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September 13, 2008

3 Areas To Improve Your Email Marketing Efforts

by Anthony Verre

3 Areas to Focus on to Make Your Emails More Solid

I’m going to switch gears again here at The Milwaukee SEO, and talk about email marketing. In our last post, we talked about how to build a solid email marketing database. Great. Now you have one. What’s the next step? To send your emails out to the wanting public who offered up their emails to you and start creating conversions.

3 Areas To Test:

Before you send you’re emails, look at these three areas to make sure you get the maximum opens and the maximum amount of consumers into the purchase funnel.

1) The Subject Line:

Seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how often we see subjects like, and chances are you’ve seen them too:

The Awful Subject Line:

“XYZ Company wants you to come to their 4th of July Sale for 50% Selected Items”. That’s a mouthful and an eyestrain.

The OK Subject Line:

“Free Gift with Purchase of XYZ’s Products on the 4th of July”.

Right. Instantly to the trash folder. You want your subject lines to as clear as possible, as short as possible to get your message across, and as concise as possible. And, whatever you do, avoid “spammy” language in the subject; words like, “Free”, “Win”, or “You’ve Won”. With stronger and smarter spam filters on inboxes, it’s hard enough to get a legitimate communication through; language like this pretty much guarantees that no one will see this email.

The Better Subject Line:

“XYZ Company’s 4th of July Sale”

It’s short. It’s sweet. And it tells me everything I need to know

2) The From Line:

This is really crucial for your communications. It’s the first thing a consumer sees; who it’s from. If it feels spammy or fraudulent to the user, it’s gone without a second thought. Too many consumers have been burned opening emails only to get viruses and other malicious goodies.

  • Don’t send your email through a personal account
  • Don’t use your Yahoo!, Gmail, or Hotmail account to send out the communication. Invest in a company-branded address purchased through a reliable email provider.

  • Send your email from a recognizable company figure
  • Please, whatever you do, don’t send your email from “Bobby@xyzcompany.com”. It’s just bad people, and it’s a certainty that I’m going to trash the email, even if I recognize the company name. “Bobby” gives off bad juju and it feels like I’m going to be sorry if I open this email.

    3) Content:

    Content is the most important part of the email because it carries the message (and the links to have folks click-through to your site). You don’t want your email to take forever to load because you have 10mb worth of images, and yet it has to be appealing to the user, so that rules out the “all-text” email.

  • Images Vs. Copy
  • You’ve got to know your audience and what spins their wheels. But, without hesitating I will tell you that an all image email is “all bad”. I see this occur quite a bit with retail stores. Yeah, people need to see your products, but you don’t have to layer design over design until it takes me five minutes just to see what you’re offering. Not to mention that it detracts the user from the thing you want them to see the most: your products. You’ve got to have copy in the email.

    All-copy isn’t “all bad” but it’s certainly not good; it does nothing to engage the consumer. Think of the Mac/PC ads. You don’t want to be PC, the ultra-business-orientated stick in the mud. You’ve got to have some visual hook too.

    The trick is to find the perfect balance based on what your consumers like best (A/B testing).

  • Make Sure It Renders Correctly
  • Make sure you see what your email looks like when it’s rendered through different email providers, namely the big three (Yahoo, MSN, and Google). It might be perfect in Yahoo, but Gmail might break some of your tables or tweak the formatting. If your email looks sloppy, then your brand looks sloppy too.

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