The reality is that email is for many business professionals considered a necessary evil, a fundamental way we communicate in business now but one that takes a lot of time out of the day and is becoming something of a burden. For many years, email has been the sweetheart of marketing teams seeking reduced spend for customer acquisition and conversion, but as inboxes become overloaded, it has become increasingly harder to get attention.
As most business professionals are swamped by emails, how can you make sure your event communications stand out and are actually opened and read? More importantly, what techniques can you use to ensure that your emails drive action, whether that is registrations, web visits or content downloads? We’ve been working for many years with our clients using the Eventsforce platform to manage email communications so have picked up a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Below are a few tips that you might find helpful.
Maximise the subject line opportunity – keep the subject header short, 50 characters or less works best. The only exception to this is for a highly segmented and targeted opt in list, they are usually happier to know a little more about what’s inside the email from the subject line.
‘From’ field counts – think about your own inbox; ever filtered your email and sorted according to who it’s from? Take the time to think about who it should be, is it a named individual or corporate brand? Research shows the ‘From’ field is the most important influencer in a recipient’s decision to open an email and consistency is important here in terms of setting expectations.
Avoid these words – it’s easy to think that enticing offers like ‘FREE’ will encourage people to want to open your mail. The fact is that you are more likely to get stuck in a spam filter if you include this and even words like ‘help’, ‘reminder’ and ‘per cent off’ were found to have a significant negative impact in a Mailchimp study.
Think like an editor – national newspapers and top magazines often have specialist headline writers for a reason – the headline is the window to the story and is your opportunity to catch the attention of passing traffic/readers. The same principle applies to email, sum it up in punchy words, keeping it short and simple but enticing them to want to know more. Thinking like an editor will help you come up with subject lines that will get attention.
Include clear calls to action (CTA) – once they have actually opened, you need to make it as simple and obvious as possible what the next action is. Including stand out boxes can help here and testing is crucial. Research has shown that even the smallest change in phrasing can alter the click-through rates dramatically.
Optimise for mobile and plain text – with around 55% of emails accessed via mobile, there’s a good chance your email will be opened on a smartphone or other mobile device. Make sure you have optimised your content to display well on mobile, or risk people switching off immediately.
Qualify and segment your lists – the more data you have about your recipients, the more tailored you can be with your content. It pays to take the time to qualify and profile your contacts so that you can send appropriate content and CTAs that are likely to work well for different audiences.
Don’t fire and forget – evaluate how well your campaigns are performing and take the opportunity to fine tune things a little. You can run a split A/B campaign, testing different headlines for effectiveness and look at performance of CTAs in different visual formats and locations inside the mail.
Content is King is an old saying, but data is the darling of email communications. Get your content right of course, but don’t overlook the importance of good data to build a comprehensive profile of your target recipients. It is only when you truly understand your delegates that you can begin to meet and exceed their event expectations.
From field research
Email open rates
Call To Aaction research