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October 9, 2014

Want Better Email Marketing Results? Think Mobile

October 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Consider this a quick follow-up to my look at improving email marketing effectiveness from earlier this week. Litmus Email Analytics has a cool set of information rounding up the email clients used in September, 2014. Check this out:

Email client use

According to Litmus’s data, the iPhone was the most used email client in September, with more than 1 in 4 emails opened (out of 927 million opens), in September. The iPad contributed another 12%. While Android was at #6, with “only” 6% of opens, it’s not clear to me how many of the Gmail opens at #2 with 15% were on mobile devices. I suspect at least some.

I’ve referenced data showing that using responsive design — i.e., designs that work well regardless of the device used — boosts open rates by 20% a few times now. This Litmus data helps explain why. If 45% or more (27% iPhone + 12% iPad + 6% Android) of all opens happen on mobile devices, your customers need responsive emails to even begin to interact with your brand and your business.

Email marketing remains a key contributor to connecting with customers. It’s often among the first sources of information your customers engage every day. According to Yesmail, 50% of users only read email on mobile and tablet devices. Yet, somehow, many marketers have moved away from email, leading to its status as a forgotten social network. Put simply, email marketing works for reaching qualified customers, and for driving meaningful business results.

Or, at least it will, if you help customers use it on the devices they care about most.

Want more? Then you might want to check out these slides called, “Email Marketing: Keys to List Growth,” from a recent talk I gave to a private industry group:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 6, 2014

7 Key Tips for More Effective Email Marketing

October 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

7 key tips for more effective email marketingI got an email from Geoff in the UK the other day, who asked,

“You’ve written in the past about how to grow my business’s email list and that Millennials still use email. You’ve sold me. I want to grow my list and reach more customers. But, even with a large list, I don’t know that the results we’re seeing are as effective as they can be. How can I make my email marketing more effective?”

Good question, Geoff. And, happily, I’ve got an answer for you. Well, seven, actually. Here are 7 key tips for more effective email marketing:

  1. Address your email message to your key customer segments. It’s almost impossible to write an email that works for the entire world (or your entire list). It simply doesn’t work as well as targeting a key customer segment and speaking to that group’s needs. Think about who you’re addressing your email to, then build the message around the needs of that customer segment. Personas help, too (see slides 137-141 in my presentation “The Truth: How the Social, Local, Mobile Web Affects Sales Online and Offline” for more on personas). While you can craft a single email message that uses different sections to address different customer needs, work to segment your email list into its component groups over time. A more focused message will perform better, and improve your customers’ experience, too.
  2. Write a clear subject line. Once you know who you’re sending your email message to, draft several subject lines until you find one that resonates for your target customer segment. As these 6 simple subject line tips to boost email open rates suggest, sometimes less is more. A subject that says “Offers and updates from [INSERT YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]” often works better than “Super Deals! Free Stuff! Amazing Opportunities!” For one thing, you’re setting a more realistic expectation of what’s inside. For another, you’re more likely to get past your customer’s spam filter.
  3. Present a simple, strong call-to-action. You’d be amazed how often I see email messages with multiple, competing calls-to-action, or, worse yet, no call-to-action at all. Make sure that each separate message in your email provides a single, clear call-to-action. Try terms like “Learn more,” “Read on,” or “Browse offers” to clearly indicate what you expect your customers to do. And, if you’re talking about a few different offers in a single email blast, vary the size and placement of those calls-to-action, to make it clear for customers what’s most important, what’s secondary, and what’s less important. You’ll reduce your customer’s confusion, while still providing everything she needs to make a decision.
  4. Images, images, images. Images sell. Period. Give your copywriters a rest, and increase the size, quality, and frequency of images within your email messages. Do you think your customers keep buying high-def screen mobile phones and tablets just to read more text? ‘Fraid not, folks. Customers love images. So put those high-res screens to use. And make your images clickable, too. There’s no reason a well-designed image can’t serve to reinforce your call-to-action — and make it easier for customers to click once they’re ready.
  5. Use responsive design for your emails. As this look at how to improve your email in just 5 minutes mentioned, emails with responsive design enjoyed a 21% higher click-to-open rate than emails using a non-responsive design. So, assuming you’ve got a 20%(-ish) open rate, responsive design will buy you 42 more opens for every 1,000 people on your list (or 420 for every 10,000, or 4,200 for every 100,000…). And, if you provide the right images and calls-to-action, those extra opens will drive increased clicks and increased conversions, too.
  6. Benchmark your results. Where’d I get that “20%(isn) open rate” number? From benchmark data. Most major email providers offer decent benchmarks you can use to measure your effectiveness against others in your segment. Think in terms of your key email marketing metrics — total opens/open rate, unique clicks/effective rate, conversion, unsubscribes — and use those numbers to see when you’ve got room to improve, and when you might be fighting a period of diminishing returns. Develop internal benchmarks, as well, to evaluate your progress over time.
  7. A/B test everything. Finally, making your email marketing more effective depends on conducting regular tests to see what’s working for your customers, then applying those learnings to your ongoing efforts. While I’ve covered A/B testing in detail over the years, email marketing introduces a few wrinkles of its own. For instance, to test subject lines, consider a holdback test. In this test, you test two competing subject lines by sending each to 10%-15% of your total list (split the two different subject lines evenly between the group), measuring which subject line drives the greatest open rate. Once you have a winner, you send the remaining 85%-90% of your list (the holdback group), the winning subject. You can conduct similar tests within your message body, splitting your list to see which headlines, images, copy, and calls-to-action drive greater results before sending the final version to the majority of your list. The more tests you conduct, the more you’ll learn what works for your audience, and what drives the greatest results for your business.

