How many of your subscribers are actually engaged in your email marketing messages? Your open rates, bounce rates and click-through rates are probably the metrics you obsess over on a daily basis if your business is highly focused on email marketing. But according to a recent post by HubSpot, a whopping 70 percent of email subscribers are inactive. Say what? You mean you’re pouring all that blood, sweat and tears into perfecting your messaging and designing your calls-to-action to have it be totally and blissfully ignored by more than two-thirds of your list? Rubbish! Let’s talk about how you can fix that little problem.
Use an Outrageous Subject Line
You’ve seen them before: The outrageous subject lines that you just can’t resist clicking on. The problem with this tactic is that there’s a very fine line between killing it and appearing totally lame. Use creative subject lines with words that make an impact, such as “Mind-Blowing,” “Unbelievable,” or “Shocking.” You have to pique their curiosity—so let them know that they’ll be entertained or learn something so top-secret and valuable that they’ll be five steps ahead of the competition.
What will they take away from opening your email? Another way to easily generate creative subject lines is by using snippets of compelling customer testimonials. Use a hook but leave them thirsting for more so they have to open the email to satisfy their curiosity.
Options, Options, Options
It may go against the grain of everything you know about sales messaging, but give your subscribers options. If your goal is to get them to click through, give them plenty of opportunities to do so. Retailers, for instance, can offer multiple ways to shop—online (click to shop), in-store (click through to a store locator), or something else, such as offer feedback, get a printable coupon or participate in a contest.
Turn the Spotlight on the Subscriber
Give your subscribers a chance to get in on the action, and you’ll get them clicking. Toss out an opportunity such as applying to be a featured subscriber or featured customer, and brag about your subscriber count if it’s brag-worthy. Or the chance to be the honorary company spokesperson for a week or a month. Why? Well, “The Bachelor” only has like 25 contestants each season. So there’s gotta be another way to get your 15 minutes of fame, right? You probably have a few subscribers who would kill to get their photo and name plastered all over a company’s web, email marketing and social campaigns.
Run a Crazy Contest
The massive popularity of games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush is evidence that people love silly games and contests. You can use this to your advantage in your email marketing campaigns too. In fact, there’s actually a name for this tactic: Gamification, which Coursera defines as “the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges.” Offer a sweet giveaway—a simple free product or free services is almost always sufficient—that gives the winner a taste of what your business has to offer.
Bribe Your Subscribers
Offer them the moon and stars, then deliver it—on a silver platter. What goes viral more often than customers bragging about an amazing deal that’s going around at a popular business online? Make it something so unbelievable that they can’t resist talking about it. Can’t afford to offer a deal that sweet? Calculate your ROI and figure out how many sales you’d have to make to make it worth your while, and play around with your predictions. But don’t forget to calculate in the value of all that viral social buzz you’re likely to get, which can also boost your subscriber numbers.
Make it a limited-time (really short time frames—an hour, 24 hours, or limit it to the first X number of customers to take advantage) offer that will get people jumping out of their seats. (Causing a little commercial-worthy office embarrassment is just added fun.)
Say Thank You
Customers love to feel valued. So thank them—for subscribing, for sharing, for buying, or just for existing. You can thank them with a limited-time discount, free product with their next purchase, or with good, old-fashioned gratitude. When you’re getting something good out of it, it’s hard to resist the click.
Use a Quiz to Gather Information and Let Subscribers Customize Their Options
This trick works whether you’re selling products or services. Create a short quiz that lets subscribers discover something about themselves, their business or their personal needs. Quizzes that result in specific product recommendations are useful. For example, a marketing agency can offer a quiz that produces a customized needs analysis and the chance to get a discount on professional recommendations and services from your company.
Make It Exclusive
Subscribers want to feel as though they’re on a list for more than merely being sold to. So offer something exclusive, whether it’s informative content, exclusive products or discounts—give your subscribers something they can’t obtain if they’re not a member of your list.
If you’ve segmented your subscriber list by interest or geographic location, you can send highly targeted messages to each segment of your audience. Niche emails almost always attract more attention, because subscribers feel like you’ve made a special effort to talk directly to them and address their needs. Who doesn’t like to feel like they’ve been singled out as someone special?
Try Having a Little Fun Yourself
Here it is. The one tip that’s so simple and seemingly so obvious that you’ll be kicking yourself for not thinking of it this way before: Have fun with it. You don’t have to be dead-serious and super-formal all the time in your email campaigns. Unless of course your line of work demands that demeanor, but the vast majority of industries allow at least a little leeway for some casual, down-to-earth, let’s-get-real kinda conversation from time to time. So throw the stuffiness out the window, be yourself and talk to your subscribers like they’re real people. Cause guess what? On the other end of that keyboard is a real person. Who probably likes to have fun. At least we hope so.
What crazy email marketing tactics have you used to get results? Have you been on the receiving end of super-fun email marketing messages? Share your examples with us in the comments below.