Email marketing is a lead nurturing and sales converting asset to any business regardless of their size, brand identity, or budget. Because it is such a cost-efficient tool, you can reach your audience in a more intimate setting—providing them solution-based information for their needs through the convenience of their inbox.
However, there is a code of conduct with email marketing. You don’t want to SPAM your audience with messages nor do you want to send your emails on an infrequent or minimal basis—causing your audience to forget why they signed up to your email list in the first place. So why not make it a worthwhile and memorable experience for them.
Designing your emails with your end user in mind can help you establish your brand identity, engage your readers and grow your business. Therefore, if you’re in need of designing the “perfect” email for your brand, keep reading. Because in today’s FAQ Friday, we are providing the answers to your unanswered questions surrounding the topic of email design best practices especially in today’s 2017 landscape.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is the direct way to build a relationship with your audience—especially since at least 91% of consumers check their email every day. It is the next step from transforming a frequent visitor to your site into a sales-ready lead for your products or services. However, the relationship doesn’t stop after the sale. The general idea behind email marketing is to enhance the relationship you have with your customers, get more repeat business, and boost customer loyalty. It’s a cyclical, holistic relationship between your audience and your brand—cultivating ambassadors with every email campaign.
What is a basic formula for email marketing success?
When it comes to the types of emails and design elements, it's up to your business to find out what works for you. However, here is a general formula that should be incorporated in any email for any business.
- Know Your Audience First
Before you create an email marketing campaign, a good rule of thumb is to understand your audience. Knowing your audience should be like knowing the back of your hand. That way, you don’t waste time creating a campaign your audience is not interested in.
For example, if you’re a coffee company and your audience is interested in medium roast coffee, you wouldn’t send them a promotional email about dark roast, would you? Hopefully, your answer is no.
Therefore, know your audience. Because the more you know about them, the more nurturing email campaigns you can create around that knowledge.
- Create and Establish Your Goal
What goal are you striving to achieve from your audience opening your email? Is your goal to continue engagement with a new subscriber? Or are you trying to nurture your leads into becoming new customers? For instance, a follow-up email to your new subscriber can achieve the goal of continued engagement. Whereas, sending an email with a specific promotional offer to seal the deal can achieve your lead nurturing and sales conversion needs. Ultimately, whatever goal you create, you want to make sure that your email will achieve it.
- Craft Your Email around Relevance and Trust
When you craft an email, create it with relevance and trust as the basis for your content.
First off, relevance means knowing who your audience is and what they want from your emails. Meaning, if your audience signed up to receive special promotions to your products or services, then your content should be specific to what they signed up, for e.g., Buy 1 Get 1 Free or Get a 50% Discount.
Secondly, nurture trust by respecting their inbox with relevance to their needs and habits—knowing their activity before, during, and after the sale. Here's an example of one way you can establish trust with your customer. Let's say a customer needs to redesign their website. A great way to nurture trust is to send relevant emails on “How to Know if You Need a Redesign” blog post, a live FAQ webinar website assessment and finally promotional offers on your website redesign services.
ProTip: Another way to nurture trust is through consistency—being sure that you send the same number of emails around the same time, every time.
For example, if one subscriber opens the two emails you send each month right after you send it, i.e. 7am PST, then keep to that schedule. Don’t shock your audience. Send the right amount of emails at consistent times—building trust and accountability towards your brand identity.
By centering your content around relevance and trust, you are nurturing your audience through their own personalized buyer’s journey—gaining the right kind of attention you need from your audience.
What important design elements should I include in my emails?
- Mobile Optimization
This is the most important element to your email design. With the way our technology is progressing, mobile devices are affecting the way we interact with our emails.
For example, what is your main device for opening emails? Well, if you are a part of the 67.2% of consumers who use a smartphone to check their email, it’s time to make sure your emails are mobile optimized. Because if you can’t open it, then how can your audience? For more inspiration, here are some statistics to get you engaged with mobile optimization for your email design:
- About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices—a 5% increase within the past 3 years.
- Only 11% of emails are optimized for mobile.
- 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren't optimized for mobile.
- 89% of email marketers lose leads because their emails aren’t mobile optimized.
- It is more common for a reader’s second open to be on a mobile device than it is on a different device: 70% will stick with their mobile device, and 30% will go elsewhere.
In 2017, interactivity is on the rise. Finding new ways to get people engaged is deeply affecting the way we view static content. With interactivity, blog posts and email are going through uplifts in terms of incorporating visual content.
For example, animated gifs as seen in this Lyft example is a great tool to inform and educate your audience in an interactive way. With Lyft, they used this gif to educate their new audience on how easy it is to use their Lyft interface—putting their prospective customers at ease with using their app and ultimately buying their service. For more information on how using images and video in your email is beneficial for your strategy, explore the following stats:
- Content with visuals get 94% more total views.
