As a seasoned marketer, you don't need education on the importance of email marketing in India.
Being one of the fastest growing markets for internet users, the prospects that India has for email marketing is huge.
Did you know that the majority of internet users are online using their handheld devices? Thanks to the Smartphone revolution, emails are no longer applications that you see on bulky office desktops - it is accessible to one and all. In fact, in this generation where people filter out messages that they do not want to hear, this is one of the easiest and the most cost-effective way to get your message heard by your potential customer.
This seems a lucrative opportunity for businesses, but often the line between dropping a relevant email and constant spamming is blurred. Facts show that out of 100 people, only five open promotional emails and those who respond to call-to-actions are even less. That's possible because the average amount of spam in 2012 was a whopping 72.1%. So how do you make sure you’re not part of that majority?
What you need is an absolute revamp of your email marketing strategy. Out with the spam and in with the wholesome content that increases engagement.
A reader’s engagement with your email usually has four stages:
- The spam stage, where your email directly lands in the recipient's spam folder.
- The received but not opened stage, where your email has successfully reached your readers’ inboxes but they haven't opened it, and it is likely they never will.
- The opened but not clicked stage, where your email has been opened, but the recipient hasn’t engaged with you through the call-to-action button that promotional email marketing campaigns usually have.
- The clicked-through stage, where the recipient has clicked on the call-to-action button. Success.
If we look at it broadly, the afore-mentioned stages are nothing but different parts of user success journey in an email campaign. It’s pretty clear now that the clicked-through stage is what you’d like to reach with every promotional email you send.
So how do you get out of the first three stages?
The Spam Stage
In the ‘spam’ stage, the faster you exit, the better. The best way to achieve this is to follow a few rules that will build trust in your readers, like:
Sending emails only to subscribers
Since an email inbox is the one of the most private digital communication spaces person has, don’t invade it. Asking for permission before subscribing visitors to marketing promotions is always the way to go.
Keeping your content clean
Before you send out an email, look out for any non-solicited or plagiarised content. Clean content adds value and reps your brand even before the reader visits your website.
- Making it easy to leave
Hidden unsubscribe buttons, several click-through links and the sorts will likely make the reader extremely fed up with your marketing and your brand. Instead, make unsubscribe options accessibly so if in case the reader isn't sufficiently engaged, they can easily opt out, but won’t have a terrible impression of your brand.
- Building your subscriber list
Building your email list is like having a community with whom you talk on the regular and maintain a strong relationship. This shows that you’ve got a good number of people willing to engage with your content, but more importantly, it keeps your emails away from spam filters that are programmed to snap up unwanted, well, spam.
The Received But Not Opened Stage
If you reach the ‘received but not opened’ stage, your investment in email marketing tools and effective content writing has worked- sort of. The number of subscribers who opened your email can still be low. You need to draw them in with the first part of the email that’s visible in an unopened email- the sender’s name and the subject line. You can nudge your subscribers to open your emails and read them by piquing their interest with these two elements.
- Craft the perfect subject line
Another common (and effective) practice is using a real person’s name in the sender field. Getting an email from a person is more personal and has a better chance of being read.
This tip is not a small-brand exclusive- Amnesty International uses real names too.
- Use power words
Using power words like ‘fastest’, ‘go’, ‘do’, ‘great deals’ in the subject line will encourage people to take action and continue further. In the same vein, numbers and statistics in the subject line pique interest and are definitive rather than vague. For example, "Get assured 50% discounts on your next three bookings with XYZ.com" is more convincing than "Get assured discounts on your next booking with XYZ.com", don't you think?
- Play with curiosity gaps
You can create curiosity gaps by placing partial but compelling information in the subject line to make the subscribers open the email. That said, the subject line shouldn’t be misleading, factually incorrect or missing crucial information.
The Opened But Not Clicked Stage
If you’ve cleared the previous stage, then you’re now at the ‘opened but not clicked’ stage- the final frontier. Your subscribers have clicked on your email and are viewing your content, so now the focus shifts to crafting the perfect email body.
- Keep it short and crisp
The attention span of an average human being is currently at 8 seconds- lesser than that of a goldfish. Long sentences and paragraphs will leave them feeling bored. Since the last thing you want at this stage is for your reader to miss the point, you are trying to make. Keeping the body short and to-the-point will engage your reader and get the point across effectively, without losing valuable time.
- Personalise your message
Address your reader by their names as this adds a personal touch to the email. You can also create a lot of difference by using the word ‘You!’ It brings in a level of personalisation where it shows that you are addressing your readers and subscribers directly.
- Sell value, not products
Why would anyone choose your product or services over other alternatives in the market? Because they find value in it. Sell those values and benefits through your email, not your product or service offerings. If the subscriber finds value in your product or service, they will proactively search for you with intent to buy.
- Have a clear Call-to-Action
A call-to-action button fulfils the ultimate aim of every promotional email sent out-engaging your reader and have them head to a website, a product page or even to sign up for something else. Ideally, a call-to-action button should be simple yet hard to miss. Make it a point to include it in multiple places so that it is very visible and fulfils the final objective.
- Put a P.S. note
A P.S. note summarises and reinforces what you’ve said in the body. As an ending statement, a P.S. note should pack a punch, so it's remembered long after the reader has clicked off the email.
A good promotional email is one where a well-crafted and to-the-point subject line ropes your reader in and engaging content with a call-to-action button keeps them engaged and directs them to learn more about your brand. An affecting email marketing strategy yields the highest returns on investment.
Perfecting email marketing is a continuous process, and the only way you can learn how to do so is by sending those emails and learning and unlearning every single time.
What strategies do you use to ensure your subscribers open marketing emails and engage with your brand?