The Art of an Email

by Erin McNamara

I don’t know a world without emails. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have at least 4 email addresses to my name at this point. While checking my inbox has become a daily ritual in my life, I’ve never really considered exactly where my emails are coming from. That is, until my first few weeks at Potratz.

Of course there’s no denying that I knew about email marketing. I receive marketing emails every day, and I’ve learned about it briefly in my college courses. But regardless of knowing email marketing exists, I did not really understand how it worked. Just because you know about something does not mean you understand it. So when I started hearing terms like “lists” and “sequences” I was a bit unsure of what I had gotten myself into.

First and foremost, the key to understanding email marketing is to understand what the goal of each email is. There is no sense in wasting time blasting out an email to every single person in your database if the goal is to only get owners of silver Toyota Camry’s to read your message. Understanding that every email is targeted to someone, or for something, has helped me understand the difference between sending emails and building sequences.

  • Emails are sent to a list at a set time, normally paired with promotions or services.
  • Sequences are a series of emails triggered by an action, typically used to follow up.

Let’s compare sending emails to making lunch for a second. You’ve already decided on whether you’re sending an email or automating a sequence- we’ll say that’s deciding between a sub or sandwich. But now we’ve got to choose whether we want white or wheat bread.

Crafting a good subject line is like choosing what type of bread your sandwich is made of. A sandwich’s bread type is one of the first things a person sees, and usually it determines whether they’re going to eat it or not. Similarly, the subject line is the first part of an email someone sees and if it’s not appetizing, they’re not going to open it. Good subject lines come in many different styles and depend on the audience, but there are a few elements to keep in mind. Subject lines that are personal, suggest urgency, or pose a question are good bets for a better open rate, while subject lines that are too long, in all caps, or contain excessive exclamation points more likely to be sent to spam. Once you’ve got a solid subject line in place, it’s time to get to the meat of your sandwich.

In addition to learning how emails are sent, and understanding subject lines, I’ve learned about the types of emails marketers can utilize. The two that you are most likely to see in your inbox are graphics-based or text-based emails.

  • Text-based emails are usually used when the goal is to appear more personal. These types of messages can even utilize special codes to address recipients by name, or include other personal details.
  • Graphics-based emails tend to be useful for different promotions, invitations, or offerings.

Learning the how and why behind email marketing has opened my eyes to not only what happens every day at Potratz, but also how I view my own inbox. While I still send many messages to the trash, I’ve started to consider them a little bit longer before deciding. Someone wanted to send me this message for a reason, maybe it would be worthwhile to check it out.

In email marketing there are many moving parts. Understanding how the brand, the audience, the message, and then end goal all affect each other within a campaign is only the first step in becoming an email marketing expert.

The Art of an Email

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