One hundred thirteen.
That’s the number of emails I got yesterday. Some days it’s a little less. Some days, a LOT more.
And that’s how it is for most people—including those on your e-list.
Of course, you know they can’t possibly read all those emails. In fact, I’ve shared before the average email campaign stats of MailChimp customers by both industry and company size. You’ll notice this research was updated for May, 2015, and once again concludes very few emails ever get opened.
Which begs the question…what, if anything, can you do to get more of your emails opened and read?
Said another way, how can you make your emails stand out in a crowded Inbox?
In a previous post, I explained some simple ways you can maximize your email campaigns. These email marketing tips focused on priming your readers to want to hear from you. Now, I’d like to expand on these to include some points on how to treat your audience during your communications, so they get excited about your message and look forward to hearing from you again.
So here you go…
7 email marketing tips for increased reader engagement and loyalty
1. Focus on a single purpose. As you prepare to get started on your email message, ask yourself why you are sending this email. What is the overriding point you are trying to make to your reader.
This idea of writing around a single purpose ranks as one of the most important email marketing tips to follow. As it applies to emails, this focus ensures you are communicating clearly and concisely, making it more likely your reader will open and read it.
Also, when you nail down the main point of your message, stick to it. That way you won’t frustrate your reader, and they’ll understand your message better and take action on it.
2. Understand there’s a person on the other end of the email. Here’s one of my favorite email marketing tips. No matter what marketing communication you send electronically, remember you are still “talking” to another human being.
Sure, telling friends, family, or even known enemies exactly what’s on your mind, at times, may be socially acceptable and necessary for your sanity. However, showing a bit of restraint is prudent when sending business communications.
So instead of just blurting out what you’re feeling in the moment, err on the side of being kind…empathetic—even forgiving. A good trick is to imagine you are talking to your reader in person. In fact, if what you want to say, you cannot say to someone’s face, or you find it would embarrass or shame you, then don’t write it either. Leave the insults and rudeness—as well as the unsubscribes—to your competitors.
3. Avoid tricks at all costs. You see, every one of your communications is either building or cementing your reputation with your audience. Misleading your reader or using gimmicks is the surest way to slam the door on their willingness to buy from you or share you with their friends.
For example, recently I spotted a deal breaker in one marketer’s sign-up process. You see, he offered new prospects both a free special report AND free product sample. Yet, in the ‘thank you’ email, the reader discovers unexpectedly that she needs to order a minimum amount of product in order to get the free sample. Big mistake in trust, and you’d be wise to avoid these kinds of surprise conditional statements in your marketing communications.
Another common miscue is the use of confusing subject lines. You’ve probably read a few with bold or intriguing promises, yet when you clicked over to it, there was an obvious disconnect. Email content that does not relate to its subject line does not get consumed by the reader. Worse yet, it’s unlikely that future emails are even read. And in some cases, may lead to unsubscribes.
4. Make emails easy to consume. Look, this is perhaps one the most important email marketing tips to implement. Because in this age of electronics, consumers have a lot going against them when it comes to processing digital communications.
Prospects are stressed with juggling priorities…managing time constraints…fighting eyestrain, fatigue, and other limitations due to aging…vetting you against the competition…and more. While they do want solutions to their pesky problems, they don’t want it to be so hard to get them. So make it easy for them to discover and consume your messages.
That means, make your opening sentence short and powerful—so it feels easy to read. This sets the stage for things to come. And keep all succeeding sentences as short as possible, to include breaking up long blocks of text. How? By mixing in single sentence paragraphs…using subheads and side bars…leaving plenty of white space…using bulleted lists…and more. Also, use easy-to-read font types and colors.
Essentially, write like you talk. Remember, novels often feel hard to read. Yet, the length of your content or copy isn’t the only barrier your average reader must overcome. In fact, what matters most, is whether it feels easy to read. The kind of ‘easy’ you get in most conversations.
5. Always give your reader something to do. You’ve heard it before…content marketing should inform 90% of the time and sell 10% of the time. That includes email communications.
Yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a call-to-action in every email. In fact, no matter what your method of communication, you increase engagement—and ultimately sales—when you tell your reader to do something during or right after they’ve read your message.
So, ask them to leave a comment…share your stuff on social media…forward to a friend…go fill out a survey…click through to complementary content…or any other action that promotes continued engagement and excitement about your message or brand.
6. Mix it up. Prospects aren’t just busy, they’re diverse. So while your initial delivery mechanism is an email, it’s a good idea to share your content using whatever methods your audience prefers. And what if you don’t know yet what they want? Easy.
Just vary the delivery mechanism for your content. Choose from a wide range of today’s most popular print and digital media like video, audio, slide shows, infographics, podcasts, webinar or presentations, text formats, and more.
For a more in-depth look at the different ways to share your content, here’s an excellent guide from CMI (Content Marketing Institute) called Content Marketing Playbook: 24 Epic Ideas for Connecting with Your Customers.
7. Be available. By being available, we mean stay consistent, stay in touch, and be approachable.
Your reader should not have to guess who the email is from. Include your company name or the name of whoever is the “face” of your company in the ‘From’ field.
Always provide a way for your reader to contact you. And by all means, respond to all correspondence you receive from your readers. Also, never hide your unsubscribe link from your list. You should only want people who want to be there.
Lastly, keep a ‘clean’ email list. It’s time to review what I wrote here about how inactive and outdated subscriber lists pose a unique marketing problem for business owners.
If you want more email opens and better engagement that lead to click-throughs, consider applying these proven tips for creating stronger email marketing communications.
Got any other email marketing tips that have worked well for you? Go ahead and tell us about them in the comment section below.
About Jerry Bures
Jerry Bures is a direct-response web copywriter and marketing consultant. Since 2010, he has helped natural health, self-help and business opportunity clients—as well as local small businesses—become more visible, credible and profitable online.