Email Distinction 101: The Body

In the first part of this series we unpacked the importance of catching the receiver’s attention with an outstanding subject line. Next comes the email body.

 So you managed to get them to open your email, now how do you keep them hooked?

The Body

First things first, make sure to maintain consistency in tone from your subject line into your message body. This not only helps build your brands voice, but keeps readers from confusion caused by a tonality switch.

According to Entrepreneur, “Having that same consistent tone over time is what will help build your personal brand.”

 When trying to formulate your email, craft your message according to the need you identified. How can you create an experience that convinces the reader that this need can be met? What does your message offer or satisfy in your reader?

While this may depend on your audience, the general rule remains: keep content direct and simple. Boomerang suggests using shorter words and shorter sentences in the copy. After conducting a survey, the company found that people were most responsive to emails written at the standard reading level of a 3rd grader.

Make sure you establish the why to convince your audience of the what. Together, your subject line and body copy need to convince the reader to continue the journey ahead with your company. This continuation is seen when people continue with your call to action, also known as a response or conversion rate.

MarketingSherpa explains that on average people will spend about 15-20 seconds reading an email. This includes the distractions they may have with any images or logos you incorporate in the body. In the short amount of time, you need to convince your readers to take one step further: your purpose, call to action, and image must work together to entice readers to the next step and create message cohesion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email Marketing 101: Your Subject Line

Even with the social media takeover, email marketing proves to return higher conversion results: if done well. According to McKinsey & Company, “Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion.” Businesses must find a unique appeal to set their message apart among the ever increasing inbox clutter.

Keep your message out of the junk mailbox with these subject line construction tips.

Your Subject Line

The Selling Point, The Gatekeeper

“64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.” –HubSpot
Do not underestimate the impact a well-crafted subject line will have on your open rates. Hubspot describes the subject line as the gatekeeper of an email. The work put into creating a captivating email turns into wasted effort if people are not interested enough to open the email in the first place.

Keep your subject line to 50 characters; remember one word can make a huge difference. Try researching the most searched terms related to the purpose of your message, and incorporate them into your subject line.

Customer.io blogger Janet Choi advises email senders to see every subject line as a pitch. What’s your unique selling point? What need does your receiver have that your subject line promises to meet?

When creating your subject line remember that incentive, curiosity and promise drive interest. For example:

Incentive “Congrats! You’ve been selected…”

Curiosity “We have a secret to tell you.”

Promise  “Your day just got easier.”

Construct a subject line that hits the need of your receiver, without underselling, neutralizing or radicializing your pitch; The Atlantic refers to this just right point as the Goldilocks zone of email tonality.

Personalization will also go a long way in how much attention a person will pay to the email. This technique may include incorporating the receiver’s name in the subject line, or segmenting particular messages best suited for certain members of your audience i.e. recognizing your receiver’s birthday month. Experian expresses, “personalized promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings.”

In about 3-4 seconds a person will determine whether or not an email is worth reading, simply based on the subject line.  Make it distinct; make it personal.

How many emails did you second glance today?

Discern.Engage.Transcend.

Keep Your Bounce Rates Low: Recency, Relevancy and Authority

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What is a bounce rate?

This is a percentage used to show how often people enter a site and leave before exploring the site beyond the page on which they started or after having a single interaction.

What purpose does this metric serve?

It is important for online businesses to know their bounce rate to see if they are meeting the needs and expectations of their customers. A higher bounce rate means customers are not satisfied, not convinced, or not finding the information the need when interacting with your business online.

GoRocketFuel breaks down the bounce rate statistics into the following three categories:

Excellent: 26-40%

Average: 41-55%

Higher than average: 56-70%

There are many reasons why a person may not choose to stay on a website. According to SEJ the top internal factors that affect a bounce rate include:

  • Web design and usability
  • Website content
  • Website Navigation
  • Technical issues

In conversation with Dilip Keshu, CEO of Born Group, he explained the three factors that effect a bounce rate are recency, relevancy, and authority. Command your site by maintaining three factors of credibility to make sure people will want to engage with your site after just a few seconds of entering.

Make sure you maintain the best practices for building a user friendly site to keep your bounce rates low and your visitor satisfaction high.

 

 

 

 

When Your Consumer Finally Lands

So, you’ve done all this work to drive traffic back to your website…curious web surfers click on your provided link, only to reach a page that doesn’t align with where they thought they’d end up… Your bounce rate just got higher.

Let’s talk effective landing pages.

At its core, a landing page is the web page that a user will arrive on when they enter your site. Depending on what you’re promoting and how you are promoting it, users will enter your site for different reasons from different platforms (i.e. search, social media, email, direct links).

