You want to send good emails to your list. And I mean you really, realllllly want to send good emails to your list.
Email marketing has a huge ROI. Campaign Monitor research shows that email nets you $44 for every $1 spent. Very few marketing channels come close to that.
That's if you do a good job of creating emails that your list wants to read. If they aren't interested, the best result is that they unsubscribe. The worst is that you get marked as spam, which will tank your deliverability pretty quickly.
You want to send out the best emails you can send. Because a 44:1 ROI is like printing money, while a dead email list is…. not good.
What are broadcast emails?
Broadcast emails are a 1-to-many communication. You are sending the same thing to many members of your list at once. These can used to announce sales, events, or new product drops. They can also be used as part of a content marketing campaign, distributing your content out to your audience.
On the other end of the spectrum are transactional emails. These are sent when a specific person does a specific thing. They are a 1:1 communication, and are triggered by a behavior such as a purchase or cart abandonment.
You should absolutely be sending both types to maximize the benefits of your email marketing program.
Because broadcast emails are sent to so many recipients at once, they are a bit harder to get just right, so we're going to answer a question for you.
How can you send broadcast emails that earn you love, respect, and stacks of money?
That's a big question, so it needs a big answer. Here it is, in 5 parts:
1. What types of broadcast emails can you send?
For an ecommerce store, there are essentially 3 types of broadcast emails you can send.
These are emails that are centered around selling products. You are using your email list to bring people back to your site and buy.
These could take several forms:
1. New product drops
2. Discounts and closeouts
3. Pop-ups and flash sales
4. Events such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday
5. Seasonal changes (Spring collection, Fall collection, Back-to-school, etc)
If you write a regular newsletter every week, 2 weeks, or monthly, that's a broadcast email.
This should be less sales-focused. You want to nurture your relationship with those on your email list by giving them something. You should write something that will interest them.
Newsletters can be educational, entertaining, or whatever else kind of content causes your audience to engage. Exactly what you write will be different depending on your audience, your content marketing strategy, and your business.
A digest can overlap with newsletters. It's a collection of content: Resources, entertainment, whatever. These can be videos, blog posts, products from non-competitors, whatever.
A digest is just putting things that your audience will love in front of them, without having to write a totally original piece of content to send out regularly.
2. How do you get people to open and read your emails?
The most important thing your emails can do is entice people to read them, open them, and take the action you want them to take. That is the goal here.
To make that happen, you must first convince people to open your emails once they land in an inbox. You are asking people to give you their time and their inbox real estate, so you must give them good reasons for doing so.
It starts with what someone sees when they look in their inbox:
Your sender name is one of the first things an email recipient is going to see. It should be something that feels personal and real.
Your best option is a real person's name. Someone owns the company, someone writes the email. You want the person receiving this email to feel as if a real person wrote them something.
Best- Ben Froedge from Underwaterpistol
Absolute horror- Anything containing the words DO NOT REPLY
Your subject line should be interesting and trigger curiosity about what's inside, but only for your target audience. You aren't writing to everyone here, you only care about the people who buy from you.
Here are a few rules to help you create better subject lines:
1. Be clear and obvious- If the reader has to guess what the email is about, they probably won't open it. Just make sure your subject line actually matches up with what they will see when they open your email.
2. Promise to give them something- You are emailing them because you have a new product, a sale, or some other reason for them to care. Make sure they can tell that from the subject line.
3. Catch their attention- Numbers, Power Words, or the recipients name (through built-in personalization are all ways to get someone to take notice.
4. Be compelling- There is more than one way to phrase everything. You don't have to go action-movie-over-the-top, but try to say what you have to say in an interesting way.
5. Put your important thing first- In all but the largest displays, there is limited room, and your recipient will see just the first few words. There should be a reason to open the email within those first few words.
This is the text that is shown along with the sender and subject line in your email inbox. It's a little preview of the email text.
This text can come from one of two places. It can either be taken right from the first lines of the email, or you can deliberately craft it to say what you want. Either of these is fine, as long as it does the job of helping to pique the interest of your recipients.
Email body copy
Emails are often read in batches or on a mobile device with a small screen. The text of your email should get straight to the point, and there should be a clear reason for sending it.
There is not a hard-and-fast rule for how many words you should right in an email, just remember you aren't looking to write an entire blog post here, you just want to get a message across.
Use language that makes sense for your audience & your brand. Don't go all weird in your writing style just because it's email. Pick a friend who matches the people you are writing to, and write like you are sending it just to that friend.
You want to give anyone reading your email something to do when they are done.
For promotional emails, you want them to click-through and make a purchase on what you are promoting. So invite them to come to your site and do that.
Rules for better CTAs:
1. Make it specific- The CTA should relate to what's in the email, so "Shop Now" or "View Collection"
2. Keep it fairly short- You don't want an over-long CTA. Say what you need to say and be done.
3. Use action words- It's a CTA. A stands for action. There should be a verb in your CTA.
There are a lot of clues about the trustworthiness and quality of the emails you send people, and you control all of them. Write emails that say something, and make sure people have a reason to open them and take action.
3. How can you design good looking broadcast emails?
For some types of businesses, design is not a big deal. Even plain-text emails will work.
That is not the case for an ecommerce store.
Emails for ecommerce should reflect the design feel of your brand, and look like an extension of your website come into the recipients inbox.
1. Use the same visual identifiers from your site- Use your logo, and if you want, your websites navigation (or a simplified version of it) right in the email.
2. Keep your website colors present in the email- This is a huge part of keeping your emails on-brand. The colors carry a lot of weight, and make for a smooth transition when visitors click through back to your site.
