- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 5, 2016
- Email marketing
None of us are short of emails to read. So when you’re a local business owner sending your own email what can you do to improve the chances that your email is opened, read and some nice people actually take the action you want?
1. The “From” Field
The first thing we look at when receiving an email is the name of the sender. Do we know this person? We are way more likely to open an email that is from a person or company that we know. Personal is also better than corporate so use your own name where you can. If your recipients are not likely to know you personally try making the “from” name a combination of your name and your company’s name. Your goal here is to simply to have your email opened.
2. Subject Line
The second thing we look at after the sender’s name is the subject line of the email. Your goal with the subject line is the same as with the “from” field–simply to get your email opened. The research on subject lines varies but leans towards using short subject lines with “non-salesy” language. Try to come up with a subject line that you would use in a “regular” email and you will be probably be on the right track.
3. Email length
So say you’ve managed to get someone to actually open your email. The first thing we do once we see the body of an email, is take a quick scan its length. If it looks too long, we’re likely to think “this is too much work for now” and either delete the email right away or put it in our “get back to this later pile” (a.k.a. we’ll never look at it again!)
So if you want your email read, keep it short. Break the text up into short paragraphs. Put the bulk of the information on a landing page so it does not have to go in the email. Use links generously in the email to drive the reader to your landing page – research shows more links drive more click-throughs (source: Hubspot).
As many as 66% of email recipients have images turned off by default (source: MarketingSherpa). This means the majority of people will not see your beautiful images unless they hit a button on their email client to “download images”.
Consider what your email will look like without images. We’ve seen emails that are simply one big image. When images are blocked this kind of email will appear as one big empty space, meaning two-thirds of the people you sent to have no idea what you were trying to say! Check that your critical information and calls-to-action work even when the images are absent. Consider using “alt text” for your images so at least some text is displayed when your images don’t make it through.
Finally, consider that “normal” emails from our friends and our bosses (the ones we always open and read) don’t have tons of images in them. Don’t get carried away using too many images. There is evidence that images can help (source: Hubspot) but don’t overdo it so your email looks like glitzy marketing.
Make sure your calls-to-action are clear, concise and noticeable. “If you want this, click here to buy.” Use a hyperlink to take readers directly to your landing page. You can make calls-to-action graphical buttons in the email to help them stand out but make sure you have text links also in case images are turned off by the reader.
Test before you send.
The way an email looks is very dependent on the email client receiving it. An email may look quite different on your company’s Outlook client than it may on your personal Yahoo or Gmail account. Send the email to yourself or some colleagues on a range of different systems and review what it looks like, you may be surprised. If you care about how it looks on mobile devices (you probably should) make sure to take a look at it on your iPhone or Android (or even Blackberry – they are still out there!)
There are many nuances to successful local email marketing. Above all, watch your results and test different approaches. The great news is that nearly everything in email marketing is measurable and you can continually test and improve what you are doing. We hope these tips start you off in the right direction.