- Animation can be a great way to reinforce the major point of a campaign, such as the call-to-action button.
- 1 in 2 marketers use animated gifs in their email campaigns.
- Emails featuring an animated GIF pulled in 12% more revenue than their non-animated version.
- Using the word “Video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribe rates by 26%.
- Social Media
Including social media is beneficial to your email design—boosting your brand awareness with the help of your audience. Because your email subscribers are loyal to your brand, they are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources. So incorporate social media sharing buttons as well as your social media channels—get your content out there using your own team of brand ambassadors, i.e., your email list.
How can I tell what a successful email looks like?
Test. Test. Test. There are sites that you can see various companies’ emails like Really Good Emails. However, you won’t know until you try, i.e., sending out an A/B test email and measuring the results. Ultimately, you want high email delivery rates, low bounce rates, and healthy email sharing and forwarding rates—satisfying ROI due to the enthusiasm and loyalty of your audience.
Why is email marketing still an effective tool today?
Email marketing is the gateway to your leads becoming potential customers. Why? Because email marketing is personal. For example, think of your leads like a personal bank account. You use your money to invest in your account so that it can perform effectively for you in the long run, i.e., you can’t have a bank account if you don’t have any money. With your email marketing, you have value or money as a way to invest in your leads.
That’s why email marketing is an effective tool today, because you are investing in your leads personally from within their own inboxes to encourage them to take action and potentially become a sales-ready customer.
What are some email marketing best practices that I should include in every email?
Within every marketing tool, there comes a set of rules to follow. For instance, if you are using social media as a tool, you have to learn what types of content you should post, how long your character count should be, how to tell a story about your brand instead of being salesy, and so much more. These are just a few rules of the social media trade, but the same can be said with email marketing. In fact, the following is a list of email marketing best practices along with visual examples from our past emails:
- Images and videos: Entice your audience visually by including images and video content in your emails. For example, if a lead needs assistance on a specific topic, send him or her a how-to video like the example above. You don’t want to boggle your emails down with too much text. Stick to 50-100 words words of written copy. And if you can’t say it 100 words or less, use images and video to supplement the text.
- Relevant and shareable content: Only send useful content. As stated before, this is your lead’s personal inbox. Don’t flood it with promotions and information that does not pertain to them. Email them content that will nurture them through the sales funnel so that they are excited to take action and purchase from you. Add value through content first, then watch how your leads will add value to your company, through sales.
- Calls to action: Within any type of content you create, you should always have a call to action or CTA. Whether it’s a link or a button, you need to have at least two CTAs within your email to nurture your lead towards taking some form of action. Whether that’s subscribing to your blog or signing up for a new content offer, make your emails actionable.
- Employee email signature: In today’s world of automated systems, include an employee signature with a picture and contact info. This makes your emails more personal, because your audience knows who is speaking to them. Despite its overall convenience, people do not like speaking to robots, and they especially do not like having automated SPAM in their inbox. If they feel like your emails are automated, impersonal messages, they will think it is spam and unsubscribe. Prevent spam by showing the faces of your employees in your email marketing.
- Share and social media links: Let’s say your emails are great. They’re nurturing leads on a consistent basis. Yet with such great content being sent out, do you have a way for your readers to share this information with their friends, family or colleagues? Include ways for your audience to share your content on social media or even to a friend. At the very least, provide the option for your readers to take action and share your great information to others—potentially growing your brand awareness and your email list in the process.
- Unsubscribe link: As much as we would hate for someone to unsubscribe from our email list, you still have to provide that option. Technically, it’s the law. And even after they unsubscribe, you STILL have to honor their decision by never sending them any future correspondence unless they sign up to another one of your email lists.
- Trust indicators: Including trust indicators in your email marketing GREATLY improves personalization. It allows the reader to know that you are truly who you say you are. In fact, here’s a list of a few trust indicators that you should include in your emails each and every time:
- Brand message: Remind your audience about who you are and what you can do for them. Don’t go into too much detail. A simple one liner will do the trick.
- Address: Whether it’s your company’s P.O. Box or an address to your physical location, you have to include your address. And if your business has a physical location, you’re providing your audience with a great opportunity to look you up especially if they’re local to your company. Unless you want your emails to be considered SPAM, include your address within the footer of your emails.
- Contact information: What are the best modes of communication that your audience has to engage with you? Your phone number, email, website, and social media are key places of contact between you and your audience. So, include them in your emails. That way, they have a quick point of contact within every email.
- Social media: People are quick to turn to social media to learn more about your brand through the eyes of your past customers. Allow people to learn more about your brand by including links to your social media. If you have nine different social media platforms, try narrowing it down to the top three social platforms that have the most engagement.
Until next FAQ Friday, keep your communication lines open. Don’t know the answer—ASK. If you have questions you would like to see featured in our weekly FAQ Friday, please submit them in the comments below or mention us @DirectImages on Twitter.
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