5 key elements of an engaging email to support lead generation

By Dodge Communications (not verified) on March 3rd, 2016

The anatomy of a marketing email is a lot more complicated than it seems. In the B2B space, companies are using email marketing as a tool to connect with potential buyers, but how can your company stand out among the many others working towards the same goal? In order to drive action from prospects, your email must be engaging and compel your audience to act. Below, you’ll find a few tips on how to achieve the end goal of moving your prospect further down the funnel, ultimately closer to a sale.

Determine whether HTML or text is the best fit. While HTML emails are more image-centric and visually appealing, a Hubspot study found that text emails typically perform better, with more opens and clicks. This certainly doesn’t mean abandon HTML emails – they provide a good function for more “exciting” communication like newsletters, announcements such as a product launch, etc. However, if you’re trying to connect with your audience on a more personal, “one-to-one” level, text emails are your best bet.

Create compelling subject lines. The subject line may just be the most important element of your email – if you can’t engage your audience here, they won’t open it. And at that point, it doesn’t matter if you have the most compelling copy and a valuable call-to-action. We could easily write an entire blog on subject line best practices but here are a couple high-level tips – keep it concise, under 50 characters is best; utilize action verbs when possible which are more engaging for readers; and last but certainly not least, A/B test your subject lines to determine what’s working and what’s not for future improvements.

Personalize! Use personalization to make emails more relevant and drive action from prospects. Marketing automation tools can automatically populate emails with information stored in prospect records, such as using the recipient’s first name in the salutation or incorporating their company name into the body of the email. Don’t overlook the email sender, which can also impact open rates. Make sure your emails are coming from someone from your company, not a generic email like noreply@companyname.com or info@companyname.com. Be smart about the sender. For example, if you’re sending follow up emails after meeting prospects at a tradeshow, make sure it comes from the sales or marketing person they chatted with at the show – the more familiar, the better.

Keep copy succinct. Email copy that’s long and dense may deter the recipient from reading enough of your email to understand the message. Note: a study examining web UI patterns found that users rarely read every word of website text, rather just 20 percent on average. The same is true for email copy, which is why it’s important to hone in on the most pertinent information in the first few lines to capture the attention of your audience at the onset. That said, leverage the “F-pattern” of reading that aligns with natural human sight patterns. Finally, we recommend keeping the copy below 200 words to help ensure emails are “scannable” and can be easily absorbed.

Always include a call-to-action (CTA). Without it, you’re not giving the recipient anything valuable to take away. Include a CTA with a download or link with a compelling piece of copy that’s relevant to your audience and the messaging in the email. For example, if your email hits on clinical data analytics, offer a free copy of your recent white paper on the subject. If you’re using an HTML email, incorporate a designed, clickable CTA button, perhaps a bold color to catch the eye or aligned with the color of your brand guidelines, and always include an alternate, in-text hyperlink CTA, since HTML buttons and images don’t always load in everyone’s email client by default. CTAs provide additional avenues readers can access learn more about your company or the industry issues in which your company has a deep understanding.

Now that you know the anatomy of a killer email, be sure to put these best practices to use for your company.

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