The great thing about these tips is they apply equally well in both B2C and B2B contexts (especially important given that email represents a key way to reach top decision-makers in B2B environments). While the specific messages, headlines, copy, and images, will certainly vary, the general approach works just as well to both types of customer.

Despite sometimes representing a forgotten social network, there’s no doubt that email marketing still works for reaching qualified customers, and driving meaningful business results. Follow the 7 key tips for more effective email marketing just outlined, and you can expect to see those results for your business too.

Want more? Then you might want to check out these slides called, “Email Marketing: Keys to List Growth,” from a recent talk I gave to a private industry group:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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August 18, 2014

Will Millennials Use Email?

August 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

Millennials use email coupleEver since my post about how to grow your email list, last week’s podcast exploring why email marketing still works, and this e-commerce digest featuring millennials and mobile, you’ve all been sending me loads of emails (ironically enough), asking whether email use applies to millennials. Given all the media channels available to millennials, including mobile, social, search, and apps, will millennials use email as preceding generational cohorts have?

To put it simply, yes, your millennial customers use email too, and I see no reason to assume that will change right away.

Here’s why.

First, we know that 7 out of 10 customers in the United States have a smartphone now, with those numbers greater among millennials than any other generation. We also have data that shows more than half of all emails were opened on mobile in 2013, bypassing desktop email clients for the first time ever. Right there, the data suggests that millennials are likely to use email at least as much as Boomers and Gen X.

However, even better data exists. Aweber’s Generation Media Explorer shows that 40% of millennials use email to stay connected with their favorite stores, more than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other channel for that matter.

Millennials use email

The graphic above shows email vs. Facebook (the second most popular channel), but you can check out the other channels for yourself.

Here’s why you should care. The Direct Marketing Association said last year that email averages a 4,300% return on investment. If you think about the costs associated with email marketing, that number shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Even a few sales from email can often justify the expense. And when used as part of a comprehensive digital strategy, encompassing search, social, and mobile channels, email can prove even more effective still.