3. Use the same fonts as your website- If that's not an option, try to choose similar-looking fonts. No matter what, stick to no more than 2 fonts for your text, one for headings and one for normal text. Try to choose complimentary fonts.
Emails should be very simply designed and easily navigated. Emails are not websites, and will be viewed by many different apps at many different sizes.
1. Focus your product images- Eliminate distractions and any unneeded extra space that hurt the visibility of the product being shown. Preview your emails on a small screen to see what happens to your phots.
2. Use as little text as possible- While not skimping on the message you want to get across. If you are writing something that is more text-heavy, such as a newsletter, break text into small paragraphs.
3. Give it a feeling of flow- It should feel natural to scroll through your email. There should be no strain to understand what is going on, or where to look next.
Images are a must for sales and promotional emails, and are good in content-driven emails if they are a good fit and add to the message.
1. Stick to just a few images- If you are showing off a new collection or product, add them in. If you are advertising a sale or event, you can create a graphic using something like Canva. Remember that the goal is to get them to come to the site and see more, so you don't have to cram everything into one email.
2. Stock images are better than no images- For events and other things that aren't directly showing your products, stock images will do in a pinch, but your best option is high-quality photography that is unique to your brand.
3. If you use text overlays on images- Remember the rule about matching fonts as much as possible, and using your site colors. Rainbows are pretty, but having 57 different colors in an email is going to put people off.
Formatting and design don't matter until the email is opened. Once a reader is inside, design is critical. The most important things you can do with email design are to make your emails easy-to-read and on-brand.
4. How can you make broadcast emails relevant?
People don't come from templates, and your email list is probably not made of clones. So how do you send a single email that your whole list will care about?
Unless you have a super-narrow target audience, you don't.
Personalizationis when your email software adds in things like the customer's name, recommendations based on products you have purchased, etc. This is baked into your email marketing provider's software, so it will vary from platform to platform.
Personalization matters most it subject lines and introductory sentences, where you can catch the attention of your reader with their name or another relevant personal detail.
Segmenting is when you send emails to specific groups of your list based on shared characteristics.
If you sell clothing to both men and women, and had a new collection launch for both genders, you wouldn't send them the same email, would you? It would only make sense to segment based on gender here.
Men would receive an email spotlighting the new men's designs in your new collection. Women would receive a similar but different email, with slightly different language and different products highlighted.
Gender is far from the only way to segment your email list. Here are a few segments you might consider using:
1. Demographics based- Age, gender, location, and any combination between them can all be used to create segments to receive different emails.
2. VIP customers- These are the rockstars of your wallet. You can send emails more often or with a different message to those who spend the most on your site.
3. Email engagement- If someone doesn't open your emails frequently, you can send them fewer emails, or even ask if they still want to be on your list at all (it's better to have a smaller list that is really engaged, than a bigger one that doesn't care)
4. Purchase history- Customers who buy Item A will want to hear about accessories that go with it when they go on sale, but won't give a hoot about Item B accessories.
Sending relevant emails is the foundation of good email marketing. Emails that people don't care about will get you nothing but low open rates, unsubscribes, and spam reports.
5. When should you send marketing emails?
There are two issues with the "when" of email marketing. How frequently should you send, and when should the emails actually go out.
You want to send emails frequently enough that you are not missing out on revenue and letting your list go cold. Buuutttt… you also don't want to annoy your customers to death.
These are the people who have stood up and raised their hands to self-identify as your best customers. You can probably email them more than you think.
If you are providing content that is in some way valuable and appreciated by your audience, that raises your ceiling. If you are only sending promotional emails, that likely lowers your ceiling.
Start with would be 4 emails per month with 2 of those being some sort of content marketing, and the other 2 being sales-focused.
Remember that this is a rough starting point. I have also seen brands whose customers cared most of all about what new products they had in that were fresh and trending. Those customers would open 2 promotional emails a week.
Day and time
This is another one that can vary depending on audience. You don't want your emails to go unread for too long. Email fatigue is a real thing, and if you are stuck somewhere around the middle of bottom of the inbox, you could be ignored really, really easily.
When you think about time of day to email, start with this:
- Who is in your email list?
- What time of day do they work?
- When are they active online with some spare time? When are they checking email?
For day of the week, research shows that the best days of the week to send emails are Tuesday, followed by Thursday and then Wednesday.
Both of these questions can probably be answered by your analytics. If you have analytics setup, and especially if you have enhanced ecommerce tracking enabled (I really, really want you to have that enabled and setup).
Ask your analytics some questions:
- When is my traffic the heaviest?
- When do I get the most purchases?
- Are there regular patterns to these things that you can see?
If you can spot times that people are already coming online, that's a good time to test and see if your emails get more responses at a particular time of day.
So, the rule for email timing is that there is no rule. Know who your customers are, and consider what you are offering them each time you email them. You should feel free to test out varying frequencies, and see what works best for your business.
So, how do you write perfect broadcast emails for your list?
You probably don't. There will always be people who don't open your emails, and those who unsubscribe. But you can still make them as good as they'll get.
1. Focus on messaging that matters. Give people a reason to open the email, a reason to read it, and a reason to take action.
2. Design emails that look good and flow easily. Match design to your on-site branding to create a unified experience.
3. Make your emails relevant. Segment your email list and send content that matters to the individual receiving it.
4. Tailor your email send times to your list members. Start with best practices and then narrow down based on analytics and email results.
Good luck. Write emails that make your store some money. If you need help with that, get in touch with us.
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