I am a huge believer in the power of email. Huge! While it is often easier to get more reach with social media today, email still remains the more powerful medium. Social media is like Wal-Mart. People will come in, look around, maybe spill something in aisle 15 causing a disruption, and leave. They may buy. But more often than not, they will leave without a purchase. Email is different. Email is more like your house. You have sent them an invite to a party and they have accepted because they want to be with you; not because they just happened to be in the neighborhood. So, it only makes sense that email is a more powerful sales and marketing tool…if used correctly. Unfortunately, most emails disappear without a trace. Here are 5 keys to making yours more effective:
Focus on Your Reader
Ask yourself why a reader is likely to buy from you and craft your message accordingly. They have come into your home to perhaps buy a trip. While the accolades you may have earned are laudable, they do not help to solve the client’s problem or need. Understand their needs. Solve their problem. Focus on your reader, not you.
Write a Compelling Subject Line
The average businessperson is going to receive 147 emails today. If you don’t want your email to end up in the trashcan, your headline has to stick out and float to the top of the heap. Email service provider MailChimp did an analysis of over 200 million emails found some very powerful points:
- Your headline should be short (no more than 50 characters) & descriptive. Tell, not sell, what the email is about.
- Avoid cheesy phrases, headlines that sound like an ad from Sunday’s paper, and words that scream sales such as “free”, “percent off” and “reminder”. Surprisingly, the word “help” also killed open rates.
- Including the recipient’s name in the headline doesn’t significantly improve open rates but including a location, such as the name of a city, does.
- Subject lines framed as questions often perform better.
- Don’t use all capital letters or exclamation marks.
(this is also very good advice for article titles for your blog)
Cut The Fluff
Your recipient is not going to pour over your carefully crafted missive. If you cannot convey your value immediately, they are on to the next email. Write simply. Make your content “skimmable,” break it up into sections, use bullet points, and put the important stuff up towards the top.
Include a Strong Call to Action
Here is where many of us fall down. You’re sending the email because you want the reader to do something. Maybe it is make a reservation. It might be to download a flier of a group cruise they may have an interest in. Explain clearly and concisely what you want them to do and how they will benefit. Finally, make it easy for them to do what you want.
Let’s face it; most of our emails are not terribly original. Use this to your advantage and run some tests. Most email providers will allow you to do A/B testing. Send the same message with different subjects—is there a difference in your open rates? Change your words—does “buy now” work better for you than “reserve now?” Does one form of customization work better than another? The messages we tend to send are basically the same. Use the tools provided by your email service provider to improve your results.