Using Visuals to Boost Your Content (Emails Included)

When we write emails for our customers, we always start off with a brief. After all, it’s about finding out what they need instead of what we want…right? And during these sessions, customers may or may not have a rough idea of what they want their emails to communicate. However, one thing they almost never mention, is what kind of pictures they’d like to include.

This is a curious thing because every time we let them preview an email before it goes out, their attention goes straight to the visual! They don’t comment much on the subject line nor the introduction. Their gaze immediately gets pulled by the image.

This experience in itself shows how crucial visuals are, when it comes to marketing. Whether it’s for a website, a blog article or an EDM, including an eye-catching visual is always a good idea. This is something even we have been guilty of, but will be making changes right away!

The following are some tips on how to incorporate visuals into your content.

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A Financial Adviser’s (Our Client) Email Open Rates

If you’ve read the introduction of this website or received any of my emails, you’ll know that we mention email open rates as an indicator for email marketing quality. In this short entry, we’ll look at the open rates for a specific industry: Finance and more specifically, the financial adviser.

Recently, we helped a client (a financial adviser) engage his database of customers through a newly set up email marketing campaign. After consulting with us, he saw the value of using emails to build his professional relationships further. He also knew that he didn’t want to spend valuable time on this (a subject he wasn’t familiar with), so he took up our email crafting services. Basically, we used points he provided and managed his campaign on his behalf. This included writing subject lines, email content, scheduling blasts and so on.

After the first blast, we looked through the statistics and were pleasantly surprised. As it turned out, he had built excellent credibility with his professional network. Just before we look at his open rates though, let’s look at the industry average.

As you can see from the image below, this is the average email open rate for the finance sector. 21% really isn’t too bad if it’s cold leads, but I suspect there’s a mix of both warm and cold here. (Image source here)

Email Marketing Open Rates for Finance Industry

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Email Efficiency – Maintaining Inbox (0)

If you’re anything like me, then the number of emails in your Inbox affects you somehow (especially that number of unread emails that range anywhere between 1-1,999). Whether it’s a tiny voice in the back of your mind or a torrential stream of angst, it’s a set of emotions we could certainly do without.

Well, this short list of “Inbox Hacks” may help eliminate that blood pressure-raising moment whenever you visit your inbox. I’m confident that exercising just one of these steps will significantly add to your productivity.

Inbox Hacks for Email Efficiency:

  1. Unsubscribe – We’re all guilty of being attracted to one “shiny” newsletter after another. At one point of time, my inbox was filled with newsletters from various deal sites, content marketing sites, email marketing sites, investment companies, marketing agencies and the list went on. My best advice is to unsubscribe from them. The next time you receive a newsletter, don’t delete it without opening it (it’s like I’m reading your mind huh?). Take 15 seconds to browse it, decide if it’s something essential and if not, unsubscribe!
  2. Convert Emails – Many of us like using our inbox as a to-do list, so we leave emails there and tell ourselves to follow up when we can. Unlike a real to-do list though, your inbox doesn’t help prioritise tasks nor does it “beep” when deadlines are due (or past due). It would be best to convert your emails into items on an actual to-do list. I don’t use anything fancy, just the task list on Gmail’s calendar. This prevents lots of angst, especially when you look at your inbox and can’t strategise what to follow up with first. You can browse some online to-do lists here.
  3. Immediate Action – If there was only one step to take in this list, it would be this one. To do this, make a decision with every new email you open. Either reply (includes forward), delete or archive it into a relevant folder. Whichever decision you make, never leave it in your inbox. Why? (Re-read 2nd point). If you’re afraid that you might forget following up on an email and don’t like using a to-do list, then give Followupthen a shot. This remarkable (and free) online software helps you keep track of your email without having to leave it in your inbox. Visit the site here to learn more.

As you can see, I’ve kept the list extremely short, exactly how your inbox management process should be. I hope you learnt something from this post and look forward to more stuff. If you wish to be informed of new posts, just sign up for my newsletter.

When Emails Become A Liability To Businesses

The email is an effective tool for online communication, going back as far as the 1960s. Over half a century later, it’s still one of the preferred methods of exchanging messages, especially between businesses. When it comes to marketing though, plenty of businesses are turning this timeless tool into extremely costly mistakes.

Every few moments I find an unsolicited email in my inbox, getting me to either fork out money so some “strangely unfamiliar” wealthy dude can send me millions, or to invest in a miracle product/ service that promises the whole world in terms of income. My reaction; I delete them or mark them as spam. For some emails, I even create filters that help clean up my inbox further. (I’ll cover inbox housekeeping in a future write-up)

Email Spam

Email Spam

What the aforementioned businesses are doing is that they purchase or hack into databases of cold leads, then blast countless emails, hoping to receive a handful of responses. Research has shown that the response rates for such methods can be as low as 0.3%. That means for every 1,000 emails sent, there might be 3 responses.

Now, getting a low response rate is one thing. What really makes it expensive for businesses is when recipients (like yours truly) mark these unsolicited emails as spam. What happens next is that all future emails (including valid subscriptions) get moved to the JUNK Folder; and in email marketing, the junk folder is pretty much the end of the road. This means no matter how good your products/ services may be, these recipients will probably never hear about them again.

So when a business continuously spams a database of cold leads, it is actually turning potentially profitable prospects into long-term (possibly permanent) enemies! Over time, the database of cold leads get less and less profitable, then the business moves on to another database and continues associating its brand with email spam. Not much of a marketing plan if you ask me.

On the other hand, when businesses take the time to grow a database of warm and active contacts, their response rates can go through the roof. The methods taught in my courses for instance, help students generate around 40% open rates. That’s 133 times the industry average!

So where warm leads are concerned, even a database of 10 people generates more responses as compared to 1,000 cold leads!

Do you know of any businesses that may be turning their emails into costly liabilities? If so, forward them this email and who knows, it might help reduce the email spam we are all receiving today.

Note:

Look forward to top techniques that can help reduce your email ‘spam score’, and increase the chances of landing in inboxes instead of junk folders.