Email marketing is a crucial component of any digital marketing strategy. It is highly effective when it comes to educating your leads, nurturing them down the Overlooking Message Preview The message preview is often overlooked as a factor when it comes to email marketing success. Think about this – upon opening your inbox, what are the first things you’ll notice? Aside from the sender and the subject line, you will also immediately see a short text known as the message preview or pre-header. The primary purpose of the pre-header is to get the user to open the mail – nothing more and nothing less. The common mistakes most marketers make is to use a very generic pre-header like “read more to find out” or something similar. If the user doesn’t trust the sender or isn’t interested in the subject line, then your best bet is that your email will go straight to the trash section. Another mistake is to use pre-header text that pretty much repeats the subject line. This is a large waste since you can actually use the pre-header to exhibit your brand’s personality (preferably more on the approachable and fun side), which builds trust and interest in what you have to say. In addition to using a human voice, remember that the pre-header text should add more detail to the given subject line to inform the reader as to where the conversation will proceed. Lastly, remember that a prominent trend in the digital business world is the rising volume of mobile users. There are now more people who use their handheld devices rather than a desktop for performing tasks such as doing a Google search and checking in to social media. This means you should get more creative with your pre-header now that they’ve gotten smaller. Impersonal Approach Adding a little personal touch is not only important for the pre-header. It is vital for retaining the engagement value throughout the email. Keep in mind that users want to interact with humans, and not autoresponders, which are getting more common, by the way. “When collecting emails from customers and clients, try to harvest as much additional information as you can, such as their names, ages, addresses, interests, and social media information,” says David Bakke of Clickz. “Be sure to leave these fields optional, though, as many people navigate away from a page if it requires too much work.” For example, before you focus on personifying the email body, a grave mistake to avoid is using a generic sender name like “noreply”, “admin” or “email@example.com”. Instead, you should use the name of your brand or a real person. Most importantly, the email should be more focused on the customer and not the product itself. Your approach should tackle the customer’s problem firsthand before offering your solution. Try to give the impression that you know your readers personally by empathizing with specific problems in the real world. Once you have solidified engagement, the next step is to place your CTA (call-to-action) strategically. This leads to the next biggest mistake in email marketing. Too Many CTAs Calls-to-action are not ads – they do not work better with more coverage. First of all, adding too many will surely disrupt the flow of your message. You should allow your reader to be absorbed in a train of thought. And once they are completely hooked, that’s where you should cue in the CTA. “A CTA needs to be in a class of its own, surrounded by ample white space,” says Jeremy Smith at CrazzyEgg. “Do not create a self-defeating CTA by making it compete with other elements on the page.” Remember that an email is not a landing page. The CTA shouldn’t always be the first thing the reader should see. Also include up to two text links above and below the fold. When it comes to the CTA, an effective method is to use a video thumbnail to increase clickthroughs. Otherwise, stick to using simple text link and a separate button image CTA. Also, you shouldn’t worry that your CTA won’t be seen, especially if you structure your email accordingly. Remember that you shouldn’t make an email too long and organize the key points – preferably by using a bulleted list or an infographic. No Email List Segmentation One of the well-known crimes of email marketing is failing to segment your subscriber list. Keep in mind that the preferred information that the reader wants might change as they get familiar with your brand. Of course, you don’t want to them to receive the same information over and over again. No matter how you repackage it, it will still read stale and be ineffective. If you organize your list according to lead score, you may stunt their movement down the sales funnel or worse – make them grow tired of your emails and unsubscribe. Focus on having progression for your content. This will build the value of getting and staying subscribed to your updates. “Targeted sends result in more clicks, which means recipients engage with the content within segmented email and perform the actions you want them to take,” says Pamela Vaughan for Hubspot. Start with the basics and a little introduction to your brand then slowly make your way into more in-depth information. A common practice to initially segment your audience is to let them answer a short survey. Just remember that your list will have to be updated in the months to come. Additionally, your emails should be patterned according to customer behaviour. If they’ve become quiet for several weeks, send them a “reminder” email. If they’ve been active, further educate them and introduce other products that they might be interested in. Tailoring your emails according to subscriber categories is one of the essential steps for crafting the best email. You want your audience to remember your brand by sending relevant content, and not anything else that they don’t want to read. And if you keep it up with quality content, then there’s no reason left for your audience to not trust your brand. Inconsistency In addition to segmenting your email list, you should also set a regular schedule for sending your emails. A mistake that’s often overlooked by marketers is to send content only for promotions – like when announcing discounts and special offers. This will make it seem like the content that your audience receives is purely for increasing sales, which will diminish its value for your readers. This also has to do with the frequency of your emails. Sending emails intermittently, all the time, or not at all spells doom to your email list. Therefore, striking the balance and finding that sweet spot that maximizes your CTR and open rates is important. “How often you email your subscribers is crucial, people are just emailing their subscribers too much, not enough and not at all,” says Gareth Bull from Bulldog Digital Marketing Agency. “First of all, don’t be scared – what’s the worst that’s going to happen? Just ask yourself that.” Also, there is nothing wrong with using emails to promote offers, but remember that your readers subscribed because they were promised value. Aim to educate and not sell. And whatever you do, always make every email an absolute masterpiece. Have a clear focus and try to avoid broad topics. This way, you can insert more technical information and possibly some actionable steps. A rule of thumb is to have one problem, one solution, and one call-to-action for every email you send. Cramming your email without a particular focus or a clear idea is likely to confuse readers, consequently discouraging them from taking action. Wrapping it all up When it comes to the frequency of emails, there really is no correct answer. You are free to determine your own pace as long as each email is packed with relevant information. Also be sure to stay proactive when it comes to delivering the latest updates. Do not send outdated information that they might’ve already heard from someone else. Lastly, try to avoid sending emails if you really have nothing new to offer. Images “ Email marketing on blackboard. Email marketing handwritten on framed blackboard / Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? 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