Email Marketing has been a marketing staple for a long time but it is one that teams and event organisers often overlook since Social Media became the poster child. We all receive emails every day and one of the biggest differences when compared with Social Media is that, emails can sit in the inbox waiting for the Reader. Social Media is often an “in the moment” medium – if you don’t see the post at the time it is posted you may never see it, even more so with the Facebook algorithm impacting visibility and reach.
I’d therefore like to champion email marketing as a valid option and offer 6 tips for beginners.
1) Subject lines are key
What is the first thing you see when looking at your inbox. Here’s a clue – it isn’t the pretty pictures in your email. A great subject line can entice a user to click through to open the email and learn more. Your subject line should be to the point and relevant – being misleading will frustrate the reader and cause cause them to delete or worse, unsubscribe. This can have a major impact on whether your email even reaches the inbox (more on that later).
With subject lines being so important some time and attention should be spent on them. What is going to be relevant to the audience you are sending to and encourage them to open the email? How about things related to membership, tickets, merchandise, behind the scenes footage or giveaways? Also stay away from the super dull “Newsletter – Friday 13th edition” – this isn’t sexy and makes it easier for the recipient to skip your mail.
2) Think about “Above the Fold”
This comes from a time when people thought about being adverts “above the fold” and “below the fold”. In email marketing it is about where the preview pane of your inbox cuts off the email before you have to scroll down to read more. Making a recipient have to scroll to find the best bits increases the chances they will never find it. Use the most important real estate, at the top fo your email, wisely and with purpose.
Some companies use it to highlight the rest of the content in the email, others use it as a place to highlight the most important message and try to drive action straight away. Strike a sensible balance but please don’t waste it on an image that may never load. If you want to use an image at least add some text to it so that readers gain context about the image.
3) Don’t confuse the Reader
It can be really easy to confuse the reader with lots of information and lots of buttons or links to click. The more options the reader has the more likely they will be overwhelmed and not click anything. Pick two or three key things to focus on, any more than that should go in a separate email.
If you are an event organiser focus on things like registration, agenda or key speaker profiles. For a team, what is the top news story you want someone to read or what is the one thing you want the reader to do that week?
You can make the argument that different topics or content appeal to different people and that is true but why run the risk of confusing the masses.
4) Personalisation can backfire
You’ve read about personalisation and have seen it in emails you’ve received but trust me, it can go horribly wrong. Yes you may want to include First Name in an email but can you be sure the data you have is accurate? More importantly, do you have any data at all?
Having the wrong name is just as bad as having no name and leaving a space with incorrect punctuation.
Take a look at the data you have available and think about where you got it and how accurate it is before choosing to personalise emails. If you’ve got good data then think about how it can add value to the reader and not about how cool it makes you look by using it.
5) Think about preferences
Sticking an unsubscribe link in an email is a requirement for marketing emails but if a reader clicks that default link you won’t be able to email them again. Instead, think about setting up a preference centre so the reader can choose what to unsubscribe from. They may not want the newsletters but they may love merchandise or ticket offers. Getting a reader to select their own preferences means you can send them relevant emails without the risk of them automatically unsubscribing from everything.
6) Clicks matter more than Opens
Opens are a guide but Clicks are the more important metric when it comes to email marketing. Clicks are a conscious action by the reader while Opens come in many different shapes and sizes. If you have a good Open and Click rate combined your emails are more likely to land in the inbox (or Promotions in Gmail) while a poor Open and Click rate leads you down the slippery slope to Spam, Junk or not being received at all!
You can avoid this by sending engaging and relevant content that encourages the reader to click. This could be registering for an event, taking a look at the brand new merchandise or clicking to watch a behind the scenes video – it all counts.
The 6 tips above are the first things to consider with email marketing and will put you on the path to success while opening up another communication channels with your fans and event attendees.