By David Gould, Staff Editor
Social media companies can boost their ad rates and they can slash your audience size by hiding your content through “algorithmic filtering,” but good old reliable email dutifully carries your message of great coaching and stimulating programs to people who will pay attention to it.
At least, this will happen if you craft what you send out strategically and judiciously. Here are several ways to do that on your next email campaign. Give them a look, and check out a bonus tip that will help you increase the number of people on the receiving end of your emails.
Make it to the Priority Inbox: In the world of Internet search, Google spiders crawl the web looking for what’s “relevant” and punishing whatever seems cheap or dumb. Email services do the same, kicking many an incoming email into the “promotion, “social” or “update” inboxes—or worse, all the way to spam. To avoid these outcomes, keep your email’s design simple and dignified—lots of gimmicky graphics will get you delivered to a dead-end inbox. If the machines think your email is of the friends-and-family variety, you’ll end up in the priority category. Give them that impression by including the recipient’s first name in a greeting line and by adding your personal sign-off and signature box at the bottom. That’s pretty natural for golf coaches, as is staying clear of spam trigger phrases like “Do it now,” “Exclusive deal,” “Fantastic offer” and “Never before.” It’s easy to find websites with lists of these triggers. Use of ALL CAPS is another trigger you don’t want to pull.
Control How Your Message Looks, Once it Arrives: You want to make certain that your email’s appearance within the inbox itself is appealing and entices recipients to click it open. The sender and subject line should be clear and concise. Avoid all caps and be very sparing with the exclamation points and question marks. It’s widely recommended that subject lines and first sentences of the actual email all fit in the inbox preview pane, but that’s a tall order to try and fill every time. Better to balance the value of a longer—but more enticing—subject line with the importance of showing that (perhaps) all-important first sentence. As a compromise, show enough of the first sentence that people can get a decent idea of what you’re speaking to them about. There are email preview tools you can use to see what your recipients will see, based on which email service they use. These tools include: SendX; GetResponse; Mail Ninja: Campaign Monitor and various others.
Track Your Delivery Success Rate: Email deliverability rate, a.k.a. email acceptance rate, refers to how successful you are in getting email messages delivered. To calculate email acceptance rate, divide the number of delivered emails by the total number of emails sent initially. Email acceptance rate is a good performance indicator of the effectiveness of your marketing email design. There are plenty of online tools available to measure email deliverability. Examples include mail-tester.com, Spam Check By Postmark and GlockApps.
Bonus Tip— Create a Pop-Up Contact-Us Template: If you’ve shopped for a vacation home in a golf community lately, you’ve probably noticed that a pop-up form asking for your name, email address and even phone number comes up—and must be completed before you’re even given a chance to look at listings. That’s how aggressive some economic sectors are getting about capturing contact info and building up prospect lists. It makes sense, too, because buying residential real estate has become a competitive sport, and people these days will go through a bit of hassle to see those ever-dwindling listings. Later, when the market cools and folks won’t be bothered filling out forms, the communities and agencies that captured data now will have an advantage over those that didn’t.
So, set up a pop-up form that provides your site visitors with a quick, convenient way to share contact information and subscribe to your list while they’re browsing your site, making them a powerful tool for audience growth. They’re easy to add to your site, and they’re proven to work— research shows that Mailchimp users have seen their list growth rate increase by an average of 50.8% after adding a pop-up form to their site. Step-by-step instructions are readily available and generally easy to follow. Note: Include only the necessary contact information, like name and email address, and add a call-to-action button right next to the “Done” button at the bottom of the form such as a direct link to sign up for your gateway product such as a New Student Assessment.
As we noted, the art and science of email marketing keeps adding new layers. That means the average small business person has to refine their knowledge and their tactics a little bit at a time. Take care of the fundamentals described above and you’ll be leveraging the time and energy you spend on email promotions more effectively.