.” That way people get an idea of the email’s contents but it’s not like getting an email from a complete stranger.
2. Keep the subject lines short
Your subject line is one of the most important parts of the email. Think of it as the headline of your email— the few words that will convince a recipient whether or not to read the body of the email. With many people using email on their mobile devices these days, you need to consider that a long subject line will likely be cut off.
Reserve the longer sentences for the body of your email and focus on getting the main point across in the subject line. Try to limit it to no more than 70 characters.
3. Keep the subject line concise
Because your recipients are already flooded with emails everyday, your subject line needs to get right to the point of the email. You do want to entice the recipient, but if you’re too vague, they’ll likely skip right over your email.
For example, “We’ve got an offer for you!” sounds interesting but it is also vague. Think about how many other email marketers have offers for their recipients… it’s every single one of them!
What is the offer? Think specifically about how this email will benefit the recipient.
A better subject line than the example above would be “Seize the chance to win tickets to the #1 summer festival.” In this example, the topic of the email is clear and to the point. There’s no guessing games, and it’s still enticing to open.
4. Use personal language
Just like how you want to be personable in the sender field, you also want to make the rest of the email personal. Don’t talk about your subscribers list or use language referring to a group of people. Speak as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation.
Emails that include the first name of the recipient in the subject line have higher clickthrough rates than emails that don’t (The Science of Email Marketing, 2014).
This is just one way you can make the email more personal and stand out in the inbox. You can also personalize your emails by referring to specific locations either in the subject line or in the body of the email. For example, sending location-specific offers or deals.
No matter what you decide to do with the subject line, always use “you” or “your” in the body so it still sounds like you’re addressing the recipient directly.
5. Use action-oriented verbs
Your email marketing is essentially a series that should lead your recipient through a sales funnel to a call-to-action that eventually encourages them to buy. That’s why it’s best to use verbs that encourage the recipient to take action.
Subject lines that start with action verbs are more enticing because they instill excitement and engage the recipient in the present moment.
An example of a less actionable subject line might be: The circus comes to town
An improved, actionable subject line is: See the Greatest Show on Earth this weekend only
The second example uses “see” to give the reader an instant sense of what they can do, as opposed to the first example which sounds more like an objective news report.
Using actionable verbs throughout the body of the email is also more appealing as they maintain a vibe that encourages the recipient to take action.
6. Create a sense of urgency for more clicks
Phrases like “today only,” “right now,” “available until 5 p.m.,” or “1 day left” build a sense of urgency. It puts a deadline on the actionable verbs.
Subject lines that create a sense of urgency and exclusivity can give a 22% higher open rate (HubSpot, 2016).
Timing these urgent emails are great for clicks too. For example, sending an email on a Friday afternoon with a subject line “Where to get the best happy hour deals this evening” is very relevant to a recipient in that moment and is far more likely to be opened.
Don’t hold back with the language of urgency in the body as well. Reminding the recipient that they have limited time to take advantage of your offer will encourage more clicks.
7. A/B test your subject lines
Different subject lines will work for different businesses. That’s why it’s best to experiment a bit with which subject lines your email list is most receptive to.
A/B testing is a sure fire way to track with certainty which of your subject lines work best for your specific audience.
Figure out what your audience likes— do they like subject lines that include their name or just addresses them as “you”? Perhaps they prefer a line structured as a question. Continue to test your audience and tweak the subject lines until you find the ones that give you the best open rate.
8. Nurture your prospects before you sell
If a recipient gives you access to their inbox, you need to be considerate of that. It’s not an invitation for you to flood their inbox with sales copy. That will put you on the fast track to the junk mail folder.
You need to nurture your prospects until they’re ready to buy. Give your recipients a reason to trust you, become a source of information. If you’re friendly and helpful, your prospects are far more likely to become buyers. If you’re designing an email automation campaign, write three nurturing emails to send first, then two calls-to-action.
9. Make calls-to-action clear and direct
When you’re asking your recipients to take action, you only have a couple chances before they find it annoying you keep asking them to do something. It’s important to be very clear about what you’re wanting prospects to do.
Make it so easy for the recipient of the email to follow up that even the most technologically-challenged people could take action. Remind your readers why it’s in their best interest to buy and tell them directly what you want them to do next.
10. Insert multiple links in the body for calls-to-action
It makes it even easier for people to take you up on your call-to-action if you place multiple links to the same page within the body of the email. This will make it even more unmissable for your reader and super clear about the action they should take.
Don’t fall victim to the boring and forgettable email promotions. If you’re putting effort into email marketing, make sure that they’re personal, concise, and clear about the action you want them to take after you’ve established credibility with your recipients. With these tips, you will be sure to see more conversions out of the inbox!