Today’s email landscape is a cluttered one — with recipients bombarded with competing messages on a daily basis, finding a way to stand out from the crowd is often easier said than done. Combined with tightening opt-in regulations as well as single-click unsubscribe features, there’s a fine line between getting the “in” with a client and ending up on an opt-out list.
What do I tell my clients? From my experience, there are three elements that define a successful email campaign: voice, cadence and simplicity.
Does your email voice reflect your brand?
Think about the last email you sent. If you put a competitor’s name on it, would the email also work for them? If so, you need to change your emails to better reflect your own voice.
While the default for email marketing is constructing very formal, “corporate-sounding” notes, it is your brand voice that creates the link between your company and your targets and keeps them engaged in your content.
Your voice should also mirror that of your targets. They want to feel they can relate to the sender and the brand, so speaking in a way that creates a sense of inclusion will make them more likely to continue interacting with your messages. The key is to make your targets feel you understand them, as opposed to just being another name on a list.
A couple of newsletters I personally subscribe to that do a great job at bringing their brand voice to their emails are The Hustle and MecLabs. The first is a daily roundup newsletter that uses a rebellious and ambitious tone to reach its target audience — young male professionals. MecLabs, on the other hand, creates its voice through clever references and direct statements that catch the reader’s attention, while providing marketing insights.
Do you have an established cadence?
Establishing a cadence that your targets recognize is the second element to successful email campaigns. Whether your communications are tied to a length of time (daily, weekly, monthly) or dedicated to specific updates or promotions, a clearly defined cadence strengthens the reader’s connection to your brand and content. After receiving a few emails, your targets should understand when to expect your emails and what to expect from them once they are in their inbox. Creating this understanding helps maintain your subscription base and creates a sense of anticipation from your readers.
One great example I’ve seen is Think with Google. This email, delivered every Monday, provides a roundup of the top stories on marketing research and digital trends. With a weekly send and a clearly defined focus, Google has created the ideal cadence.
Emails should be simple, both in writing and design.
Brevity and the use of common language presents your message in a way that easily resonates with your readers. When integrated with a strong brand voice, this creates a concise email that addresses your target’s needs without taking up too much of their time.
Additionally, an email design that uses simple graphics and generous white space helps guide the reader through the email. This allows them to easily digest the information and navigate to the sections they care about most. A clean design also helps email avoid spam traps, ensuring it makes it to the readers.
It’s important to remember that you are asking your targets to take time out of their day to read your message, so your goal should be to make the experience as easy as possible for them.
One example I suggest checking out is NCR’s monthly newsletter, The Sidewalk. Focused on small businesses, this newsletter uses NCR’s clean color palette, featuring the lead story in a prominent gray box while driving the reader to subsequent stories using flowing white space. The result? An informative, visually pleasing email that can be quickly digested.
The key is to think about your reader
The common theme shared by these three elements is putting the reader first. Taking the time to understand what the reader wants and how to best portray these wants through email messaging and design will ensure a stronger connection between your brand and your targets.
Dan Earle is a Senior Account Executive at Arketi Group, an Atlanta-based B2B technology marketing agency. Throughout his career, he has led lead demand and nurturing campaigns for clients ranging from start-ups and large enterprises. A seasoned marketing automation professional, he has also helped clients through the implementation process of numerous automation platforms, including Pardot, Marketo and Sharpspring.
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