The page must be consistent with the reason why people clicked the link in the first place: the campaign or call to action, advertised from that medium.

For example, if you were promoting a specific item, make sure the when the user clicks they are going to a page that explains more about that item, not your homepage.

Unbounce notes the two basic types of landing pages: Click Through and Lead Generation.

For an eCommerce site, the click through pages want to encourage customers to the final destination… the shopping cart. People should feel informed enough from the click through page that they are willing to move to the next step of the purchase decision making process (i.e. a sale promotion email, linking directly to page with the on sale items).

Lead Generation landing pages are used to collect data about a customer (i.e. email addresses), and explain to the user what they will receive in return of giving their information (i.e. member only promotions, free download or trial offer, insider tips, registrations for online seminars etc.).

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Dominos

As with any online experience best practice, make sure simplicity and consistency carry through your landing pages. The reason why the person went to the page in the first place should be evident when they reach the landing page, in line with that specific call to action.

Utilize image, videos, customer comments, FAQs that will anticipate your consumer’s questions and desires, and excite through visual enticement.

You got them this far, how do you keep them?

 

Engage. Discern. Transcend.

Grow Your Business On Instagram: Hashtag and Share

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“Instagram has 400 Million Monthly Active Users.”- DMR

 

The insta reach is huge, and your company should be doing everything it can to be seen on the platform. Here are three ways your business should be using Instagram to gain recognition and drive traffic back to your website.

Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag

Wishpond highlights three categories for hashtags

  • Brand/ Campaign Hashtag

Your brand hashtag is exactly how it sounds, the name of your business or your business’s slogan (i.e. #Nike#Justdoit). If you are a new business utilize both hashtags to familiarize people and help them make the connection.

A campaign hashtag would go a step further to highlight a specific event, deal, or promotion your company might be having. For example Coke’s #shareacoke campaign.

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  • Trending

Find out what topics are trending in your area of business, and include these in your posts. For example if your brand is NY style clothing, and it’s NY fashion week  you would utilize hashtag such as #nyfashionweek.

  • Content

These are generic hashtags that have to do with the image you posted, in order to appear more often on hashtag searches.

“Content hashtags improve the SEO of your posts.” –Wishpond.

The site explains that content hashtags can be categorized by: product hashtags, lifestyle hashtags, event hashtags, location hashtags.

There are numerous ways for companies to effectively utilize hashtags, there are also many ways for businesses to abuse it: Be sure not to overdo the amount of hashtags, people  associate this with spam.

Share

People love looking at enticing images. Grow your organic reach and generate more brand awareness by sharing  your Instagram pictures to your other social media sites, especially Facebook and Twitter.  You can also share the pictures to your company website, which makes your business look current and present.

“Instagram grew by 50% between March and December 2014 and exceeded the 300 million user mark. This means that the photo-sharing social network is now bigger than Twitter (284 million) in terms of active users.”Our Social Times

“Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users. “

With Instagram at its height of popularity, the platform is a necessity for increasing your social reach, SEO, and visitor rates. 

 
 

What Should Happen Above The Fold

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If you are unfamiliar with the term, above the fold in web design references the upper half of a web page. Any content placed above the fold is the first thing a visitor would see upon viewing a site page.

It is important for websites to make the best use of this area of the webpage. The content chosen must be displayed in a matter that excites, captivates, and engages, since it will be the first contact a visitor has with your site. This often determines whether they will continue to stay on the website or look at the rest of the content below the fold.

This is the place to communicate a main point, call to action, big sales and discounts, thriller announcements, crucial links (etc.) Take a look at the Express.com example above:

  • The sale announcement is loud, clear, and visually enticing
  • Easily accessible information about shipping included at the top right
  • Mini description: more communicated in less words
  • Buttons that lead to the next step of the call to action

While the information displayed above the fold will often differ depending on the page of the site, Slideshare displays 8 elements to remember when creating above the fold content:

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The content you place at the top of your website will have significant effects on your bounce rate. Make sure you invest time selecting and updating the content you think is most important for site-landers to see on a page before everything else.

 

 

 

Product Display : 5 Standard Musts

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While there are many best practices for eCommerce product display pages, some remain standard musts. I’ve highlighted the top 5 necessary components all eCommerce shops need to include for successful product pages and satisfied online shoppers.

Image Quality

Demonstrating visual professionalism is especially important for eCommerce sites. Online customers only have the images you choose to perceive the product, and therefore will determine the value of the product or credibility of your store based on the quality of the images used.

Point being, make sure you are using high quality photos.

