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Sprinkling Authenticity into Your Promotional Emails

A step-by-step guide to making your promotional emails more authentic (Part 2)

Matt Duczeminski
May 20 2019

Aside from getting your emails blacklisted or labeled as spam, there’s one other major roadblock on the way to desirable CTRs and stellar audience engagement: Gmail’s Promotions tab.

For “Inject Authenticity into your promotional emails – Part 1,” click here

Though not cause for radical campaign overhaul – 45% of those who have the Promotions tab enabled check it every day – our focus is on creating more authentic communications that recipients feel were sent from an old friend. We’ve compiled a list of six technical and logistical steps to delivering emails that really resonate with your audience.

1. Use a Real Name and Email Account

Your emails may head straight for the trashcan if they appear too “salesy” and impersonal. And the name attached matters too. 64% of consumers open a specific email based on the name that appears in the “Sender” column.

Source

Sending from an email address such as matt@postfunnel.com can lead to a 35% increase in open rates compared to mail from a generic sender (writer@postfunnel.com).

Using a name and creating an identity behind the emails helps build a connection with customers.

2. Use Formatting Efficiently and Sparingly

If your goal is authenticity, you probably don’t want to include all that much formatting within your emails. An email like the one below (though clear on its promise and intent) lacks the feeling of intimacy:

In contrast, check out this mailer from Jeff Bullas:

Despite being fully aware that Jeff didn’t actually go into his inbox and reach out to me personally, it still feels like a personal invitation from the marketing wizard – and that wouldn’t come across in a glossy, ultra-formatted email.

3. Include Two Links Maximum

If you’re aiming to make your emails appear more authentic, limit yourself to 1-2 links inside the body. One link to a landing page and another to your unsubscribe page in the postscript is enough to keep your mailer personal. In some cases, it’s appropriate to provide multiple calls-to-action throughout your email – just make sure all links lead to the same resource, as multiple CTAs to different landing pages can be distracting.

In the example above, professional blogger Ruth Soukop gives her readers three chances to check out her webinar, all while staying personable and authentic to her brand. For mailers that require more of a mass promotional theme, expanding the number of products is more effective.

In this instance, the recipient can follow the category page of their choice – which is the point of the email in the first place. But when sending more personable emails (even if to a group rather than a single person), stick to a single CTA and keep the duplicate links to a minimum.

4. Make Smart Use of Images

When it comes to adding images, there are three main rules:

  • Be Intentional
  • Be Relevant
  • Be Practical

If you’re going to add imagery, there should be a clear reason for doing so; otherwise, you’re just going to distract your audience from taking the intended action. If you do include visuals, they should complement the text. Finally, you need to ensure that your images are properly formatted and displayed correctly.

Images are fun and flashy, but the more you include, the greater the chances of ending up in your audience’s Promotional inbox – or that your images will end up hidden:

While the event promoted in this email is legitimate (no Fyre Fest mailers here), my knee-jerk reaction was to label this poorly formatted message as spam.

For more insight into creating and using images in your email campaigns, check out our guide.

5. Or, Avoid Using Images Altogether

If images will add that extra something special to your mailers, use them sparingly. But if they’re not needed, go without. Consider whether each mailer is consistent with your brand’s aesthetic and tone. If you don’t usually send emails with images and suddenly include them, think about how your readers will react. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and get rid of it.

6. Get Whitelisted

Ask your audience to whitelist your emails moving forward. This move requires transparency and directness with your audience, but just remember: consumers want to receive relevant and valuable material from the brands they love, even when this material is promotional in nature.

The more visible you become in your audience’s “default” inbox, the more prevalent your brand will become in their life. And the more you integrate into their daily routine, the more engaged they’ll become with your company.

Wrapping Up

Here’s the thing: “templated” doesn’t mean “inauthentic.” Your individual recipients usually know that your emails aren’t specifically written for them, but they still want to feel like they are. If you can get them to suspend their disbelief with authentic and personable copy, they’ll engage further with your emails.

On the technical side, make sure all is in order. The formatting must remain consistent, the links kept to a minimum, and the images (if using) must appear correctly. If your emails seem even the slightest bit “off,” they won’t be as effective.

Now the question is:

Are you ready to create your next truly authentic email campaign?

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Matt Duczeminski

Matt is a professional writer specializing in helping entrepreneurs improve relationships with their customers. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sarah, and he'd probably get a lot more work done if his cat would stop bothering him.

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