Imagine creating emails as satisfying as freshly-baked cupcakes.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Your readers would bite hungrily into your content. And wait impatiently until the next time you hit send.
Could an email ever be that good?
For Sarah Waters, brand director of Treat Cupcake Bar, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to pique her customers’ appetite and get them to shop with her.
“We’re the kind of store where people may only come in every other month, so we really need to be able to reach people through email,” says Sarah. “Email has definitely helped increase our online orders. People being able to click-through and shop online has been huge.”
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Here are Sarah’s four ingredients of crave-worthy emails:
1. Start with an enticing sign-up experience
Since signing up for email marketing six years ago, Sarah has grown her email list to over 2,500 contacts. She collects contact information both online and in-store to reach her audience at multiple touchpoints.
Her sign-up form is visible on every page of her website — not just the homepage. She also uses the Join My Mailing List Facebook app so anyone who visits her Facebook Page can join her mailing list easily.
Here’s how the Join My Mailing List App appears on her Facebook Page:
In-store, Sarah offers a small incentive to entice people to sign up.
“We have bowls in both our stores that ask people to ‘Sign up for the Friends of Treat Mailing List’,” she says. “When they sign up, they’re also entered into a monthly raffle to win a dozen cupcakes. “
2. Only send valuable information
With a growing list of subscribers, Sarah is sure to make every email count. Her emails include information on upcoming sales, details of store events, and creative solutions.
“We never want to put together a newsletter that feels like there’s no reason for it,” she says. “We always want to feel like we’re informing them of something new. We don’t want anyone to ever feel like we’re sending them junk or something they already know.”
Sarah emphasizes that her emails aren’t always promotional. Her advice for stand-out marketing is to simply understand your customers and what interests to them.
“You don’t have to always send out sales,” Sarah explains. “If you send out a creative recommendation (like a cupcake centerpiece) or unique gift idea that can be a breath of fresh air among all the special offers. We try to solve a problem for them or offer some inspiration.”
Here’s an email Sarah sent out to remind customers about Treat’s gluten free options:
3. Be timely
Timing is a huge part of Sarah’s email marketing strategy. When deciding what to send, she thinks about what holidays are coming up and how Treat Cupcake Bar can fit in with her customers’ plans.
“I try to allot one day a month where I can think about what my game plan is going to be,” Sarah explains. “I plan things around the holidays — for example, I know around October and November I’ll need to send emails about Halloween and Thanksgiving.”
Working around holidays means Sarah’s messages are always timely and she is able to plan things out ahead of time.
“My advice is to write down your game plan ahead of time,” she says. “It saves me a lot of time to have a schedule with what kind of content I want to send out. And then it’s just sticking to that schedule the best you can.”
Sarah sent this email to promote custom orders for Thanksgiving:
4. Keep emails short and sweet
A recent Constant Contact survey found that emails with approximately 20 lines of text and three or fewer images resulted in the highest click-through rate.
“I want my emails to be clean. And I want, from the moment that someone opens it, for them to be able to see the purpose without scrolling down,” Sarah says. “I’ll add a cute, whimsical header, a big picture of something that makes them hungry, and just a line or two about what the email is about.”
Sarah makes sure the main picture links back to her website and she always includes contact information and buttons to her social media channels.
The example below includes an engaging header, an image and short description, and a call to action to order online:
Make your readers hungry for your next email!
Using Sarah’s tips, you can create emails your subscribers are excited to consume.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew — choose one of these four tips where you think you can make the biggest improvement. Even small improvements can make a big difference and go a long way in building loyalty with new and existing customers.
Want to send business-generating emails in no time? Our 5-step Approach to Successful Email Marketing guide will show you how!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.