From the deluge of emails we get every day, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern that this method of targeted marketing has become the poster child for cost-effective B2B and B2C message dissemination.
The question is, how do you, as a marketer, get your emails to rise above the sea of email advertising (not to mention cats on skateboards) attempting to drown out your message to that potential customer?
To give themselves a leg up, more and more small businesses and nonprofits are incorporating photos, graphics and videos into their emails in order to quickly grab the attention of their readers. Unfortunately, many are incorporating these images and videos in ways that actually cause their potential customers to hit the Delete button before they read a single word.
Here are three tips to help you create positive engagement that can lead to measurable results.
Tip 1: Content. You love what you do. Unfortunately, not everyone is as excited about your message as you are. Dumping into your email every piece of content you feel you need to convince your reader to act on your message can lead to content overload. Readers fatigue easily, and may never get to that one message that might compel them to act.
One solution is to tease your readers. Let them see what you're writing about by using a compelling headline and showing the first few paragraphs. Then, add a link to the rest of the article on your website. If it's something they're interested in, they'll click through to read the rest of the article. There are two enormous benefits to this method.
One, it drives your potential customers directly to your website, where the chances of them engaging in the other opportunities there are greatly increased. Two, you now have the ability to capture exactly who is reading your article using your site's analytics.
Tip 2: Photos. A good photo can tell your story in a split second. However, too many photos can quickly detract from the message. Many email services still have severe limits on the size of an email allowed to pass through their servers. And, even if it is let through, if the reader has to wait for images to download, more likely than not they'll simply hit Delete.
A better solution is to provide a link to additional photos (along with a compelling caption) that takes your reader to your website. Not only does it reduce the size of your emails, but it also provides an opportunity to more fully engage your reader in the place you really want them to visit in the first place.
Tip 3: Video. The same is true for adding videos to your emails. There are services that will allow you to create emails with embedded video (for a fee, of course). However, I haven't seen one yet that seems to add sufficient value to make it worth the effort. Between spam filters and users who keep images turned off in their email app (a good reason to make sure you have "alternate text" added to your email images), embedded videos are problematic at the moment.
The best solution is to provide an image (a screenshot of the video with the "Play" button visible is best) that contains a clickable link to your video. Once again, it will take your viewer to your website (or YouTube channel), where analytics are available to let you know who clicked through. I'll be talking more about this in future newsletters (since helping my clients' tell their stories using video is what I do!).
By correctly adding these features to your emails, you'll be able to collect valuable information about your potential customers...information that can dramatically improve your success rate!
Thanks to Katharine Farrell (Twitter @Katharine_F) for her insights on this subject.