Most people don't click through every email they get. Thanks to bulk management services by major email providers, a large volume of users simply skim through the emails and delete them en masse. How, then, can a company come up with a way to stand out from the crowd? Getting noticed is the first step to establishing a rapport, but it's too easy to slip through the cracks and end up just another email that goes into the trash.
To help businesses struggling with the reality of being noticed, 15 experts from Forbes Communications Council advise on the best methods to employ when crafting email marketing so that it's productive and stands out from the rest of the chaff that fills a potential lead's inbox.
1. Be Mindful Of The Email's Purpose
It's easy for companies to build and nurture email campaigns for engagement to help qualify leads. What's more important is making sure you are available when the customer/prospect needs your help versus sending monthly digests. After a point, everyone tunes out and they hit the unsubscribe button. If you don't want to be the next one, create dynamic, personalized email newsletters that show that you care. - Div Manickam, Dell Boomi
2. Aim To Add Value, Not Just Sell
It’s all about intent. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when sending marketing emails is they focus on selling something rather than adding value. Organizations should send educational or helpful content that addresses specific needs. In turn, the individual is not turned off by pushy sales tactics and the business positions itself as trustworthy and helpful. - Mary York, William Mills Agency
3. Always Clarify The 'WIIFM'
Make clear "what's in it for me" (WIIFM). It has to be clear in your subject line and in your email copy and call to action. Rather than explaining why you're holding this webinar, explain what the reader gains to learn from it. Don't tell me how much work you put into this whitepaper; instead, tell me the three things I'll learn from it that will change my business. - Udi Ledergor, Gong
4. Speak To Your Audience's Pain Points
If you want to stand out with an audience, it is key to show that you understand what their challenges are and provide efficient communication around ways to alleviate their pain points. For example, if you know budgeting is a common challenge, send out emails around strategies to making the budgeting process easier around the time your audience starts budget planning. - Alyssa Kleinman, CipherHealth
5. Keep Your Brand In Front
This may sound overly simple but one hard rule we have is that all sales and marketing emails must include our company name. This ensures brand exposure even if an email isn't opened. No one is going to open all your emails -- at least make sure they get used to seeing your name so they are familiar when they do open it. - Andrea Boccard, AccountingDepartment.com
6. Never Stop A/B Testing
Email is a constantly evolving medium and so is the audience you serve. A consistent A/B testing strategy will show you what’s actually resonating with your audience and allow you to refine your messaging and evolve with them. Nothing is stickier than relevant content at the right time when it comes to email marketing. - Jay Miller, Maropost
7. Surprise And Delight
I receive hundreds of emails daily -- newsletters, solicitations, merchants -- and at this point you won't capture me with a sale, a cut-off subject line meant for a click or basic personalization with my name. What does work is humor. Humor can be a very productive marketing tool. If a subject line can make me laugh, I'll click, and even if it isn't something I want or need, it will make me remember the person or company who sent it to me. - Kristina Cole, Dollar Shave Club
8. Don't Send From A General Inbox
One easy way to increase open rates for email marketing campaigns is to distribute them not from a general inbox (e.g. info@ or events@) but from an actual, real team member. This builds familiarity and trust between your customers and your team, while adding a level of personalization to your sends. This tactic should be paired with a communications plan for efficient, personalized responses. - Melissa Kandel, little word studio
9. Remember That Personalization Is Paramount
While many components are key to getting emails opened, what actually drives a response is personalization. With the rise in big data and the increasingly intelligent advancements in automation, personalization must go beyond including the recipient's name. Marketers must craft each email based on interests, purchase/browsing behavior and where that customer is in the buying cycle. - Amanda Hinski, Frost Valley YMCA
10. Have A Well-Crafted Preview Text
Crafting a well thought-out and creative preview text is a really simple and effective method for increasing your emails' open rate. Certain software allows you to specify a custom preview text for each of the emails you send out, so get creative! Anything from evoking a sense of urgency or rarity to using emojis for conveying emotions will do the trick! - Antoine Bonicalzi, Cyberimpact
11. Use All Three Parts Visible In The Inbox
Once you've worked out the optimal frequency of emails to your audiences, you have only three parts to work with: the email address itself, the sender name and the subject line. Make the most of all three! Test different variations. Try using the recipient's name in the subject line. Steer clear from generic info@ email addresses. And use a sender name that will stand out in a sea of sameness. - Ellen Sluder, RingBoost
12. Drop The Salutations
Never start with a salutation. Forget beginning with "Hi John" or "Hi Jane." Instead, start with the recipient's first name: "John, hello from rainy Seattle." Get their attention right away and add some detail about you and where you are to get the person intrigued. - Ken Sterling, BigSpeak Speakers Bureau
13. Create A Strong Subject Line
A strong subject line is everything. It must appeal to the audience's psychological need whether that is belonging, safety, self-esteem, prestige or power. Think about news media titles and use this as a guide. Most times they keep you wanting more information because they ladder up to higher needs. So make your audience feel the same way -- like they are missing out if they don't read your email. - Rebecca Darmoc, Rush University Medical Center
14. Get Product-Specific
Get to the point! The customer should immediately see something of interest, not just a discount, in the subject line. Use data to personalize the subject line with the specific products or brands your target customer gravitates toward. When a customer knows exactly what offer lies inside the email, and that the email aligns with their current interests, they’re more likely to click. - Prashant Bhatia, Stibo Systems
15. Go Old-School Direct Mail Instead
Take an email breather. Reach back into your bag of marketing tricks and send out an old-school mailer in addition to other outreach -- as in snail mail. When’s the last time you got a high-quality, interesting mailer? Did having something tangible excite you? Printing improvements have given marketers the ability to customize pieces inexpensively, so consider a focused, direct mail campaign. - Marija Zivanovic-Smith, NCR Corporation
In addition to these useful tips, when building an effective email marketing campaign, it's important to make sure that your written content is nuanced and professional. No-one will take your brand seriously if your content is full of mistakes. Consider using a productivity tool such as Rephraser.ai which instantly edits your English writing, ensuring your content is clear and accurate.