Author: Liz Willits

7 Ways to Create a Black Friday Email Campaign That Drives Sales

U.S. retailers earned a record $7.9 billion on Black Friday in 2017, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s an increase of nearly 18% from the prior year!

A Black Friday email campaign is a great way to cash in on all this spending. However, with thousands of Black Friday emails to compete against, it can be difficult to get your audience’s attention.

With these 7 email campaign tactics, you’ll stand out inside the inbox.

1. Keep it short.

People often debate the ideal email length. While there’s often no simple answer, on Black Friday there is. Keep your content brief. Your subscribers’ inboxes are filled with other emails. They’re busy looking at numerous sales and online shopping.

So get straight to the point. Describe your sale and link off to your website.

For example, see how mattress company Casper does this in their Black Friday email below.

Related: 5 Tactics for Short Emails That Pack a Punch

2. Don’t bury the lede.

Journalist are often advised not to bury the lede a.k.a. the most important information. For email marketing, this is true as well. Your most important or interesting information should be near the beginning of your email. On Black Friday, this is crucial. And the most important information is the discount or deal you’re offering.

To make it easy for your subscriber to see your special offer at a glance,  include it in the headline of your email.

For their Black Friday email campaign, Code School, an online education platform, describes their discount in a brief and bold headline. The headline makes it simple for subscribers to see exactly what the offer is.

Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails

3. Show off your goods.

Another way to increase your click-through rates on Black Friday? Display your product images inside your emails. If a subscriber sees something they like, they’ll be much more likely to click on your call-to-action button.

Active gear retailer HuckBerry created a gift guide for their 2017 Black Friday email campaign. They gathered their best deals into one email, including large product images, the original and discounted price, short descriptions, and call-to-action buttons for each product.

4. Refine your subject lines.

To beat the competition in the inbox on and around Black Friday, your subject line must be engaging. To craft a subject line that stands out, try one or a few of these tactics:

  • Describe your discount or sale in your subject line.
  • Mention how much time people have to claim your deal.
  • Be funny or witty.
  • Keep your subject line under 30 characters.
  • Use an emoji.
  • Explain the discount or sale.

Here are a few subject lines from 2017 Black Friday email campaigns that use these tactics:

Example 1

Company: Chubbies

Subject line: not a typo: 50% off

Example 2

Company: C&T Publishing

Subject line: Hours left to shop the Black Friday sale

Example 3

Company: Levenger

Subject line: Only Hours Left – Black Friday Weekend – 30% Off + Free Shipping

Example 4

Company: Nordstrom

Subject line: Black Friday shoe deals from UGG, Tory Burch, Hunter and more

Example 5

Company:  Physique

Subject line: Black Friday Deals 💸🎁

Example 6

Company: Overstock Art

Subject line: Last Chance to Shop the Exclusive ⚡ Black Friday ⚡ Gallery

Related: Your Guide to Writing the World’s Best Email Subject Lines

5. Use GIFs.

Adding motion to your emails is a great way to be unique and delight your subscribers on Black Friday. Add a simple GIF, a moving image, to do so.

Bonus: We created FREE GIFs you can use in your emails. Download them here.

Kidly, a children’s toy and clothing company, created a GIF for one of their Black Friday emails.

It’s fun — which matches their brand — and seasonal. The headline and image work together to create a stand-out email.

Related: Everything You Need to Know about Using GIFs in Email

6. Explain when your deals end.

Create urgency by informing subscribers that your sale ends soon. In his book Persuasion, best-selling author and psychology professor Robert Cialdini explains that urgency is a psychological trigger that encourages people to act.

Wonderbly, a children’s book company, creates a sense of urgency in the headline and copy of their Black Friday email below.

7. Send emails when others aren’t.

Sometimes, the best way to get high engagement is avoiding the crowds. To do so, send an email campaign in early December. It’ll be easier to get your subscribers’ attention.

MusicMagpie, a company that purchases used technology, sent a post-Black Friday email campaign in 2017.

To make their email extra relevant to subscribers, they position their services as a solution to the problem of overspending on Black Friday.

