Admit it. We all wanted this at some point –
If you still do, I am not judging you. But let me tell you this, if it was upto me, this letter would have been even more awesome!
As a teenager, I read Harry Potter with overwhelming enthusiasm. As an email marketer, when I walk through the world again I cant help but wonder if it would have resulted in a successful email marketing campaign.
I shall tell you what I mean.
Personalization, without being creepy
Just take this Hogwarts acceptance letter. It’s very personalized, which is great, but is it really necessary to announce the fact that you know where he sleeps? That is down-right creepy. How would you like getting a mail from a stranger like that?
So, try to avoid mentioning extremely personal information in your emails to leads, especially if they don’t know you at all. Yes, it might generate click throughs because of the curiosity factor, but chances are you might end up freaking them out.
That does not mean you will have to resort to sending boring bulk emails.. Personalization is very important. You just have to hit the right area of warmly personal without being too intrusive or too impersonal. Give your recipients a context, tell them if you have a connecting link, or maybe a common interest, instead of implying that you know them, when you really don’t. Here are a couple of examples that show you how it’s done:
LinkedIn is a great platform for building your professional network. Infact, it is the perfect place to add an acquaintance you met for two minutes at a conference or a colleague’s colleague, without having to share a lot of personal information (I mean, they can’t see your vacation pictures or your embarrassing party exploits).
But I digress. What I mean to say is – have you tried checking your LinkedIn contact list to see if you and the recipient are connected on there? An easy way to do it would be to export your contact list to an excel and then compare it with your email list.
The email could start with “Hey, we are connected on LinkedIn” before you get to the point. Not only will it add to your credibility, and make sure that the recipient reads on, but also is the perfect way of showing your lead that you did some research on him. The details you have are pretty innocuous while being personalized. Overall, a great conversation starter!
Sending a Short Summary
How many of you have posted your Facebook memories on your wall? Well, I have too. Sometimes it is nice to look back and find out what you have done, isn’t it?
Your leads would be no different. With the new year right around the corner, something along the lines of these emails is a great way of showing your recipients that you care about them (even when it’s automated):
Photo credits: https://www.getvero.com/resources/15-data-driven-email-marketing-campaigns-to-help-you-kick-ass-in-2014/
Notice that in the above example, the information is quirky and fun. It won’t cause undue alarm and is still personalized enough to appeal to the target audience. Do you think you can structure the information you have along those lines?
In the B2B context, this can mean a quick compilation of their activities, perhaps their increase in the number of users or a non-intrusive chart of their growth over time. Or, if they have been continuously reading articles on your blog about a specific category, then you can send them across an e-book that covers that topic in detail.
The Subject Line
Only magic can make your recipient open a mail without subject, or infact a good subject line.
Well, it could be opened to share as an example of what not to do – like the one here.
Am sure you don’t want your email to suffer this same fate. Unfortunately, there is no secret ‘sure-shot’ subject line that has a 100% success rate. Testing is the only way to identify which works best for you. .
As Jordie van Rijn – email marketing consultant and founder of emailvendorselection.com/ puts it –
“Subject lines are a great starting point for optimization. From my list of 150+ email marketing tests, subject lines are some of the easiest type of tests to deploy.”
In this Marketing Sherpa case study, they tested a daring subject line – “So, I shall pick you up at 7 then” and went along to write up an equally intriguing yet light -hearted email. And lo! their click through and open rates rocketed!
However, just because it worked for them doesn’t mean that it would work for you as well. If the tone of your B2B company is extremely professional, then your clients might not appreciate such an email. (So, test).
I shall give you one more example. We all know that Obama’s email campaign was a hit. A part of it was because of using subject lines like “Hey”, “Hey again”, “Dinner?”. etc. Now, let us take a moment to examine that. Would you open such emails if you get them in your inbox? Well, if it is from The President, then Yes. Otherwise, most probably Not.
The take away here is that the Sender’s name matters! An email from a very important person will get more attention than a mail from folks who are a little farther down the ladder. In your company, this means that an email from a CEO or CCO is likely to garner more open rates.
So go ahead, test it out. It’s simple. Be daring and bold, but think it through!
