Have you ever wondered how effective your emails are?
Do they leave an impression, or just end up in the trash folder?
It may be that you measure email success by the amount of people who open it and then click through. Which means that the email first has to be opened, then read, then clicked.
Not to mention it also has to be the appropriate length and interesting enough to engage readers and move them to action.
How much does email length matter? Can your tone shine through, and does anyone really read the subject line, anyway?
We’re here to break the answers to these questions down, and give you an updated guide (with a recent Boomerang exclusive!) all about email content marketing. Boost your email results when you put these into practice. Keep reading!
Email Marketing 101
Email is still critical to our content marketing efforts today.
Take a look at these email marketing stats for a better understanding of the impact email has in the industry:
- Marketers have seen a 760% increase in revenue from segmented email campaigns.
- Automated email messages average over 70% higher open rates and over 150% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” messages.
- Email is 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter or Facebook.
Email is the connection between us and our prospects.
When content marketers invest their time and resources into powerful emails, the reach potential is limitless.
While technology has changed and social media has emerged over the past decade, email has stayed as a constant. Sure, we may not be using the same domain we did ten years ago, but the truth remains that when we need to send information, we email it.
When we want to be connected to our favorite brand, we join their email list.
Need a receipt for your store purchase, but don’t want a paper copy? Have it emailed.
For these reasons and more, content marketing efforts can be enhanced when we learn to take the best email marketing practices and use them effectively.
3 Best Email Content Marketing Practices
Back in the early 90’s, email hit the scene. Remember those AOL disks that were available through the mail and at the grocery store checkout stand?
And how we communicate has not been the same since. (Letters? What are those?)
Fast-forward to 2017, when 93% of marketers now say they use email for content distribution and consider it an important channel for their marketing success. And while it does remain an effective tool, it doesn’t mean we always use it in the best way.
Emails have a wide range of possibilities in reaching an audience, including:
- Product updates
- Transactional emails (after one has taken action on your website)
- Deals and promotions
There are some qualities that make email an effective tool for your content marketing efforts. We have to learn the best way to increase the open rate, how to craft a subject line, how to create quality content, and how to choose the best time to write.
1. Learn How to Write a Great Email
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m a content writer. I know how to write.”
Isn’t it true that if we all knew how to write effective emails, there would be a higher response rate and we would be inundated with conversions?
Especially since over 200 billion email messages are sent every day.
So, yes, we can all use reminders from time to time about how to write effectively, and specifically, how to craft an email that engages the audience and encourages action.
A. Craft a compelling subject line
This seems like an obvious one, but if the subject isn’t engaging, few readers will want to click through to the actual content. Start by incorporating language that tells the reader what he or she can look forward to in the email.
Words like “take,” “don’t miss,” and “reserve” are goods one to start with.
B. Use personalization, if you can
Shaping email content to fit a reader’s needs by using customer segmentation has the potential to increase revenue.
In a study conducted by Direct Marketing Association, emails which were segmented and targeted generated 58 percent of the total revenue for marketers surveyed while 36 percent of revenue came from emails sent to specific target selections.
C. Create relevant and honest content
No one wants their time wasted, so coming up with a catchy email subject line that has nothing to do with the content inside is unfair and irresponsible. While you are crafting an engaging and personalized subject line, keep in mind that it should align with the content in the actual email. This not only keeps everything relevant, but sets you apart as an honest authority who isn’t out to trick anyone into clicking.
D. Continue to offer relevancy by expressing to the reader right away why you are writing
What is your connection? How are you providing a solution to the need? Our reach will go much farther when we highlight the benefits rather than the feature.
E. Get to the point
Practice writing concisely so the end result is powerful, tight sentences.
Too wordy, and you’ll lose your readers. Too short, and they could miss the point.
Content marketers must find a way to summarize a catch for the reader and encourage a click-through.
Everywhere we go, we see content – in just one minute, there are millions of Facebook and Instagram likes, hundreds of thousands of Tweets, and hours upon hours of YouTube videos uploaded.
We are consumed by content.
The last thing we need is more unusable information, interruptions, or sales pitches coming through our inbox. A long, drawn-out copy won’t cut it here; readers must be able to sift through quickly in order to make a decision about whether or not they’ll click through.
