The Art and Science of Creating a Professional Email Strategy
Creating a great email is a mix of art and science. Regardless of whether your end goal is to create awareness, convert a lead or drive a purchase, the recipe for success is a balancing act between the technical must-haves and the engagement drivers that help personalize the message for your targeted audience.
Technical Must-Haves – Best Practices to Reach The Inbox
Your first objective is to make sure the email you send actually lands in the inbox. Doing this successfully includes following best practices for deliverability, subject lines, content and images.Some key steps to follow:
- Manage your reputation: ISPs (internet service providers) will look to see if you, the sender, have a good reputation. Deploy your first few messages in batches – starting with smaller volumes of emails lets you warm up your IP address, and begin building that good reputation. Use a good sending domain and a valid sender email which clearly identify your company name. Ensure any links in the message are valid. And while this may seem obvious, make sure content does not contain offensive words or strange characters.
- Use short (under 50 characters), compelling and direct subject lines. Include the type of product or service and your value proposition; and ensure the content delivers on the promise of the subject line.
- Avoid SPAM-my subject lines. Words such as Free or Exclusive or special characters like exclamation marks or dollar signs can trigger SPAM filters. And save emojis for social posts.
- Ensure you have the right ratio of text to image. Text based emails can be very effective but should be limited to a few paragraphs. Landing pages are great for content heavy messages (i.e. where there is an educational component) and allow you to keep the email content short and to the point.
- Images can visually describe your product or service and tie in to your audience but need to be balanced with text. Logos should be an appropriate size to mesh with content and other images.
- Follow best practices for content layout. Use a font size that will make your content easy to read without ‘shouting’ at your audience. Think about how your audience will be reading the email. With longer content (3-4 paragraphs) left aligning will make it easier.Center text only when reinforcing a specific and short point such as a call to action.
- Use responsive or mobile-first design. Responsive design will ensure that regardless of the device, your email will render properly when it’s opened. And, once you get to know your audience, if you find that they open your messages overwhelmingly on mobile, consider a mobile first design to maximize user experience.
Engagement Drivers – Best Practices to Personalize The Message
Nailing down the science will get your email delivered. At Goose, most of our customers see +97% of their emails make it to the inbox. But, in order to increase the chance of your audience engaging with your email, you need to find ways to connect with them. This can be accomplished by personalizing content, images and even sender information with data from your BMS, CRM or other platforms. This is a combination of art and science, guided by best practices:
- Use first name/company name. Personalizing the subject line or ‘to’ field starts a 1:1 conversation. Personalizing the subject line has shown to increase open rates by up to 50%.
- Integrate product or service details where relevant. These details make the message highly relevant and tailored to an individual customer. It can also help facilitate any follow up action by ensuring the customer has the necessary information in hand.
- Mention your brand in the content. Play with incorporating your company name and the name and credentials of relevant product/subject matter experts to further showcase the value you provide.
- Use dynamic content. Varying the images and language so they correspond to a specific audience segment enables recipients to better relate to your message. And relevance has been shown to increase engagement and revenue.
- Personalize the signature. Include the name, contact details, headshot and bio and LinkedIn profile of an assigned sales or service rep. This further reinforces the authenticity of the email and the content and it makes it easier for direct follow up.
As businesses re-evaluate their communication strategies, many are increasingly turning to email. Email marketing provides an efficient way to deliver relevant and personalized content through a channel where engagement rates continue to increase, year after year. Effectiveness of these strategies rely on the emails making it into the inbox, being opened and read, and driving action. The details above are just some of the guidelines and best practices necessary for a professional marketing strategy to succeed. If you are in need of a partner to help ensure you are optimizing the technical must-haves to land in the inbox and the engagement drivers for personalized and relevant messages, we would love to help.