Keep the subject line and pre-header short: The subject line is crucial. Keep it short so the reader knows exactly what the email topic is about. And the pre-header text (also known as snippet text), don’t let it go to waste by using “To view this email in your browser…”. Instead, summarize the email or include a call to action (i.e., Use “FREESHIP” to get free shipping).
Sample review: “After using it (Sortd), you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine this tool isn’t going places. Create custom columns, such as ‘To-do,’ ‘Follow Up,’ or ‘FYI’ — the possibilities are nearly endless. Then, when an email comes in, simply drag it to the appropriate column. You can even set reminders, add notes, or change the title of the email. You can also set individual emails to “snooze” so that they are relegated to the bottom of your list until the snooze is over, at which point it pops back up at the top.” — B2B PR Sense Blog
Presentation is everything, or so they say. With this old adage in mind, we’ve compiled our best tips for anyone who wants to send emails that subscribers click into a handy email design guide. We cover each facet of design: content, templates, identity, color, images, layout, fonts, and calls to action. Design is as much science as it is art, and we take the guesswork out of what can seem like the most challenging part of sending good emails.
The most advanced email marketing services offer custom workflows where you can specify triggers based on actions (such as opening an email or making a purchase) or on inaction (such as ignoring emails). With these services, you can also set up a series of emails (such as tutorials) to be sent to segments of users, and you can pause or stop a campaign at any time. You can also move contacts into new segments once they have completed tutorials.
In our email marketing software review roundup, we test the top email marketing tools available based on how easy it is to create emails, build subscriber lists, set autoresponders, and pull in other communication-based tools, such as social media management, and web analytics software. To that end, we selected Campaigner and Mailchimp as the best pure-play email marketing services. If you need a more complex tool that can build comprehensive workflows designed to automate the email marketing process, then we recommend HubSpot and Salesforce Pardot, which are better served as marketing automation tools.
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $3 per month to send out 500 emails per month in Zoho Campaigns to as much as $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts in Pardot. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few also offer money-back guarantees.
Minimal risk: Some top marketers expect to burn through $10,000 of advertising budget before even knowing if they can make a campaign profitable. (Nope, that’s not an exaggeration. But I’d usually aim for a few hundred dollars—not thousands.) With email marketing, the costs are much, much lower. A simple email marketing software like AWeber is very affordable even if your business isn’t a huge success, yet. And even if you go with something advanced like Infusionsoft, you’re still far away from the kinds of investments many other marketing tactics require. Sure, email marketing and advertising aren’t directly comparable (advertising is mainly used to reach new prospects). But you get the point.
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While email marketing ROI is higher than that of social media, you’d be remiss if you’re not combining both. While keeping your brand top of mind is an obvious benefit of using email and social, the crucial data you can derive from both enables you to hyper-personalize your messaging and content. This makes integrating both an integral part of your social media strategy and vice versa.