Email Quick Start Guide
for the approaching holiday season
I think of emails in two ways.
• One, they’re a little bit like commercials; when they’re entertaining they make you laugh out loud (otherwise you hit the mute button, or any button really).
Good commercials are similar to funny pet videos, or the amazing music or dance videos, that go viral on social media. You talk about them and share them online.
You may not develop a laugh-out-loud message for your email, or it may not be appropriate for any of your email campaigns, but you can still create an email that captures your audience’s attention; an email that provides material they want 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.
• Two, and most importantly, I think of emails as messages from friends, or at the very least known associates. That point may sound unclear since we receive emails all the time from sources and people we’ve never heard of before. I unsubscribe from those emails, delete those emails or put them in the spam box, and quickly move on.
But this second point is at 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 the remaining holiday season:
Email Quick Start Guide
How often you send, how you develop your message, and how you find “your people” (your audience) takes research. Do you have time for that currently and if not how do you set aside that time? Do your hire someone and does that fit into your production schedule and how do you make it fit your budget?
To address some of these questions now, I’ve listed some quick tips below.
And since we’re in the mist of the holidays, I am going to use examples that would work for the holidays.
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 you like to know?
As the sender how comfortable are you with the number of times you send an email? Let this be your guide if you cannot at the moment conduct research.
Try to 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 is previewed in many email windows before the subscriber opens) could read something like, “Your Holiday Shopping Guide,” or “Help as arrived for last-minute shopping!”
Your email heading and tagline would reflect or be related 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 holiday 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. Then you’ll have responses and more sales, and all in time for the holiday season.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Published by Cindy Barnard, web content strategist
Molding my "Approach to Art and the Written Word" by observing color and following light, form, and time. Always learning new ways of working and interacting within local and online communities. Taking in the sights and sounds and making notes.