You already know that to get the highest open and click-through rates, it helps to segment your audience before sending emails. These messages suit the needs and interests of each audience segment, thus increasing the chances of them reading the email.
Sometimes, you have to skip all that and just send an email to almost everyone on your contact list at once. When you do that, you send out an email blast.
What Is an Email Blast?
Before we get into our tips for generating positive results from an email blast campaign, let’s begin with an email blast definition.
As we mentioned in the intro, an email blast is a mass message almost your entire audience receives. You don’t really segment the audience before sending it. It’s a blanket message intended for just about everyone.
Now, many marketers don’t rely on an e-blast as part of their marketing campaigns anymore. That’s because these generalized messages don’t often perform as well as segmented emails do. We say “often” because that’s not always true.
If you’re interested in sending out effective e-blasts, you’re not going to want to miss this article. We’ll cover nine awesome tips, tactics, and methods for getting positive results from mass emails.
Let’s get started:
1. Curate Your Mailing List
If you wanted to send an e-blast because you thought it would save you time picking through your email list, think again. These may be more generalized blasts, but they still require some legwork before you ever hit the “send” button.
For instance, you need to go through your contacts list and do at least a bit of segmenting. This time, you’re not focused so much on gender, location, and other demographics. Instead, you want to boil your audience down to their most general stats.
Who has bought from you and answered your emails and other communications regularly? Who can you trust to open most of your messages? The customers that have stuck with you for the long haul and with whom you’ve built a great professional bond should float to the top of this list.
You can trust that they’ll engage more with the emails you send out, even if these emails lack the targeting of your other messages. You need every single contact who fits the above description on your list before you send out your mass email. That gives you the best chance of earning a decent open rate.
With most blasts, marketers have the misconception that they need to send out an email to the most recipients possible. That’s not necessarily the case. Instead, like with any email, it’s better to reach out to those with the highest receptivity to your messages. That’s how to get the best results.
2. Create a Landing Page Associated with the Blast Topic
What’s the point of your e-blast? Do you want to inform your general audience about a new product or service? Maybe clue them in on some other big news going on with your company?
Whatever the purpose, you’ll want to make an accompanying landing page that you can link to in your mass email. There’s several reasons to do this. For one, you can separate the wheat from the chaff quite easily. If someone opens your email but doesn’t engage with the landing page or other links, then they’re probably not all that interested. Since we’re talking about an e-blast, that lack of interest can happen more often than you’d think.
Those that do click your landing page link express a higher level of interest. You might segment or reorganize these people on your contacts list per the last item in this article. Either way, you want to pay more careful attention to these contacts.
Another reason to add a landing page to your e-blast? Since you’re not targeting your audience with a blast, the content of the message itself is often quite general. The landing page provides more information, thus encouraging sales.
When the reader clicks your landing page, you’re guiding them through the next steps of the sales process. You’re giving them the information they want, such as product specs, data, and pricing. Then, at the end of the page, you’re providing them with a CTA they can click on if they want to proceed. Hopefully, at that point, they make a purchase and your company earns a sale. Then it’s up to you to keep working with this contact to get their repeat business.
Mass emails, as we said, don’t exactly have the most favorable reputation among marketers. That’s because they’re often very general and don’t have clear results. By adding a landing page to your blast, you could see the kinds of sales you want.
3. Use Plain Text
You might think because you’re writing a more generalized email that it must possess every visual trick in the book. If it doesn’t look flashy, have an awesome graphic, and other eye-catching visual details, no one will care, right? Not exactly.
In fact, some marketers vouch for plain text blasts. 2017 data from Marketo found that plain text emails don’t always get fewer opens than emails loaded with HTML elements. Also, according to Marketo, if you provide an offer link in your plain text email, you could see a boosted click-through rate (17 percent) as well as an increased click-to-open rate (21 percent).
We have an even more convincing reason to send plain text blasts. That’s personalization.
Campaign Monitor says these emails add an element of personalization, and we have to agree. Check out this example below.
Image courtesy of AWeber Blog
Now, compare that to this email.
Image courtesy of SmartMail
Both emails have some personalization, but which seems more personal to you? We’d have to say it’s the first email. There is something about plain text emails that make them seem more intimate and friendly.
When you’re writing an e-blast, it’s especially important to incorporate those senses of intimacy and friendliness. You already have a less targeted, blanket message that could apply to almost anyone on your email list. By writing it in plain text, you introduce the personalization your message otherwise lacks.
4. Don’t Refrain from Using Images, Though
Text-based e-blasts may come across as more personalized, but you have to admit: visually, they’re a bit boring. If your recipients keep getting plain text after plain text emails, they may unsubscribe to your list. Wouldn’t you consider it if a company always sent you the same ol’, same ol’?
You already know that an email blast has a lower rate of receptivity than targeted, personalized emails. That means you should expect a lower open rate to match. If you can convince your recipients to open your message, then you better give them something visually appealing for their troubles.
How do you do that? With images, of course.
Now, you can’t just use any image, as we’re sure you know. Since images can come across as less personalized (as we just mentioned), you have to strive to make your email images individualized. Select images that either create or augment the sense of personalization you’ve worked so hard to foster.
Here’s an example of what we mean.
Image courtesy of HubSpot
And, why not? Here’s one more:
Image courtesy of Movable Ink
Despite the first email having no one’s name in it and beginning off rather vaguely with “Hey, it’s…”, it still comes across as quite intimate. That’s because most of the email is in the plain text format. Reading the message, it feels like an email you’d get from a friend or old coworker. Yes, it’s selling you concert tickets and Spotify and the artist’s music, but it’s never pushy.