“Just because it is easy to do, doesn’t mean you should not spend any time on it. Instead of just testing random subject lines, try and think about your recipients. Test concepts or elements instead of random subject lines. That way you can learn what works for your audience.
– Jordie van Rijn “
So, think before you send. Keep in mind that the subject line you use should speak to the recipient and encourage him to click. It should make him want to click on it, either because of curiosity of because it was exactly what he was looking for.
This brings us to a rather important aspect of the whole thing-
Knowing Your Audience
The logic is pretty simple – how can you give what your audience likes if you don’t know what they want? Sending a lead details about a course he/she is not interested in would obviously not get his attention. If you think you might be making that mistake, then let me tell you how to avoid it.
I understand. With a huge data base, it must be really difficult to know an awful lot about your leads. So it’s time to put on your sorting cap!
Yes! You got that right – segment your leads. Not like Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin but as however it makes most sense to your business.
Suppose you are in the education business, then you might want to categorize leads according to age, job title (in case lead wants to take up a course to enhance his career) and area of interest. Geographic segregation can work for businesses that rely on location- like spas, fitness centres and even real estate firms!
You can then send custom-made emails to each segment, with content pertinent to them.
Segregation of leads can also highlight recurring patterns in lead behavior. Take the education business example. Sorting your leads will identify the average age of leads and the most common job title of those who subscribe for your course.
With this list of basic information, combined with activity tracking, you can easily analyze whether a new lead is actually interested in your course and might convert or is just browsing for information. Having a fair idea of what he is looking for will allow you to make your emails extremely targeted.
The more you know about your target audience, the better it is for your emails… and you are sorted!
Have You Tested It?
Yes, we saw the importance of testing a good subject line. Likewise, testing can encompass every stage of your email campaign. Here are a few pointers that you should look to learn.
As Jordie van Rijn says
“What are the propositions that actually persuade them to convert?
What type of offer do they like?
Do they care if you mention price or not? – focus on the bigger questions”
We at LeadSquared, wanted to test the kind of content encourages our audience to click-through. So, for our next email campaign (a request to review LeadSquared on various software review platforms) we tested 3 different variations. The difference was in the number of links. Our entire client list was segmented into three and each of them was sent a different kind of email. Campaign 1 had links to 3 different software review platforms (multiple choices), Campaign 2 had one link and campaign 3 had another link.
Here is what we found:
The Paradox of Choice at play here! As you can see, the campaigns with just one choice performed way better than the campaign with all the three links!
Next time, we shall ensure there is only one item for our audience to focus on!
If you can identify what is making them click, then nothing like it! There is no such thing as too much information.
“Anything that makes you understand the clients better and creates insight that can be re-used in following email and communication. This way you are learning and creating value for the future.
– Jordie van Rijn ”
But wait, did I not promise you some Harry Potter references? Well here is one.
How did you feel when Harry got penalised by the Ministry for magic Dobby did (second year – chamber of secrets)?
Well, that’s exactly how your audience would feel if you send them emails for something they did not do. For eg. check out this email I got.
At the outset, it is a pretty well-crafted email. But it has one slight problem – I did not have the item in my cart!! I opened it to look it up, yes. Add it to my cart? No! In fact, when I clicked on the image, it landed on a completely different product- a definite turn-off for an impatient, short-attention spanned shopper like me.
So ensure that you are not making the same error. Check your email trigger settings. Say a lead downloads an e-book from your site. Sending him more information on the topic (like even a syllabus brochure) would be better.
You can of course read up on email marketing best practices to check if you are indeed on the right track. You can also hone your email marketing strategy before launching it! The best email campaigns are not judged simply by the open and click rates (even though they are great metrics)- it is the number of replies you get. If even one person from your target audience replies – without realizing that it was a bulk email, you have won! You have nailed your personalisation and targeting.
Here is an example I am happy to share:
(Pssstt… I use LeadSquared email marketing – and the level of targeting and segmentation it grants me is amazing!)
So let me know how many people reply to your campaigns. And no, automated replies do not count! If all else fails, just send them an owl. Am sure that would work! :).