For a technology that’s ancient by modern standards, email still has a lot going for it, especially where marketing is concerned. There are any number of newer, shinier ways to reach out to leads and current customers, but email marketing still produces excellent conversion rates if it’s done right.
A quick survey of my email client’s promotions folder reveals that many email marketers aren’t following conversion best practices. My inbox is full of messy, self-entitled, promotional gibberish that I wouldn’t give the time of day even if I had the time of day to give.
I want to take a look at six key techniques that I’ve found to be effective in creating high-conversion email content.
6 Email Marketing Techniques To Improve Conversion Rates
1. Sell But Don’t SELL
Businesses send emails because they want people to buy things, but unless you’re aiming for the same customer base as late-night TV infomercials, don’t go nuts with the SELL, SELL, SELL. It’s an instant turn-off for most people.
Give the reader valuable content that doesn’t smell of a sales pitch. Then tell them a story about how your product will benefit them, but don’t bash them over the head with it.
2. Text Trumps Images
About half of the emails in my inbox are blank pages with placeholders where images should be. Most email clients will, by default, prevent the downloading of images without permission. In its full glory, your full width image header and the product images you’ve included probably look fantastic, but most people won’t see them.
By all means include images, but don’t embed the text of your email in images, and make sure that informational burden of the email is carried by text.
3. Keep It Short And Sweet
Another common mistake is to bombard the reader with a wall of text. It might hurt the pride of your copywriters, but no one, not even someone like me who writes copy for a living, wants to read hundreds of words of sales copy.
Get to the point quickly. Write concise tight prose. And don’t repeat yourself ad nauseum.
4. A Single Conversion Goal
Back in the old days of the web, lead-gen sites would stuff the interface with as many variant calls to action as possible. If this one doesn’t work, maybe that one will work. Unfortunately, that’s not effective, which is why the best designed modern landing pages have one large and clear call to action (which might be repeated a couple of times on the page).
The same psychology underpins good marketing email design.
Emails should be designed with a single goal in mind — get readers to click on a specific call to action. The images and copy should be chosen to contribute to that single conversion goal.
5. Don’t Stop At One (But Don’t Spam)
There’s nothing wrong with sending follow up emails. In fact, properly segmented email marketing campaigns with multiple attempts to connect have proven immensely successful. Leave a few days between each email in the first instance, and increasing delays for future emails, but don’t feel you’ve only got one chance to make an impression.
On the other hand, don’t spam. As I look through my email inbox, I see no emails from marketers who bombard me with multiple emails a week. That’s not because the marketers aren’t sending me emails; it’s because everything from those companies is sent immediately to my spam folder.
Split testing should be a religious faith among email marketers. Modern email marketing tools like MailChimp provide excellent split testing tools that allow email marketers to refine their copy, images, and layout in response to real-world performance. Diligent testing is the only real way to know that your marketing emails are effective in practice and not just a nice idea.
Email marketing is a powerful promotional and sales tool, but only if it’s done right.
Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog.