With nearly 3 billion users, email, the earliest form of online communication, is also one of the best avenues for marketing — 40 times more effective than social media, according to a study done by McKinsey & Company. But if you’re too passive in your approach, your messages will likely miss their mark and land in the trash.
In a recent article for Inc., marketing expert Ken Sterling, a marketing professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and executive vice president of Big Speak Speakers Bureau, details some common flubs that make people hit delete, including long-winded subject lines, weak vocabulary and impersonal greetings.
Here are some of Sterling’s tips to make customers open, read and engage with your email message:
- Keep subject lines short. “Email isn’t a mystery story with a big reveal at the end,” Sterling said. “It’s called a ‘subject line’ for a reason.” Subject lines with more than 50 characters will likely end up buried in the recipient’s vast inbox or even go straight to spam. If you find yourself stuck staring at a blank screen, try working backwards. Write the email’s body text first, then summarize your work. Keep pruning your synopsis until you get it down to the essential key words.
- Cut to the chase. “Hope this email finds you well” is a popular opener, but it’s very ineffective. “I immediately delete those emails even if it’s from someone I know,” Sterling said. “Hope is for wussies.” Skip passive small talk and jump straight to your point. Make your pitch confidently, using strong verbs in favor of weak ones.
- Address your recipient by name. Opening an email with a greeting like “Hi all” does not make your recipients feel loved. If you want them to read through your full message, insert their name. Most email marketing platforms have a setting to achieve this with a single click.
Email is a favorite tool of marketing professionals for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s inexpensive. It also allows for creative control and has sophisticated tracking capabilities to test what works and what doesn’t.
Ready to grow your business through email marketing? Check out a past Floral Management feature, “Stay Out of the Trash!”, which details best practices from digital marketing experts, offers examples of successful campaigns from within the industry, breaks down the metrics to determine a message’s effectiveness and includes a summary of the various email marketing platforms.