Since the birth of the World Wide Web, technology has become increasingly fundamental in the development of personal relationships and businesses alike. Globally, billions of emails are sent daily. So, what can you do to make yours stand out? Here are just a handful of knacks to get you started.
Be economical with your words
This has stuck with me since my first marketing job, and with luck it will forever. Whenever I write anything, I hear my old boss in my head asking if I really need that in there. Ask yourself “Does this still make sense without that?” and if it does, get rid of it. Less is more, and you won’t have your reader’s attention for long so best to make the most of the time you do.
Who doesn’t like feeling special? Or has time to digest the messages of over 500 ads we’re exposed to daily? Personalisation isn’t skin deep (it’ll take more than addressing an email to someone personally to receive their full attention) but complemented by additional methods, could form the beginning of a beautiful (e-)friendship. There are plenty of ways organisations can entice their audience.
The simplest way is to address your audience by their first name; talk to your audience directly. A personal “good morning” goes a long way.
Second, establish a connection based on mutual interests. Do you have similar responsibilities? Are you emotionally invested in the same cause? Are you familiar with the same area, work or play?
There is no such thing as the perfect pool of data; while we – as humans – adapt, behavioural data changes. Historical data in the form of a previous transaction could be enough to make a connection. Have they recently attended an event or purchased something similar?
Embrace your inner-scientist
Another proclamation from my first marketing job – “Data is oil.” This means that good data to an organisation, is what oil is to a bike chain. It’s a vital element of keeping it going.
We’ve all heard quality over quantity, but with great data comes great responsibility. Whilst communicating with your audiences, it’s crucial to test subject lines, content and more, based on opens, clicks and so on. We – as receivers – change in behaviour, so why wouldn’t our communication?
With testing, comes tracking. Google Analytics and Campaign URL Builder are the only couple you’ll want to spend eight hours a day with. Google Analytics is another kettle of fish and deserves its own show (as well as holds enough information to keep you looking at a screen until the end of time) but until you explore it, my fellow marketeer touches on it along with other digital tools to maximise your website traffic.
Many like using personalisation; being relevant makes your message fresh and more attractive. What’s happening that’s topical? Is it a trivial “day of the year”? What will your reader already have on their mind when they see your email drop into their inbox? Be empathetic to your reader and make a connection.
Write for the web
Be mindful of how your message will be received. It’s the 21st century and a higher percentage of emails are opened on mobile devices than desktops. Unfortunately for you, a smaller screen – which is also likely to be read on-the-go – means less time for your message to be digested.
As well as being conscious about word count, layout and optimisation is key to a friendly user experience. Know how your email (and landing pages) will appear on different devices, and how much scrolling is required from top to bottom. Check your platform – I’ve yet to come across a system that doesn’t let you check.
Pssst… Don’t shout
It’s easy for exclamation marks to be overused. If you wouldn’t shout something at someone in real life, then it shouldn’t be followed by an exclamation mark in writing. If a message (literally and figuratively) is strong enough, an exclamation mark isn’t required. Regarding emails specifically, sometimes filters identify emails containing exclamation marks in the subject line as spam. Beware! And yes, I’d shout that.
Present a clear call-to-action
Keep the purpose of your message in the forefront of your mind from start to finish. Keep the call-to-action short, snappy and most importantly – obvious. Something to keep in mind which comes in handy (in and out of the workplace) – NEVER assume. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Just a hunch, but maybe you know where the button is because you put it there?
Proof – not once, not twice, but three times (at least)
There’s a reason this piece of advice will find its way into almost any top tip article. Not only specific to design and marketing, proofing content – from daily emails to monthly reports – is a good habit to have whilst being the perfect defence against wasted time. As well as proofing something more than once, it’s important to do so after having stepped away from it. Even ask a colleague.