When the New Year rolls around, it’s resolution time. These days, amidst the routine exercising and detoxing, comes a digital tidy-up – with unwanted email newsletters the first victim.
You know the culprits. You sign up at some point, notice them slide into the inbox, but are far too preoccupied to figure out if you really need them anymore.
If it’s too much effort to open, scroll and click unsubscribe, how valuable could that content really be?
We’re sick of information overkill and are becoming more vigilant curators of what crosses our virtual desks (just look at the rise in handy applications to bulk unsubscribe from everything).
This adds up to a world where your email better mean something lest it becomes a casualty of a clean slate.
Did your email survive the new year cull?
Did you see a spike in unsubscribes entering the new year? People get back to work and realise they didn’t find your content useful last year, so that’s one less email they need muddying their time in this resolution-rich new year…
(If yours did survive, well done).
Email is the most intimate digital channel available to marketers, and an email list arguably the most powerful asset an organisation can build.
If your objective is to build a real relationship with someone, a single email address – the trust, permission and access it embodies – is worth infinitesimal likes, follows and shares across social media… or even a blog post like this one.
More time spent on what counts
With blogs and social media, you’re investing considerable time into chasing ranking and algorithms that you can only moderately influence. It’s not that these areas don’t have value – they do – but the humble email allows a laser-like focus on what you want to say, and to whom.
It’s unmediated; it’s up to you and you alone to make that message worthy.
Five tips for creating great emails
1. Considered customisation
People expect everything to be personalised. This doesn’t mean “Dear [Insert Name Here]”. That approach commonly backfires, seeming lazy and inauthentic.
Make the meat of your email personally relevant. You don’t need thousands of completely different emails. But your content must align with your recipient’s interests and needs in an honest and meaningful way.
2. Actually help people
Maybe it’s helping them build a business case. Or summarising the news they’ll most need at work that week. If your target customer is C-suite executives and you sell software, think laterally and offer them 60-second relaxation techniques and tips in one sentence daily emails.
Help your subscribers, don’t sell to them, and you’ll be on the way to a lasting relationship.
Generosity is the killer app of content marketing
3. Keep it simple
Have a clear focus and objective for your email, and ensure the design reflects this purpose. Get rid of visual clutter and pare things down to what matter most.
Elaborately designed emails are falling out of favour (unless you’re doing something seriously innovative). Plain, old text has re-emerged as the conveyor of ‘realness’.
4. Time it right
Research when your target audience wants to receive email. You might be surprised. Many businesses avoid sending on weekends, but that’s when a lot of people thumb through their inboxes for high-worth content.
This goes double for frequency and cadence. One of the biggest turn-offs for recipients is the sense they’re drowning. Grill yourself on the need to send each email – why is more better?
(Sometimes it is).
5. Listen, learn & engage
Analyse the results of every email you send and learn from them. Try things differently – test and repeat. Cast your listening net wider too; scan the web to understand what subscribers might be saying about your emails and how good (or not) they are.
Listening is your best marketing tool
Direct interaction with subscribers is something many businesses avoid, as it’s intimidating and awkward to scale. But a real conversation with a subscriber about how you can improve your emails is worth its weight in gold.
Jason Calacanis’ Inside email newsletters do this brilliantly, inviting readers to suggest, curate and correct content and vertical themes for new emails to cover.
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