Even though it seems a little old school in the days of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and bots – email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing tactics available to us. A recent study by SmartFocus looked at over 1.4 billion email marketing messages to identify best practices to drive engagement and customer impact. Let’s take a look at what some of those are:
- If you want your audience to take action, click on a link or respond to an offer, then Tuesday should be the day you launch your campaign. The study revealed that click-through rates were 30 percent higher than other days.
- If you’re sending out a more educational, informative email and don’t care if your audience clicks on anything in your correspondence, Sunday is your go-to day.
- The time of day was also reviewed in this study. Interestingly, most marketing emails were opened between six and nine pm. And the time that was least likely to lead to an unsubscribe was 6:30 pm.
Naturally, when you send the email is just one element of a successful email campaign. If you send the wrong content or take the wrong tone, even sending it at the perfect time won’t help. Here are some other best practices that you should keep in mind as you plan your campaign.
Create a relationship: Email can be a reliable way to actually create a relationship between you and your audience. But that requires consistency. Have you ever known someone who only reaches out to you when they need something? That’s what your sales emails feel like to your audience if that’s the only time you write to them.
If you’re going to write on a consistent basis, be sure you invite your audience to write back or to generate more of a dialogue. It’s pretty tough to feel connected to someone if the conversation is just one way.
Be mindful of your tone of voice in your emails as well. A super formal tone isn’t going to help you create a connection. The biggest compliment you can get when you finally meet someone on your email list is that you sound just like your correspondence. That means you’ve successfully adopted a conversational tone in your emails.
Be interesting: Sure, you’re interested in your sale. But your audience may not be. Never hit send if you aren’t confident that your content is going to be useful, interesting or entertaining to your recipients.
The only way to be interesting to anyone is to know them a little bit and put them front and center before you communicate. Building personas of your audience is a really smart way to make sure that your content is truly aimed at being beneficial to them. Personas help you think of your audience in a more personal way – which makes it much easier to talk to them about topics that they actually care about.
Be generous: I know you are sending the emails because you want your audience to do something (click on a link, download a coupon, sign up for a free assessment, etc.) but before you ask, give. Be helpful without asking for anything in return. If you’re consistently providing value, they’ll stick around and eventually, they will be ready to shift from being the recipient of your generosity to a paying customer.
Email is one of the most effective marketing options that you have. But it can backfire in a hurry if you aren’t careful about how, where, how often and what you include in your communications. Think of your email list like your best pen pal. Find ways to create a genuine connection and keep nurturing it, so it can grow over time.
Email isn’t a quick fix, so be ready to settle in for a long, good conversation with a friend.
This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.