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Email Marketing: The Winter Edit

Hello and welcome to my seasonal edit series.

At the end of each season I will be sharing some of my best tips, tools and finds around email marketing that I’ve sent out to the wonderful people on my email list. If you’re interested in getting these nuggets + more in your inbox twice a month then you can subscribe right here 👇🏼

Email marketing trends.

Here’s the thing, if you’re email marketing, you are playing the long game, it doesn’t flit and change in the way that social media does. That might be why I love it so much, it’s dependable, it gets the job done. However, that doesn’t mean you can sit back, relax and carry on as you were – here are some important things to think about when creating emails:

  1. Automations continue to be the most successful emails you will send, they are opened 4 times as much as your regular campaigns – think welcome email, customer journey, nurture sequences etc.
  2. Pre header text is an excellent way of hooking the reader in and I love the way The Knowledge uses theirs, see image. You can subscribe to this daily newsletter here:  https://www.theknowledge.com/ It’s the only daily email I can tolerate!
  3. Subscriber-only content. This isn’t just about sharing content with your email list a day or two before you add it to social media, it’s creating content exclusively for your email list. That’s not to say you shouldn’t repurpose it, but if someone is getting those golden nuggets for ‘free’ via your socials, what’s the benefit of signing up to your email?
  4. Social media continues to be pushing short-form content, whether that’s snappy captions or super short reels and TikToks. With email, you have the opportunity to create longer form content,  share more and curate something your subscribers will engage with. That’s why email gets another big tick from me! 
  5. It’s easy to get swept up in the ‘look’ of an email, background colour, varying fancy fonts and multiple images or gifs, but beware of creating anything too fussy. Accessibility is key, make sure your email is easy to read, mobile optimised and all your images have alt-text.
Image is a screen shot of 6 examples of The Knowledge newsletter in an inbox. It shows the hearder & the pre-header text. One example: subject: The medieval origin of the Christmas tree. Preheader: Plus: Creepy Cards | JFK ❤️ Santa Claus | Gen Z vs Xmas
Examples of excellent pre header text from The Knowledge

What’s more important: email list size or quality?

For most, it has to be quality.

Especially smaller businesses.

A smaller, targeted email list can result in higher open and click-through rates, which can improve the effectiveness of your email campaign. And sending emails to a highly engaged and interested list is more likely to result in sales or lead generation.

Whereas having a large email list with a relatively large number of inactive or disinterested subscribers will see low open and click-through rates. It can also negatively impact your brand reputation due to higher opt-out and spam complaint rates, ultimately reducing your email deliverability.

A smaller engaged list will give you a far better return on investment. What’s the point of having a bunch of people on your list that never engage with your emails, or even open them? And if you want quality subscribers, you need to be delivering quality content – add value.

The best day to send emails is…

As with any metric, there is no perfect day or time to send an email or post on social media. Most of it depends on what you are selling, your audience and the ever-important message. Also, each email marketing provider analyses their own figures, so what’s Thursday for Mailerlite could be Wednesday for Mailchimp.

That being said, the data suggests Wednesdays & Thursdays are the best days to send emails, but if you’re emailing me about a holiday cottage, a Saturday or Sunday evening might be better. Think about who you are talking to, your message and what you’re asking people to do.

Open rates.

Once the measure of choice, now as a figure on it’s own, it’s largely ignored. With Apple’s Privacy Policy and Outlook & Google’s pre-screening tech, it isn’t the most reliable measure of email success, let’s be honest, conversions are.

That said, if people are simply skipping over your email, there are a few things you can do to encourage them to open your email, which will hopefully lead to the Holy Grail, the click.

  1. Check your subject line – these should be short, sweet and to the point. Up to 10 words is a good marker.
  2. Consistency – sending your email on the same day & at around the same time means your list know when to expect to hear from you & with any luck, will be anticipating your email.
  3. Time and Day – consistency is good but if you’re seeing a dip you may want to consider trying a different day or time for a few emails. Take it slow though & only change one thing at a time.
  4. Pre header text – have I mentioned this before?! Subjects lines are very important, but don’t ignore your pre headers. It lures people in & makes them open your email. For balance – I am totally rubbish at utilising this brilliant tool.
  5. Segment your audience. Even with the teeniest of lists, using segmentation & grouping tools will help you categorise your subscribers allowing you to send different messages to the different audiences. Don’t fall into the trap of sending everyone the same message every time.

