Email Marketing - Beyond the Subject Line

Email marketing - effective performace optimizing your subject matter

While the subject line of your marketing emails are a hook to get people to open them, there are a number of things that will impact your email's performance and effectiveness at cultivating leads.  How well are you optimizing your email marketing?

The Offer

If you don't start with a good offer, the most well crafted marketing email and landing page will simply not perform.  Whether you are providing a free ebook, a webinar or a bit of sage and timely advice, if the offer stinks  so will your campaign.   Have 2 different ideas for the offer?  Set up an A/B test to compare their performance with a small audience before sending out your major email campaign.  What you are offering is at least as important as what you are saying about it.  You can gauge how well your offer will do by looking at past performance of similar offers as well.  When considering what type of offer, stop to consider the following:

  • Topics:  Some topics will resonate with your audience, some will not.  Understanding your buyer persona(s) and demographics will help to determine the proper topics.
  • Format:  The format that you make your offer in will also make an impact.  Some folks like Audio and Video presentations.  Others will prefer to read ebooks, or utilize kits.  A free trial of a service is another option for the format of your offer.
  • Length / size:  What is the content consumption of your audience?  Do they prefer larger in-depth information, or smaller bits of information?  

One final bit of advice on the offer itself: Utilizing your industries buzz words may help drive additional awareness of the offer.  Does your industry favor the term whitepaper, ebook or guide?  Is it a visual 10 step process or a slideshow?  

The Email Content

Once your email has been opened, where does the email take the person?  Is your email clear about what you want the person to do?  Ensuring that your email is fast loading and easy to read will make it more enticing for the people you are marketing to.  Is your offer interesting and intriguing?  Does your email identify a need that you have a solution for?  What is your hook? 

The Email Format

The format of your email can have a big impact on how it performs and whether your potentials will take action.  Switching the format can also show you where there are problems with your own marketing.  It is hard to imagine, but there are people that still prefer plain text versus HTML emails.  Are your marketing emails designed to meet both of these needs?  Are you so caught up in how your email looks in HTML that you are overwhelming the people you are trying to reach?  At Hubspot, their general marketing emails are different for different offerings.  They have found that a nicely designed and presented HTML email works best for ebooks; whereas a free consultation offer performs better when sent as a simple plain text email.  Keep in mind the necessary formatting elements that you can test in your emails: 

  • Plain text versus HTML
  • Text only or text and images
  • The number of calls to action -  Newsletter with lots of info or a more focused single offer?
  • Length of the email

Timing and Frequency of your marketing email

The most important thing about timing and frequency is knowing the optimum time to communicate with your potentials!  Remember, it isn't so much about when you send an email as it is about when the potential is taking action.  If you can track this performance, you'll capture a vital piece of information and a good nugget to keep in mind for all of your marketing efforts.  Things to consider on timing include:

  • Day of the week - Always emailing on a specific day may not reach everyone that you want to reach.  Test out different days of the week and don't forget the weekend! 
  • Time of day - The best times to cold call, according to research, are between 8 and 9am and 4 and 5pm, local time.  Are you targeting one coast or the other for the time of day?  Try switching things around and target the opposite time frame, or somewhere in between. 

Final Thoughts

When you are working on developing the optimum email marketing strategy remember to change one thing at a time.  That way, you will know when you have hit upon the proper keys to drive new customer leads from your email marketing.