How to Leverage Email Marketing to Fuel Your Inbound Strategy

September 22, 2020

6 Minute Read

Getting your email opened. It’s one of the hardest parts of email marketing. Of course, with email, getting it opened is only the first step. Then, you need to get people to actually read it and act on it (in a perfect world).

You can find a lot of tactics on the world wide web to get your emails opened. Many are creative. Some are clever. But only 4 are the best email marketing tactics we’ve seen.

#1. Using GIFs in your email.

We stumbled upon this one almost by accident and discovered it works very well. When we’ve used it, we’ve found that it generates a bigger response rate than plain ole’ text emails.

It makes sense too. People like visuals and fun. Life and work are hard enough, so a fun GIF catches attention and motivates the individual to read the entire email. (Side note – it’s pronounced GIF not JIF, you neanderthals)

Not many people use this tactic, so you’ll definitely stand out if you use it.

The key to making it successful – and not weird – is to make it relevant and clever. Being relevant to pop culture and a subject everyone’s likely to understand is especially helpful.

An example – 

#2. True Personalization.

True personalization is about taking the time to fine-tune your message to your reader through audience segmentation. It’s not a quick tip, sadly. It takes time and effort to implement this one. But don’t worry, your efforts will be rewarded greatly in the form of interaction and response rates. 

Everyone who signs up to receive your brand’s emails knows that you aren’t taking the time to send an individual email to every person on the list. So, skip the fake familiarity of personalizing names (Think “Oh hey there {insert first and last name here}). Instead, say something like, “Hey, based on your previous interests, we thought you might be interested in this too.”

This approach personalizes for interests – the things that will really get your email read.  

For example, Spotify’s Daily Mixes. Their personalized playlists target you with automated emails based on what you listen to. And you’re probably more interested in the recommendations they’re providing than seeing your name in the subject line, right?

The key here is audience segmentation. Now, segmenting by interest, demographics, buying pattern, or however your audience naturally segments can take a little time. It’s worth it though. Well-segmented email lists guarantee you get the best and most useful content to your audiences.

#3. Email Split-testing.

If you have a big audience, you need to split test your email campaigns, both for copy and for design elements. Split-testing, also called A/B testing, uncovers what best engages your audience. Typically, you monitor email success based on open, interaction, and response rates with response rates being the most valuable measure.

What should you test? We recommend testing any of the following:

–          Subject lines

–          Body copy

–          GIFs

–          Images, graphics, photos

–          Calls-to-Action (call-to-actions sounded too weird)

–          Links

–          Downloads

–          Button design and placement

Realistically, you can test any element in the email that your audience will see or interact with.

Just remember, when testing, you need to be scientific about it. Only change one item at a time. This way, you can accurately measure the impact of a change. If you change multiple elements, you won’t be able to isolate which one impacted response. Scientific Method making a come-back!

#4. Make Your Email Mobile-Engaging.

How many of your emails never get opened because you just swipe them away when using your mobile device?

If you do it, you can bet your audience does it too.

With more and more people checking email on their mobile devices, your emails need to have an appeal that prevents them from being “swiped” away.

It starts with an enticing subject line. It must capture attention and make your recipient care to read more. With email marketing, you can’t worry that you might annoy someone or that the subject may only be tangentially related. You have one small moment to grab your readers’ attention and spark interest, so use it!

Clickbait content on YouTube can be pretty instructive in understanding the principle. You see an engaging Video title and think “Well I might as well watch”. So, you click to find out more.

In one instance, we were working with an education client targeting potential college and university students. Through testing we found the best open rate and response rate resulted from the following subject line:

“I’m done with this B.S.”

We were talking about a Bachelor of Science and how the seniors who attended this university recently graduated, meaning they need to worry about enrollment for the upcoming year.

With email, clever works. But what works best is what resonates with your audience the most. And the only way you can find this out is through testing.

Want to learn more about any of these tactics? Let’s chat…

James Willingham - Paid Media Account Manager

James Willingham

James describes his job at BFO as ‘a dream career,’ and we describe him as a ‘dream employee.’ Firstly, James is a foster parent, who has used his skills in digital marketing to promote foster parenting. Family and inter-personal relationships are paramount, and he incorporates his talent and caring persona in building successful SEM strategies for regional and national accounts and his expertise in paid social advertising on Facebook.