A to Z of e-mail marketing

Published
10/31/2013 by AYENI EKUNDAYO

Most inboxes are congested — filled to the brim with uninteresting, boring emails. In spite of efforts made by many entrepreneurs who make use of emails as a marketing strategy, many of such mails end up being drowned out in overflowing, noisy inboxes of subscribers. You hit ‘publish’ with a sigh of relief, but when you look at available statistics, you notice that the click-throughs are disappointing.

Does it feel like a big challenge to get people to open and read your emails; and then to go on to click through? It doesn’t really need to be so hard.

Whenever you’re emailing your list, what do you do — do you write as if you’re addressing a huge, faceless crowd of people? Do you write just like a massive corporate marketing department would? If you want your subscribers to look forward to your emails, you should consider behaving more like a friend.

Try toning down that corporate look, and create a more minimalist email design. Write in a conversational, respectful voice. Write as if you’re emailing one person only. It instantly makes your emails more personal (mention names, title, office, etc). Use your actual name, like Ayeni Ekundayo. Put your name and reputation on the line. That’s more personal, isn’t it? Email subject lines need to attract attention too, just like headlines do

Be trustworthy
Let people know what to expect. Yes, sales messages should be part of your email marketing, that’s fine. Just be clear about it when they sign up. Give people a reward for reading. Make sure people benefit from reading your emails. How? Share useful tips. Make them feel better. Inspire them. Use stories and real life tips. Promise something good. If people know specifically what they’ll learn or how exactly you’ll make them happier, more informed, or better at business, they’ll be itching to read more.

Use power words
Sensory and emotional words attract attention and make your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes. Dare to be different and try something new. You’ll be surprised by what works and what doesn’t.
After getting people to open your emails now, what next? How do you keep their attention? How do you keep them reading your emails word for word?

Keep it short
Edit your emails with rigour. Long and unwieldy emails slaughter your readers’ interest. Challenge yourself to cut your text by half next time you edit. Endeavour to also ask questions. Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with your reader. You’d ask questions in that situation, wouldn’t you? In this light, don’t follow a strict formula. Add a personal touch, because you’re trying to get readers to know, like, and trust you,

Develop a voice
Stop thinking about email marketing. Consider your emails to be a way of talking to your customers or readers. You’re not just writing emails for fun. As a business owner, you have to sell to stay in business (whether you like it or not). Don’t sell before the prospect is ready. Become a friend and trusted source of information first; and your readers will more readily buy from you.

Highlight benefits
Don’t sell your product. Instead, sell the benefit it offers your customers. Show what readers will miss. Most people are averse to risks and they want to avoid inconveniences, glitches, and complications. Consider rephrasing the benefits of your offer. You should also cultivate the habit of presenting a clear deadline in your emails. It prevents people from procrastinating.

You can also insert multiple links to the same page of the email. This goes a long way in increasing the chances of people clicking on that link.

The harsh truth about email marketing is that everyone’s inbox is overflowing. Nobody is keen to receive more email. You should be honoured that people have opted into your mailing list and are happy to receive your messages. Each subscriber has given you a hard-earned vote of confidence.

But be careful. Never take anyone’s attention for granted, because everyone’s time is precious. Week in, week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathise with their struggles. Ask questions and offer help.