First things first: stop thinking about email campaigns as relics of a bygone era that are falling into decline. Only poorly designed and badly prepared campaigns end up like this.
These days, up to 10% of e-commerce transactions come entirely from email campaigns, which means that any company that wants to sell online has to understand and integrate email best practices.
A good campaign still has a healthy future if it has a simple layout, is quick to send, and has instant results that you can analyze. Here are 10 tips to ensure effective, sustainable campaigns.
This is what your entire campaign will be based on. Start by ensuring the quality of your database: make sure that you have legally obtained the addresses, that there are no spelling errors, and that you have the first and last names of your addressees. Don't even think about using databases that you purchased, or even worse, obtained illegitimately on the Internet. First, it's illegal. But also, nobody reads an email that they have not voluntarily opted in to receive.
Once you've finished this stage, targeting can really begin. You have to segment your database by type of contact: new prospects, active customers, old customers, etc. You'd certainly never send a welcome newsletter to an existing customer, just like you wouldn't try to build customer loyalty with someone who's never made a purchase!
It might seem obvious, but you should realize that 51% of customers unsubscribe because they get emails that are not adapted to their needs. Get to know your customers: their wants, their passions, and their needs. A qualified database leads to satisfied customers.
It's 2015: the future is now. Your contacts check their email more and more frequently on their smartphones. Return Path estimates that smartphones are used to open 50% of emails worldwide... a figure that can't be ignored.
That's why you must make sure that your email campaign is easy to read on mobile devices. This means using "responsive design."
A responsive email campaign must not be too long or complicated. If your reader has to scroll for 3 minutes while squinting to read text that is too dense and too long, you can be sure that all they will see is the unsubscribe button.
Our advice for a successful responsive email campaign:
- Simplify your email by using adjustable blocks
- Remove excessive items such as polls or aesthetic elements
- Adjust your menus
- Avoid putting photos and text side-by-side: place them one on top of another
- Make sure your copy is easy to read
- Don't try to make it look identical to your desktop version
- TEST BEFORE YOU SEND
Be sure to choose an email campaign solution that makes it incredibly simple to create a perfectly responsive newsletter. With our solution, Sarbacane Desktop, you can create a professional newsletter all by yourself! It's very simple, and automatically responsive.
Download Sarbarcane Desktop for free.
A catchy subject
You're now off to a great start for a successful email campaign. But readers still have to decide whether or not to open it. There's nothing quite like a convincing subject to encourage them to do so. It's THE factor that determines if your email will be opened, and therefore how effective the campaign will be.
The subject must be short, intriguing, and concise. Aim for originality. Boldness and relevance are the key factors. Avoid far too generic terms like "free," "win," "sale," "click now," and so on.
Another point before the opening: the preheader. It should summarize your essential message in one sentence.
Place the usual "If this message does not display correctly, click here" after it, because the first sentence is what your addressee will see in their email previews.
A coherent structure
So now they've opened your email... but it's not over yet. It's time to talk about the most important thing: structure.
- The header: this includes the famous call to action, your company's logo, and a slogan.
- The body: the main topic is introduced here, with the essential information right away. Balance text and images (about 50/50), and don't overdo it.
- You want useful links that are customized, but not too many of them, and adapted landing pages.
- Your phone numbers, email address and physical address should be here, and they should be clickable to save time (particularly on smartphones).
- Share buttons for social networks
- Elements of credibility
- Obligatory unsubscribe link
We'll revisit some of these points in greater detail.
Your email campaign must have a clear objective that you will focus on no matter what. Try to showcase your subject, a promotion, or a special offer. Organize and rank your newsletter according to how important the information is. Each element should be carefully positioned: leave nothing to chance. Everything depends on your topic!
The first thing you need to do is prepare well in advance. Don't write your email at the last minute: it will show! Preparing a schedule will also help you keep your mailings consistent and regular.
Call to action
The "call to action" is the engaging appeal that you must at all costs place on an image, a banner, or a button containing a direct link that will lead to the product you wish to sell. Its wording should invite readers to interact with your company. Common examples include "Subscribe," "Learn more," "Get this deal," and "Download our app."
They let you clearly feature a link and encourage a click by using an action word.
Dedicated landing pages
When customers click on a link, it is always preferable that they be redirected to a landing page that welcomes them warmly to your site, and clearly indicates the process they should follow to get to where they want to go. Ideally you'll create a dedicated landing page for each new campaign.
Don't forget your objective: selling. If users are going to make a purchase on your site, they need be sure they're not going to be ripped off. You must do everything you can to earn their trust so that they complete their transaction.
This is "credibility." Add phrases to your newsletter like "Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back," along with indicators of authenticity such as labels. You can also display positive reviews, reassure users that their transactions on your site are secure, or offer them help with a contact form or a direct phone number, among other things. Reassure them as much as possible!
Social networks are not the end of email campaigns – quite the contrary! Their benefits can be crucial for certain businesses. If you think they are indispensable for your company, add buttons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and other accounts, depending on which networks are useful to you, and on your campaign's targets.
This technique has several benefits, including:
- Converting your email contacts into fans
- Promoting the viral nature of your campaigns using sharing
- Managing your community and ensuring you project a modern image
- Reaching new targets and making your brand known
We'd never wish it upon you, but we want you to be prepared: it is crucial that you add an unsubscribe link to the bottom of your emails. It shouldn't be too visible, but it shouldn't be hidden either! If you don't have an unsubscribe link, this can lead to users flagging your emails as SPAM, which will hurt your image.
To conclude this article, we can't encourage you enough to TEST your newsletters before sending them. Do an A/B test if necessary to compare two versions of an email campaign, and see which one is more effective. Don't forget that once you've sent it, it's too late!
The Sarbacane advantage
With Sarbacane Desktop, the leading French provider of email campaign solutions, you can meet all of these objectives easily and simply. Equipped with a Prestashop module that's available directly in your back office, Sarbacane is a solution designed for e-commerce, with segmentation of your lists, advanced statistical analyses, and hundreds of free responsive templates. Sarbacane offers you a wide range of possibilities to help you create ideal email campaigns.
Download Sarbarcane Desktop for free.