Start crafting your Black Friday email campaign today.

Need help? Download our free “What to Write in Your Emails” guide. You’ll get an email course that’ll show you how to write great emails. Plus, we’ll also give you more than 45 fill-in-the-blank email copy templates.

(Thanks to MailCharts and Really Good Emails for the email examples used in this post.)

The post 7 Ways to Create a Black Friday Email Campaign That Drives Sales appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Should You Capitalize Your Subject Lines? This Marketing Expert Found Out

Have you ever wondered if you’re using the right tactics to market your business?

John Oszajca did. He’s the founder of Music Marketing Manifesto, an online consulting business that teaches musicians how to sell and promote their music.

Oszajca has been capitalizing the first letter of his email subject lines for years. Yet, he wondered whether this was giving him the highest opens and clicks possible.

So he used a simple tactic to find out.

The simple subject line split test Oszajca used to get more people to open and click his emails.

To test his assumptions about subject lines, Oszajca set up an email split test.

He created two identical versions of a promotional email for his upcoming “Copywriting for Musicians Workshop.” Both versions warn subscribers that this is their last chance to register for the workshop. In his first email, he followed his typical formula of capitalizing the first letter of his subject line. He also capitalized the first letter in the second clause.

Subject line #1: Last chance – This ends tonight

In his second email, he didn’t capitalize any letters.

Subject line #2: last chance – this ends tonight

He sent each email to a different 10% of his subscriber list.

To capitalize a subject line or not? The answer is below.

After waiting 4 hours, Oszajca’s split test results revealed that the subject line with lowercase letters got 35% more opens and clicks!

So he sent the winning email to the remaining 80% of the subscribers on his list.

“It was fun to test certain things that I have been doing for years based on gut,”  Oszajca says. But now he has data to back up his process, he says, and a deeper understanding of his subscribers’ behavior.

Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Now, find out what your own audience prefers!

Want to know what kind of emails lead to the best performance with your own subscribers? Use AWeber’s split testing feature to find out. (Don’t have AWeber? Claim a 30-day free trial here.)

And if you’d like to learn more about split testing, download our FREE guide to split testing.

The post Should You Capitalize Your Subject Lines? This Marketing Expert Found Out appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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This Subject Line Split Test Increased Website Traffic by 83%

You can set up an email split test in 1 minute that could nearly double your click-through rates and website traffic.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Because that’s exactly what happened when Light Stalking, a photography sharing community, split test their subject lines. In this post, discover the simple change that increased their website traffic from an email by 83%.

The subject line split test

Every weekend, Light Stalking hosts a photography challenge around a particular theme. People can post a photograph that aligns with the theme and share their feedback on other’s photos.

Rob Wood, the founder of Light Stalking, relies on email to drive traffic to these weekend challenges. That’s why Wood decided to run an email split test on the subject line of his recent weekly challenge email, which asked people to submit a photo of a silhouette. “I was trying to get more opens, more reads, and potentially more traffic,” he said.

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

For his split test, he created two emails in AWeber. Each message used the same email content but with different subject lines. Wood wanted to find out whether a short subject line that mentioned the topic of the challenge would win against a subject line that was longer and announced that the next weekly challenge was live.

For email 1, Wood used a descriptive, straightforward subject line: “Weekly Challenge is Live!”

For email 2, he wrote a short subject line that hinted at the topic of the challenge: “Silhouettes.”

Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Wood set up his split test so that 5% of the subscribers on his email list received email 1. And 5% of his subscribers received email 2. He waited a day to see which email performed better. Then, he sent the winning email to the remaining 90% of his subscribers.

Wood hoped this would maximize his engagement.

Pro tip: In AWeber, you can customize what percentage of your list receives each email in your split test. You can also test up to 3 emails at a time! (Want to try AWeber’s split test feature? Create a free trial account now.)

The split test results

The subject line “Silhouettes” won! It got 10% more opens than the email with the subject line “Weekly Challenge is Live!” It also earned an 83% higher click-through rate. This drove nearly double the number of website visitors compared to the email with a longer, more descriptive subject line.

