Kate Finley

Five Tips to Get More from Email Marketing

By: Kate Finley | October 30, 2013 | 

email marketing

By Kate Finley

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend Content Jam with the rest of the Arment Dietrich team in Chicago.

The conference did not disappoint. Of course, neither did the company.

I got to meet several Spin Sucks crazies (including Word Ninja, Chuck Kent, and Joe Cardillo to name a few), chill with the rest of the AD team, and add to my content marketing toolkit.

If you’re in and around Chicago or if you’re just looking for a great conference on content marketing, I strongly encourage you to mark your calendar and plan to attend next year.

It is well worth your time.

Some of my favorite sessions of the day, aside from Gini Dietrich’s keynote of course, were those presented by Andy Crestodina (#BrainCrush), Sean McGinnis (#SassyPants), and Mana Ionescu (#SuperSmartCatLover) of Lightspan Digital.

Mana’s presentation was one of my favorites because she discussed tactics to get more from your eNewsletters, which taught me several implementable tactics.

Five Tips to Get More from Email Marketing

Whether you currently use eNewsletters as a part of your lead nurturing strategy, or you’re just starting to toy with the idea email marketing campaign, use these five tips to craft better, stronger, emails for your subscribers.

Don’t venture into inboxes without bringing value. I’m listing this tip first because it relates back to all the others and is perhaps the most important tip from the whole presentation. Our inbox is personal. It’s our online sanctuary and because of this, we are quick to remove intruders or visitors that do not add value to our email experience.

This means we are quick to move unwanted or rude visitors to the spam folder or trash with a quick click, never to look back.

Add value or get comfortable with the term ‘unsubscribe.’

You have to personalize the ‘Sender’ address. Also known as: People want to hear from a real person, so be human. If you want to increase open rates, customize the “From” field to reflect a real person’s name and email address. This means:

  • Avoid sender email addresses such as info@blah.com, noreply@blah.com, contact@blah.com.
  • Instead use email addresses from real people, such as Jane@SoMuchBetter.com.

Why? Your subscribers are more likely to engage if they know their reply is likely to get an answer from a real person, and especially if they know who they are emailing.

Two examples I can think of right away are the sender email addresses used by Orbit Media and Mark Ragan.

I’ve replied with ideas and suggestions to each and, in return, received immediate, personal replies from real people.

This one seemingly small change can build trust, increase ‘Forward to a Friend’ actions, and increase brand-loyalty.

Your subject line is prime real estate. Use this space wisely. According to a report by Adestra, subject lines have a huge affect on open rates.

  • If subject lines mention a discount or special offer, they will get opened 45.5 percent more often than subject lines that include the recipient’s first name, which receive a shockingly unimpressive .09 percent open rate.
  • A subject line that promotes a product or topic the recipient is actually interested in, receive open rates of nearly 36 percent.
  • Subject lines with fewer than 10 characters get opened 58 percent of the time.
  • Subject lines that are personalized are 22 percent more likely to be opened.

Mana’s mantra: The best subject lines tell what’s inside and the worst sell what’s inside. In other words, if you’re sending value, you can can be straightforward and don’t have to muddle your subject line with hype speech. Be targeted, remember you’re in someone’s inbox and it is their sacred space.

You must pay attention to changes in email platforms. This point had me wanting to smack my forehead. When things change in email platforms, such as the recent addition of tabs for Gmail for example, we have to think about the email marketing ramifications.

We have to ask:

  • Do these changes affect my email marketing efforts? If so, how?
  • Do I have to modify or dramatically change my approach due to these changes?
  • How many of my subscribers will be affected?
  • How can I best communicate any new or modified actions my subscribers need to take in order to continue receiving our my content?

For example, here’s how Anthropology tackled the new Gmail tabs issue:

Email MarketingYou have to optimize for mobile. This. Is. HUGE. You cannot ignore mobile.

I was standing in line at Chipotle the other day with 10 people in front of me, nine of whom were on their smartphones. We pass the time, manage time, and save time by being on our mobile devices as much as possible. As marketers, we cannot ignore this fact and we must, instead, cater to it.

What does this means for your email marketing efforts:

  • If your content is not optimized for mobile or if a portion of your email does not display correctly (like a photo that doesn’t load), it will be deleted. Nearly 70 percent of mobile users delete emails immediately if they do not load correctly.
  • Your first line of text, in addition to the subject line, matters when it comes to mobile.
  • Be aware of which links are available on mobile. What actions are you enlisting from mobile users? Is navigation intuitive? Can they easily navigate back to your website?

If optimizing your content has been on the back burner, it’s time to move it forward and turn up the heat on this initiative pronto.

Bottom line: Email marketing has endless potential if properly executed. Email marketing is not a ‘one and done’ deal, instead we have to be aware of changes, perform A B tests, rinse and repeat.

Click here to view the slides from Mana’s fabulous presentation and learn lots more email marketing wisdom. 

About Kate Finley

Kate Finley is the CEO of Belle Communications, an integrated marketing firm based in Columbus, Ohio, where she helps CPG brands and startups with PR, social media, and content marketing. She is a media relations expert, leading teams in executing more than 1800 media opportunities for industry leading clients, with coverage in NBC News, TODAY, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and other top media influencers. She’s a Paleo-eater, half-marathoner, and recently acquired a taste for CrossFit.