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Once upon a time, advertisers would have had to use traditional media to get your attention. Today, they can reach your inbox (if you like, trust, and love them). By far, email is still one of the few ways left to reach your customer on a one-to-one basis. It’s your direct line of contact with your customers.

Email marketing is a marketer’s best friend. It also has the path of least resistance. According to some email marketing statistics compiled by Paul Gavin Jorgensen of Express Pigeon, email marketing is a better investment than any other digital marketing method such as social media or PPC.

And why won’t it be? More than 91% of customers check their email at least once a day. 66% of consumers in the U.S make a buying decision thanks to email marketing messages.

Email is easier to deploy, faster to launch, and it almost always gets customers’ attention (even when emails have to be unsubscribed from, archived, or deleted).

Emails are an inexpensive way to build brand equity. Slowly, but steadily.
If you are looking to make your email marketing work for you, here are a few essential ingredients that must go into it:

The visual impression

Sometimes, it’s all right to stick to text-based emails. Many marketers find success with that. It’s just that for a few businesses, or for a few marketing campaigns, you might want to use visuals.

According to the team at Rottman Creative, more than 90% of information transmitted is visual. Not convinced? Here are some more stats:

  • 1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)
  • 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)
  • Shoppers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)
  • Publishers who use infographics grow an average of 12% more than those who don’t in terms of traffic. (Source: AnsonAlex)

It’s time to use a mix of text (with optimal size and typography), white space, images graphics, and videos.

It’s time to go creative. Now!

Make irresistible offers

The Irresistible Offer is a classic by Mark Joyner and a must read for every marketer. A good offer is a must within your email marketing campaigns.

Customers adore special offers – they are always looking for it (sometimes, even unconsciously). But customers also love exclusivity. They love getting attention even if they don’t know how to handle it when the attention comes on too strong.

Thankfully, email marketing still has a way for you to take it private. You can make exclusive offers and still keep it private.
Now, not every email ought to be an offer. Some emails could just be RSS-based compilation of what’s new on your blog. Some others could just be some news, updates, or information.

Make offers when you can really come up with an irresistible one. Noah Kagan of AppSumo (think of it as a Groupon for digital products and services) is a master at making offers. Here’s one example:

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Here’s an email from Learnable (a SitePoint company). See how they make an exclusive offer only to subscribers: This offer isn’t out there for others!

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The art of making offers is general to business but really takes a life of its own through emails.

Simplicity always wins

Most of the best products, brands, and services out there today have simplicity at their core. Look at Apple’s products – they are simple, minimalistic, and almost an outlier.

Some of the best designs, advertisements, and websites, and emails (of course) are simple.

SitePoint recently saw a 16% boost in their email click-through rate just because they took the trouble to redesign their email marketing template, email layout, typography, etc.

The present email version (see below) is a version that the team at Site Point arrived at after multiple tests.

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Images were stripped off. Smaller logo was opted for. They choose a responsive email design layout and used tons of white space.

Making it simple was harder that they thought.

Mostly, simplicity wins hands down. When you launch your email marketing campaign though, make sure you test your emails before you make any decisions. A/B testing of emails is child’s play these days, with powerful email marketing and analytics solutions such as GetResponse.

Always keep giving

You know what else they can’t resist? Your generosity.

What happens if you continuously send information that has unquestionable potential of teaching your subscribers something new? What if you could share insights they don’t get elsewhere? How about just being entertaining and informative at the same time? What happens when you make it a point to keep sending stuff for perpetuity?

Awesomeness happens. The brands stick. You end up dreaming, talking, thinking, and sharing about this.

Companies like Moz and Hootsuite are always on a roll, giving something or the other away for free. There are umpteen stock photo, vector graphics and design template sites that allow free downloads every week.

These sites have subscribers who stay glued to their inboxes. In fact they look forward to receiving more emails. What do you think is a captive audience is worth from a marketing standpoint? That’s priceless!

To build that kind of an audience, you have to give a lot, and giving is hard.

Get big, and then get exclusive

What would happen if you become so popular than you can also get exclusive? Now, not all brands might benefit from this and unless the ticket price for the sale of your product is ultra-high, the exclusivity principle will not work.
Earlier, you could be an owner of a Rolls Royce and might have gained an American Express Platinum card on “invitation only” basis. It still works today and being a part of a club or community is an understandable human need.

Guess what? Every marketer or brand today can put exclusivity to use by using email marketing. Subscribers can be trained to believe that they are special.
See what Simon Black (The Sovereign Man) does with emails: he only sends out emails if there’s something in those emails that worth sending. All emails are backed by research. There’s no rant. There’s nothing vague.

For years, he’s only been communicating on email (the blog posts, podcasts, and the membership site addition was recent), and he sends exclusive, subscriber-only offers.

Which of these ingredients do you include in your emails? Which of them are working for you? Let us know in the comments…

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Posted by Rohan Ayyar

Rohan is a digital strategist at E2M Solutions, where he puts together long-term online marketing and content creation plans for startups. He also helps develop innovative brand imagery at Onlydesign.org. Catch him tweeting about everything astonishing @searchrook.

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