Three tips to make your messages more clickable.Despite the meteoric rise of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media, consumers still prefer to hear from their favorite vendors by email. Major retailers know this, which is why the number of emails they sent to customers jumped 20% in the first half of 2012 over the same period in 2011, according to Responsys, a California-based marketing software company. But how do you get yourself noticed in your customer's already bulging inbox? It's not as hard as you think. Consider these tips as you plan your next email campaign:
Only send emails to people who ask for them. Nothing will sour customers and prospects faster than receiving unwanted email. What's worse, if enough recipients mark your message as spam, many email services will blacklist your address and lock you out. So, take every occasion to invite customers to join your mailing list. Most mass-email providers, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, make it easy to build an "opt-in" list with sign-up forms that you can display on your website. They'll also provide list maintenance, segmentation tools and performance metrics that are in compliance with Federal anti-spam laws. Pricing depends on the size of your list and the number of emails you send per month, so shop around. Many services offer their lowest tier for free.
Write a compelling subject line. Cut through the clutter with a brief (within 50 characters, if possible), informative subject line that will encourage users to open your email. This can be a call to action ("Learn to sell like a pro"), a question ("Is your body language giving you away?") or even an incomplete thought ("And the winner is..."). Use your provider's reporting tools, specifically the "open rate" of your campaign, to gauge success and refine your technique.
Provide compelling content. Just reaching your customers isn't enough. You want to entice them to action and ultimately generate business. If you're selling to consumers, alert them to sales and special offers. If you're selling to other businesses, consider sharing valuable information in your field. This has the added benefit of raising your profile and establishing yourself as an expert. Regardless of your audience, keep your content succinct with one highly visible call to action. A good performance measure is "click to open," the percentage of those who opened the email and clicked through to your website. While success rates can vary depending the type of email (a discount offer will likely have a higher rate than a simple informational email, for example), a rate of 20% to 30% generally indicates a winning campaign.
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