How well do you know your email?

Last weekend I caught-up with my MBA batch mates. And as you might have guessed, conversations revolved around nostalgia. Of course we all were eager to hear with what’s new in everyone’s life. Having heard where all of them have reached, it was my turn to share. So I told them I am working as a Digital Marketing Consultant with an Email Service Provider… and what followed was definitely an eye opener.

Much to my amusement the general notion behind sending a promotional email is getting a product image, some well written text, modifying the look to match the corporate branding (some skip this as well) and sending it out to all your customers and acquaintances. While half of them asked me if there is any quality learning whilst working in a profile that revolves around ‘sending emails’, the others went like ‘What’s the catch in sending an email?’. And I leapt at this one window of opportunity of letting them know that I wasn’t exactly hatching eggs.

A promotional email consists of a logical flow – The sender name & subject line, headline, subheading, body and Call-to-Action (CTA).

Getting your emails delivered into your recipients Inbox is a different ball-game in itself. Once you are there, you’ve won only half the battle. To know more on how the Big 3 determine if your mail will land in the Inbox read here: Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.

Your sender name and subject line are your first points of contact with your recipient (who might be a prospect or a customer). It will determine if your recipient will even open your email in the first place. Well, now that you’ve realized how important you subject line is, how much time do you actually put into deciding one – come up with a few variants, ask around and shoot. It is very critical to think your subject lines properly and decide on one based on the best practices of designing a subject line.

By now, I could see them hooked on to my jabbering. Our drinks were empty, but I feared ordering a refill thinking it might stray their attention. So I continued as slyly as I could 😉

The next important part is the headline. Now that you have enticed the recipient to open your mail, you have to keep him interested throughout the entire length of the mail. Your headline states the entire email’s agenda followed by the subheading which speaks more about how the headline relates to the remaining part of the mail.

This is followed by the email body which essentially is the product/service being sold. You need to ensure that you don’t go over the top with praises about your product. Keep is short and crisp. On an average you recipient will spend roughly 6 seconds on your email given the vast amount of emails he receives per day. Hence it is recommended that you announce key benefits of your product as bullets and also your pictures for better understanding and association.

And finally, we come to the part that helps you gauge the effectiveness of your email campaign – the CTA. A CTA represents what is expected of the recipient. For e.g. A promotional mailer selling sunglasses might have a CTA with a button saying ‘Click here to buy now’ or simply ‘Buy Now’, clicking which would take the recipient to the actual landing page where he can buy it.

This flow ensures that your promotional email has a logical sequence which keeps the recipient glued to your email right from the subject line to the heading to the content and eventually to the CTA. The email now appears complete with a strong purpose. Not only will this email perform well in terms of Open Rates and Click-through Rates, but also produce good qualified leads and revenue.

Well, I was done delivering my pitch and found it quite amazing that they had never thought of an email that way. A few even responded saying maybe that’s the reason their Marketing teams are always cribbing about dropping Opens Rates and Click-through Rates. And this is where I told them their teams would find the answers to all queries on Email Marketing.

Mar, 12, 2013

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