Email marketing remains a valuable tool in any digital marketer’s toolkit. Mobile customers read email at increasingly high rates. And because millennials use email, particularly on mobile, it appears likely email will remain a valuable channel for some time to come.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can view the slides from my talk about growing your email list below:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

And you can learn even more about how customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing by registering to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to attend a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, whether you work with Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, or the Silent Generation, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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August 13, 2014

Why Email Marketing Still Works – Thinks Out Loud Episode 85

August 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

Email marketing works

Why Email Marketing Still Works Headlines and Show Notes

And, as promised, here are the slides from my recent talk:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 02s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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August 7, 2014

E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List

August 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

grow your email listI gave a brief talk earlier this week called “E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List” to an amazing audience filled with savvy, experienced marketers from around North America. It was a fantastic group and a really great discussion followed. I wish I had video of the talk, because it was a fantastic day all around and really builds on what yesterday’s podcast is all about. Still, for those of you who are interested, here are the slides:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

I bring all this up because Mark Jones of Thomson Reuters has a great piece about what’s driving the increased use of email marketing that’s well worth the read and underscores how important email marketing remains to effective e-commerce and digital marketing activities. Email really is the forgotten social network and a key part of building your business and your brand. Feel free to check out the slides and let me know if you’re interested in learning more about how you can apply these lessons in your business.

If you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in another recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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June 9, 2014

How to Reach Top Decision Makers in 5 Minutes

June 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Executive woman tablet carYou want to reach top decision makers? It’s easier than you think. Just as with any marketing or e-commerce initiative, the key is to reach customers where and when they want to hear from you. Easier said than done, you say? Not really. The one place that executives and senior management pay attention to more than anything else remains their email inbox.

Now, it’s probably no secret I’m a big fan of email marketing, long calling it the forgotten social network and including posts about improving its value in the top e-commerce and digital marketing posts for the last two months.

Don’t believe this? Check out this excellent Marketing Charts study that shows global executives rely on email to consume and share industry information:

“Email newsletters also significantly outpace social media accounts as news sources, with social platforms generally used more for sharing than sourcing content. Even so, results from the survey show that executives are far more likely to use email (80%) to share content than they are to turn to specific social platforms such as Twitter (43%) or LinkedIn (30%).”

This data underscores the importance of email for reaching key decision makers, particualrly if you’re a B2B enterprise looking to converse with managers and executives. Yes, social and search often represents best practice for reaching customers. But as I talked about last week, best practices only truly live up to the name when they work for your business.

Now, how can you make this work for you? Simple. Here are three key steps to keep in mind:

  1. Talk in their language. Think about who you’re talking to. Your customer has a set of needs. Talk in terms of benefits that matter to drive opens and click-throughs.
  2. Don’t waste their time. As I’ve talked about before, your customers don’t really have time to care about you. It’s not that they’re bad people; they’rebusy. Focus on addressing their needs immediately. Solve their problems first and that will help you solve yours, too.
  3. Keep the conversation going. Finally, don’t give up on email. Its value is in creating an ongoing dialogue. Your customer needs to see your message when they’re ready for it and if you’re only sending irregularly — or not at all — you won’t be found when they’re ready to hear from you.

Email is far from dead. And, as this data illustrates, it can be the very best channel for reaching key customers. Which, really, is what your digital marketing and e-commerce efforts are meant to do, isn’t it?

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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May 22, 2014

How to Improve Your Email Marketing in Just 5 Minutes

May 22, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile email marketing

Interesting study out this week from Yesmail (and discussed at length by Marketing Charts) showing how marketers use responsive design in their email marketing — or more accurately, don’t:

“A majority 52% of email opens occurred on a mobile device in Q1, according to the latest quarterly report [download page] from Yesmail… [which] found that among emails opened on mobile devices, those using responsive design had a 21% higher click-to-open rate than the rest (11.9% vs. 9.8%).”

Pretty cool. So, you’d expect most marketers use responsive design for their emails, right?

Nope.

