Since the first time we all heard “You’ve got mail!”, promotional email marketing has been a solid strategy for all digital marketers looking to gain direct access to their preferred customers.
But as more and more companies jump into digital marketing, your content may be getting lost in the noise leading your open rates to get lower and lower with every email you send.
In this article, we’re going to go over 4 easy steps that you should take every time you sit down to build an email promotion. Follow these tried-and-true steps and start getting your audience’s attention again!
What is a Promotional Email?
A promotional email, or promo email, is an email that a business sends to its audience to announce sales, educate them on what the company offers, or showcase a product or service.
Most companies use promotional email marketing as part of a larger digital marketing strategy.
A promo email should move potential customers through a carefully designed sales funnel by motivating action with an exclusive, limited-time opportunity.
This opportunity is usually something like a discount or offer that relates to your product, service, or event.
The goal of a promotional email is not only to get the word out about your company but to also lead to a conversion of some sort — making a purchase, downloading information, registering for an event, or asking for more information. Aim for anything that pushes a customer through your funnel and keeps them coming back for more.
A promotional email example could be something like this sales email from makeup giant Sephora:
Or an educational email on specific products, like this one from Harbor Freight:
They could also be seasonal promotions that only apply to a particular time of year, like this one from Aosom for Flag Day:
Or a limited product availability announcement, like this one from Bodybuilding.com that advises of a popular product that is back in stock:
Regardless of the intent of your email promotion, the 4 steps below will guide you through crafting an email that will grab the attention of your target audience and convert to sales for your business or client.
How to Write a Promotional Email
Step 1: Define Your Promotion
The first step of building a quality promo email is to define what you want to offer. Make this quick and simple, as most people only spend about 13 seconds reading an email.
Keep your offer simple and reward an audience’s action with relevant and timely messaging that will resonate with them and move them to act. Look at the promotional email examples above to see how they make the most of their 13 seconds.
Next, think through the redemption process.
Potential customers don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about your offer. They see it. They want it. So make it easy for them to get it.
Don’t complicate it by adding unnecessary steps. Have your discount code readily available or mention that it will be automatically applied at checkout.
Once you define your offer, the next step is to ensure that your landing page is optimized for conversions. After your customer clicks on your email, they should be brought to a page that mirrors what they just saw, making it easy for them to complete their action.
Step 2: Clean and Segment Your List
There is nothing worse than crafting the perfect copy and images into a striking and inviting email only to deliver it to the wrong audience.
To avoid being ignored, make sure that you’re actively cleaning up your list. Removing inactive users, unsubscribed contacts, and hard-bounced email addresses will increase deliverability and drive up your engagement rate. The higher these rates are, the less likely you are to end up in the spam folder.
Pro Tip: Use a deliverability tool to determine how well your emails are performing in the inbox. This tool will also advise you of which email providers have listed you as spam so that you can work on winning them back.
Once you clean up your list, it’s time to segment it by engagement level. Not every email address on your list will engage with you at the same rate. Some may open all of your emails. Some may only open your emails every once in a while, and some may never open them.
Start by segmenting your audience by how often they have engaged with you. Anyone who hasn’t engaged or opened your emails within the last 180 days should be run through an automated re-engagement campaign. This can help to win back some of your dying leads while also weeding out the ones that are no longer your audience.
Step 3: Build an Engaging Email
The key to a high open rate is an intriguing subject line.
You want to put your best content in this small line to make your audience want to click open. Lead with your most valuable proposition (limited-time offer! One-time discount!), ask a question that motivates them to open the email to find out the answer, and/or include personalization (the customer’s first name) to create an immediate connection.
Just like web pages, it is critical that your email be mobile-friendly.
A large number of people view their emails on their phones, so it’s important to keep your email short and structured. One-column layouts with an attention-grabbing graphic or photo are best for a mobile-friendly design. Don’t make them scroll too much so that they will take immediate action.
Since the ultimate goal of promotional email marketing is to drive your audience to take action, be sure to include a clear call to action.
Include prominent call-to-action buttons above and below the scroll to make clicking through as easy as possible. If taking advantage of your offer is too difficult, you will quickly lose clients … and money.
Step 4: Track and A/B Test
You don’t want to keep putting in the work for something that isn’t delivering results, right? That’s why it’s important to track how your promotional email marketing is working.
To do this, make sure engagement tracking is enabled. This will track your open and click-through rates. You can do this through native email service provider tools or a third-party analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.
No matter how experienced you are, there is always room for improvement. That’s why performing A/B tests is important. Split your audience and test different subject lines, calls to action, send times, or promotions to see which resonates the most with your audience and, in turn, drives more results.
Once you see what your audience is most attracted to, you can apply those elements to your following campaigns and repeat the process to build incremental results. Promotional email marketing is constantly evolving so don’t be afraid to test out new things to see what sticks with your audience.
Pulling it All Together
Whenever you’re stuck on how to write a promotional email, remember these 4 steps:
- Clearly define your promotion. You only get 13 seconds to make an impression. Make the best impression possible by making it clear what you are offering, why your audience needs it, and how they can easily get it.
- Clean and segment your send list. Don’t get wrapped up in the vanity metrics of a large list. Not all of those people are engaged, and having inactive email addresses on your list will only decrease your engagement rates. This affects how email providers view your content — and whether they mark you as spam or not.
- Build an engaging email. Use compelling copy and graphics. Make your audience want to read your email. Make them want to buy your product or service. Tell them why they need it. Show them how it will improve their lives.
- Track and perform A/B tests. Don’t make it harder on yourself by constantly doing unnecessary work. Track the open and click-through rates of your email campaigns so you can see what is working and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to test new ideas, subject lines, calls to action, or send times to see what really resonates with your preferred audience.
The algorithms and science of promotional email marketing are constantly changing and evolving. Be sure to follow the Ignite Visibility blog for all of the latest updates and trends!
You can also contact us to set up a call with one of our experienced CRM marketing experts. Our team can help you take the guesswork out of promotional email marketing, as well as SMS and Push marketing, to build your customer relationships, scale your revenue, and help you build the business you want.