Better Click Rates for Your eBlasts

It seems that nowadays, everyone who runs a business is sending out a regular e-newsletter or eBlast. But truth be told, how many of them do you actually read? Or turn it around, how many actually read yours? They say a 10% open rate is good. Well, let me show you how to double that!

1. The Subject Heading
This is the first thing people see when they check their inbox and this will determine how many people will actually open your email. Here are some “boring” subject headings. “The Latest News from ACME Consulting,” “Weekly Update from the Stonecutters Association” or “Some Great Tips for Marketing Your Business” Now here are some “Not Boring” ones. “How to Avoid Killing Your Web Designer,” “Don’t Hire Your Friends” and “Here’s Your Share of the Stimulus Package – FREE INTERNS!” Get the picture? Make it specific to the content of the eBlast (in these cases my actual blog entries), make it intriguing, fun or provocative and most of all don’t make it broad, generic and the same from one eBlast to the other. If they know from the subject line what it’s about, and if it interests them, they will open and read it. If they only see a mundane headline that doesn’t tell them anything, they will pass.

2. Make It Valuable
Nobody cares about what your company did, what awards you received, or what new clients you just won. There are lots of radio stations out there but everyone mostly listens to WII FM. “What’s-In-It-For-Me.” So give them something they can actually use. NOW give them those marketing tips. Tell them about business resources. Invite them to events where they can network. Then at the very end, toot your horn a little – a project, client or award we won. (Yes, I know I said they don’t care but hopefully the first two items will make them feel obligated.)

3. Keep it Short and Sweet
Nobody wants to read a dissertation. I like to keep it down to 3 topics with brief synopsis (no more than 2-3 sentences) for each one. The first being the intro to a blog that gives them tips about something. The second is usually a link to a resource they might find useful. And last, some PR for yourself. Basically, you want to keep each item so short that they don’t have enough time to decide they’re not interested.

4. Subheads Subheads Subheads
Use subheads to not only separate the items on your eBlast but also to give readers a clue as to what they’re about. That way, if they’re only skimming, they’ll get the gist of the topics and will read deeper if it interests them. And again, make the subheads fun and catchy (See #1). This is true not just for eBlasts, but for ALL text-heavy documents.

5. Use Links to Track Response
As in all marketing, you need to measure results. As I mentioned in #2, I link to the blog, I link to the resource and I link to the press release about my company. The reason for this is that the eBlast services (ConstantContact, iContact, Vertical Response, etc) can track click-rates from those links – giving you an idea of what your readers are interested in. Wouldn’t it be valuable to you to know which 23 of your readers clicked on the link about your latest website redesign project? But no links, no tracking.

6. Clean Layout and a Picture
The simpler the layout the better. Sidebars and boxes, and different sections are too much. The nature of emails is that they are quick. They are sent quickly and read quickly. The more complicated the layout, the harder it is to read fast. I like to keep my emails plain white, one column, topics separated with thin rules and a logo on top. And if you can, use one or two small pictures that relate to your content. If there’s one point you need to drive home, make it a caption under the images. Everybody reads captions!

As a caveat, keep in mind that some of these suggestions may not be appropriate for all types of business or organizations. Funeral homes, divorce lawyers and NY State Governors come to mind. You get the picture.