Content Marketing, Owned Media

You’ve got awesome content, and you’re confident your buyers would love it if they would just open your emails. But that’s the difficult part; actually delivering your eBooks, guides, and articles in a manner people will be receptive to.

Turns out, email is still one of those ways. In fact, 91 percent of consumers check their email daily, according to ExactTarget, and 74 percent of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email, reports Merkle.

Email is working. The Direct Marketing Association revealed that 66 percent of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message. But amongst all of this good news, there is some bad: consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of marketing emails they receive. (More than 838 billion marketing messages were sent in 2013 alone!)

So how do you cut through the noise and get people to engage with your marketing emails? Well, my email inbox is overflowing with advertisers who want me to buy this or try that, but there have been a few emails I couldn’t resist opening and checking out.

By examining my own behavior, I’ve learned a few lessons from the pros.

Subject Lines Need to Leave Me Wanting More

Ann Taylor must have the best email subject line writer in the retailer world. Every email I get, I know it will simply be a discount or coupon for clothes I’ve seen a million times. And still, I open nearly every single email I receive because I just can’t resist. The subject lines are that good.


email marketing Ann Taylor Subject Line


The Takeaway: Understand what it is your consumers want, then tap into that emotion with your subject line. In this case, buyers want amazing discounts on the items they love. It can range from 15 to 60 percent, so the subject line lures them in to find out how big the savings can be.

Welcome Emails Need to Be Inviting While Pushing Me Forward

I signed up for a 30-day free trial of Honey. I usually ignore welcome emails because I know they are trying to get me to buy the full package. But this one was different. It was inviting and personal. It provided me with the tools I needed to explore the software further and, yes, it gave me the option to upgrade. It was third on the list and valuable for those who are ready. Following that, I was given a personal email address in case I needed anything further.


Email Marketing Honey Welcome


The Takeaway: Think about how you’d want to be approached after signing up for a free trial or buying something. You don’t want to be pushed or handled. You’d want the information you need to make the most of your trial or new purchase. And you’d want personal care if you had questions. Provide the same for your buyers.

Email Content Needs to Solve My Problems, Big and Small

For many women, buying jeans is a major event. Finding the perfect pair with the perfect fit at the right price is a huge deal. So that is why I loved that Madewell solved buyer problems in its latest email. “Curing the whole bag-out situation” and making the “rearview” look good make me feel like this brand gets me.

Email Marketing Madewell Problem Solving


The Takeaway: Knowing your buyers’ pain points and what keeps them up at night is your pathway into buyers becoming customers.Understand the challenges you can solve for your recipients, and then talk about it.

Email Videos Need to be Über Helpful to Me

I love my Dyson DC44 vacuum. It makes me want to clean my floors—and trust me, this is no easy feat. I love Dyson as a brand even more since I received a simple email with a video showing me how to clean my vacuum’s filter. A reminder email with a short, valuable how-to video, what more could I ask for?


Email Marketing Dyson Video


The Takeaway: Video email marketing offers a return 280 percent higher than traditional emails. So use it, but use it wisely. Keep it simple. Keep it useful.

If You Mess Up, You Should Apologize to Me

Speaking of free trials, I tried one for Plated, a company that will deliver ingredients and recipes right to my door. While the meals were delicious and I enjoyed the convenience, I decided not to continue. So imagine my surprise when I got an email that said my next order of meals were on their way. I wasn’t happy Plated was going to charge me again, so I was relieved when I received an apology email with a little personal flair.

Email Marketing Plated Apology


The Takeaway: If you mess up, say so—quickly. Apologize. And, most importantly, make it genuine. It will restore your buyers’ faith in your brand.

 You Can Re-engage Me with Clever Emails

How cute are dogs? How great are puns?! Loverly really milked it when it sent me an email to re-engage me after several months of no use. While I loved these cutesy elements, the important parts of this email were the three calls to action to re-engage with the brand. There were also social icons where I could connect with the brand in different ways if I preferred. There were also easy ways to unsubscribe or alter my preferences.


Email Marketing Loverly Reengagement


The Takeaway: Draw buyers back in with intriguing emails and content. You can make it cute, but make it valuable. Then if recipients don’t respond, remove them from your list once and for all.

So what does it take to win over buyers and get them to open your emails in their inbox? The truth is, it comes down to good content. From headlines and videos to apology language and enticing calls to action, your email click-through rates depend on quality, valuable content. Email is a successful channel for delivering your content, but it hinges on your ability to create worthy content.


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