Email Tips and Best Practices: Content
Part I: Content
Advanced analytics give marketers insight into email performance and ROI, but recipient behavior is not something we can predict with complete accuracy. Still, there are certain email best practices that can increase the likelihood of audience engagement with your content. In our experience sending emails inviting professionals to attend webinars on BrightTALK, we have learned some approaches that lead to higher conversion rates—and are happy to share them with you. Read on to find ideas for achieving more opens, clicks and registrations from your email marketing efforts.
A strong subject line can increase open rates. Front-loading subject lines with keywords has proven effective in capturing audience interest – for example, “Cloud Services: Planning, Changing and Running Your Portfolio” performs better than “Planning, Changing and Running Your Portfolio of Cloud Services.” Subject line success is not necessarily about length. If a subject line is “in pieces” and each piece is strong, length is not a decisive factor – for example, “Moving to the Cloud – Why These 5 Companies Took the Plunge,” is longer than the recommended 35 characters but still successful because of the strengths of its individual pieces.
Including a well-known speaker’s name in the subject line may help increase open rate and click through rate. While the content is usually the largest draw for audience members trying to decide whether or not to attend, some speakers have built a personal brand around delivering excellent presentations that you can leverage to drive registrations. A short biography in the body of the email that explains the credentials or expertise of the speaker may also help increase click through rate.
You may also see a better open rate by making the “From” field descriptive by including the company name or the name of the presenter. When emailing recipients who are familiar with your company and content and have expectations based on previous experience, you can take the “From” field a step further by specifying which function of the company the email comes from. Using someone’s name in the “From” field can give the email a personal touch and encourage opens. However, if you use the same person’s name consistently, the effect may wear off and your message may come across as fake or automated. Readers may start associating the name with promotional emails, which can be a lost opportunity to build you brand.
Personalizing an email to the recipient by including his or her first name (“Hello John,”) works well with recipients who have previously engaged with your company and can increase click through and registration rates. If the audience is new to your company, however, including a contact’s name may have the opposite effect and prompt a higher number of people to click the unsubscribe button.
Research shows that the webinar title is the single largest influencer of whether or not someone decides to register for a webcast. Shorter keyword-heavy titles and titles in the form of questions get more clicks. Emphasizing the webinar title by highlighting it in a different color and hyperlinking it to the registration page is key to driving interested audience to your content.
Email body copy should be clear and concise, focusing on what the audience will learn and gain from the presentation (solutions, data, research, case studies, etc.). Using bullet points to present key takeaways can make emails easier to read and help readers who have time to only skim content find the important details.
Overly “creative” language or writing that over-promises may alienate a reader or cast your brand as unreliable. Instead, emphasize the opportunity to interact with and learn from industry experts, share with peers and ask questions of presenters live to showcase value in a clear and trustworthy way. A good way to promote the strengths of an on-demand webinar in an email is to share quotes from audience members about what they found useful or interesting.
To find more helpful tips and email best practices, read Part II: Formatting.