Arts organizations always seek to get their message about an upcoming performance or season ticket sales out to their audience of past subscribers, new customers, and other interested parties. They can use multiple channels to do so. Billboards, direct mail, phone calls, social media, and email are among them.
Whatever the media, the challenge is to make sure that it’s seen and read. As far as email is concerned, how do you ensure that your email gets opened, read, and interacted with? This post will share four tips to use to ensure that email gets read.
Clearly, when you send any kind of communication it’s vital to understand how well the message is performing. Chief among any statistic like click through rate and conversion, is the open rate of your email.
First, write compelling subject lines
The subject line of your email is the most critical part of an email campaign. You’ll have to make sure that your email doesn’t get the dreaded delete-upon-arrival treatment. Boring headlines won’t work. You also have to fight to ensure that it gets seen in your recipient’s inbox. How do you get your email seen in a recipient’s inbox? Here are two other tips:
- Use emojis to convey meaning, i.e. use the calendar emoji for an event
- Use the recipient’s first name in the subject line using the mail-merge function
Second, write great copy in the email
Assuming you’ve made it past the “delete-upon-arrival” gate and your email has been opened, now you have to keep your recipient’s attention by writing great copy in your email.
This is where it gets fun! When I am writing an email for my customers or clients, I always envision who is going to read it and do my very best to do the following: write to the intended “avatar”, make the email feel customized, and write in the brand’s voice.
I’ll assume that you’re working in your arts organization in an in-house capacity, so you just need to have a deep understanding of your organization’s voice and brand.
A couple of tips to keep in mind:
- Consider always opening your email with “Dear [FNAME],”
- Use formatting like bold, italics, and underline to keep your reader reading the copy
Third, send that email at the right time
The time you send that email to your recipient is also a part of your tactics to make sure that the email is read. Consider your audience. Who are they and when do you think that they will open and read email? Is it later in the day? Is it early in the morning? I know that for me, I review my inbox over my oatmeal and apple, but your audience might be different. You’ll have to determine the right time to send that email using information from your email service provider.
If you’re just getting started, perhaps you start testing your audience and do what’s called A/B testing. You split your email list up into two parts and send them the same email at different times. Essentially, you’re conducting an experiment to see if more people open the email at one time, or another. This test can have multiple applications too.
After running a few experiments over time, you’ll be confident in knowing the best time to send emails to your audience.
Fourth, send emails regularly
I like to keep this in mind, that people on your email list have indicated through opting into your list that they are allowing you to email them and that they actually want to hear from you. I think that your organization should use this opportunity to send a weekly email to inform them of what’s going on, or if not weekly, at a regular interval that you decide. It’s a delicate balance. Too many emails and your subscribers may unsubscribe, too few and they will not read the emails.
The key here is to see email as a relationship tool, not necessarily a sales tool. You’re in the longer game of building a relationship over time primarily. Build those know, like, and trust factors with your email audience with engaging, compelling, and human content first. Then, you can start selling tickets, subscriptions, and merchandise to them. They have to be in the habit of opening and reading your emails first.
Email marketing is an essential component of a marketing strategy to your audience. If you write compelling subject lines, write great email copy, send emails at the right time, and send emails regularly, you’ll see a greater open rate, click through rate, and conversion rate in your email marketing.
Now it’s your turn! What are you doing to ensure that your emails get read? Anything I’ve left out? Let me know in the comments below!