How many emails do you receive daily? If you are like me, you receive hundreds. While some are very important, the majority of them are solicitations or outright spam--such as the stretch mark cream promotion I just received.

Because I am obsessed with never missing an email, I see every correspondence that lands in my inbox. That is a little crazy I understand, but I use it as a learning experiment. What it has taught me is that most email campaigns could be much more effective if, instead of selling, they focused on one other very simple goal: customer connection.

My company, Wild Creations, has a very simple marketing strategy when it comes to leveraging customer data to reach and engage our customers. All of the planning and implementation, however, is wasted if your email never grabs the attention of its recipient, engages them and ultimately leads to an action or a click through. I corresponded with Paul Sokol, Small Business Consultant at Infusionsoft, which we have used to help us with our email campaigns, and asked how to improve engagement rates. Here are his 4 tips:

1. K.I.S.M. or keep it simple and mobile.

Too much text or too many pictures are an instant turn off, especially in an email. Keep the verbiage to a minimum, keep the language simple, and only use images that support or compliment the subject matter of the email. Also, keep in mind that most emails are read on small, handheld smart devices, so the message should be optimized to be viewed as such.

2. Have a call-to-action

A "call to action" is simply what you are asking a customer to do in your email. "Check out the new model" or "Read our newest blog post" or "Visit this week for 20% off." It is important to have only one clear call to action in every email and limit secondary responses. Also, include the same call to action more than once in the email, as different people will click-through at different points in your message. 

3. Don't misguide the reader.

Align the intention of the subject line with the intention of the call to action. The more aligned, the better, as conflicting messages or calls to action will instantly turn off the reader. For instance, do not try to hook your reader by promoting an upcoming webinar, charity event, or other non-sales related promotion in your email, only to have the "call-to-action" lead the visitor to your online shopping catalogue. It has happened to me, and after being briefly confused, I was disappointed and ultimately unsubscribed completely.

4. Get personal.

Even though your emails are probably auto-generated always write for a single person, even if the message is going to millions. Start with simply addressing the recipient by name ("Dear Emily”), which most email services will do for you. Be sure to also include a value proposition, or the "so what," of your email promotion (e.g., "If you read this email, you will increase sales by 15%"). If you focus on the readers and what is in it for them, you will hit the right points. 

Hubspot, a software company that focuses on generating more traffic to your website, provides great examples of effective emails (as you might expect). The emails are short and simple, typically not more than one or two paragraphs. Each is personal and each is persuasive providing the value proposition in the first sentence--"Do you use infographics? Businesses that publish infographics grow their traffic by 12%." The call to action is clear--"Click here for five free infographic templates"--and the landing page clearly coincides with the email. They are incredibly effective, and more important, consistent.

Remember that the goal of your email campaign is to get your email noticed through the glut of emails in the recipients' Inboxes. Once you have their attention, moving them along to an action is infinitely easier. Stick to these simple concepts, and you will find much more success with your email campaigns.

Do you have tips for sending more effective emails?  Please share in the comments below.

Published on: May 30, 2014
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