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Are Your Emails a Dud? Learn the Secrets to Email Marketing Success

Nov 10, '17 / by Krista Elliott

Are Your Emails a Dud? Learn the Secret Ingredients to Email Marketing Success

Email marketing has been “dead” more times than rock music. And yet, like Keith Richards, it stubbornly sticks around. Why? Because it works. When it comes to ROI, email marketing blows every other method out of the water, with an ROI of 4,400%.

It’s one thing to know that it works. It’s another to make it work for you. And there’s nothing more frustrating than carefully crafting an email only to see anemic (or nonexistent) open and click rates. Sure, you can do A/B testing and try different iterations of the email, but they often have the same result: A giant, sad trombone.

Fortunately, you no longer have to flail around aimlessly and throw subject lines at the wall to see what will stick. As it turns out, email marketing experts have some sneaky secrets they use to get amazing engagement rates.

And because you seem like a nice person, I’m going to share them with you.

Sneaky tip #1: Think social

Think about how you make an interesting social media post. You make it engaging and shareable, you include captivating images, you don't try to sell them anything, you post consistently, you even share other cool content you’ve found – and then you use all of it to spark a two-way discussion.

Now, think about your emails. If the email is just dense blocks of text, you’ll have a very hard time keeping your audience’s attention. Instead, make your emails more like a social media post: Insert some images, tell a story, keep it short and simple and ask the reader for their opinion.

Sneaky tip #2: Nudge them to engage

Sure, you’ve got a lovely CTA button at the bottom of your email. But many readers are hesitant to make that leap, especially if they don’t know or trust you yet. However, they’re equally hesitant to close the door forever on something they might wind up liking. So, force them to make a choice, and nudge the fence-sitters in your direction.

Instead of just a regular CTA, use two. The first one can be positive and low-risk: “Yes, tell me more about how I’ll save money and time with this cool thing you’re offering me!”  For the second button, use language like, "I'm not sure yet, but keep me on your list.” This still gets them to engage, but it doesn’t come off as pushy.

Another way to get your readers engaged? Go interactive, and add elements directly into your emails!

A survey within the body of the email often feels like less of a risk to a reader than clicking a button that will take them to some unknown website. Or you can embed a calendar on which they can book a consultation with you right then and there! Some master-class email marketers even include a link to a messaging bot within the email so that if the reader has questions they can “chat now” instead of clicking through to your website.

Sneaky tip #3: Send more emails (but only if they’re good)

I know. This one scares me too. But it makes sense when you think about it.

Inbound marketing is all about getting your ideal buyer (also known as buyer personas) to come to your door. So, if you’re targeting your ideal buyer in your emails, then they’re already interested in what you have to say.

Sending out short, snappy daily emails is a big trend right now, but if you think it’s too much for your audience, at least consider boosting your frequency. The key, though, is to do it slowly and make sure you’re sending emails with real value.

Related Content: Is HubSpot’s Email Marketing Certification Worth the Effort?

Sneaky tip #4: Get personal

If Joe is already your customer and he gets an email from you asking him to become your customer today, how do you think he’s going to react? He’ll probably be annoyed at getting an email that’s in no way relevant to him and will probably think your company isn’t really on the ball. Trust is lost.

Segmenting your list and personalizing your emails is a fantastic way to make sure readers are getting something that’s truly valuable to them. Spend some time with your list, clean it up and then segment it into different categories.

You can segment based on sales lifecycle stage (leads, customers, former customers, etc.), geographical location, what services/products they’ve bought from you or by any other metric that will help you send content that’s relevant to their situation.

Sneaky tip #5: Focus on your subject line

Subject lines are often an afterthought when they really deserve the lion’s share of your attention. Think about it: If your subject line isn’t interesting, nobody will open the email and see all the great content you put in there. So, don’t wrap your beautiful gift in a brown paper bag.

What should be in your subject line? Try a few different options – subject lines are a great avenue for A/B testing. Here are a few ingredients you can combine:

  • Keep it short to stand out from a sea of lengthy subject lines
  • Ask a question to create a dialogue
  • Use a conversational tone so it feels like it’s from a real person
  • Convey scarcity or a time limitation to trigger their fear of missing out
  • Personalize it ­– either with their name or by using “you” or “your”
  • Take advantage of the preview after the subject line instead of wasting that space with “view email in a web browser”

Above all, look at your own email inbox. You’re a consumer just like everybody else. And the emails that make you pause, click and read likely have elements you can use as inspiration for the emails you send out. Take note of what those elements are, and you’ll likely start to see some patterns.

By doing that and by using the sneaky tricks of top email marketing geniuses, you’re well on your way to an email marketing ROI that’s positively brag-worthy!

Want to know what else you should measure to prove your ROI? Check out our super-easy cheat sheet that will give you everything you need to wow your bosses and show them inbound marketing works!

EBOOK: Six Marketing Metrics You Can't Afford to Ignore

Topics: Email Marketing

Krista Elliott
Written by Krista Elliott

I’m a content and copy writer with over a decade of experience in communications and public relations. I love to write compelling content that disarms, informs, and creates that “Oh my gosh, they totally get me!” moment.

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