Awesome Email Blasts
10 best practices for successful email campaigns.
Chapter 01: What is an email blast?
An email blast (a.k.a. email broadcast) happens when you send a single message to many different prospects or clients (or to any other group) all at once. Instead of a single one-to-one contact, you "blast" your message so that lots of people get it at once.
Not all email blasts are created equal. A really successful email campaign starts with careful planning, good detail work, and (usually) some sturdy email blast software.
Email blast examples might include a sporting goods store spreading the news about its spring line of bathing suits, a big bank telling customers of a new investment opportunity, or a local dry cleaner sending out a two-for-one coupon. Recipients shouldn't see it as a broadcast, of course; to them it should look like a personalized message.
Chapter 02: 10 email blast best practices
If you're looking to create successful email campaigns, these 10 best practices for email blasts are a great place to start.
1. Put your brand front and center
Consumers get a lot of emails, from all kinds of companies, so make sure your brand can be recognized instantly. Use the consistent typeface, colors, logos and other elements that mark your brand. Your goal: help the reader realize, "Oh, I've engaged with this company before."
Don't have brand elements? It's worth working with a graphic design pro to settle on a clear color scheme, typeface, and logo that will work well in all kinds of situations—your email blasts included.
2. Get the timing right
How often should you send an email blast? More is not necessarily better; engagement rates tend to be higher when you send fewer emails. On the other hand, your goal is to share news and opportunities with customers as often as you can.
How do you find the sweet spot? The best way is to monitor statistics from your email blast software. See how many recipients open your emails, how many click a link, and how many unsubscribe. (Pay attention to the type of recipient, too, as your open rates for loyal customers will be different from new prospects.) Learn what works, make changes, and test again.
3. Know the result you want
What do you want recipients to do after they read your email blasts? Call your customer service department? Download a coupon or a report? Visit your website to learn more about a new product?
It's important to know the exact result you want before you begin. Then make that result happen by ending your message with a specific call to action (or CTA). A call to action might be "call us now," "use this discount code in our shop," or "schedule a demo." Make sure the CTA is direct and appealing, and that you show the reader why it's worth their time to click, visit, or call.
4. Use hyperlinks
Links are often the best way to get people to complete your call to action. Hyperlinks are easy to click, and your email blast software can keep track of how many readers actually click the link to visit your website.
Try different hyperlinks to see what works best for your audience. You might create three different groups and send each link to your home page, product pages, and blog. You might also try CTA links with different wording, or test an email that includes the same link two or three times. The data will tell you what works. Low click rates may mean your emails aren't compelling, or the information isn't useful for that audience.
5. Strike the right tone
Who is your email reader: the CEO of a 1,000-person company that might buy your software, or moms and dads who might bring their toddler into your toy shop? The difference might seem obvious, but plenty of people ignore this important step.
Emotions play a big role in email blasts; the more you connect on a personal level, the greater your chances of a good result. If you sell security cameras, offer burglary statistics as the pain point that your product can solve—with a clear CTA, of course.
6. Keep it short
The briefer your message, the better your response rate usually is. (Very few people will read an 800-word letter on their smartphone.) Before you start, look for email blast examples where the message is a few short sentences. Display your email’s content in one screen, and the recipients won’t have to tap or scroll to get your point.
7. Use images
Pictures often tell more about your products and services than a block of text. So do use images in your email blasts, but keep file sizes small. You don’t want long load times to frustrate recipients—especially those who pay for download data.
Vision-impaired recipients of your email may rely on audio text readers, so include a descriptive line of alt text about each image. Not only will your message get across that way, but your thoughtful attention to detail may win you a closer look.
8. Make them an offer
People love to get special offers in their inbox. Coupons, special discounts for orders by an upcoming deadline, and 2-for-1 deals are all good incentives that can lead to successful email campaigns.
9. Be social
Don’t forget to include your social media links! Ask recipients to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. They'll stay connected to your company, even if they don't buy from you right away.
10. Check the clock
The time of day when you send out an email blast can have a surprising amount of influence how well it is received. Finding the best times for your email blasts takes trial and error. Try a simple A/B test: divide your audience into two groups and send one a message on Monday at 8 am, the other at 4 pm.
The best email marketing software will help you send out these test messages, and then track results. See what works for one pair, then keep testing times and days of the week to learn what works best for your audience.
Chapter 03: Measuring Email Marketing Success
If you're going to learn which emails work best, you have to measure results. Automated email blast software will help a company gather key data:
Open rates (that is, how many recipients actually opened your email)
Click-through rates on the links in your message
Hard bounces (email that is undelivered because of a bad address)
Set goals for each email blast you send. For example, your goal might be for one in every 100 recipients to download a coupon or call your customer service department. Or you might challenge your writer (or yourself?) to create an email so friendly that you get zero unsubscribes.
Chapter 04: Blast away!
Not all email blasts are created equal—and yours can be better than average with the right email blast service.
Start with these 10 best practices for your email blasts, keep testing, and soon you'll discover which messages succeed and why. As you track how each recipient reacts, you'll have solid data and a growing list of interested contacts. You'll be on your way to the sales and lasting relationships your business needs.