Email quick start guide
First, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with email campaigns, and why. Emails are one-on-one communication and a good opportunity to be specific. So that’s Part I.
Second, it’s always good to do your research first. But in the meantime, you could make a start at an email campaign if you keep in mind a few best practices. So let’s start with Part I, getting comfortable with sending emails.
Emails are a little bit like commercials. When they’re entertaining, they make you consider something or buy something.
And good commercials are relatable. They make you think, smile, or even make you laugh out loud. If it’s a bland commercial, the message is ignored, or worse, your message is annoying, and your audience reaches for the remote to push the mute button.
It may not be appropriate for you to develop a laugh-out-loud message for your email campaigns or newsletters, but you can still need to create an email that captures your audience’s attention, an email that provides material your audience wants to read and information they need to know. People appreciate that, and by “people,” I mean “your people.” Which brings me to the second way I think of emails.
Most importantly, I think of emails as messages from friends, or at the very least known associates. That point may seem unclear since we receive emails all the time from sources and people we’ve never heard of before. I unsubscribe from those emails and put them in the spam box, and then quickly move on. Essentially, I push the mute button.
The heart of a good email campaign because the people you’re sending the email to are expecting it, or at least the email should jog their memory. They have explicitly signed up to receive your emails – yes?
Explicit opt-in is the way to go with emails because it means that the email isn’t spam if people have taken an interest in your offerings or your services, have subscribed to your email list, and then have received your email. They want to hear from you.
Having made that point – check out this quick email campaign guide for you initial push to get out that first email – yes, let’s make the commitment.
Part II: Email Quick Start Guide
It takes research to figure out how often you send your emails, what tone you set with your message, and how you find “your people” or your audience. Do you have time for for this research in your workflow, and if not, how do you set aside that time? Do your hire someone and does that fit into your budget?
To address some of these questions now, I’ve listed some quick tips below.
Right up front I will say that if you haven’t had time for any research, you will need to find the time to have an ongoing successful email relationship with your audience.
But for now, to address the questions of how often you should send an email and what message to send, just ask yourself, if you were someone interested in your offerings, how often would you want to be contacted and what would interest you at the moment about your offerings? Is it something for the holidays, is it a new example of how to use your offerings? Is it a message that would be useful during a work day, or would it be something you’d like to consider with your feet kicked up on the coffee table and your favorite beverage on the side table?
As the sender how comfortable are you with the number of times you send an email? Let this be your guide if you are not able at the moment to conduct your research.
Personalize your emails. Personalized emails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates, and emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Collect names and email addresses.
Ask a relevant question, like, “Need Gift Ideas for the Holidays?” or “Are you in the Last-Minute Holiday Hustle?”
This question could be your subject line, while your “preheader” text (a very brief sentence that can be previewed in many email windows without opening the email) could read something like, “Your Holiday Shopping Guide,” or “Help as arrived for last-minute shoppers!”.
Your email heading and tagline should relate to your subject and preheader text in a way to complete your message and intrigue the reader to continue.
These ideas are basic, but you know your product, so be creative with your wording and when possible name your product or service in the subject line and email heading.
While discounts and free-shipping are the most effective way to get someone to follow through with your call-to-action or your purchase, there are other ways just as good to get them to take an interest and action:
a) Demonstrate to them through an image or a video frame how to use your product, or how it was made. What makes it special, or why you like it so much and why it is so useful. Make this image or video frame a link that goes to the details of your demonstration or video.
b) Someone has used your product, or service, use a review or a testimonial and let that be your message to trigger ideas from your audience and gain responses.
c) Gift certificates make great gifts and the recipient can choose just what they want.
Place buttons (and buttons are better then simple text links) in your email and make sure that button link goes specifically to the page, the landing page, about that item.
Make it extremely simple for subscribers to make a purchase. By using a call-to-action button in your email, you can highlight a gift, or a special offer, or even an event whereby a subscriber can purchase, or sign up, or buy a ticket. All of these actions make it easy for the subscriber in a matter of a click.
So take a morning or an afternoon, write the email subject line and preheader text, and then the email heading and tagline. Write the focused introduction and the call-to-action button text. Keep these at the top of the email.
If you develop more content for the body of the email, add relevant images and place your call-to-action button again in that section too.
The next day review and send your email.
And, importantly, make sure your button links go directly to the relevant page, called a landing page, about that item associated to the button link, and keep this detail at the top of the landing page to keep your subscriber oriented. Then you’ll have more responses and more sales, and all in time for your upcoming season.
Published by Cindy Barnard, writer & web editor
I mold my approach to written and visual content by observing the substance and light of a subject. By following color, form, time, and sources. I'm continually learning new ways of working and reminding myself to pay attention to the sights and sounds, and to always take notes.