Sales emails.

Not to be confused with regular campaigns and newsletters.

If you want to sell something, as you undoubtedly do, sending sales campaigns separately to your usual newsletter/update emails is vitally important.

Let me introduce you to the Inverted Pyramid approach, commonly used in marketing & journalism. It’s simple, no-nonsense, can’t-get-lost messaging. It does what it says on the tin.

We are all time-poor, our attention spans are less than that of a distracted goldfish, and we’re used to instant gratification, click here = result.

Here’s a thing, this is how it will benefit you, this is the investment, click this gorgeously shiny button to buy✨

An image of an inverted pyramid, with text on describing the theory. Top line - Headline Message - simple & straight to the point. Second line - Why they want it - outline the benefits. Third line - Details - price, timings, delivery. Fourth line - Call to action – button
The Inverted Pyramid

Only sell one thing.

Or risk your message being lost.

Although this is something I knew, I needed an extra reminder. I recently launched my What the Tech email marketing packages and the email was a bit of a flop.

As I was writing the content for my email, using the inverted pyramid technique (see above) I knew it wasn’t going to work.

The call to action itself was one thing – head to my website but I wasn’t sending people to a sales page, I sent them to a regular, hey 👋🏼 check out my services webpage.

Plus I had a fantastic offer I wanted to share, I really wanted to drive home the savings subscribers could make. Put it above the button and you lose the rhythm of the email, put it below the button and everyone has already buggered off so they don’t see the offer.

All of that said, the email served its purpose – I wanted to share my new services with my email list & let them know the savings they could make. But if I was expecting people to start taking me up on the offer immediately, I would be wrong.

There was too much going on, too many options.

This is why when it comes to selling services – SELL ONE THING.

Subject lines.

A GREAT subject line for a sales email is a rare and beautiful thing – you want something that conveys the message, encourages your subscriber to open it and doesn’t set off any spam alarms.

Mine did recently set off the spam alarm.

Awkward!

The email went straight to the junk folder of my work email & was delayed by 8 hours to my iCloud email.

It’s always a good idea to add yourself to your email list and I have also included iCloud because it is notoriously tricky to get through to these inboxes whichever platform you use and there are often delays.

What happened?

Capital letters. I was aware that all caps can set alarm bells ringing, but I didn’t realise that even some caps are a red flag.

To increase the chances of your email making it through the spam filters, here are the good, the bad & the ugly!

The Good:

Words: tips, reasons, lessons, tricks, ideas, ways, facts, strategies
Numbers: odd numbers do better than evens.
e.g. 5 steps to writing like a pro

The Bad:

Words: bargain, best price, guaranteed, free, some CAPS
e.g. BEST price – today only!

The Ugly:

All the ££££ or $$$$, excessive punctuation !!!!! lots of emojis 🌱💙🤣😊, ALL CAPS, swear words, derogatory words.
e.g. BEST PRICE £££ TODAY ONLY!!!!

Quick & easy newsletter ideas.

Finally, if you find yourself sitting in front of a blank screen 2 hours before your email is due to go out, try this:

  1. Create a place on your phone for notes – like the iPhone’s notes app!
  2. Create an email folder called EMAIL IDEAS.

Read an article, seen a social post or had a conversation you think your audience would benefit from? Make a note of it. Got an email with latest industry news or got the cogs whirring? Add it to your email ideas folder.

Then when it comes to the writing of the email, you are ten steps ahead – no blank screen.

The new email folder is an absolute winner for me. There will always be one or two emails that could easily end up in the bin and instead, I come back to it and think, well there’s a conversation starter…

“Quality over quantity – Emails may be cost efficient but it’s no excuse to not produce quality content to give to a targeted audience.”

Benjamin Murray

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