“Indeed, only one-quarter of marketers tracked use responsive design in a majority of their emails, and that includes just 1% exclusively sending responsive emails. Some 31% don’t use responsive design at all.”

Wait, what?

Let’s just outline those numbers again:

  • Responsive design had a 21% higher click-to-open rate than non-responsive design
  • 75% don’t use responsive design a majority of the time
  • Almost a third don’t use responsive design at all.

Which, I guess is fine, assuming your customers don’t read emails on their phone.

Oh… except they do.

A lot.

Checking email is the #1 activity cited by smartphone users for their device, with 91% checking email at least once per day (also according to Marketing Charts).

I’ve called “email the forgotten social network” for years now, but it remains a hugely valuable e-commerce and marketing channel. Everyone has an email account. Hell, most customers have more than one. And, as the numbers cited above show, they’re checking those accounts at least daily (though, let’s be real: usually it’s much, much more).

Someone recently called mobile “the mortar in bricks and mortar.” And I’d argue that email represents a healthy ingredient for that mortar. But only if your customers can actually see it, read it, and act on it when and where they want if it works on their mobile devices. Ignoring mobile is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in 2014 whether it’s your web presence, your search activities and, yes, your email marketing.

The good news here is that odds are your competition isn’t doing a good job of email marketing to mobile customers. The bad news is if they get there first. If it were me, I wouldn’t wait.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also like these slides that list three key digital marketing trends shaping your customers’ behavior right now:

And, finally, you might want to check out some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

March 5, 2014

Internet Marketing to Make You Happy – Thinks Out Loud Episode 64

March 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

Happy marketing tips

Internet Marketing to Make You Happy Headlines and Show Notes

And, as promised, here are the slides from my presentation that talks about “All Marketing is Social.” Enjoy:

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 14s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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March 5, 2014

How to Use Emotion and Storytelling in Digital Marketing (Travel Tuesday)

March 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

Happy family shopping on tabletPicture this: An injured football player hobbles down the tunnel, leaving the field in obvious pain. A young boy steps forward, offers him a Coke… and history is made.

If you’ve never seen this commercial, you probably weren’t alive in the late ’70′s/early ’80′s. (And if you weren’t alive then… man, I’m getting old. But I digress).

If you were alive, you undoubtedly remember this ad. It was hugely popular, not only airing originally during a game in October, but several more times during the 1979 season and during that year’s Super Bowl.

Now, here’s a question for you: Why do you remember a 60-second spot from 35 years ago featuring a player and child actor who both retired not long after the spot first aired?

And, what in the world does this have to do with marketing a hotel, resort, or any other business online?

How about we answer those in order.

“Have a Coke and a Smile”

The reason you remember the Mean Joe Green commercial ties back to one of the lessons from last week’s HSMAI conference:

“Customers remember how you made them feel, not what you said.”

Coke’s classic ad demonstrates that message perfectly, fueling warm feelings towards the actors, the commercial, and, most importantly, the brand. Hell, they didn’t even disguise the intent: The whole ad campaign was called “Have a Coke and a Smile.” Subtle.

Of course, you do the same thing every day in the hospitality industry, helping your guests have a great day, no matter the circumstances. A restaurant owner I’ve worked with talks about “nailing the rolls and coffee,” suggesting that guests will remember their first interaction at the table (a server bringing rolls), and their last experience (a cup of coffee with/as dessert), more than the rest of the meal. The message for his employees is clear: Guests may forget a small error or two during the meal, but a bad first or last experience will stick with them — and will keep them from coming back.

It’s easy to overlook the emotional aspect of the guest experience online though, given how difficult it is to drive emotional engagement in popular digital channels. Search, for example—with its limited character count and “10 blue links” appearance—kind of sucks for serious story-telling designed to elicit emotion. Happily the increased use of images in search results may change this. And other channels, such as social, work brilliantly for story-telling and enhancing an emotional connection. Social, at its core, is people. And people are emotional beings.

