3 Obstacles to Email Marketing

by Oct 16, 2012

Email marketing is effective. There’s no doubt about that. Because it’s a permission-based form of advertising, it’s an ideal way to stay in touch with a group of customers (or potential customers) who already know who you are and like what you do. It’s a way to move prospects to potentials and potentials to customers, or to help turn a one-time buyer into a repeat shopper.

But that doesn’t mean email marketing is as easy as building a great list. Yes, that’s important, but you still have three major hurdles to vault over before you’re reaping the benefits of email marketing.

1. Getting Opened

The average American worker receives 147 emails every day. They’ll delete 71 of those unread. On its surface, that’s pretty depressing. You have a less than 50% chance of getting opened before you even send the darn email. But you can increase those odds with an engaging subject line to your email. Make sure your email subject line is interesting and outlines clear benefits to opening and reading more. Cite an interesting statistic, ask an interesting question, play to a sense of fear (“3 Signs You Suck at Email Marketing” sorts of things always play well), make an offer (“10% Off Widgets”) or have a sense of humor. Remember to keep your subject lines short–wordy subject lines will be truncated when displayed on smart phones or some email clients. Speaking of, test! Make sure you understand how the line will display on a variety of platforms.

2. Getting Clicked

You’re over the first hurdle! Here comes the second. Yes, it’s great if folks just soak up your wisdom directly from the email, but let’s face it: You want people to do something. You want them to click a link to where they can buy, read more, get more information, contact you. You want to inspire them to action. So how do you do that? Give people options–but not too many. Determine the most important thing you want people to do. Is it a buy now button? Is it a link to a blog post? Is it to forward the email to a friend? Find one strong action item and focus your attention on making it prominent. Give people multiple paths to the same information–make images clickable, make headlines into hyperlinks and put it right into the text of your email newsletter. Don’t overwhelm people–funnel them to where you want them to go.

3. Getting Sold

We’re over that second hurdle and rounding the curve into the home stretch. The last item in your path to success is totally removed from your email. It’s what happens on your website once you’ve driven your customer there. You need to have a conversion point and a clear understanding of what you want these folks to do. Will your customers be ready to buy? If so, have the “buy now!” button big and prominent on that page, without a lot of other clutter confusing them. Will they need more information? Send them to a place that’s targeted to the specific content of the newsletter, not somewhere generic like a homepage or contact us page. But make sure you do have that contact info handy.

And we’re across the finish line. It’s time to accept your medal for email marketing. Oh yeah, it’s gold.

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