  • Absolutely no pixelation

“As a general rule of thumb, your online product images should be at least 2000 pixels on the longest side so that 1) you will be able to utilize a zoom functionality on your images and 2) your images will be large enough to be accepted on all major online marketplaces…”Pixelz

  • No third-rate backdrops (Keep the photo background in character of the product or white)
  • If you are using models, their presentation is just as important as how you present the product

 Multiple Perspectives

People want to see the product in more than one perspective. Make sure you give between 3-6  different images of the product in varied angles. This helps alleviate any doubts your customer may have about how to product will look. The more images the better.

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Image from Pixelz

Quick View Option 

Always offer the quick view option with the same information that the customer will receive on the specific product page. Forcefully redirecting to a separate page might leave your consumers frustrated if they wanted to continue on their stroll through the main display page, or distract them from their initial goal.

 

Product Description

Take full advantage of the product description, to dispel any doubts your consumer may have, and sell both the product value and experience. Incorporate as much information into description; bulleted lists are an effective way to display the details.

VWO.com advises bridging the gap between the product features and benefits, and relying on verbs in the description more than adjectives. The verbs help develop the purpose for the product features. People like to know the why over the what, especially in modern marketing.

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Example derived from VWO.com

Reviews and Ratings

People rely on other people’s opinions most strongly to make their final purchase decision. Include a mix of positive and negative reviews and ratings; making both available  goes a long way in displaying company credibility and transparency, as well as helping the customer anticipate or expect any issue they may encounter with the product.

  • “70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase.(PeopleClaim).” Shopify
  • “63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions, 2011).” Econsultancy

Make sure to include multiple reviews, so shoppers hear multiple perspectives.

  • “67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business enough to make a purchase.” MarketingProfs

Invest time in building  well-rounded product display pages.  Do everything you can to alleviate any doubts about the potential purchase your customer will make and offer answers to as many questions as you can anticipate. This will help consumers eliminate possible excuses to not click the buy button, as well as decrease post-decisional dissonance. Assurance increases conversion rates.

 

 

Discern . Engage . Transcend

Why Your Business Needs To Invest In Email Marketing

Are you spending all your digital marketing efforts on social media platforms? If so, it’s time to increase that small wedge in your marketing strategy known as email. With the social media takeover it’s easy to believe that email has lost its value… but let the facts show otherwise.

Broader Reach

Nearly everyone, in all demographics, has an email address they check daily.

“Eighty five percent of people around the globe who are connected online send and receive emails and 62 percent communicate through social networking sites.” Huffington Post

The reach of email messages are broader because they go to every person you send out to at the same time. On social media,  only select few followers will end up seeing your posts at certain times of day.

“90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed.” Campaign Monitor

Social media and email work hand in hand. When you sign up for a new platform, when you receive reminders or friend request notifications, when you need to confirm an account creation, what do you use?

“There are 3x more email accounts than there are Facebook & Twitter combined.” Campaign Monitor

Higher Conversion Rate

Email allows for more effective segmentation. Your company can target the interests of each individual and determine which customers will benefit the most from certain messages. Different than social media in that posts  must consistently be updated to try and reach the broad range of needs among the tons of followers.

“The average click-through rate of an email campaign is around 3% (of total recipients), whereas the average click-through rate from a tweet is around 0.5%.” Campaign Monitor

“Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion.” McKinsey & Company

Higher Return On Investment

If done strategically, your efforts will reflect in your ROI. As the open rates increase with the segmented messages, the return on investment becomes more promising.

“Email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States.” Direct Marketing Association

Econsultancy.com shows how businesses have rated emailing marketing in the graph below.

 

If you want to check out your business’s conversion rate try emailmarketingroi.com

Even with the rise of social media, email still accounts for a higher number of eCommerce sales. This does not mean to minimize efforts on social media platforms but rather increase investment in email marketing.  If done correctly, it will be one of your greatest tools for ecommerical success.

 

 

Discern . Engage . Transcend 

Checkout Usability: One Less Cart Abandoned

 
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“69% of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping cart.” Baynard.com

 

No one likes standing in lines. Yes, this includes onlines. The mental process of a customer during an online check out is no different than one in a physical store.

If the line is too long and they can do without the product, the consumer will leave.

If they can find a more convenient location for the same quality product, they will.

If the assistance is unhelpful or the process is unclear, a negative review will make its way to all social media outlets.

If the surprise at the checkout is anything but a discount or a free item, they will leave disgruntled and feeling deceived.

If there is only one payment option, you just cut your customer E-base.

Reaching the checkout does not promise purchase. Shoppers still have time to abandon cart  between the time of checkout and clicking the buy button.

Formisio.com:

Most of the percentages on this pie chart could be avoided simply by changing your checkout process. Let’s walk through how to lessen cart abandonment for each section highlighted in the chart.

