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Not dead yet… email marketing that works

marg-valentine-300x250Email marketing has been a core component of Marketing Machine services for 10 years, and in that time we’ve read and tested plenty of “best practices”—and continue to!  So when we saw this article on email marketing strategies from Inc. we had to applaud, and wanted to share with you. These tried-and-true strategies have been high up on our to-do list when helping clients develop their campaigns (and each and every email). That’s part of the reason our clients regularly see open rates well above industry averages, with strong conversion rates, too. The one at right was one example of a hot winner—and at a highly competitive time of year.

There’s another best practice that we want you to incorporate in your efforts, however. It’s one we believe is a major factor in our clients’ email marketing success—a factor we borrowed from our direct marketing roots—and if you focus on it, and test alternatives, your success rates will grow, too:

Give your email recipients a good reason to engage with you—and make it easy to do.

Incorporate a single strong call to action into your emails—an offer is great, but you don’t always need to have one; in fact, most businesses should mix it up (and remember to test how frequently to send to your lists…). Here are some ideas we encourage you to test:

  • Share a link to relevant information. In the case of this email, we linked to the all-important menu. For you it could mean a video, article, post or product/service description housed on your website. A value-added offering can keep people connecting with you, especially if you ensure that wherever they land, there is a clear path to getting still more information that would make sense based on what you know about this email recipient, and where they are likely to be in the sales process (e.g., “Related articles,” “View a comparison chart,” “Find a store,” “Schedule a demo”…).
  • Ask them to call you (and explain what’s in it for them when they do)—be mobile friendly and ensure your phone number is auto-dial-able.
  • Make your call to action pop. It should be easy to see, visually appealing and appropriate to the communication–a box with a colorful graphic or a 3D-style button make people take notice and want to click, especially compared to a discreet weblink with blue underlining… but they may be a turn-off when set in an elegant fundraising effort.

Despite the ups and downs in reported email open and click-thru rates, we and our clients know email marketing is still a solid business driver, an effective tool for delivering information and for getting people to your website, landing page or (increasingly) retail location.  Want more ideas on email marketing? Take a look at some examples we’re particularly proud of…

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