From Strategy To Launch: How To Create A High-Performing Email
Storyboarding: Build your strategy
All successful emails start with a specific storyboard and strategy, because successful emails are part of a wider campaign — where there are multiple flows, decision trees, and customer behavior factors. To concoct upwards of 50 emails without a storyboard is to fall at the first hurdle.
The storyboard maps out the strategy, the content, and the goal of each email. A successful storyboard should map out each flow, and determine what emails they receive.
Before you dive into your strategy, take a step back and think of all the different customers on your email list — new customers, one-time buyers, monthly subscribers — and create custom flows for each.
The more flows you have, the better results you’ll squeeze out of each email, as they contain more personal and valuable information to each customer.
Once you’ve created a detailed flow, you can get into storyboarding individual emails. Think about what the purpose/goal of each flow is, and finesse your messaging accordingly. Welcome flows will contain more branded messaging that builds trust and sells your story to your new customers, while a sales flow brings your promotion and products to center stage.
Then there are email flows for non-responders, cart abandoners, and customers interested in product X, Y and Z. These are all essential components of an email strategy that keep customers engaged, and turn browsers into buyers.
As you can see, a successful storyboard may include an ever-growing number of emails. That’s why it’s important to take the time to map out a strategy and executional point of view.
Your storyboard is your roadmap, brief, and pièce de résistance all rolled into one.
Creative: Creating the email
Your strategy is on point, customer X is getting email Y, and so on. Now it’s time to create emails that live up to the hype and drive conversions.
While email marketing can deliver the best return on investment of any marketing campaign, it doesn’t just happen by magic. If you want your emails to add value to your brand, your emails have to add value to your customers’ lives.
This is where the copywriter comes in. Arguably one of the most important components of any email (and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m a copywriter), the copywriter has to spark the curiosity of your customers in less than a second.
Think of how you consume emails: on your phone, on your commute, while eating lunch. Smaller screens and limited attention spans don’t play in your favor, but a great copywriter stops people in their tracks with compelling, clickable copy.
Here are some tried and trusted tips to get customers to open your emails and follow through with a purchase.
- Eye-catching, interest-piquing subject lines: Make your subject lines stand out with emojis, a clear offer, and a sense of urgency. Personalization is also proven to increase open rates.
- Grab hold of their attention with headlines that add value: If your email is a promotion for 50% off, make sure it’s in the headline.
- Sell the sizzle, not the sausage: Rule 101 in copywriting school is to sell the benefits of a product, not its features. Nobody cares about what strain of amino acid is in your wellness shake. They want to know that your wellness shake will increase muscle, strengthen immune systems and boost energy.
- Clear call to actions: Clear in terms of design, and clear in direction. Your call to actions should act as a window into the next step/page. ‘Shop Dresses’ and ‘Read our Blog’ will perform better than more generic CTAs like ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Learn More’.
But words only tell half the story — design brings your message to life.
It’s the designer’s job to make sure the email is on brand, visually appealing, and optimized for different devices. That last bit is really important.
Great designers collaborate with copywriters at every stage, making sure their headlines aren’t too long, there’s a clear hierarchy of messaging, and that both the design and copy work together rather than compete for attention.
In 2019, 46% of emails were opened on mobile, and that figure is only going to rise in 2020. So a mobile-compatible design is essential to email success — but that’s not to say forget about desktop. Both are equally important and need to be optimized in design.
Deployment: Get ready to launch
There’s no point having a beautiful restaurant if the kitchen doesn’t function properly. So while you’ve spent a lot of time making your email look great, it’s just as important to get the back-end in order.
Step forward left-sided brains.
Implementing emails is a task for the detail-oriented among us. It’s a meticulous task that’s essential to seeing all flows are sent to the right customer lists, and that each email is double and triple-checked for quality assurance. Correct implementation ensures that your message goes to the right people at the right time.
Don’t forget to test across different devices and email browsers, and make sure all your CTA links are correct and working!
Analytics: Observe and report
Woo! A successful launch. Now what? Wait until the dust settles and see how much money you made? Not yet. You can still optimize your emails after launch, and you want to use this time to monitor performance and see where you can improve for future campaigns.
The key metrics to look out for are open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and average order value.
It’s something that can be improved upon with a simple word change. Your subject line is the gateway to your email, and the success of your campaign lies heavy upon it. If your open rates are below average, try heightening the promotion or adding urgency to your subject lines.
They correlate with the content of the email itself. Did people see enough value to click through and see what you have to offer? If not, more compelling messaging or clearer call to actions could be needed.
Monitoring CTRs and conversion rates will help you know whether or not you’ve successfully converted an email subscriber into a customer. While email conversion rates seem incredibly low at an average of just 0.2%, when you scale it out to a list of 100,000, that’s 200 orders from a single email! By testing and improving your emails, a slight percentage jump can mean a huge increase in revenue.
Longplay improved client X’s conversion rate by X% — a $XXX increase in monthly revenue!
Average order value
AOV is obviously linked closely to the products you sell, but there are marketing strategies you can use to increase order value. Things like free shipping thresholds, bundle deals, and cross-sell opportunities.
Increasing your average order value is dependent on where — and how often — you include them on your emails. You don’t want to constantly cross-sell and upsell; instead, try weaving these messages into flows where customers are known to spend more, or purchase multiple products at once.
Ready to go?
There’s no reason any eCommerce business can’t create a high-performing email campaign. It just takes time, a varied skill set, and a determination to test and improve.
By breaking down each element of your emails strategy, you’ll feel more confident when it comes to deployment.
- Storyboarding: outline your customer flows, email content, and KPIs.
- Creative: write and design each email with the customer flow/campaign goal in mind.
- Deployment: get your ducks in a row with testing and QA.
- Analytics: check performance for areas of improvement. Apply what you learn.
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