Flow Communications

When it comes to staying abreast of the latest industry news about their favourite brands, many people rely on the regular newsletters they receive via email. More than four billion people now use email daily, making it the largest social network in the world, so it makes sense for anyone marketing or selling something to constantly sharpen their skills on this channel.

Emailers and newsletters are a key tool for keeping your customers informed and for encouraging them to visit your digital properties. This type of marketing is also relatively affordable. And it is a growing channel.

HubSpot reported in July 2022 that over the previous 12 months, 77% of marketers saw an increase in email engagement. And with a return on investment of $44 for every $1 spent (HubSpot, 2021), it’s no wonder that 37% of brands are increasing their email budget, and only 1.3% are making cuts (Litmus, 2021).

So, how do you ensure your brand gets a piece of this massive pie? Here are seven tips from the team at Flow Communications:

1. Make sure you’ve got the right tools

    When using email marketing campaigns as part of your strategy, make sure you use a third-party tool rather than sending the emails from your own account. This will help you automate bulk sending and give you campaign analytics such as who opened your mail, how many times and which links they followed.

    Email marketing companies such as Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp and HubSpot have spent decades ensuring their email servers have a good reputation and don’t get blocked by spam filters. They’re also whitelisted with all the major email providers, such as Gmail and Office 365, so your emails stand the best chance possible of being seen by your intended audience.

    2. Use existing newsletter templates

      Once you’ve selected your provider and are ready to create your mailer, it’s always best to use the preset templates that come with the platform. This is because the starter templates have already been tested against all the biggest email software apps such as Gmail, Outlook and Apple Mail.

      What’s great is that you can customise the existing templates to suit your brand identity by changing the colours, images and font.

      Creating your own template from scratch costs money and takes a long time. So only explore this option if you have a large budget and enough time on your hands.

      3. Avoid spam blockers

        Did you know that using certain words in your subject line can immediately classify your email as spam?

        These “trigger words and phrases” activate spam blocking engines and increase the likelihood that your email may fall into a spam trap. Avoid using words and phrases such as “money back”, “get paid”, “cash”, “big bucks”, “paid”, “free”, “price”, “limited time” and “100% off”.

        If you’re unsure about words to avoid, doing a quick Google search will help you identify a much wider range of trigger words.

        4. Ensure the email sender is authenticated

          Make certain that your domain is authenticated with the email service sending on your behalf. For example, when Campaign Monitor sends an email as “info@abc.com”, it is actually sending from its own servers, not from ABC Company’s.

          So you need to prove that it is an authorised email and is allowed to send emails on behalf of your company.

          5. Make sure people’s personal information is protected

            You need to be compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act when sending out emails.

            People must agree to receive marketing communications from you. You can encourage people to sign up by having a clearly visible email or newsletter subscribe button on your website. This must include a “checkbox” that guides a person to opt in and give permission to receive marketing material from your business.

            If the person is currently doing business with you, you are entitled to send them communications, but they must have the choice of opting out.

            6. What is the likelihood that your emails will be opened?

              The open rate varies across all industries, but the average rate is 21.33%, according to Mailchimp. This might not seem like an encouraging number, but even with 21% of your customers reading your emails, you’re still getting a return on your investment of $44 to every $1 spent. 

              7. Choose your time wisely

                Sending out your newsletters at the right time and on the right day can play a major role in the open rate of your emails. Research by Omnisd that looked at more than two billion email accounts shows that there are three best times to send emails: 8am, 1pm and 4pm. At Flow, we regularly schedule our mailers to go out between 8am and 10am – first thing in the morning while people are checking their emails.

                Research further shows that campaigns published earlier in the month perform better than those published later in the month. The 5th, 7th and 12th of the month work best, taking into consideration whether or not these dates fall on the weekends (email usage on weekends drops, so don’t send out email campaigns then).

                Let’s talk content

                A successful email marketing campaign requires strong content to capture your audience’s attention. It’s one thing for them to click on the link, but it takes a powerful content strategy to keep them reading. The person who has signed up for your newsletter wants to get your news to stay informed, and very often they’re loyal to your brand.

                Here are four ways to guarantee your marketing campaign keeps them glued to their screens.

                1. Subject lines

                  A 2021 Barilliance study found that 64% of consumers decide to open emails based on the quality of its subject line. Your subject line acts as the gateway to your content. What are you saying in your subject line? Think of it as the window to your store. What are you placing in that window to attract current customers and potential customers?

                  The recommended length is 40 characters, as this ensures the full subject line is readable on a smartphone. Subject lines with six to 10 words have an open rate of 21%, while subject lines that are 21 to 25 words long come up short at 9%.

                  Using emojis in a subject line increases its effectiveness by 70%, provided they are relevant and in sync with your brand. For example, including a cappuccino emoji when you send out your email first thing in the morning makes sense. Research emojis and find out what works best for your brand tone.

                  2. Your content checklist

                    • Make sure your content is informative and relevant by including hyperlinks to interesting blogs, news articles and videos. Always double-check that your hyperlinks work and lead to the correct sites

                    • Incorporating multimedia such as images, GIFs and videos can make your content come alive and entertaining to consume

                    • Include calls to action (CTAs) in your newsletter in the form of buttons to prompt your readers to take actions you want them to take, such as buying a product

                    • How can people follow you on other platforms? Have clear icons that lead people to your social media platforms

                    • Ensure there is a way to share the newsletters with others via email and social media platforms

                    3. Design and layout

                      • Play around with your template to make it visually interesting rather than repetitive and predictable

                      • Think about content placement: where will your GIFs, images and videos go?

                      • Make use of buttons and customise your CTAs. Again, double-check your button links

                      4. How does it look on various devices?

                        One of the useful features of Campaign Monitor is that it shows you previews of how your newsletter will appear on different kinds of devices, like a smartphone, laptop or desktop. This helps you see if the design and layout of your content will make sense and reads well for all users.

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