Friday, October 11, 2013

6 Tips For A Great Email Blast

Email blasts are definitely one of the most successful advertising tools available now, not just in the livestock business, but everywhere. If you're like me, chances are you start your day with an inbox full of different promotions from various online retailers or business. And I'll admit, I'm totally a sucker for those "Janie and Jack Special Online Preview emails." I just can't resist checking out the latest little Jackie-O jacket for my 2-year-old daughter.

Here at RHD, email blasts are extremely popular during the months of September, October, March and April. In fact, we stay pretty much booked solid for every single day of the month in these 4 key sale months. So here are a few tips that we have developed to help make sure your email blast gets the job done...which is to get more people to your website and to your sale!

1. Plan ahead. You simply cannot wait until 2 days before your online sale starts to schedule an email blast, especially with the leading companies like RHD, Angus Journal, or others who's blast spots are reserved months in advance. If you know you are going to have a sale, go ahead and reserve your key dates as soon as you have your sale date, even if this is 6 months to a year in advance. This way you are guaranteed to get your first choice for a delivery date at that crucial time of getting your pictures and message out.

2. Carefully choose your subject line. Think about what YOU like to read in a subject line, and what type of subject lines spark your interest vs. ones that turn you off. Let's just say...what would you think if you get an email blast with a subject line saying "Best Show Steer of the Year Sells Tomorrow!" Or better yet (sarcastic) "BEST SHOW STEER OF THE YEAR SELLS TOMORROW!". Chances are, you'd probably delete that right away because you know #1)It's probably not the best show steer of the year and #2)It seems gimmicky. Avoid all caps. Avoid blatant claims that aren't true. Simply state the main idea of the blast....something like "30 Angus Heifers Selling Tuesday" or something similar.

3. Include enough photos to capture interest, but not so many that the pictures are tiny. We like to recommend anywhere from 1 to 6 photos for an email blast, and no more. The whole point of an email blast is to spark the readers interest just enough to motivate them to click on the blast and go to your website...which is where you can have pictures, video, and a 1 page footnote on every single lot in the sale should you wish. But the place for all that info is on your website...not on your email blast. The average person spends less than 5 seconds reading an email blast, they are just looking for enough to get them to "Click" to the next stop. Don't clutter up your blast with so much stuff that no one has time (or a magnifying glass) needed to read it.

4. Optimize for E-mail. Lots of times you may be tempted to just run your print ad as your email blast. While there's nothing technically wrong with that...and lots of times you can get a discount if you do this...not every print ad is designed for an email blast. Before sending your blast, make sure it is clearly legible on a mobile device, and that the text is large enough to read. If you just downsize a 8.5 x 11 print ad to a smaller size, lots of times your text might be so small that it's impossible to read.

5. Have a call to action. Tell the viewer specifically what you want them to do. Is it that you want them to register for your online sale? If so, include a hyperlink that says "Register for Our Sale Now". Or maybe you want them to look at pictures of all the calves in your sale..."View our Online Sale Preview Now." Tell the viewer exactly what your want their next step to be...and make sure that desired next step is one that will help get your viewer one step closer to making a transaction with you.

6. Measure your results...especially if you are sending out multiple blasts through different vendors. There are lots of places that offer email blasts, and every one should be able to provide you with a report of the statistics on your email blast should you wish. And you should wish. Just ask. The things you want to look for are the figures like the % open rate, the % click through rate, and the # of people the blast went to. Any reputable firm should be able to provide you with this no problem. This way you can compare which blasts are driving the most traffic to your site.

E-mail blasts are extremely popular due to their convenience, affordability, ability to reach more people than most print publications, and response rate. Use these tools to get the most response out of your blast, and drive more sales to your business!

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