What is the key to tempting email marketing?

We can’t always explain why we do something or want something. Why did you choose that particular brand of deodorant in the supermarket earlier, for example? Probably because you’ve used it before, knew what to expect, and it was a reasonable price. But why did you open that email from one brand today, and not the other email from a similar brand a few days ago? It’s a little harder to explain.

There are a few keys to tempting email marketing that, while not subliminal, are certainly a little sneaky. But they’re also effective, and so any email marketer not unlocking the door to temptation is definitely missing out.

Fear of missing out

It’s that same fear of missing out (or FOMO) that tempts many customers into opening your emails, and this all comes down to the quality of your subject line. It could be tempting for you to write your subject line in all caps, with emojis and exclamation points at either end in a bid to get attention, but that’s more likely to turn off your recipients rather than inspire them to open.

Instead, craft a subject line which instils a sense that they stand to miss out by not opening. This could be a tantalising tease of your special offer; it could be a reference to the amount of people who have already taken advantage of the offer; it could deliver a sense of urgency, in that the offer will only be available to them for a short amount of time.

Remember: a sense of mystery in your subject line is a sure-fire way to attract an open – you just better make sure that your email delivers on the recipient’s curiosity once they do.

A CTA too good not to click

What good is tempting your recipients into opening an email, only for them to leave the interaction there? OK, so they’ve been exposed to your brand and you’ve raised awareness, but after all the hard work you put into your subject line, anything other than tempting them to click through is arguably disappointing.

That’s why your email and eventual call-to-action (CTA) has to be special. It should build on your subject line, in that it confirms what you were teasing; but through effective use of imagery and copy, it should also deliver on what your recipient has learnt in your email. Having said all that, the copy in your actual button itself should be short and precise. Tell people exactly what you want people to do in your CTA, and they’re far more likely to do it. You could even repeat your subject line in your CTA – a trick used by many advertising copywriting greats. It’s certainly worth testing, anyway.

Your email should only have one CTA (after all, it’s your email’s only goal; you don’t want to distract people by also advising that they click through to somewhere else), but feel free to repeat it throughout your email. Optimising means testing and adjusting – never settle on your first send.

The right time to seal the deal

With a well-thought out email workflow, you’ll never have to settle on your first send. Think back to the opening paragraph in this article – why do you think you open an email from one brand on a particular day, but not a similar email from a similar brand another day? It could be because that first brand has been nurturing you as a lead for several weeks, and has decided that you’ve reached the perfect place in the buying cycle that you’re likely to click through and purchase.

It just goes to show that segmenting your lists in email marketing is crucial. By targeting customers at different times in the buying cycle, you can tailor your subject line and email content to those at that stage. Sending the same message to all of your contacts at the same time is counter-intuitive; instead, research how many times your contacts have visited your website; when they last purchased; patterns in their previous purchases etc.

Temptation isn’t always needed in email marketing; sometimes, it’s just about giving the people exactly what they want, right when they need it.