Email Marketing: how to stay top of the inbox

02 September 2021

Rachie McCarthy

3 mins


With the meteoric rise of social media one might be led to believe that older marketing techniques are falling to the wayside in comparison. Well I’m here to let you know that whilst this theory may pertain to some cases, it couldn’t be furthest from the truth when it comes to email marketing. Email marketing campaigns are one of the oldest and most reliable ways to market your brand to leads (minus physically mailing them). And despite the increase in profile of other advertising platforms, email remains the most heavily used by far by both businesses and consumers alike. So how do you get your email seen above all the clutter? Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks to make your marketing emails stand out.

The first and most important thing to remember is your attitude. You have to be respectful of the fact that you are essentially worming your way into someone’s personal space to try and get them to come into your brand’s personal space. This means you can’t be rude, aggressive or generally piss them off in any way – otherwise the likelihood of them not clicking through to your website and unsubscribing instead are a damn sight higher. So first and foremost, be nice, even if it’s a Monday morning. So you’ve got the right attitude – good start. Now you need to think about your subject line before anything else. This is the first thing people will see and can make or break your whole schtick. It has to be eye catching, but most importantly it has to let the receiver know what the email is about. Now you can try and be sneaky and write ‘win £1000 by doing this one thing…’ then leading them to your completely unconnected marketing email, but yep, you guessed it, you’ll probably be flagged as spam and sent straight to the trash folder. We’ve all seen those types of emails, and we all hate them. Needless to say, don’t do it. On top of this, if you do this just once, then the receiver is unlikely to open any future emails you sent; think of it like the boy who cried wolf.

Instead, your subject line should be short, concise and almost a call to action in a way. Instead of saying ‘What we’ve been up to this month’ change it to ‘Come see what we’ve been up to this month’. Not only are you informing them about what information the email contains, but you’re encouraging action from them, already giving them a sense of interest and involvement.

Now when you get into the actual email, there’s a lot to unpack there. Simplicity is key – don’t overload them with stuff to read and lose their interest. Instead, give them little snippets to pique their curiosity and then place CTA buttons to lead them to your website where they can find out more about the offer/service in more detail. It’s important to label these clearly with text like ‘Read more’ or ‘contact us now’ so they know exactly what they’re getting into. Once again – DO NOT try and trick them, it will only reflect negatively on you. The likelihood of the person reading every single word of your email is highly unlikely. Do you read every word of every email you receive? No, you skim. So keep the copy concise, informative and directed towards your website for further reading.

Now if we’re talking about a newsletter instead of an email advertising one thing/service, things are slightly different. In a newsletter, you’re probably telling them about multiple different subjects. If they’re truly interested in your brand and what’s new, they’ll scroll and read through the whole thing. However, you still want to appeal to those skimmers and those who don’t have a lot of time. This is why you should always put the most important information at the top of your email, so they don’t even have to put the effort in to scroll to read it. In my opinion, I think choosing the freshest piece of news that I know will appeal to the widest audience to go at the top of the email is the best course of action. The CTA button attached will also likely be the most clicked through link on the whole email. For example, in Stone2Stone’s most recent newsletter, we placed a short bit of copy explaining how we had rebranded, with a link to our new site. Said link accounted for over 47% of the total click throughs after we analysed the email results. The numbers don’t lie, and neither do I.

When it comes to an advertisement email, don’t talk about the offer/service, talk about how it will benefit the reader. Let them be the ones to decide if it’s something they want by clicking on the CTA button, instead of hounding them about an offer without revealing why they should care. Keep it brief, and about them. Use words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ not ‘I’, so it feels more personally targeted towards them.

On that note, arguably the most important aspect of email marketing is the personality. No-one is going to be pulled in by dull, empty words droning on about how they should find out more about your brand. Make them feel like you want to start a conversation with them – use a more relaxed, fun tone incorporating exciting copy to improve your email. Remember, this email could be the beginning of a long term relationship with potential leads, so it’s important to start it off on the right foot. By adding some more personal flare, you’re humanising your brand so that the person sees you as a team of people trying to help them, not a room full of robots only caring about the overall figures.

Lastly, but very importantly, keep those lists healthy! I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts, but it’s so crucial that I feel the need to mention it again. Constantly freshen up your contact lists with new leads, expelling the ones who have bounced or unsubscribed. Not only does this mean you stay on the right side of GDPR laws, but it also ensures your email is seen by the maximum number of promising leads for your specific brand.

So there you have it. I hope you can use this few little tips to curate a marketing email that draws leads in, hook line and sinker. Remember – email hasn’t faded even a little bit, which means it’s most likely here to stay, so you better clean up those email marketing skills as quickly as possible.

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