By: Sandra Stephenson
Email marketing may seem simple, just slap your company name or logo on an email template, add some content, and then send it off to every email address you have. That’s all there is to it, right? Not, really.
Effective email marketing involves more than sending out an email with your company logo and name. Every communication sent from your company should reflect your brand, including email, which should include a designed template that looks consistent with your other collateral pieces such as your letterhead, website, brochures, posters and folders. Some companies go as far as to include their top tier navigation on their email templates to encourage recipients to check out their website and to drive traffic to it.
The email template also needs to be consistent from one campaign to the next. Changing templates can prevent recipients from readily and easily identifying your brand and identity. Consistency helps to generate successful branding. The more consistent a brand, the greater the likelihood that your target audience will see your company as a resource in the industry and not just another spammer filling an inbox with useless emails. A designed template also generates a feeling of legitimacy, whereas a plain text email may look like spam.
Your email communications are not only competing against others in your industry, but also against all the email communication a recipient may receive in a day. Writing valuable content for an email campaign comes from truly understanding your target audience. For example, a retail company knows and understands that their target audience likes sales and will generate email campaigns revolving around making sales. As another example, an insurance company may send out an email campaign about how businesses can reduce their risks by regularly maintaining their sprinkler systems. Generating content of interest will show your recipients that your company is an expert in the industry. This will also help build a relationship between your brand and the recipient.
Another factor to consider is making the “from” field a company name rather than an individual’s email address. Your target audience is more likely to open an email from a company name it recognizes rather than Susie. If most of your audience saw an email from Susie and didn’t know Susie then they might think Susie is a spammer. No one likes to get email that looks like spam.
Not only should the “from” field have your company name, but your company name should be included in your subject line. This will prevent confusion when someone opts-in and subscribes to your email campaigns for the very first time. The subject line should also be very direct, stimulating and fifty characters or less. The subject line is the key to getting your subscribers to read your email campaign so make sure it’s something that will grab their attention such as ABC Company Spring Sale, ABC Company Sweepstakes, ABC Company Must See New Product, or ABC Company Launches New Website.
Timing is another key factor. Companies can annoy their subscribers by sending out a campaign a couple of times a week or be forgotten in email campaigns. At the beginning of your email campaign initiatives have a set time and day of the month to send out an email. The best days tend to be during the week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Email campaigns should only be sent out twice a month to eliminate unsubscribers. Be consistent. If you sent out an email at 10:30 am on a Thursday, in two weeks send out another campaign on a Thursday at 10:30 am.
Email Campaign killers might include looking-like spam, failed unsubscribers, inconsistent messaging and dead links. To recap, successful campaigns have consistent and interesting messaging, your company name in the “from” field and in the subject line, consistent timing and consistent design to match your other collateral. To make your campaign even more successful, add social media icons linking to your Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Twitter account and LinkedIn Company Page.
This will help make all your email marketing initiatives be more brand centric, cohesive, consistent and results driven.