As we approach the end of October, I felt that it was a good time to write about keeping your content engaging as well as your subscribers alive.
In the current climate, 149,000 emails are sent every 60 seconds (Smart Insights, 2017) so how do you keep your own email campaigns fresh enough to engage those subscribers?
Branding and email design
When an email lands in my inbox, the first thing I am drawn to is the design. If the look and feel is fresh and vibrant, I will read the campaign regardless of who it’s from. If not, it will likely go into my trash folder, or sometimes even be moved to junk. That’s not me being harsh to the mailing lists I’m signed up to – that’s me being busy, like everybody else.
When NewZapp completed our latest brand refresh back in August, I spoke with our Project Manager Annette about the importance of a well thought-out and eye-catching company brand, and how it should be incorporated within all your emails’ designs to provide continuity across all of your promotional channels.
A good email template design provides the basis of what is effectively your shop front, the first impression your subscribers and customers get of your business. A tired and dated design can give the impression that the brand itself is tired and dated. A shop that, from the outside, looks tatty and tired, but may have so many wonderful treasures inside – but the first impression has put you off, and you have already made your mind up.
Campaign content creation
You may have had some successful campaigns that you may wish to reuse as fillers (quiet periods etc) but be careful! Don’t just send any campaign and assume that it will be still relevant to your subscribers.
To link back to my first blog at NewZapp, you can help improve your click and open rates by ensuring that your copy, and thus your campaign, is relevant to your subscribers by using AIDCA. After all, you wouldn’t email a Manchester United fan about Arsenal games? Or send a widow a campaign about couples holidays.
Another way to make sure your campaign is on track is to use the acronym PROMPT:
- Presentation – Is the information clearly communicated? Look at language, writing style, structure and layout.
- Relevance – Does the information match your subscribers needs? Is it clear what the campaign is about?
- Objectivity – The style of writing. Is it from a company? A person? Is it emotive? Could it be perceived to be aggressive or too salesy? Does it make your subscriber feel that the information is targeted at them?
- Method – Did your subscriber sign up for all your marketing communications, or did they sign up to just hear about new styles of shoes? Did they physically take the time to sign up, or did they just give you a business card at a networking event? Consider what the subscriber would want you to do with their information.
- Provenance – Be sure where your information has come from. If you are selling through your email campaigns, make sure that you include the product number! If you are quoting other sources, try not to plagiarise other peoples work to pass off as your own – it’s not good practice and can cause a problem if the original author notices!
- Timeliness – Is it clear when the information was produced? Some of our customers have a date at the top of their email campaigns. Is the information in the campaign still relevant? As university students we are advised that content older than two years in our research will more than likely be out of date and obsolete. Check that your campaign hyperlinks still work too – there is nothing worse than a dead link.
Some of my most favourite things to do at the moment in our own NewZapp account are to see how many of our subscribers are engaging on a weekly basis, see how many are opening but not clicking, compare campaigns through A/B tests, and see what I can do to improve our return on investment.
Not everyone has the time to do an in-depth analysis themselves though, although there are a few quick and easy things you can do to help your marketing strategy that NewZapp can take care of for you right in your account. Have a look at our blog on some of NewZapp’s most powerful tools.
Another way to look at your subscriber base and see if they are dead or alive (and maybe bring them back to life!) is to clean up your database. A database of 200,000 subscribers may only have 20,000 that are alive and reading your mailers. We recommend that you clean your database and re-target your campaigns often, because data does die too. Also:
- you will save money! Each email sent in your campaign has a cost. This cost may be time (time is money), resources or even some cold hard cash
- you will gain a lower bounce rate (1% and under), which can give you access to our highest-performing bank of IP addresses – read our blog on campaign deliverability
- a clean database, segmented and relevant, can be used for direct marketing (personalisation to the subscriber and targeted content) rather than mass marketing (to the world and its mother)
- you will improve your open rates, and ultimately your click through rates, leading to conversions, and providing you with that all-important return on your investment.
One way to make your subscribers spring to life is through personalisation of your email campaigns. In your NewZapp account you have the ability to personalise your campaigns dependent on the information in your subscriber’s card. BUT! if you are going to personalise, make sure that you have the correct details under each tag. There is nothing worse than receiving a campaign that says “Hi Hughes” – that is my last name, not my first name!
NewZapp’s Subscriber Import tool has automatic tag detection, so if you import a subscriber list into your account it always asks you to select which piece of information you want under which heading. Preparing a nice, organised document for upload really helps with this! Read our guides for more information on personalisation or importing subscribers – you can also take a look at all of our guides in our Knowledge Base.
Keeping your email marketing opportunities and strategy alive is hard work. It is a constantly evolving, dynamic world we live in, which can change from one minute to the next. Doing your best to keep your email marketing alive is time consuming, and you still cannot guarantee better engagement. So, if you could do with some help with your marketing strategy or email design, do please give us a call on 01392 447200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Marketing Executive at NewZapp