As for the email from FreshDirect, this one marries images and personalization beautifully. The fridge magnets arranged to spell the recipient’s name would catch anyone’s attention. The 50-percent discount would hold that attention, hopefully boosting the click-through rate.
5. Keep Your CTA Above the Fold
That FreshDirect 50-percent discount? That was their call to action or CTA. We’ve written a lot about CTAs on this blog, but every good email campaign should have one. Yes, even if you’re sending mass emails.
Just to mention it again, e-blasts already don’t have the best reputation. By skipping something as integral as a CTA, you’ll tank your own success rate. Then you’ll write off mass emails as a whole, which you shouldn’t.
Most marketers use CTA buttons, but you can also slip in a link. That’d look much better in a plain text email, for instance. No matter which type of CTA you prefer, where you put it matters a lot.
You want your CTA to catch the reader’s eye, so it needs a prominent spot. However, it shouldn’t detract from your message or interrupt reading flow.
Okay, so where should you put your CTA then? It needs to go above the fold. This old-school term dates back to the early days of printed newspapers. It literally refers to the fold halfway down a newspaper. You’d want an image above that fold so people would see it.
In Internet terminology, having your CTA above the fold means a user can see the image in its entirety without clicking midway down the page. Since you often don’t have to scroll or click when reading an email compared to a landing page, you have more freedom with CTA placement.
Here’s some various ideas to inspire you. Feel free to play around with your CTA, but always A/B test to see which placement works to your advantage.
Image courtesy of Smashing Magazine
Image courtesy of Campaign Monitor
Image courtesy of Econsultancy
6. Introduce Interactivity
Another way to make your mass emails must-read besides images? Add some interactivity to the mix.
Per an article from Neil Patel, in 2017, most marketers (27.2 percent) believed interactive content would dominate the year. That would prove to be partly true, as interactivity in emails has gained steam in recent years.
Image courtesy of Neil Patel
How can you introduce interactivity in your emails? Try these methods from Patel himself:
- Link to a forum if you have one and ask users to make threads and participate.
- Include GIFs and other interactive images, such as scratch-off discounts and deals.
- Let your readers book consultations or appointments with you via a digital calendar.
- Add videos.
- Ask readers to write reviews and fill out surveys and polls.
7. Make Sure Your Copy Is Short but Sweet
We may sound like a broken record here, but it’s important to reiterate again: e-blasts don’t perform as well as targeted emails. You don’t want to do anything to shoot yourself in the foot or impede your progress then. Sending long emails would be one such mistake.
You’re already asking a lot of someone to open an e-blast email. To then see it’s paragraph upon paragraph of nothing but the text would make anyone click away ASAP.
Links are your friend here. You can make your emails rife with content while cutting down on the paragraphs by using links. Let’s say you’re talking about a topic you’ve written about a lot on your blog. Rather than regurgitate the same information for your email, just link to the relevant blog post(s). Those who want to read more will do so and those who don’t will just keep scrolling.
So how long should you make your email? It depends. If it’s a sales email, HubSpot says to stick to 200 words or fewer. Don’t exceed 20 lines. Sleeknote says to write an email with 75 to 100 words. Here’s the response rate per word according to 2016 data:
Image courtesy of Sleeknote
According to that info, you can get a 51-percent response rate if your email sticks to 75 or 100 words. Going a bit longer to 125 words nets you a response rate of 50 percent. It goes downhill the more words you have.
For their part, HubSpot reported a 50-percent response rate with their longer email. Keep in mind that’s a sales email, though. You also have to take into account that these stats center around targeted messages. Email blasts may not have the same high success rate.
8. Don’t Forget Your Contact Info
In an email, a blast or not, you want to make it easy and convenient for your readers to take action. Maybe that action is learning more about your company, so you provide clearly-marked links in the email body. You could want them to buy something, so you have CTAs that take them right to your store.
If you want them to schedule a consultation or even respond to your email, you have to make that easy, too. The best way you can do so is to include an email signature with every message you send.
An email signature can help you in a lot of ways. If you provide a link to your site, it gives you free traffic. You can also get more social media followers by providing buttons that redirect the reader to your social feeds. Those who want to learn more about your company can easily do so just by clicking what’s in your email signature. That could begin them on the road to buying from you.
Your email signature also needs your email address and your phone number. This way, the reader has several means of reaching out to you if they so choose.
9. Test to See if Email Blasts Work for You
How do e-blasts get their less-than-stellar reputation? Companies test for metrics that matter to them, such as ROI, open rates, click-through rates, sales, subscriber counts, and more. They then compare those results for blasts versus targeted emails. You know which one delivers better results by now.
That doesn’t mean mass emails have no place in your company. The fact of the matter is, you never know until you try. However, you can’t just send an e-blast once or twice and then call it quits. We recommend you plan a multi-month e-blast campaign. Some marketing experts even recommend keeping it up for a whole year.
It’s your choice whether you send these blasts for six months or 12. We do recommend you give it longer than a week or two before discarding mass emails as a potentially valuable method for your company.
Tracking results over a six-month or 12-month span let you get comprehensive results. With that much time dedicated to split testing, trends can form. You can study them to see what your audience was most receptive to. Did your blasts work better when you accompanied them with a landing page or images? Does your audience prefer targeted messages more?
The latter is almost universally true, and that’s okay. There’s no valid reason to cease sending targeted emails entirely. If you sometimes mix in email blasts with these targeted messages, you should see the best results yet.
Email blasts generally don’t have the same rate of success compared to targeted messages. That’s due to their unspecific, blanket nature. Still, that doesn’t mean you should exclude mass emails from your marketing arsenal entirely. By doing a bit of your own targeting and using the other tips we mentioned in this article, you could see decent open and click-through rates with an e-blast or two. Give it a try!