Before writing an email, you should ask yourself five basic questions so your message can be used as a successful marketing tool. If any of these don’t have an answer, you are not ready to send an effective email that will benefit your business.
1. Why are you sending this?
The million dollar question. Why? Are you announcing a new service, offering a special or simply sending an email because you haven’t sent one in a while? You need to clearly define the reason for this email and come up with a goal you would like to reach.
Some industries support sending emails for brand awareness purposes, but recipients may quickly mark your generic emails as SPAM or unsubscribe from your list. Having a clear reason as to why you are sending an email helps focus the content and creates an interesting email.
2. Who are you talking to?
This is not who you WANT to talk to. It is – Who ARE you talking to? It’s important to know who your audience is to successfully capture their interest and complete your goals. If the audience in the list is not who you want to talk to, it is time to use different tactics to start growing your list specifically with your target audience. Studying the data from past campaigns can help you determine what content your audience is interested in and how to talk specifically to them. For example, if you have a 50% click through rate on an email about a monthly special and only a 4% click through on the email announcing a new hire, you can discern your audience is more interested in finding a deal.
3. What are you accomplishing?
What is the point of all this? Is the person who receives the email supposed to call and make a reservation? Are they clicking to a landing page where they will get more information from your website? Knowing what the endgame is will help create a clear call to action and define the content needed to support it.
4. When? (Why then?)
When is this email sending? Tuesday through Thursday between 8am and 10am? Why then? Did you hear that was the best time to send email, or did you test the highest open rate times? Every audience is different. It is important to know when your audience opens emails so you can be first in their inbox. With shifts in email marketing trends and smart phones being more prevalent, many companies are noticing a shift in their open times. We always recommend testing your audience to see what they respond to.
How do you measure the success of an email? You need to clearly define your objectives. For example, “We would like to have 14 people book a room at this special promotional price.” This goal should coincide with the primary call to action and shape the email content.
After every email is sent, research should be done. What was the open rate? What was the click-through rate? What was the percentage of unsubscribes? And, was your goal reached? We recommend strategically testing your audience by changing small things in your email campaigns. Measure the email results to see whether you can positively affect your email marketing and your business.
– Megan Leese, Web Developer
Source: Megan attended the 2014 Litmus conference where she learned email marketing trends and information. The concept of the 5 W’s is from the “Process This! How to be Successful by Design” session with Jay Juhn and Megan Merrifield.