More to the point, pretty much every purchase decision is an emotional choice. Even the most logical shoppers won’t reach for their credit card until they’re satisfied, emotionally, they’ve made the right choice. Even business customers want to be sure they’re aligning with corporate policies and, often more importantly, making their boss happy. Fear is a powerful motivator because it’s a powerful emotion.

Speaking of fear, a number of psychological models for emotions exist. Here are some of the most common emotions marketers seek to evoke, along with some examples of where you’ve seen them before:

  • Happy. Used all over the place. Very common in travel marketing (picture a couple on a romantic getaway, blissfully relaxed, or a happy family frolicking in a pool).
  • Excited. Frequently used for adventure tourism, skiing, that sort of thing. Laughter can elicit a similar response, which is why there’s so much humor in advertising.
  • Tender. Go ahead, watch that iPhone commercial with the kid making a video for his family at Christmas and tell me you’re not touched. No, I’m fine. That’s just something in my eye. Like a twig, or a branch.
  • Calm/Serene. The bread and butter emotion for many resorts and spas. When done well, it’s brilliant. However, can easily slide into self-parody or, worse, boredom (worse, because at least people will remember the unintentionally funny one).
  • Scared. Think about how most security companies promote their alarm systems, or those images of elderly relatives who’ve fallen and can’t get up. Not usually a great travel marketing play.
  • Sad. The go-to emotion for many charities. Picture Sarah McLaughlin singing a tear-jerking song while images of hungry children or animal shelters appear on your screen. Almost always the wrong choice for marketing your hotel or resort. (Rough rule of thumb: Sadness usually doesn’t lead to immediate action).
  • Angry. I can’t think of many examples from “traditional” marketing, but fairly common in political/cause marketing campaigns. Get your target audience pissed enough at your opponent and they’ll vote/march/rally/what-have-you to change the world.

Now, what does any of this have to do with digital or e-commerce? How can you use these emotions online?

Glad you asked.

Emotions + Digital = Successful Modern Marketing

Driving an emotional response — and one that leads to a booking — takes some doing. Here are four tips to get you started:

  1. Who do you think you’re talking to? Your customer data is a hugely important, strategic asset. Even if you can’t do “Big Data” yet, you know tons about your guests. Part of what makes digital marketing and tactics like behavioral targeting and email marketing so effective is that they allow you to put the right story in front of the guest most ready to listen. Use your guest data to segment your email list (low-rated vs. high-rated business, business travelers vs. leisure travelers, repeat vs. one-time guests, longer-stay guests vs. transients, and on and on and on). Test behavioral retargeting campaigns to recapture guests who’ve visited your site without booking. Then use those channels to tell a distinct, emotional story to engage each segment and drive more bookings.
  2. Align emotions with your brand story. As Josh Johnson says, “Stories are vehicles for values.” I’ve often talked about how your brand story is all about your values and the value you offer guests. Different types of properties (or non-hotel businesses, for that matter), have different stories to tell. A hip, four-star hotel in the city center’s hottest neighborhood is going to tell a vastly different story than a luxurious beach resort removed from the nightlife and neither will tell the same story as a family-owned ski resort that’s been part of its welcoming mountain community for generations. The emotions each property’s marketing team seeks to elicit among its guests should reflect the values of the property, brand, and community to attract the right type of guests and drive greater guest satisfaction overall (to say nothing of the reviews those highly satisfied guests will share with their friends, family, fans, and followers on social networks and review sites).
  3. Craft compelling copy. How many times have you seen website copy that states “…located in beautiful downtown…” and so on? Sure, it’s inoffensive. It’s also boring. Now, isn’t this better: “…The Wentworth Mansion embraces guests with warm, intuitive service. Like the greatest family traditions, it preserves its original intrigue and ensures that each guest is not a mere witness to the magic, but integral to it.” (Full disclosure: Wentworth Mansion is a client, but we used a local copywriter to capture the true spirit of the location). “Embraces… warm… family… traditions… intrigue… witness… magic… integral.” Lively, engaging, welcoming words. And ones that tell a clear story about the type of property its guests will enjoy. And, judging by the property’s TripAdvisor ranking, its guests do enjoy it.
  4. Use bold images. By bold, I don’t mean, “bright colors.” I mean images people give a damn about. If I see one more loosely cropped beach photo with a palm tree waving lazily in a gentle breeze, I might cry. Yes, sadness is an emotion. But not one that typically drive action. You have a pretty beach. Why should your guest care? Why not show people having fun on that beach? Or relaxing? Or dancing? Or something? Use images to tell a compelling story that lets your guest picture themselves achieving their goal—serenity, excitement, fun, family bonding, you get the idea.

