Upgrade your email blasts with four simple tactics
Email marketers' use of the email blast isn't going away any time soon. But Columnist Scott Heimes explains how you can do it the right way to avoid annoying your recipients.
Email blasts are a time-honored tradition in email marketing where a business sends one email to thousands of people simultaneously, often unsolicited. It’s an effective means of getting attention, but it’s not the type of attention brands should want. Like a man on a soapbox screaming into a megaphone, the email blasts annoy rather than inform and cause their recipients to avoid rather than engage.
There is a much better way to send updates to recipients. Permission marketing tactics, where a recipient can choose to receive newsletters, and email blasts at a particular cadence, can help email marketers send their messages to receptive ears, for example. In fact, there are a few methods email marketers can employ to successfully deliver emails without treading on the morally gray areas email blasts entail. Let’s take a look at a few of them now:
Always use permission-based marketing tactics
First and foremost, any and all email marketing programs need to operate from a permission-based platform. That means you only send emails to those who say they want emails. This is more than a suggestion. Forgoing permission-based marketing and blasting emails to purchased lists means you could potentially be labeled as a spammer. That is bad for you and your brand.
Your first effort in any email program should be to build out a permission-based system. This is good for keeping your subscribers engaged, as well as for long-term growth and healthy communications with your recipients. Typically, it includes opt-in and opt-out pages, welcoming emails, email preference pages and, of course, providing readers with good content.
Every email marketing program is going to be different. So, do your research (will your recipients appreciate the opportunity to adjust email cadence, for example?) and stick to best practices.
And remember — no purchased lists, ever.
Segment your lists for personalization
Your company will be sending emails to a diverse market. Unfortunately, this means sending emails to diverse audiences with differing tastes and appreciations. This makes it hard to write one engaging catch-all email that encapsulates what everyone needs. So, don’t.
Reduce your reliance on a one-size-fits-all email through segmented lists. Segmented lists can help you tailor your messages to bits of your audience — based on age, gender, region and more. This delivers relevant messages with a personalized touch.
And, thankfully, segmentation doesn’t have to be difficult. Many email service providers today offer segmentation capabilities right in their tools, which can help you to expedite the drafting process.
Never forget your call to action
Each message you send should contain a call to action (CTA) — even if it’s a simple post to Twitter or Facebook. This is more difficult than many assume, because identifying good CTA messages can be difficult. It requires a lot of A/B testing and experimentation in copy placement, content, design and more.
Still, effective copy is typically short, simple and asks the recipient to participate in the overall purpose of the message. For example, if your organization were to send an email asking its unresponsive recipients to adjust their email cadence (and it should), it could use a CTA like “Adjust Here,” “Time My Deals,” or — more bluntly — “Adjust My Email Preferences” in text or in a button.
The point is, your recipients ought to be offered something they can do — rather than being told something without any engagement at all.
Consider renaming your email blast or newsletter
Finally, consider how you position your email blasts. Perhaps “email blast” isn’t the right term for what you’re trying to achieve. If that’s the case, then consider calling your campaign a “newsletter” or “weekly promotions.” Describe your campaign to your recipients accurately and how it impacts them — or you may risk not engaging your audiences at all.
For all intents and purposes, the email blast isn’t going away. However, it can be adjusted to better suit your recipients. By treating your readers with respect, you can effectively keep them engaged with your content. And that should be the ultimate goal: engaging with your message and participating with your community.