Email promotions your customers will actually appreciate

  1. Brightly coloured envelopes on a blue background
    Katie Mather

    Katie Mather UKBF Newcomer

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    This article was originally published in December 2019, and has been republished with updated statistics for 2020.

    “5% off my next order over £150? I’m so glad I got out of bed this morning!”

    Have you ever said that? No, neither has anyone else on the planet. When it comes to promotional emails, the world is tired of them. Super, duper, day after an all-nighter exhausted. 

    Email marketing has become more than a digital version of your latest offers. As online and digital marketing has progressed – incredibly rapidly in some areas – email marketing can often seem a little behind the times. Where sponsored Instagram stories are winning new customers with influencer affiliations and remarkable video content is grabbing attention from the internet’s vast opportunity of passing trade, email still sits in your inbox. 

    It’s a functional necessity, an office anachronism, and it’s easy to mistake that bland functionality with disuse. But that’s a dangerous game to play. According to Statista, email usage is still growing year on year, with 2-3% more signups happening each year from now until 2024. 

    Forecasts suggest there will be more than 4 billion active email accounts in the world by the end of 2020, meaning email, while not exactly the sexiest way of communicating (decide for yourself what a “sexy” way of communicating is), is still your best bet for reaching at least some of your target audience. So don’t get complacent. Make sure your email campaigns are as high up your priority list as all the exciting new digital marketing opportunities you’ve been hearing so much about. You have a captive audience. 

    Don’t bore them. Engage them, and then sell to them.

    Creating a great email campaign

    If your read rate has tanked in recent months, or you’ve had a severe drop-off in the number of clickthroughs, it could be that you’re hitting harder, more rigorous spam filters. Gmail’s introduction of the “social” and “promotional” filter means there are triple the chances to get sidelined by their clients. So why are they hiding your emails away?

    Besides technical issues (which your email team should be on top of) there are three main reasons your emails might be going to spam:

    • Low engagement rates
    • Customers have ticked the “spam” box
    • Using misleading subject lines.

    Here’s how to use a promotional campaign your customers will actively engage with to improve your emails’ chances of reaching the ultimate goal — being opened, read and clicked through.

    Fix low engagement rates with gripping content and a relevant offer

    “Low engagement” simply means that your email recipients — your customers — aren’t opening your emails, and if they do, they aren’t spending a lot of time reading or clicking through on any of the links.

    This problem can be solved by increasing your relevance. Think about why the people on your mailout database signed up in the first place. What drew them to want more information from your company? How can you share that info in attention-grabbing ways that have value for your customers?

    Value doesn’t need to mean an offer or discount either. Great content has value if it entertains, informs or delights. Some ideas for email content as you look ahead to the end of the year:

    • The charities you’ve supported and money you’ve raised for good causes over the past year
    • Your teams’ goals for the year — both work and personal
    • A “sneak peek” at the coming years’ products or rebrands

    Emails should tell your customers something they don’t already know. Make them feel like they are on the inside. That’s why they signed up in the first place.

    Sort “spam” tickers by running a brand endorsement mailshot

    It sounds really counterintuitive but one of the best ways to stop people from hitting the “spam” button when they receive your emails is to shout about who you are. This is because most of the time, people assume you’re spamming them because they don’t remember signing up to your email newsletters.

    Run a basic campaign that’s lit up like a Christmas tree in your branding and you’ll remind them of who you are and what they got involved with you for in the first place. Offering something simple like free shipping for the whole of the next month won’t set you back by much, but it’ll get your recipients involved again and stop them from reporting you to the email feds.

    Also, don’t forget to ask people to unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive your emails anymore. This helps to reduce the spam filter blues, and sorts out who really wants to keep receiving your offers.

    Learn how to write attention-grabbing subject lines

    For too long, shady email marketers have been tricking customers into opening their emails by using misleading subject lines. Email clients have gotten really wise to this over the past year or so, and it only takes a couple of annoyed individuals clicking “spam” or even deleting without reading for your open rates to take a hit.

    Examples of “misleading” subject lines suggested by include:

    • Did I leave my jacket at your place? This type of subject line can be used as a trick to make it look like they know you.
    • RE: CURRENTLY IN OFFICE is doubly sneaky because it can be mistaken for a reply to your email or a work-related email.
    • Urgent – Update your information. If something says “urgent,” it had better be urgent.
    • Thanks for your order! It’s super poor form to use a transactional subject line if the email isn’t actually transactional.

    So, while the promotions you decide to run are entirely up to you, how you go about promoting them via email is a fine art. Follow the above tips and you’ll find your open rate bouncing back up again. 

  2. Manisha Saru

    Manisha Saru UKBF Newcomer

    9 1
    Great tips.
    Posted: Jan 29, 2020 By: Manisha Saru Member since: Jan 23, 2020
  3. splinterteal

    splinterteal UKBF Newcomer

    15 2
    awesome stuff
    Posted: Oct 13, 2020 By: splinterteal Member since: Jan 7, 2014
  4. James Laden

    James Laden UKBF Newcomer

    34 1
    Great article! Thanks.
    Posted: Dec 31, 2020 By: James Laden Member since: Dec 30, 2020