Why PR pros shouldn’t give up on email

Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the biggest possible return on your email efforts, and what you should consider if engagement is starting to flag.

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In spite of the hoopla over video, hashtags, influencer marketing and Instagram, email remains an important tool for marketers.

There are an estimated 3.9 billion email users worldwide today who bring in nearly $40 billion in ad revenue, according to The Radicati Group. What’s even more encouraging is that the marketing research firm forecasts there will be nearly 4.4 billion people using email by the end of 2023, with ad revenues exceeding $73 billion.

The study suggests not only a healthy marketplace for companies, but also one where competition will be even tougher.

Here are tips to navigate this field, both obvious and some more provoking:

For Starters

Take the example of emails where the sender’s email address is preceded by “donotreply.”

That’s an immediate turn-off for many people because it clearly states that the sender has no wish to hear from the recipient. The same is true for auto-generated IDs from the brand’s email service provider.

For higher open rates and responses, particularly in B2C companies, companies can insert the name of someone with whom the recipient can make a connection and perhaps shoot a query. Better yet, they can use the brand name as part of the return email address (e.g. jsmith@companyname.com).

At B2B and SaaS companies, emails with the name of the CEO or manager get opened with higher frequency than those from someone who’s unknown, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Subject

Like a newspaper headline, a good subject line is what will grab a recipient’s interest. Perhaps surprisingly, the length of the subject line isn’t as relevant, based on research by Phrasee, a technology and AI-powered copywriting firm.

What is important in the subject line are words which are tailored to the recipient. The emotions expressed are central, too, as is the simplicity in getting the message across clearly and as simply as possible.

Text

Besides good content, visuals are important, including emojis and one of the newest kids on the block, brand indicators for message identification (BIMI). BIMI helps visualize a brand and makes it stand out in the recipient’s mailbox with an image.

Layout

Because smartphones are three times more popular than laptops and tablets when it comes to opening emails, using a layout that is easy to navigate and view on a mobile phone is more crucial than ever. Single column layouts with headlines of at least 30 pixels and copy of a minimum 16 pixels are recommended, and 44 x 44 pixel buttons above “scroll” also help.

Test

Like everything in communications, a branded email needs testing, with particular attention paid to feedback, including people who opt out. Marketers should follow up with lost readers to discover their reason(s), so that potential adjustments and changes can be made in the future.  One great question to consider asking is what it would take to regain their interest to receive emails.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

 

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