Try keeping emails between 50 and 125 words, which can increase the response rate for your efforts.
Suggested tool: SmartBlogger’s list of 317 Power Words
2. Learn How to Close Out
After we learn how to craft email content that engages the readers, it comes time to find the most effective closing methods.
Email closings matter. How we wrap up that fantastic content determines the response rate for our readers, and a few words can make the difference between clicking through and sending an email to the trash.
Boomerang conducted a study on more than 350,000 email threads and found that certain email closings were more effective at delivering higher response rates.
Graphic from Boomerang
The best way to close an email?
Those closings that included a variation of “thank you” saw a higher response rate than those that included words like “best” and “regards.”
Some of the most popular closings included a simple “thanks,” “cheers,” and “kind regards.”
Thanks in advance received the highest increase based on the average response rate.
In addition to the closing greeting, a CTA will tell your audience what to do. Simply adding a button that says “click here” may not be as effective as a call-to-action that clearly spells out what will happen when they click.
Here are some examples:
- “Take the Survey”
- “Learn the Secret”
- “Get the Free Report”
Each email should be backed by something you want them to do, one central focus. The call-to-action always revolves around that one goal, even if there are multiple CTAs in one email.
3. Learn When to Send
When is the best time to send an email out? Is every day too often, and is once a month not often enough?
Opinions on the best day and time to send emails will vary across the industry, but there are some general guidelines we can follow that will contribute to maximum impact. In fact, analysts looked at billions of emails in order to gain insight into the best times to send emails, and the results are a bit different across the board.
Best days: Tuesday came in first place, according to data collected. In a close second was Thursday, followed by Wednesday.
As a side note, there were high click-through rates on Saturdays and Sundays, but since those are also the days when the fewest emails are sent, it kind of balanced out.
Graphic from CoSchedule
Best times: That same research had some interesting findings when it came to the best time to send email content. In first place was 10 a.m., followed by 8 p.m. – midnight, and then 2 p.m.
Some of these times might be surprising, but they also make sense; for example, many of us check our emails before bed, so the 8 p.m. timeframe fits that habit.
While this collection of data is not a one-size-fits-all for every brand, it is a good place to start.
Begin by sending out email content on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at one of the times suggested. You may be surprised at what you find.
Grammar, Typos, & other Things We’ve Forgotten Since High School
Did you know Mondays are the worst days for email subject line errors?
And the more errors in an email’s subject line, the less likely it is to receive a response.
Grammar misuse and typos don’t scream “authority.” Instead, mistakes convey the message that the sender didn’t quite care enough to check and double-check the content.
It reduces our credibility as content marketers, interferes with the user experience, and pushes down the response we could get if only we had been more careful. If emails with an error have a response rate of only 29%, it’s worth our time and effort to read over everything carefully before hitting the “send” button.
If you need some help in this area, there are some effective tools you can use to boost your grammar and spelling.
- After the Deadline: Paste in your content and get feedback that includes spelling errors as well as grammar and style suggestions.
- Grammar Checker: This tool catches spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and misuse of words.
- StackEdit: Create professional-looking content and use the inbuilt spell checker to fix errors.
- Write like a third grader: Emails written in this way saw a 36 percent life over those crafted at a college-reading level as well as a 17% higher response rate.
- Read, then read again: Do a thorough read of your email content, take a short break, and then read it again. Check for sentence flow, clarity of thought, and grammar mistakes. Click any links you’ve included to make sure they work and go to the right place.
- Send it to yourself: Remember writing speeches for high school and practicing them out loud? The same idea can be used here; send your email to yourself or one colleague to make sure all is good to go. This step can help to minimize typos and gives you or someone you know one more chance to proofread.
Get Awesome in Your Email Content
None of us want to spend time on emails that ultimately don’t get opened (boring headline) or get opened but lead to no action (boring content).
For truly awesome email content, your focus must be first on an engaging subject line, then on relevant and attention-grabbing content which is followed by an effective CTA. See more great email practices.
When we combine these practices with a focus on sending at the right time and on the best day, we can be on our way to crafting high-quality email content that everyone will want to share and be a part of.
Need help writing fantastic email content? Check out our email copywriting services!