Email marketing is the central foundation of digital marketing. Email predates the world wide web. The first interaction with two computers was an email that was sent between them.
If you are reading this, it is proof that written communication still works. Yes, YouTube and social media are still important channels for digital marketing, but social media sites come and go. Creators find traction with a specific platform for a few years and then something new comes along.
I have more than 116k subscribers on YouTube but most of them have come from my email list rather than YouTube's internal organic growth. If you are reading this, there is a 90% chance that you got an email about it. If you know the brand Digital Deepak, that's because of email marketing.
One of the biggest mistakes that people do in email marketing is that they do not nurture their email lists enough with good content. If you have leads, the only way that these leads are going to convert into sales is when the trust is built. And content is the best way to build trust. And email is the best way to distribute the content.
In this blog post, let's have a look at the different ways one can improve the email open rates of their campaigns.
Most digital marketers say that at best they get 2-5% email open rates. Which is dismally low. I have been able to get as high as 20% open rates for my broadcast emails, and up to 70% open rates for my drip marketing campaigns. How is that possible? Let's find out.
1. Tell A Story
A story is the most attention-grabbing type of communication between humans. Whenever you start something with "let me tell you a story", people pay attention.
When people opt-in to my email list, I add them to a drip marketing sequence. The emails in the sequence tell a story. The most important story to tell is your own journey.
I talk about how I started my digital marketing journey with a motorcycle blog, how I worked for corporates, how I started a digital marketing agency (PixelTrack) and how I built an ed-tech company (LearnToday).
The story is designed to inspire people, but also to personally brand me in the minds of my leads. Because when it comes to personal branding, people do not remember your face or the logo (I have been changing the logos of my brand and I have been looking much different in the past few years anyway).
What people remember is a story. The story behind a brand. The person and his/her life story behind a brand. That sticks to the mind and doesn't go away.
People will pay more attention if you make your emails engaging to read by telling a story. And if they pay more attention, they will remember you more, trust you more, open your future emails more, and most importantly, do business with you.
2. Write Plain Text Emails
Most of the emails I write are plain text emails. Email marketers, instead of focusing on the message focus on the design.
If you are writing an email to a friend, do you add heavy designs to it? Probably not. Because you know that your friend is not going to like you more because of the design, in fact, if you add heavy visual elements to communicate with a friend, you will end up removing focus from the message.
Emails are a text-based form of communication. If you are making a YouTube video add all the jazz you want with music and animations. But if you are sending people a notification, telling them a story, or communicating something important about your business, offer and services, stick to plain text emails.
You need to engage the reader with their imagination. You don't need to paint any visuals. The world's best-selling novels (like Harry Potter) are just text. And people love it because each person has a unique experience with the imagination of the magical world.
The movies were made for the masses who do not read. And anyone who has read a fiction novel and then watched the movie version of the same story will always say that the book was better. Written communication can get more of the mind-share of your audience than any other form of content.
3. Develop Consistency & Frequency
If you email your subscribers once in a blue moon, they will wonder who you are. Branding is built through repetition and most brands fail to leverage the repetitive power of email marketing.
If you know of any personal brand in the digital marketing space, the reason why you know and remember is that you have come across their brand more than once.
If you are reading this right now, I bet that you have consumed content from me before. Else, you wouldn't trust me enough to put the attention required to read this information from me. The brand and trust build over a period of time.
Have you ever signed up for a service and then seen a welcome email from them? In many cases, that welcome email would be the last email you would get from them for a while. Then suddenly after a few weeks, you would receive a commercial message from them that goes more along the lines of "buy my stuff, please".
You have seen how often I keep in touch. If you are a guy and you get the phone number of a girl, would you just message her once and then ping her again after a few weeks? If you want to get the girl to date (or a few dates) you would message her more frequently at the beginning of the relationship, right?
When you generate leads, communicate frequently with your audience. And communicate consistently. I send at least 2-3 emails every week, sometimes more. But the best way not to irritate your leads is to send more valuable content in the beginning (and wrap them with your story). This will drive brand recall and trust.
The best way to set up this consistency and frequency is to put them through a drip marketing sequence. A follow-up sequence of valuable emails that are delivered at spaced intervals. This will keep your audience active and receptive to your message.
When you have an event coming up, like a live webinar or a new product launch, your broadcast emails will perform better. Your audience has been continuously receiving value from you and they will not be irritated if one of those emails is a bit on the sales side. I follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of my emails are value emails with content that is useful for my leads.
In this blog post, I have not gone deep into the technical side of email marketing. In the next post, I will cover how you need to configure your email sending to get better open rates.