The 5 S's of Email Marketing

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Discover the utmost important qualities in effective email messages.

This week, I want to get back to the basics.

I feel with a slew of technology, algorithms, and marketing automation tools sometimes we forget the simple attributes that make an email message effective. Here, I've listed what I feel are the top five qualities of successful email marketing.

Recently, Alaska Airlines sent out an email campaign that promised $44 flights to and from major cities across the United States. I was excited—until I clicked on the offers and none of them flew to or from the New York area. And none of the flights flew to or from any of the cities that I frequently visit. Instead, the offers were for cities such as Boise, ID, to San Diego or from Birmingham to Boston.

I'm sure that since I've flown with this airline several times—and since marketers are sending me email messages—that they have my transaction history as a customer. That means marketers are able to determine which offers for certain cities would be the most enticing for customers. Be straightforward with your offers, rather than luring in a customer with offers that have no relevancy. Create up-front deals that are significant to customers. Marketers need to be black and white about the value of the message. Clarity allows people to make easy decisions about your brand and the brand's products.

Which brings me to my next point: only send email messages that are relevant and suit the reader's needs. Predictive analytics, A/B testing, purchase history, feedback, and other tools can help you create messages that are crafted to consumers' wants. And don't forget tech tools. According to the Aberdeen Group, using marketing automation can increase conversion rates by more than 50%.

Ultimately, the right strategy will be customer-focused and omnichannel. Create a strategy that meets shoppers wherever they are. Technology is already encouraging this fusion with social feeds inside of emails and the blending of email and mobile. When marketers work to bring all of the unique benefits of each channel together, that's when they'll begin to see the most return.

On average, users get about 150 messages in their inboxes each day, and those emails are coming from family, friends, and coworkers. So the succinctness allows readers to consider an offer or read a message in a matter of moments—perfect in an age of digital noise that often drowns out marketing messages. In fact, a succinct message or subject line is really the piece that allows marketers to move from something that feels like inbox clutter to something of value that someone wants to open. It's the beginning statement of the story.

People share stories on social media when they find the content interesting, shocking, or inspiring. One of the best steps that a marketer can take is to create email content that prompts readers to share on social media. Connecting directly with your customers and fans through social media shows you what content engages them; capitalize on that information by creating fun emails your readers would likely share as forwards or on their own social channels.


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