It’s frustrating when it feels like an email campaign is going nowhere. You invest time, effort, and sometimes design money as well into crafting the best-looking, best-sounding email you possibly can, and then nothing happens. The responses you expected to come flooding in simply don’t arrive, and you’re left feeling like you’ve achieved nothing.

The way email marketing works has changed over the past few years. It’s always been a numbers game, but the numbers are more difficult to calculate than ever before. All too often, you’re left feeling like you’re playing one massive game of online slots. Email marketing works to the same basic principle as online slots; you’re just repeating the same action over and over again until something positive happens. That positive action would be a jackpot in online slots on a website like Dove Casino, but for you and your business, it’s a series of orders which makes your investment in the marketing campaign worthwhile. So how do you boost your chances of winning this metaphorical online slots game? How do you draw recipients in?

We know a few simple tricks to make the whole thing a little easier for you. Some of them might seem counter-intuitive, but we’ll explain the reasons why as we go along.

Drop The Graphical Content

Changes in email marketing strategy should closely follow changes in email filtering policy, and email filtering has come a long way since it was first introduced. Most ISPs have worked out (correctly) that emails that contain a lot of images are likely to be marketing/spam, and they filter them out accordingly. Your promotional email might look fantastic, but if it’s full of images, it’s probably going to end up in the recipient’s spam folder. More often than not, that means it never gets read at all.

It’s not just computers that filter HTML emails, either. Year of experience have taught users that anything that’s image-heavy is a promotional email, and so they’re likely to disregard it on principle. Plain text emails may not look as pretty, but they have a personal touch that HTML emails lack. Get the text right and keep the pictures to a minimum, and you have a much better chance of your email being read.

Get The Subject Line Right

The most important part of your email isn’t the content – it’s the subject line. It doesn’t matter what’s in the email if the subject line isn’t engaging, because nobody’s going to open it up to read it. Don’t just take our word for that – here’s a whole article which explains the psychology of email subject lines, and what happens if you get them wrong. You’re not going to get them wrong, though. You’re going to get them right because you’re going to follow our advice!

Years of research have given us the perfect formula for a subject line, and it starts with making things personal. That means using your recipient’s name. If you want a response, you should also make it clear that a response is required and expected. Let’s say you want to let customers know that you have a great offer available, but it ends soon. A basic subject line would be “Don’t miss this great deal – offer ends on Friday,” but a perfectly formed email would be “Rob: Don’t miss this great opportunity (response required by Friday).” Rob still isn’t guaranteed to read that email, but he’s more likely to read that version than the basic one.

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Treat It Like A News Report

Whenever you watch a news bulletin on television, it will always follow the same format. The newsreader will start with a summary of what they’re about to tell you. They’ll then move on to giving you the full report and then close by summarizing the information they’ve just given you. This is the most engaging way to deliver information. The viewer already knows whether the news report will interest them because of the summary at the start, and so if they like it, they’ll stick around for long enough to hear the whole report.

Too many emails take too long to get to the point and don’t get around to a ‘call to action’ until the very end. That’s a bad idea because recipients will decide whether or not they’re interested in the email after they’ve read the first one or two sentences. You should, therefore, condense everything you want to say (including the action you want the recipient to take) into those opening two sentences, and then expand on that information once that’s done. Re-iterate the whole point again at the end, and then follow our final piece of advice below.

Use A Big Friendly Button

This is the one piece of HTML or graphical content you should include in your email. The whole point of a successful marketing email is to make it as easy as possible for your recipient to perform whatever action it is you want them to take. That shouldn’t mean pressing the ‘reply’ button and typing a response – that’s asking for too much interaction at too early a stage.

At the bottom of the email, you should have a button. That button can either take the customer to a specific page on your website, or automatically generate a response to confirm they’re interested in whatever you’ve told them. All your customer should ever have to do to engage with you off the back of an introductory marketing email is click one button. It streamlines the whole process and allows them to indicate that they’re interested without taking any time out of their busy day to do it.

So, to summarize (see what we’re doing here?), ditch all of the graphics apart from one button. Use the personal touch when you’re creating subject lines, and include a note of urgency. Start with a summary, and close with a summary. These are all simple tricks which you can start to use straight away – and we believe you’ll be surprised by the improvement in your response rate. We won’t deny that email marketing is harder to use successfully than it was ten years ago – there’s no doubt whatsoever that it is – but it can still pay dividends if you know how to go about it the right way.