In interesting discussion on econsultancy borne out of the e-Dialog Email Attitudes Report, which suggested that 39% of UK consumers claim the marketing email they receive is less relevent than it was 12 months ago.
With the hype and announcement of the iPad, Apple have been flavor of the week – so let’s take a look at some of their recent email campaigns.
There’s a lot that Apple gets right with their emails, and as a result they’re often sent around as good examples of email marketing. In particular they get bonus points for:
Design – crisp and sexy product photography, clever copywriting and lots of white space make for a very effective combination.
Engaging – most mailings have very strong and consistent calls to action, to either visit an apple store or shop online.
Very strong message – Apple do a great job resisting the temptation to bloat their campaigns with excess products and information. There’s a great balance between providing enough content to inspire the recipient to click, but not too much to compromise the message.
However, whilst the brand and design are impeccable, there’s curiously a few best practices that seem to be absent – the most obvious that come to mind are:
The omission of any type of hosted link or whitelisting copy
No personalization or obvious customization (they presumably have a fair amount of data at their disposal, why not use it?)
Whilst the preview pane imagery is very engaging and effective, when images are disabled the experience is often much poorer.
Apple iPad announcement email
Apple Fitness email
Apple Black Friday email
iTunes New Music Tuesday email
Apple Holiday email
For more insight into Apple’s email marketing campaigns, take a look at Dominique Hind’s excellent review.
For most users, the email inbox is a busy place, with a stack of emails screaming out to be opened. In this kind of environment, it’s essential to make sure your subject line is compelling and demands to be opened. After all, no matter how pretty and well built your email campaign is, if your subject line is monotonous and uninspiring then none of your recipients will look at it. These 5 tips have been proven time and time again to significantly boost your open rates and overall conversions from your email campaigns:
Tip #1: Add personalisation
Think about what data you have to hand, and how it can be implemented into the subject line. For many marketers, adding the recipients’ first or surname often boosts open rates.
Tip #2: Avoid spammy words
This is a given, both in the subject line and your email copy. Don’t include multiple exclamation marks, multiple dollar signs, all caps text or words like “viagra”. There’s lots of differing lists of spammy words – check with your email sender as they’ll have the most accurate insight.
Tip #3: Focus on the benefits
Tell people why they should open your message – outline your key offer and tell them how it will benefit them. Of course, you should always make sure your subject line relates to the content of your mailing. If users feel tricked into reading your email, at best they won’t be back, and worse they’ll mark your email as spam.
Tip #4: Use pyramid writing
Most email clients cut off subject lines somewhere between 40 and 60 characters. In addition, users scan subject lines from left to right, so it makes sense to put your key offering right at the start. For example “Buy a new toaster in our sale and save 50%” won’t be as effective as “50% off toasters in our sale”.
Tip #5: Test test test!
As with all best practice, everything is only theoretical until you’ve tested it with your specific company, market niche and recipients. Testing what works and constantly refining your subject lines is the best way to guarantee a result.
Bonus Tip: Sometimes longer is better
In some instances, particularly long newsletters with lots of offers and content, a long subject line can function as a contents section. Most email clients will still cut off the subject line after 60 or so characters, but once the user opens the email the full subject line is displayed – and it’s suggested that this is what they’ll read first. Regardless, it’s still worth optimizing those first 60 characters.
Bonus Tip #2: Sender name and pre-header
There’s two other tools you have at your disposal before a recipient opens your email. The first is the sender name and your sender email address – these should be consistent and reflect your brand name. In some situations, if you’re running a regular mailing you could also incorporate the name of your newsletter into the sender name. The other tool you have, which applies in certain email clients such as Outlook 2007 and Gmail, is the pre-header or Johnson Box.