When Wood sent the winning email to the remaining 90% of his email list, he was able to get an above average click-through rate. This drove more people to the Light Stalking community and increased forum engagement.

“This split testing feature is great. It will have a noticeable impact on traffic to my site from newsletters,” Wood said.

The takeaway?

Boosting your open rates by even a small amount can have a huge impact on your click-through rates and website traffic. To see how your own subscribers respond, try testing a short subject line that’s less descriptive against a longer, more descriptive subject line.

Not sure how to set up your own email split test? Download our free guide to email split tests. You’ll learn everything you need to know to run successful split tests.

The post This Subject Line Split Test Increased Website Traffic by 83% appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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After 4 Years, We Rebranded Our Email Newsletter. Here’s Why.

Every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. ET, we email our weekly newsletter to more than 30,000 subscribers. It contains our most recent educational blog posts, videos, and webinars.

This email earns a high open and click-through rate every week. And the majority of our audience regularly shares positive feedback with us about it.

But we started to wonder: Could we do even better? Were we missing anything? So we went to the experts — you, and all our subscribers — to find out.

This year, we asked more extensive questions in our annual survey. We questioned subscribers about what they liked and what they didn’t. We asked them what changes would improve the email.

When we began analyzing the results, we learned some surprising things. Here’s what you told us and what we did about it.

You said we should stand out more. We took that pretty seriously.

When we asked readers what they thought of our newsletter, one said, “OK, but just ordinary.” And another said, “The simplicity is great. But your branding needs to be stronger.”

Great emails stand out. They stop readers in their tracks. They’re valuable and beautiful. And they have strong branding.

That’s why we’ve rebranded our email with bright colors, a new name, and a new logo. Introducing FWD: Thinking — our updated and improved newsletter.

After running a split test of this updated newsletter against our standard newsletter, we saw positive results. We got great email engagement and happy feedback from subscribers. One subscriber even messaged us to say, “Love this new layout!”

But this newsletter isn’t simply rebranded. Using your feedback, we’ve revamped the content, too.

You asked for quick, easy-to-digest advice. We added it.

As we were reading through the survey results, themes quickly appeared. Time was the most common one. You said you don’t have a lot of it, so you need information you can digest in minutes.

“Give me quick wins,” one reader said.

Another said, “I’d like more content with small, easy steps.”

That’s why we added a quick tip section to our newsletter. This section highlights inspirational quotes, actionable advice, and pro tips. You can read it in seconds and apply it quickly.

Related: The 4 Survey Emails That’ll Give You Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

You’re busy. Now, you can instantly find out how much time it’ll take to read a post.

Many subscribers told us that they’re not sure if they have the time to read an article when they receive our email. So they archive the message to read later. Then, they never get to it.

That’s why we added read times to our posts within the email. Now, you know what your time commitment is before reading and can plan accordingly.

Related: How to Craft Irresistible Newsletter Content

You said our newsletter was overwhelming. We made it easier to focus on what’s important.

You can’t have too much value in an email, right? That’s what we thought. So we pack each of our newsletters with tons of valuable content.

But some of our readers said this was actually overwhelming. “I think maybe fewer items per newsletter would make me more likely to read it. It’s kind of overwhelming when there are so many articles to read,” said one subscriber.

This feedback was a challenge for us. Although some readers were overwhelmed, others appreciated how much content we included in each email.

Instead of cutting content from the email, we decided to make it easier for readers to focus on what’s new.

In our newsletter, we originally had 3 sections with educational content. The design of each section was identical.

While this format was simple and easy to digest, it could also overwhelm time-strapped subscribers by giving them too many choices.

In our updated newsletter, we’ve made it simple for readers to tell which post is the most important — with design hierarchy. Instead of 3 identically-weighted content sections, we now have 1 featured post and 2 supporting posts.

We placed more emphasis on the featured post by using a larger image, describing the post in more detail, and centering it. We decreased focus for the 2 supporting posts by making them smaller and decreasing the explainer text.

