Everyday I get tens of emails from companies telling me why I should buy their products and services. Last week I registered a new domain name and within a couple of hours I was flooded with emails offering me with assistance with everything from web design to SEO. They might be genuine offers from great companies but I’m not going to read them because they’re unsolicited. Aside from the unwanted emails, I get a lot of email from companies I do know but either I don’t read them or don’t take up their offers.
So, when sending out emails how do you avoid a similar thing happening to you? Maybe you’re already having problems with people not reading your email, or not responding to your offers. Well, firstly, don’t give up. Email marketing is a valuable way to engage with your audience. Most, if not all, want to hear from you, otherwise they would unsubscribe from your list.
Here’s 5 ways you can improve your email response rates:
1. Avoid making your email look like bulk email
Your email marketing software may have some great features for inserting images, videos, coloured text boxes, widgets and so on, but even with the opener of ‘Dear Nick’ I can spot a bulk email a mile away and I immediately given it a lower priority. If I’m busy it’s these messages that I skip over and don’t read. Why, because I know the person who sent it wasn’t thinking about my person needs; it’s less likely to be relevant to me right now.
Instead of using all those fancy layouts provided, just send a plain text email, just like a regular person would. You can still use your email software but just select the plain text option. You’re not pretending that this is a personal email; you’re just simplifying the presentation to look like normal email. Now you stand a greater chance of the person at least looking to see what you’ve got to say.
2. Correctly target your audience
No matter what size your business, the chances are you have different types of customers. Everyone’s different and that means that people’s needs are different. The biggest mistake that you can make with your email marketing, is to send everyone the same information. Each irrelevant email you send to someone reduces the value that person places on what you’ve got to say. Continue sending things that are of no interest and eventually they’ll either stop reading your emails or unsubscribe.
To correctly target your audience it is necessary to segment your mailing list. If you’ve got customers and prospects in your list then it’s pointless sending your customers new joiner offers. Similarly, don’t send your prospects rewards for upgrading. Your list should be split out using a range of information such as: demographics, interest and products purchased.
3. Make your emails interesting
Everyone is busy. No one has time to read through everything they receive. Attention spans can be measured in milliseconds. If your messages are not attention grabbing then the likelihood is that they are heading off the bottom of the page without being read!
From the outset make your subject lines intriguing, captivating. They’ve got to peak the interest of the recipient sufficiently to pull them into reading your message. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for the reader?”. Does the subject tell them what they’re going to get by reading your email. Their time is precious so you’re going to have to justify why they should give you the next 10 seconds. For example, rather than ‘Try our new nutritious, healthy recipe book’, use ‘How you can effortlessly prepare great healthy food’ or ‘How to break the cycle of unhealthy eating in just 5 days’.
4. Care about people
I have certain friends that I know really care about me. When they email me I will always read what they’ve got to say and give it serious consideration. They are high-value messages. They demonstrate their care by offering me specific advice and help. If they’ve read something that they think will be of interest then they send it to me. They rarely, if ever, ask for anything in return. Business is not so different. To be truly successfully you need to demonstrate that you care are about your customers, and not be continually asking them to buy your products and services. How do you do that?
You send out valuable information for FREE. Instead of just pushing out our offers we continually feed our subscribers with worthwhile, high quality, relevant information. Ask yourself, “How can I be of help?” rather than “How can they help me?”. Make it your goal to regularly send out emails to your list that contain great content with little to no ask in return.
5. Be open and to the point
When it comes time to make an offer to people on your list, be concise and upfront. Don’t dress it up or try to disguise the fact they you’re trying to sell something. Done in the right way, your sales pitch via email can work really well.
Make sure your subject line clearly matches what you’ve got to say in your email, quickly explain what you’ve got to offer and include a call to action at the end. Don’t be long winded. If people want to read more you can always give them a link to a landing page where there’s a lot more detail.
A well constructed email marketing strategy is an essential part of any online business. Without one you’re likely losing out on significant additional income. Done in the right way it can greatly increase your brand appeal, customer loyalty and conversation rate. So, don’t stop mailing your list. Take a step back, rethink and go again.
Nick Amis is CEO and founder of Entapris, and provides support for businesses and entrepreneurs in developing and implementing their digital strategy. He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in computer science.