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10 Ways to Up Your Email Marketing Game in 2021
  • Contest Factory
  • January 26, 2021

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If you thought email marketing was a thing of the past, check out the latest stats:

Emails are the most opened and clicked form of direct marketing out there and the most cost-effective, with an average $52 ROI for every $1 spent.

But sending random or subpar content without a proper strategy could do your brand more harm than good, causing you to lose customers and damage your SEO ranking.

Here are 10 ways to harness the power of email to expand your target audience and give your bottom line the love it deserves in the year to come.

1. Build a solid email list

First, you need to find people to read your content…the right people, to be clear.

The average professional receives 121 emails a day, and nobody is going to waste time checking unwanted messages (point: you don’t want to end up as trash or spam).

Instead of obsessing about quantity, focus on building long-lasting relationships with people who are truly interested in your brand and products.

In other words, find your people and give them a really good reason to sign up. Entice them with a free training or workshop, your latest publication, or a product sample, for example.

And make sure your sign-up process is quick and easy: include forms on your website in obvious places throughout (and yes, pop-ups do work). 

2. Welcome Emails Have a High Open Rate

Always say “thank-you.” First, because it’s just good manners, and second, because welcome emails have one of the  highest open rates and are 86% more effective than standard newsletters for reaching viewers.

Setting up an automated welcome email should be a given- the reader has already demonstrated interest by subscribing. This is your chance to introduce them to your highest performing pages, featured products, and other digital marketing platforms.

Just make sure your message is genuine and personalized- first impressions last.

3. Make your subject lines shine

Your subject line is your WOW piece and your one chance to get your complete message and offer heard. You cannot be spammy or too salesy here or you’ll end up in the spam box. You want your subject lines to peak interest and curiosity. We have an entire blog dedicated to writing subject lines here.>>

There you have it; your subject line needs to convince your reader to click “open” vs. “trash” or “spam” in a matter of seconds (no pressure).

You need to seduce your reader with intrigue or a sense of urgency that matches the tone and vibe of your brand. And keep it short and sweet: research shows that email subject lines between 1 and 20 characters have the highest open rates.

And don’t forget the preview text- the 40 to 140 characters that follow your headline (usually the first line of the email itself).  This is your second (and last) chance to score a view, so make it count!

Here are a couple of great examples:

National Geographic: 

Subject line: HISTORY: What it sounds like when a mummy speaks
Preview text: This week in history news…

Kate Spade:

Subject line: open this soon: up to 60% off seriously disappears *tomorrow*
Preview text: Plus, get a complimentary cardholder with your purchase.

4.  Create compelling content

But no matter how much your headline and preview shine, if your content isn’t compelling, your words will fall flat.

You need to take your readers on a journey that will stir their imagination and inspire them to take the next step (hopefully be your CTA), and you need to do it as quickly and concisely as possible.

Here are a few best practices to follow:

  • Short, punchy paragraphs
  • Conversational but persuasive language
  • Engaging & Interactive visuals
  • Relevant keywords & links to boost SEO
  • A clear CTA

We’ve created this handy guide, 5 Copywriting Tips to Reduce Unsubscribes to help you start crafting incredible email worthy content.

5. Reward your readers

Loyalty points earn rewards

 

Now that you’ve got their attention, you need to keep it. Give your reader something valuable and memorable to take away so they keep coming back, whether that be entertaining and interesting information or tangible perks such as coupons.

 83% of consumers said that loyalty programs encouraged them to continue purchasing from their favorite brands.

Loyalty program email marketing is another effective way to recruit and nurture relationships. You can go the traditional route, allowing customers to gather points or free items with every purchase. Or you can score points by offering the occasional special discount or free gift to express your appreciation.

Many businesses offer a “free” something for birthdays and other special occasions like anniversaries. Sometimes having the loyalty point data in the email is enough to excite the reader to open. But do not fall into the non-personalized version of this where you bait your users to login to access this data; it’s not necessary and really asking your reader to go above and beyond for something you can deliver right here.

Surround your points data with beautiful imagery of what they could exchange these points for. You can have flash point sales with double the value for a short period of time.

To learn more about loyalty tactics and strategy, check out our blogs that specifically address these programs:

Loyal to the End: Top 5 Customer Loyalty Strategies

Set Your Brand Up For Success With a Renewed Focus on Customer Loyalty

The Art of Loyalty Marketing: Keeping Customers Engaged

6. Stand out with engaging visuals

Instant win platform that will be sure to engage your prospects.

Reports show that adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300%, so why would anyone subject their readers to nothing but words?

Interactive visuals not only make your emails more interesting, but they also encourage customer engagement, which is always a good thing. Do-it-yourself sites like Canva make it seamless to create games, image carousels, surveys, and more.

Plus, you can repurpose your email visuals for social media posts, enhancing SEO opportunities, further engagement, and an increased following.

Consider adding gamification to your email collection strategy. Something very near and dear to our heart at Contest Factory, as well as extremely successful in collecting emails as well as engaging email readers.

 

7. Always include a strong CTA

Ultimately, you want your readers to become customers, which requires them to take action. Whether that’s unlocking a free offer or visiting your site, you’ve got to tell them what to do in a way they can’t refuse.
Use action verbs that will pack a punch in the fewest words possible (ideally 3-5 max). Make it persuasive and personal. For example, “Unlock My Offer” is much more intriguing than just “Click Here.”

And make sure you optimize your CTA for mobiles so people can actually click on it, which brings us to our next tip…

8. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly

Nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile devices. But, if your emails don’t display correctly, 70% of users will delete them within 3 seconds.

Get the message? Optimize your emails for mobile devices. Period.

This means

  • Simplify your copy
  • Make all buttons & links click-friendly (make room for fat fingers)
  • Be strategic with images size and context

Don’t worry if you aren’t tech-savvy. Email marketing platforms, such as  Mailchimp, have ready-made templates to choose from, or you can do a Google search for mobile-responsive templates.

9.  Improve email deliverability

Email deliverability is the likelihood of your email campaigns actually reaching your subscribers’ inboxes vs. being marked as spam. Spam complaints, high bounce rates, and unsubscribes can damage your email sending reputation and get you blacklisted by spam filters.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Update email lists to avoid bounce rates
  • Build your IP credibility
  • Have a working unsubscribe page for easy opt-outs
  • Ask subscribers to whitelist your domain, inlcude instructions

10. Analyze past performance to improve engagement

If it’s not working, fix it.

Track your results to learn what content your readers like and which contacts you should include in your next round of email campaigns. You can also run A/B tests on your emails and test your email’s send time, subject line, and content.

Otherwise, your wasting everyone’s time and your money.

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Suscribers who purchase through email spend 138% more than customers who don’t receive email offers.

The power of email marketing is no joke. So what are you waiting for? Use these 10 tips to breathe new life into your marketing campaign and your bottom line, in 2021 and beyond.

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