Email marketing has been around for nearly 20 years, and a lot has changed since the dial-up era. With so many new factors to take into account — from smartphones to social media — the way marketers create effective email campaigns has changed, too. Now is the time for you to dust off the keyboard and start using these five tactics to boost engagement and conversion:
1. Use CTAs throughout your email — not just at the end.
Many people apply a copy-and-paste formula in which the call to action always appears once at the end of the email. What might work for a 700-word article on your blog is not the same as what works in an email, though.
Many users don’t read past the fold. For this reason, you should include CTAs early on and throughout an email. You don’t need to go overboard, and you certainly don’t need to call your audience to many different actions, but you do need to give your readers a few chances to interact with your content.
It’s all about finding the formula that works for the members of your audience. Keep your content brief (around 250-700 words), and within it, give them plenty of options to directly take action.
2. Integrate your social media networks.
Everybody is on social media, so your emails should be social-friendly, too. In addition to including buttons that prompt readers to stay connected with your brand on social, you can provide opportunities for users to share content from your email to their social media. This is free advertising.
You should build a symbiotic relationship between your email and social media marketing strategies. Use your social media to encourage email subscriptions, and encourage social interaction in your email content. Not only does this help you grow your audience base, but it can also give you even more insight into your audience that can help you create more effective campaigns.
3. Get familiar with your analytics.
The only way to truly improve your email marketing is to know what’s working and what’s not. Using the data in your email marketing platform, you see the percentage of people who opened your email, what they clicked on, what kinds of offers caught their attention, and how successful your emails are at driving traffic back to your site. You can also easily compare performance of certain campaigns and understand what kind of messaging resonates with your audience.
After looking at this data, you know exactly who is actively engaged. To follow up, you can specifically target these individuals with personalized promotions and offers. By rewarding active audience members, you create the incentive for people to take action.
4. Optimize for mobile.
The vast majority of emails are read on mobile devices these days, so your content should be designed accordingly. This means creating content that’s easily reproduced on a variety of devices.
If you don’t speak HTML like an expert, there are lots of excellent resources out there. Multiple marketing platforms, such as MailChimp and Litmus, among others, offer templates that make mobile optimization much easier. With the right tools, all you have to do is put in the information and images you want to share about your company, and you’ll be good to go.
5. Don’t overlook design.
Design is essential. Templates are so simple to use, and they’re looking better all the time … but they’re still templates. If your email doesn’t look like it’s unique to your brand, you’re going to have a hard time standing out in your audience members’ inboxes.
Successfully standing out doesn’t mean you have to hire a graphic designer for your marketing team, but you do need to make your content and your presentation attractive. Regardless of what product or service you’re offering, elegant design demonstrates professionalism, makes it simple to consume content, and reinforces interest in your company.
Bonus: Personalize your content.
Make the most of the information you have about your subscribers. Personalization is more than just adding a recipient’s first name to a subject line; use the data in your analytics platform to personalize emails based on what content recipients have engaged with in the past.
Target subscribers for the particular things they’ve expressed interest in. It also never hurts to incentivize, such as by offering a discount on something they abandoned in their cart.
Email campaigns can have a lasting impact on the way your audience interacts with you. This is why you need to use the data you have accumulated to see trends, establish clear goals, and constantly improve. Solid email marketing takes some time, but when done well, you can see great results and build a large and active base of subscribers, ready to engage with your brand.