Shipping Costs 28%
Make your shipping prices are obtainable from the beginning.

         “High shipping costs are the number one reason for cart abandonment.” Rejoiner

It will just leave your customers frustrated if they have to near the end to see the added costs. More often than not, people will abandon cart because they did not expect the shipping costs. Give your customers time to mentally process shipping charges, by making the prices available early in the checkout process. People don’t like to be caught off guard.

Account Creation 23%

Always have a guest option.

 

Don’t force membership. Shoppers want to do the least amount of work possible, and whether or not it will save them time in the future often times doesn’t matter in that present moment.  If people are pleased with their initial experience, they will go back and create an account in purchases to follow.

Card Security 13%

Safety first.

The measures being taken to maintain card security must take priority. Disasters are bound to happen without the right protective services in place; even then incidents still occur.  Make sure you are taking the proper steps to implement every security measure to preserve the privacy of customer card information and  communicate  this from the beginning of the checkout process. Notice how JohnLewis.com offers 4 mentions of security reassurance.

 

Just Browsing 16%

A few reminders never hurt.

Sometimes people stumble onto a site, get distracted and leave. Just because they left, doesn’t mean they weren’t interested in what you had to offer. Try sending a follow up email as a friendly reminder that the potential customer left some items in his or her cart.

 

 

Complicated Checkout 12%

Make the process as quick as possible and answers easily available.

People do not want to work to hard to receive a thanks for their order. Make the checkout process as easy as possible: basic information, card numbers and shipping and billing information should be simple and direct.

Avoid assumptions, over communication isn’t harmful unless you have an annoying customer service chat pulling up; anticipate questions beforehand and offer a FAQ or information side bar where they can easily find answers that do not redirect them to another page.  Any steps not related to strictly buying and receiving the purchase should be optional (reviews, surveys, etc).

Couldn’t Find Voucher 8%
All sales, deals, and promo codes made transparent.

If you have vouchers, make sure the customer doesn’t have to work too hard to find the code. If you don’t have a special offer or promotion running, you might want to consider something as simple as offering 10% for signing up for emails or money off a future purchase. Incentive drives sales.

A lot can happen from the time a customer adds an item to their shopping cart, and actually decides to make the purchase. Make sure you are taking all the steps to improve their journey, to ensure a better customer conversion rate.

 

Discern . Engage . Transcend

Communicating Your E-ppeal: Image, Word and Message Cohesion

Take time to strategize your company’s voice and distinguish how your brand communicates from the rest of the competition. Creating message cohesion through your images and words contributes to how a customer perceives you and how you sell your experience.

The most successful companies are those who brand themselves with a unique voice and consistently convey this through the images and words they choose to reach their target consumers.

Choose your words wisely

When you are communicating your site’s appeal it is important to ask yourself if you are meeting the emotional need of your audience. We want to hit the why instead of the what. Your word choices should subtly express how your product is going to satisfy a particular need. For example; using the word elite might satisfy your customers desire to gain admiration or status.

How you choose to meet the emotional appeal of your consumer will have significant effects on your conversion rate: someone that came to browse, might turn into a paying customer, because your brand voice help them determine a need they wanted fulfilled.

Select your images carefully

Images optimize customer experience and offer a tangible way for them to connect with your business. Maker sure all images used on your site are high quality: you risk losing credibility through third-rate pictures. Images will take your experience one step further; invest time in strategizing which ones to use and how to use them. Pictures are a great way to drive traffic: If the image is enticing, you will find the visits to your site increasing significantly.

“In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%).” Jeff Bullas

Let’s take Under Armour as an example:

Yes, the brand’s overarching goal is to sell their clothing, but their clothing alone is not what’s driving the company’s sales. Their quality apparel is simply the offspring of the reason why people are drawn to the company: because of the experience they offer. Their call to action communicates with our product, you’ll place above the competition, you will be better, meeting the needs of their athletic, competition-driven target consumer.

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1) Word Choice:  “Everything Here Makes You Better” speaks to the brand’s emphasis on intense competition. It grabs the attention and speaks to the emotions  of those who desire to  prove their seriousness in athletics.

 

2) Image Selection: The image depicts four athletes intense and ready for a good fight. This correlates to the bold game-face sentiment created by the tag line and image together.  The experience would change significantly if the image chosen showed a track team smiling and running on a sunny day. Make sense?

3) Message Cohesion: The words and images match each other, to create a full, consistent experience. Customers now see the apparel as their ticket to athletic-driven success. Their product purchase stems from the brand’s entice to be a part of something bolder and better.

Find a consistent voice conveyed through your words, messages and images that meets the need of your target audience. Sell your experience well, and the sales will come.

 

Discern.Engage.Transcend.