Email marketing continues to be the undisputed leader in effective digital marketing, yielding a return on investment that’s consistently dependable. According to a survey, on average, companies attribute 23 percent of their overall sales to their email marketing efforts — the highest among all digital channels, including social media and mobile.
However, overall email use is in decline, which means that crafting an effective email marketing campaign requires more skill and savvy than ever before. If you’re still committed to the email campaign but you’d like to increase your effectiveness, here are seven characteristics of highly successful email campaigns you can start to implement immediately.
1. They Stay Strong on the Basics
Even the best email marketer can get distracted from time to time, and the digital world’s ever-unfolding offerings of new software, graphics, and other “solutions” can have a deleterious effect on what actually makes email marketing work: staying strong on the basics. While an excellently planned holiday email campaign is a great idea, forgetting the basics in favor of graphics will get you nowhere. Good email campaigns are designed to get responses, which means your call to action has to remain center stage. Whether you use multiple inline links, linked images, or linked headers, just be sure that your call to action is clear, concise, obvious, and really, really clickable.
2. They Get to the Point
In similar fashion to staying strong on the basics, the best email campaigns get to the point early on in the email. Unlike other forms of advertising, your email content doesn’t need to develop a plot — that’s what your subject line is for. Instead, spell out what you’re offering and what you want in return as soon as you can within the email’s body.
3. They Use Responsive Design
Almost half of all email is being opened on mobile devices, and that number is expected to rise, which means your email campaigns need to make use of responsive design in order to draw in the mobile user with ease. Every campaign — from a usability perspective — should be aimed at the mobile user’s experience, since doing so won’t negatively affect a laptop or desktop user.
4. They Keep Copy Looking Nice
While your email campaign doesn’t need to be in the running to win awards for design and graphics, the most successful campaigns tend their copy with a fine-toothed comb. Font and spacing do matter — especially if you’re using a lot of text. Not only should your copy be easy to read, but it should also be easy to scan since very few Internet users bother to read all of anything any more. Avoid small print and compressed spacing and make good use of headings, so readers will be able to get the gist of your message quickly.
5. They Understand Their Audience
You have an audience and demographic that is uniquely yours, and in order to market them effectively — regardless of the format — it’s essential that you understand them. If you don’t know the kinds of people who buy your goods and services yet, it’s time to do some market research. The best email campaigns rely on this data, so they can use language, offers, colors, and more that resonate most effectively with their customer base.
6. They’re Filled With Great Content
In order to get people to consistently open your emails and follow through on your call to action, you have to fill your emails with great content. While good grammar, correct spelling, and zero typos are expected, great content goes above and beyond these concerns. Give your audience information they want and aim for it to be as entertaining as possible. Great email campaigns have must-read emails, so don’t aim any lower than that.
7. They Have Great Subject Lines
Perhaps the single most important part of a successful email campaign is crafting effective subject lines, since a subject line’s effectiveness determines whether or not an email even gets opened. Think of a subject line the way you would think of a headline for an article. How do you spark someone’s interest? Whether you leave them dying to know more or you offer something they can’t live without, using creative, thoughtful, and well-timed subject lines will improve your email campaign by leaps and bounds. Be sure to avoid bad subject lines, though. All caps, exclamation points, and deceptive wording will kill an otherwise good campaign.
Planning and implementing a successful email campaign requires little more than attention to some of the basic tenets of marketing. From knowing your audience to crafting excellent subject lines, giving your email subscriber a reason to do business with you is well within reach.