This use of hierarchy makes it easy for busy readers to pick the one post they should read. And for those who want to read every post, we still have the same amount of value in each email.

Related: The Top Email Design Trends You Must Know

You have questions. Now you can ask them directly from our newsletter.

This reader comment had a big impact on our redesign: “I don’t know how to start, and I don’t know how to make the time to do [email marketing]. I work long hours, and I get back home very tired.”

We wanted to help. After brainstorming how we could better serve this reader, we came up with an idea: What if we asked our readers to submit questions directly from our weekly newsletter? Our team of email experts could answer these questions by creating a detailed blog post or video.

So we added a new question submission section to our newsletter. Now, readers can submit their questions. And we can write content to answer those questions in the near future.

Related: The Simple Question You Should ALWAYS Include in Your Emails

What do you think?

We’re excited to see how you like the improvements. Have questions or feedback? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post After 4 Years, We Rebranded Our Email Newsletter. Here’s Why. appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Why You Need to Split Test Your Emails (and 4 Best Practices to Get Started!)

Wondering what subject line gets the most opens?

Curious what call-to-action yields the most clicks?

Unsure whether to use images or GIFs?

There’s a simple way to find out once and for all: Split test your emails.

What is a split test?

Split testing (or A/B testing) is a method by which you can scientifically test the effectiveness of your email marketing.

When split testing, you create two versions (called variants) of an email to determine which email statistically performs better. Once you find which email variant performs best, you can update your email strategy to include the winning email. This allows you to identify what emails engage your subscribers best, which can ultimately help you increase conversions and revenue.

Why you need to test your emails

Split testing is an effective way to find out what’s working and what’s not in your email marketing. Rather than assuming your customers would prefer one kind of email over another, you can run a split test to find out in a methodical way.

The more you split test, the more information you’ll have on hand  for your future emails. And while a once-and-done test, or even an occasional test, can yield information that will expand your marketing knowledge, regular testing can provide you with a successful email marketing strategy.

Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

4 best practices to get started

1. Test one element at a time.

Never test more than one change at a time. Have a control email that remains the same and a variant with one change — like a different color CTA button, or a different coupon offer — you want to test. If you have multiple variables, it’ll become difficult to identify which one caused a positive or negative result.

For instance, let’s say you’re a blogger who writes about gardening. You decide to split test an email’s subject line to improve your open rates. The goal of your split test is to discover  if longer, descriptive subject lines or shorter, direct subject lines perform better. You also want to see if including a subscriber’s first name in your subject line will increase your open rate.

So you write two variant subject lines:

Subject line #1:  3 Ways to Stop Weeds from Growing Before They Start

Subject line #2: John, Stop Weeds Today.

After looking over your analytics, you find that subject line #2 performs better. Great!

But there’s a problem with your test: You don’t know why variant 2 performed better. Was it because of the first name? Or was it because the subject line was short and direct?

To avoid this confusion, test one variable at a time.

2. Have a plan.

Prioritize your tests. Run split tests for your most important and most frequently sent emails first. And know what you want to fix about your emails before you run tests.

Struggling with low open rates? Try subject line tests.

Stuck with low click-through rates? Test your call-to-action button copy.

Create a split testing plan where you conduct one email split test a week or one email split test per month.

3. Record your results.

Keep records of the email split tests you’ve performed, the results of those tests, and how you plan to implement your learnings.

Not only will this keep you accountable for implementing changes, it will allow you to look back on what did and didn’t work.

4. Keep split testing.

You are never done split testing. Why? Because even if you find something that may be true of your subscribers now (for example, they like shorter subject lines), that may not be true three months or a year from now.

So keep testing. The more you refine your email strategy through split testing, the more you improve your emails — and your bottom line.

Testing 1, 2, 3

Ready to discover even more split tests you can use to optimize your email marketing strategy?

Check out our free Minimalist Marketer’s Guide to Split Testing to learn everything you need to know to become a split testing master.

The post Why You Need to Split Test Your Emails (and 4 Best Practices to Get Started!) appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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