Email marketing is a double edged sword and its greatest benefit can also cut deeply into your bottom line.
On the one side, email is a very low cost way to reach and follow up with a large number of potential clients and customers.
Done right, email can be your most powerful and profitable marketing channel.
On the other side, the benefits of email marketing are widely known and your competition also enjoys the same low mailing costs.
The challenge is that your email campaigns compete with massive amounts of email to be noticed in your subscriber’s inbox.
In this age of advertising saturation, that’s hardly news. But there is a bigger problem many are not aware of that can compound your challenges.
If your emails don’t get noticed, they don’t get opened. Still, that’s only the tip of the iceberg that can sink your email marketing efforts.
Not only don’t you get any sales when your email goes unopened, but the ISP’s will begin to regard your emails as low value, or even spam, and your deliverability will suffer.
Worse, your emails could be sorted automatically into the spam folder and your subscriber won’t even see them.
Deliverability, ISP’s, and spam folders are separate topics beyond the scope of this article, but as with many things, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
In other words, how do you make sure your subscribers eagerly open your emails right from the moment they opt in?
Or, if you have had a drop off in open rates from your existing subscribers, how do you get them to re-engage?
The answer to long term success in email marketing is to keep your subscribers interest. The good news is that it can be easier than you think if you keep a few core concepts in mind before you press send.
Five ways to get your emails opened first:
1) Don’t forget that you’re talking to PEOPLE. It’s easy to forget subscribers are people instead of wallets. Just like a salesperson who corners you in a store and appears to only care about making a buck, many email marketers get so wrapped up in what they are promoting and their metrics that they forget there is a real person on the other end of the ‘send’. In practical terms, what this means is that subscribers begin to tune out your messages or unsubscribe altogether. Keep a single person in mind when you write every email.
2) Know why people are subscribing to your email list. Why did your subscriber opt in? What originally attracted them to your marketing? Invariably they wanted to solve a problem. Whether you market an experience like entertainment or an event, or a product or a service, each solves a problem. After all, when someone wants something and they don’t have, then that is a problem. If your emails no longer solve a problem then your subscriber will no longer open them. It’s that simple. So make sure your promotions help your subscribers solve their problems even if they don’t buy from you.
3) Don’t “oversell”. People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy. The paradox is that we love to be able to buy what we want but the cliché sales pitch is inherently unpleasant if we aren’t congruent with buying at the time or if we don’t have an interest in what is being offered. To stay in business you need to make sales, so the ideal email should feel like content but also encourage a sale.
4) Know what your customers WANT. What does your customer want? What are their problems? If you write your emails so that if you were in your subscriber’s shoes, YOU would open them, then you are on the right track. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if you would open your emails. If you are providing genuine value, then your subscribers will respond positively because so much of your competition is sending out nothing but sales pitches.
5) Stay in touch. Build a relationship with your subscribers so that you are a real person to them or that your company remains relevant to them. In this high tech and impersonal age, people crave connection and when it’s done correctly your subscribers will look forward to reading your emails. Don’t fear that you are ‘bugging them’ if you are sending valuable content. A long absence from their inbox will only damage the relationship and push them to your competition.
In a nutshell, the key to getting your emails opened right from the opt in is to make a solid first impression and maintain the relationship from there.
The easiest way to do that is to put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes and send out content that is helps them solve problems and get what they want.
As long as every email, as much as possible, adheres to this Golden Rule, you’ll get your messages opened and your competition won’t know what hit them.