Turning prospects into paying customers is the biggest hurdle for marketers. Email marketing still plays a central role in this conversion, and companies that closely follow best practices will see the most long-term gains through sales emails that feature high open and click rates and ultimately result in sales.
Mobile optimization is an increasingly important practice, as nearly 50 percent of emails are now read on mobile devices, a trend that is likely to accelerate. Mobile devices render emails differently, so your design needs to accommodate as many platforms as possible. Pay special attention to how your email appears on devices that display full HTML emails, since you want to get the maximum exposure out of each message. You of course want any links to go to mobile-optimized sites, so you can continue a seamless interaction.
Every piece of marketing should include your social network links, and sales conversion email is no exception. The social and sharing buttons should be displayed prominently so users can talk about your content as efficiently as possible.
Creating a quality subject line is a blend of art and science. The art comes in your word choice and ability to impart a sense of urgency to the recipient. They need to feel that your offer will never be this good in the future or there is some implied scarcity so they need to move quickly. The science of subject lines comes from studying and avoiding common spam words and adhering to keeping the subject line short.
Before creating a sales conversion email, answer the question, "What do I want these recipients to do?" Your answer needs to be concrete, not just a vague desire to increase sales. If you want the recipients to consider your new product launch, then perhaps your email drives them to a video tutorial that includes a "buy now" link. You want a singular message and action so the recipient can know within seconds if they want to proceed or not. Avoid too many navigational links inside the email, instead directing the viewer to a single destination.
While this is a common best practice for email, making an email more "personal" does not just mean inserting the recipient's name in the first line of content. You can pull in personalization that reference past behaviors or actions. Perhaps they attended a webinar the day before or purchased a product two weeks ago. Sophisticated email marketers will insert such information to the email to make it more relevant and customized for the recipient.
A clutter-free design complements your single call-to-action. While you don't want the email to look barren or incomplete, a crisp design with intelligent use of white space will help you to frame your key message. Retain elements of your site and product branding so your sales email does not appear disconnected.
Avoid phrasing in the subject or body content such as "act now," "free offer," or "risk free." You need to suggest urgency and excitement with more creative language. You also want to be sure your recipients can unsubscribe. This might seem counterintuitive, but presenting a conspicuous unsubscribe link might encourage dissatisfied recipients to click "unsubscribe" instead of "spam," with the latter posing ramifications for your ability to send emails.
Do not waste your quality design and beautiful prose and then forget contact information. If you have the recipient's interest, you want to make it easy for them to jump to a live chat or phone conversation so any questions can be answered quickly.
Proper segmentation means separating out both your list and email content into logical groups. Converting a recipient to complete a sale means you need to present them with a relevant and timely offer, that's the benefit of segmentation. Having various segments also means you have more potential for A/B testing and longer-term trend analysis so you can continue to improve.
Kevin Gao is the CEO of Comm100.
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I have read numerous articles on subject lines and they always give great examples of what not to use. Things like "free sample" or "act now" but I have never read one that gives some ideas and samples of what you can use. How about some positive direction on what we can do instead of only what we cannot.
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