Eblast Improvement Plan

I just read an article about why we shouldn’t call email marketing initiatives eblasts. The author explained that no one wants to be blasted with anything, let alone inbox shrapnel. Valid point. But really, email marketing is a really long phrase to type out, and at some point it’s going to go to the buzzword graveyard or millennials are going to come up with an SMS acronym that only makes sense with a decoder ring.

At the end of the day, does it really matter what word you choose to describe sending an email to a list of current and potential customers? Probably not. What does matter? Whether people open the email, click on buttons or links and — the holy grail of emails — the actionable response of someone actually picking up the phone or sending an email to you.

So how are your email marketing efforts faring these days? Are they flatlining or are they fabulous? If they are making the magic happen, give yourself a big round of applause and maybe go check out another blog in our archives. If you are in the other camp and you need to resuscitate your blasts stat, keep reading.

Your Subject Line is Lame

I know that sounds harsh, but sometimes you need a little tough love. Think about your inbox: How many emails do you receive a day? My guess is you lost track after 9 a.m. this morning. Which means emails, whether work-related or not, are filling your inbox nonstop from morning to night. That said, if an email pops up that isn’t work-related, not from a friend or family member and not from your favorite design shop (ahem) you are probably less inclined to open it. However, before you throw it in the trash, you may read the subject line and that, my friend, is where the sender has the opportunity to change your course of action.

Subject lines can make or break an email, so you’ll want to follow these steps before you hit send on your next campaign:

  • Keep it short: No one has time for more than 50 characters
  • Descriptive: What am I about to open?
  • Give a reason to read on: Just don’t use the words “free,” “help,” “percent off” and “reminder.”

Say Cheese!

No you don’t really have to, but snapping some photos or creating graphics to complement your eblast messaging can help promote your brand and keep readers engaged. Think about it: When you are reading a magazine or website, you most likely appreciate when there are some graphic elements — pictures, icons, etc. — to help tell the story. Imagery provides personality and sometimes even context.

Next time you are drafting your eblast, add a picture or two and just remember:

  • Don’t send one big image: They’ll slow your roll and flag you as spam.
  • Keep the image on top: Make it the introduction to great copy.
  • The important info should be in text: Sorry, photos, you’re fun but not super informative

The Berlin Wall of Text

The subject line wooed you, the photo kept you interested, but there’s no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that you are going to read this novel of an email — you have real work to do. Your recipient likely took an extra moment to click on your email because there was time for a quick break, but if you are forcing them to read “Atlas Shrugged” before they finish their cup of coffee, you may as well forget about keeping their attention.

Sure it’s easy to wax poetic about email marketing or boxes of widgets because that’s what you live and breath, but your customer probably doesn’t get it. Keep your writing short and sweet and remember:

  • Content hierarchy is key: People will read the first few lines and the big call-outs, so make sure the important stuff shows up there.
  • Get to the point: Seriously, my coffee is getting cold.
  • Relevant content is king: If the end user opened the email, he or she likely cares about your info, so don’t veer too far off course.

The Bat Symbol

When Bruce Wayne sees the bat symbol fly across the sky, he knows that he better get his bat suit on and prepare to fight some bad guys. Where am I going with this? Well, your eblast needs to have some kind of call to action (CTA) to encourage readers to do something — otherwise what’s the point of sending them an email in the first place?

While you don’t need to have your own bat symbol (though that would amazing), you should try to:

  • Call attention to the CTA: Don’t bury the most important detail, sheesh.
  • Spread the love: Don’t just have one CTA button, include a link in the text, have the footer or main image be clickable.
  • Click this button or you will self destruct in 5…4…: You don’t have to scare the reader, but do give them a compelling reason to take action.

They’re just not that into you

Ouch. Sorry, Charlie, no matter what you say or do, some recipients just don’t want what you’re selling.

Don’t beat yourself up too much, just go back to your email list and make sure you’re making smart decisions when it comes to:

  • List quality: Only send eblasts to people who actually either a) care what you have to say or b) are your target market.
  • Frequency: Even your mom could get tired of being spammed by you every day.
  • Respect: If they already removed themselves from your list, don’t add them back on — that’s just rude.