Tips For Creating An Email Marketing Campaign That Doesn't Suck

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Strategic Email Marketing

Use Email Marketing to Help Build Your Architecture Firm

Five Tips for Improving Your Email Marketing

149,513

That's how many emails are sent every single minute.

It makes me re-think the likelihood of ever getting to "inbox zero" for my own email. The truth is, there are some emails I like to keep and go back to so I can revisit links to articles and blogs, and several that I will take action on to sign up for a webinar or grab a download.

But why? With so many emails coming in every day, I decided I'd apply what I know about email marketing to analyze the handful of emails I look forward to reading and that inspire me to take action. What did they have that all the others didn't? Why did those campaigns work, where others failed? I wondered if I'd really see best practices in use and working. 

Because with so many messages hitting the inboxes of your contacts, you want to do all you can to ensure that your email campaign gets noticed ... and gets results!

What is an Email Marketing Campaign?

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First, let me clear up any confusion about what emails we're talking about. An email marketing campaign is a planned series of emails intended to create a specific response from the audience.

The most effective emails have a solid strategy behind them and serve a specific goal related to a well-defined audience.

What does that mean? 

For example, an email campaign aimed at prospects would be different from one created to stay in touch with past clients.

If you've tried email marketing and watched as nothing happened, you are not alone! It is not a quick fix or overnight success. Email marketing campaign works best when it has a clear purpose, meaningful content, and a clear call to action for the reader to take.

Email marketing also works best over time to nurture interest, build credibility and trust, present relevant and irresistible solutions. The timeframe can be four days in a row or monthly over a year (or years), or somewhere in between: What will work depends on what you want to accomplish with the campaign.

An email campaign can be a very effective way to build anticipation and attract contacts to a special offer, or share insights and opinions about your area of expertise. It's also a good way to stay top-of-mind with prospects and past clients.

When I analyzed the campaigns that appealed to me, I saw a consistent balance of relevancy, value, direction, and creativity. While the emails ranged from a little content to a lot, it was always good quality content. 

When it comes to putting together your emails for your campaign, here are some helpful tips on how to best use email marketing.

1. Value

Start by thinking about the value you are able to give your email readers. What can you share with them that will give them an advantage, help with a nagging problem, insights that can help them get their job done.

Focus on value, not promotion. An email with specifically helpful information will draw people in more because it's clear there is something in it for them.

Of course, you want to promote your firm, but keep obviously promotional content to less than 25% of the email — and even then it can be subtle self-promotion: Landing a new project, completing a major project, or receiving an award. 

Throughout your email, and again at the end, make it easy for readers to get what you are offering. Include clear call-to-action buttons they can click on to read more or download or request a consultation.

Think of your email as a way to start an inviting conversation that encourages readers to take the next step toward contacting you.

2. Subject Lines

Subject lines are your first point of contact with your audience. It's vital to get it right! You have about 40-65 characters to get their attention and get them to open your email. Clear and direct is more compelling. Longer subject lines do not work as well as short ones. Let’s say we’re trying to create a subject line for this very blog post. There are many we could try:

Ask a question related to the problem

For example: Why doesn't anyone read your marketing emails?

Be direct & spell out the value

For example: Five email tips to get more clicks  

It can be tempting to repeat variations on the same subject line, especially with long-term campaigns like newsletters or project updates. But changing it up each time helps draw readers in.

A word about subject lines that are misleading, overpromising, and just wrong. 

Re: Fw: You know those email campaign subject lines starting with Re:  that make you read thinking it's related to an email you've sent? Some promotional email campaigns resort to this tactic because we tend to scan subject lines for replies to emails in the course of our workday. Just don't do it.

Too many emojis. The subject line of your email marketing campaign emails should be eye-catching. You can try dressing up your subject line with an emoji or two. Use emojis in addition to the word, not in place of: 

This – INSIDE: Get our FREE email marketing checklist 📄

Not this – INSIDE: Get our FREE email marketing 📄

Here are a few examples that work with or without the addition of an emoji:

Blog title

💥  Create an email marketing campaign that doesn't suck!

Offer value

☛ Get more email clicks with these 5 tips

Time-sensitive

⚠️ 🕕  Better email marketing in five minutes – starting now!

3. Visuals

While not every one of the emails I analyzed included images, the ones that did used visuals were more engaging. Especially true for those that included visuals as to illustrate a point in the text or make it very clear to follow the image link (to an article, download, video, etc.).

Architects and designers have a great advantage when it comes to images – projects, designs, materials details, floor plan sketches, renderings, visualizations, and more.

 Sample graphic we designed for a client providing home services.

Sample graphic we designed for a client providing home services.

Graphics can also boost the effectiveness of emails. A few graphics placed at the beginning, middle, and end of your email not only illustrate the written content, they keep people reading. 

DIY design apps like Canva make it easy to quickly and consistently create your own graphics. 

As you gain confidence with email campaigns, add a short video clip — such as a video rendering or virtual walk-through of a work in progress. Or, get on camera yourself to show your personality and share your firm's mission or story. 

A video within an email increases the click-through rate by 96%.

For email contacts who aren't familiar with your firm, video can draw them in with relevant information. Keep your video to less than 90 seconds and be sure to have it link to your website!

Make sure your emails are true to your architecture firm's visual identity — with your logo, company colors, and maybe even a branded banner. Incorporating your branding will help readers associate the content with your firm.

Email automation systems, such as MailChimp and Active Campaign, make it easy to create templates based on your brand's visual identity. 

4. Links

Email is a great way to jumpstart prospects into considering your firm for a project. When you include website links in your email text, you lay out a path from the email to your own website and the specific details you want them to find.

Text and images can be linked (text often defaults to blue or underlined to indicate a link) to direct readers to a case study, blog post, or special landing page with more information.  

As a general rule, use email to share links that go back to your own website pages, or possibly social media, to keep people connected to your content. Avoid linking to other sites that take them away from you.

5. Timing 

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When you first start with an email campaign, set it up to go out at a time you think your audience is likely to be online, accessing and reading emails. Some research says Tuesday mornings are good, other research points to after lunch hour.

If your email lists consist of the people who are the same or similar to followers on your social media, look at the data for audience activity on those channels. It's a quick way to identity peak internet times. Then you can schedule emails to go out during those peaks.

As you complete a few emails, you can experiment with timing and monitor opens and clicks for various send times. 

Also take time to understand how your audience views their emails. Are they at desktop computers or on mobile phones? Think about how your text, images, and graphics look a small screen vs big screen. Tuning in and adjusting for how they read emails can help you create more reader-friendly email campaigns.

Getting Started

Keep it simple to start. The more conversational you can make the email content, the more likely it is to connect with the reader and provide them some value. Ask yourself: What do your prospects want to know about your firm, about architectural practice in general, about the specific market you serve?

Avoid getting too complicated or detailed in your emails. When you do have in-depth information to share, write a blog post on your website and link to it from a brief summary in your email.

Use a tone and style that matches your firm's spirit and approach to business! It's OK to have fun with your email campaigns — finding the right balance of friendly and professional will make your emails more effective.  

We know it takes time to craft an effective email marketing campaign. And we know you are more likely looking to get things off your list than to add one more thing to do. 

Archmark can help you build up your business, so you can focus on leading your firm.

We start with a free 30-minute architecture marketing strategy call. The benefits of the call will help you:

  • Get clarity on why your current digital marketing efforts aren't working
  • (re)Define your competitive advantage
  • Discover insights into your ideal clients that you never would have thought of on your own