11 email marketing strategies to help ensure your messages are opened

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As a top distribution channel for both B2B and B2C marketers, email marketing has long been viewed as an effective way to reach audiences. In the current virtual work environment, email has become even more popular across industries, as consumers are spending more time than ever at home on their devices. However, this boom in marketing emails also means brands must work harder to stand out.

The Business JournalsModern marketers must be strategic and optimize their email campaigns with catchy subject lines and value-added content to ensure their messages are opened. Below, 11 experts from Business Journals Leadership Trust share their recommendations for email marketing strategies that are sure to catch an audience’s attention.

1. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.
Email marketing can be effective or annoying to your customers. Before deploying an email marketing campaign, put yourself in the seat of the email recipient. How can an email add value to your customers’ lives? Can you inform your customer of valuable information, can you provide a helpful reminder or can you make them laugh? Emails that add such value get opened. – Jason Dunn, DACS Asphalt & Concrete

2. Get creative with your subject line.
Put some thought into your subject line. A subject line that is dull and bland won’t get nearly the same attention as something funny or outlandish. Get creative with simple and catchy ways to get the reader’s attention. – Jared Knisley, Fizen Technology

3. Use ‘you,’ not ‘we.’
I write a ton of emails for clients. If you want your email to be opened, it needs to pass the “So what?” test and be relevant. Talk in “you” terms, not “we” terms — you will do a better job of focusing on what the client wants. And whenever possible, keep business development emails asking for a meeting around 100 to 125 words. Short and sweet increases the odds of a read. – Linda Bishop, Thought Transformation

4. Opt for personal rather than mass emails.
When we looked at how we handled email marketing, we recognized that there is so much cross-pollination of information being distributed that we needed to really stand out. So we stopped using mass email marketing, found the prospects that really mattered and did a personal reach out. – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.

5. Embed compelling video content.
Stats say that an email including a video can increase the click-through rate by up to 300% and reduce your unsubscribe rate by 75%. If your emails get opened but don’t get read, reduce text and embed videos. But if the open rate is low, use videos as well, but give a teaser of what’s inside in your subject line. There are lots of strategies you can use, but this one can be a serious game-changer. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Offer something valuable and actionable.
Email marketing has had a resurgence with the virtual workforce, but there can be oversaturation, which leads to email fatigue. It is important not to bombard your audience with too many messages. When you send messages, make sure they are offering something of value to the audience that they can take action on, such as a webinar, article or discounted service. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

7. Tailor it to your audience members’ areas of interest.
We strive to provide email content that is tailored to each of our audience members’ specific areas of interest. We try to ensure that a subscriber gets only what they want to read and nothing of what they don’t. This isn’t a perfect science, and it’s constantly being modified and perfected, as people’s tastes are ever-evolving. And their business concerns and challenges change, too. – Tom Rourick, RSM US LLP

8. Be relevant and timely.
We started using videos in our emails and have seen a huge increase in open rates. The key is to be relevant and timely and offer a solution to a challenge they may be experiencing. In our case, businesses are wanting to open back up as the pandemic eases, so we provide tips to help them achieve that. – Yanet Herrero, Kings Service Solutions, LLC

9. Focus on one value-driving issue.
Instead of being part of the echo chamber, challenge traditional thinking. Identify one thing that may drive value, then unpack it. Provide insights that get the audience to think about new options. – Kirk W. McLaren, Foresight CFO

10. Focus on the problem you solve.
Great headlines are the first step, followed by content that’s laser-focused on the problem you are solving. Knowing your target demographic and communicating an expedient solution to their problem will ensure double-digit open rates and high engagement. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

11. Have a little fun with emojis.
We’ve seen increased open rates by using emojis in the subject lines of our emails. It’s a small tweak that has created a meaningful lift in open rates — at least for now. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

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