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5 Tips to Increase Open and Click-Through Rates

It’s no secret that email marketing has quickly become one of the best and most effective ways to reach consumers on a personal, one-on-one level. In Exact Target’s 2015 State of Marketing report, 73% of those surveyed agree that email marketing is core to their business – up nearly 20% from 2014.

Like well-known retailers and brands, authors and publishers commonly use newsletters as part of their overall marketing efforts. Newsletters have many advantages, including the fact that they are relatively easy to plan, develop, distribute, and measure. While it’s difficult to trace revenue back to social media efforts, with a good vendor and properly constructed emails, nearly every reader click can be tracked and assigned value.

With many author and publisher websites featuring calls-to-action for newsletter sign-ups and the growing importance of email marketing, our book marketing experts have assembled the following 5 tips to optimize your email marketing efforts.

1)    Create an Effective, Attention Grabbing Subject Line

To overcome spam and other messages, your subject line needs to capture your target’s attention and encourage them to click on and read your newsletter. You can do this by leveraging one or more of these tactics:

  • Personalize the subject line by adding the reader’s first name.
  • Address your reader’s concerns and interests. Why should they care?
  • Use action-oriented language to communicate immediacy and urgency.
  • Use 50 or fewer characters to optimize for scanning and mobile devices.
  • Avoid spam trigger words such as “save,” “free,” and “bargain.”

2)    Have an Actual Person (YOU!) as the Sender 

The name you use for the “from” field of your email can have a positive or negative impact on open rates. Digital marketing juggernaut HubSpot conducted A/B tests on their own emails and concluded that sending emails from an actual person increases both the open and click through rates for the marketing efforts.

As an author or publisher, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your reader. Would you want to open an email from marketing@abcpublishing.com or would you rather read an email from Kathryn from ABC Publishing? The fact that the message is coming from an actual person not only adds legitimacy, but also makes it more personal.

3)    Ensure Your Brand is Represented 

To quickly build your newsletters, we recommend having a few templates at the ready. When you build these templates, you want them to reflect your overall author or publisher brand and style including colours, logo, and tagline. As a natural extension of your branded website, you want the reader to recognize who you are and what you do, and remember why they clicked on your newsletter.

4)    Use Relevant Images 

Using images and other visual cues are great tools to ensure every element of your newsletter engages with your readers. When you build your templates, do not forget to leave enough room for images, as 65% of people prefer emails with mostly images rather than text. Visuals are also processed by our brains 60,000 times faster than text.

For example, if you are updating your readers on your previous blog posts, pull images from these blog posts and use them in your newsletter along with a short description of each blog. You could also make each of these images hyperlinks to the full blog.

5)    Have a Clear Call-to-Action Button 

To measure the results from your newsletter efforts, each should have a single goal, whether it is to increase blog traffic, stimulate sign-ups for your appearances, or generate sales of your books. The call-to-action button is typically the link that triggers the act that leads to goal conversion, so you’ll want to ensure this element is prominently displayed in your newsletter.

The button should be visually distinct from the rest of your newsletter template to make it stand out. We recommend placing it in the upper third of your newsletter templates to ensure that it will be displayed as soon as the email is opened – no scrolling required.

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