It’s worth noting that Coke’s “Mean Joe Greene” and Apple’s “Misunderstood” spot hit all the right notes here, too. There’s a reason Coke and Apple get such high marks for their marketing. And such loyal business from their customers.

Speaking of storytelling, you may also enjoy these slides from another recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results” here:

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

March 3, 2014

6 Simple Subject Line Tips for Boosting Email Open Rates by Megan Totka

March 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

Email marketing open ratesYour email marketing messages have a lot to compete with. Some estimates state there are more than 144 billion emails sent every day—and while your subscribers aren’t receiving all of them, just about everyone with an email address suffers from information overload. The right response isn’t for you to stop sending emails. Far from it (In fact, some tests indicate a possible response is to send more emails).

No, what really matters is this: How do you get your email marketing message to stand out?

It turns out that one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase your email open rates is to write better subject lines. They’re the first things your subscribers see, and if you can grab their attention while they’re scanning their inboxes, you’ll get more eyes on your actual content—and ultimately, more conversions.

These simple tips will help you craft subject lines that snag more clicks.

Short and Sweet

Long subject lines tell subscribers more than they need to know about the contents of the email. Usually it’s enough to suggest that they ignore the message, or just delete it unread. A short, snappy subject line stands out better and heightens interest.

Another advantage to short subject lines: More people are reading email on mobile devices. If you can keep your subject to one line on a smaller screen, your click rate will improve.

Avoid Waste Words

You don’t have a lot of room in a subject line. This is premium screen real estate, so every word should count. This means avoiding words that don’t add value to your message—they’re just taking up vital character space.

Skip greeting words like “hello,” and empty descriptors like “amazing” (these can also land your messages in spam folders).

Pinpoint Your Message

A great subject line is both short and specific. Cramming every detail into a subject line results in subjects that are too long and not compelling—but going too far in the opposite direction is also no good.

Teasers and mystery subject lines won’t engage readers, who are pressed for time and don’t want to guess at what might be in your email. They want to know what to expect inside, so they can decide whether or not to keep reading.

Make the Subject Searchable

Even with a compelling email subject line, your subscribers may not be able to open your message right away. They might want to read it later—but with high volumes of email coming in, your message could get buried.

Make it easy for readers to find your emails by including memorable, searchable terms in the subject line.

Anxiety-Free Calls to Action

Your subject line should let readers know what they can do to receive a benefit from your message, in a way that doesn’t demand their attention.

Including a brief call to action—visit our site, contact us, or read this message—tells readers how they’ll be able to take advantage of your offering. However, using urgent language like “immediate response needed,” signals that you don’t respect the reader’s time, and won’t get your message viewed.

The Bottom Line: Write a Subject You’d Open

Email is a primary form of business communication, and it can be a powerfully effective marketing tool when used correctly. Your subscribers don’t want to stop reading email completely—they just want to be able to sort the intriguing from the annoying.

Writing subject lines that would make you as a consumer want to read the contents will help you improve your email marketing open rates, and run more effective email campaigns.

How do you write your email subject lines? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in more? Register to receive a free copy of Tim’s special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

About the Author:
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Image Credit: Darrel Rader on Flickr