Big, blanket terms are overwhelming.
“Email marketing.” “Inbound marketing.” “Content marketing.”
We often read about these terms and say, “Yes, yes, important things. Things I will definitely focus on this year — right after [insert any other mundane task you can possibly think of so you don’t have to explore a brand-new, too-big concept].”
But that’s not good. Because these big, blanket terms are big for a reason — they’re important. And they can seriously make an impact on your marketing efforts.
So here’s the deal: we’re going to explore those big terms on this blog — but it’s our goal to do it in an actionable way, without the overwhelm. To provide quick tips and simple steps so that you can begin implementing these big terms in a small way. (Sound like your cup of tea? Well then, join in for more exclusive tips!)
And today, we want to talk about emails.
Email marketing is the old-but-new cool kid on the marketing block. It’s making a comeback because — well, it never really went away. It’s one of the oldest form of permission marketing (marketing that people actually want and ask for), and it’s a great way to build audience and community.
So without revamping your entire email marketing strategy, what are some things that you can do today to improve your school’s emails?
#1: Stop asking people to “subscribe” to your “newsletter”.
Yep. Having a little box on your website that asks people for their emails with a button that says “subscribe!” is just not enough. Because what does that mean? Subscribe for what? What is a newsletter, anyway? What value will someone be getting in exchange for access to their personal email inbox?
See for example the sidebar in our blog. “GET THE STORY: Sign up for weekly updates, and learn to create content that will boost your online authority and your business.” It makes a promise, and let’s readers know what will be delivered. Revising your subscribe ask is a quick way to make joining your email list more enticing.
#2: Write better email subject lines.
Just like no one wants to sign up for a “newsletter”, no one wants to open an email with the subject line “April News”. Make your email subjects interesting and actionable. Again, always keep the recipient in mind. What in your email content is the most meaningful for that person? What does he or she NEED to know? Use that information to craft your subject.
For tips on how to write email subjects that get recipients to click, read: 10 Stats That Will Help You Write Better Email Subject Lines
#3: Cut down on the images.
While including lots of fabulous imagery may make you feel like your email content is more interesting, having too many images can cause your email to head straight for the Spam folder.
Instead of loading up your email with photos, focus on the quality of your content. Keep your design simple and easy to read on both desktop and mobile screens by using clear typography, short sentences, headers and bullets (just as you would for a blog or website page), and perhaps include 1-2 images — tops.
#4: Focus on one call-to-action.
The purpose of sending emails to subscribers is to engage them in your community and your story. By asking them to do too many things — click here to learn more about this, click there to contact this person, click down here to answer that question — you risk having them take no action at all.
Instead, try to focus on one clear call-to-action. Ask them to respond to one question or idea. Have them share an important message with their friends and social media contacts. Request that they learn more on your website. One next step.
If you’re thinking that’s impossible, it probably means that you have too much going on in your email. Consider breaking out different messages — different stories — into their own emails, so that each email you send has one simple message and one simple action to take.
BONUS: Steal from others.
The next time you open an email — any email — from a business or brand, save it. Create a “swipe file” on your computer for emails that worked on you, and review those to get additional ideas on how to improve your own emails. You’ll quickly create a bank of great email subject lines, compelling stories, cleanly designed templates, and strong calls-to-action. There’s no shame in the stealing game — learn from the best, and make it your own!
Want more email tip goodness? Check out these recent articles:
- Old-Cool Marketing: Is 2016 the Year of the Email?
- 7 Reasons to Fall in Love with Email Marketing
- 7 Ways to Make a Big Splash with Drip Email Campaigns
- 20 Best Tips for Fast, Effective Email List Building
- 20 Best Ways to Kill Your Boring Email Campaigns – And Bring Them Back To Life
- What “The Skimm” Can Teach Businesses About Email Marketing
Try making just one of these changes, and see what happens. Do your open rates improve? Are you getting more click-throughs? More subscribers? When you start seeing little wins, you may be inspired to take a deeper look at the value of your emails — a small way to take on a big marketing strategy.
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