Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Guru Report Examines How to Cut Through Noisy Email Inboxes

June 9, 2015

It seems like people’s inboxes are getting more and more jammed every day with emails coming from all directions.

Even with the ‘email fatigue’ most people complain about, it’s still the most effective form of communication before, during and after a show – the key is being heard through all of the clutter.

The latest Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Guru Report – "Separating Signal from the Noise – How to Make Your Emails Better" - written by digital strategist Jason Falls, examines a few ways that emails can be better.

The first thing Falls advises people to do is throw out the rulebook about what is the best way to write an email.

He cites the example of King Arthur Flour, which has 600,000 subscribers and sends out 2-3 weekly emails with subject lines in all CAPS and with the word ‘Free’, completely in the face of the ‘rules.’

The company’s emails have a higher than average open rate and had a 386 percent higher conversion rate than a comparable email subject line that followed the ‘rules.’

The key to their success was testing, Falls said. “Your audience may respond well to ALL CAPS. But if you are following the ‘rules’ you would never know,” he added.

Falls also advises that people not get too hung up on designing an email with tons of photos, videos, etc.

“Nothing makes an email more powerful than expertly written copy,” he added, “Catching the recipient’s attention, taking them on a quick journey, and making them believe that more than anything they have to take the action you want them to take and take it right now, is a thing of beauty.”

Most shows have to send out a series of emails leading up to, during and after a show. Falls suggests that people write these emails as if they were chapters in a book and you need to get people hooked into a storyline. He adds, “… stop and rethink what path you are taking your prospects down.”

Most people speed read through their emails, but good ones will actually make them stop and take the time to read them through. So what makes a ‘good’ email? One that makes people feel something. Falls calls it the “Holy Smokes” method of content marketing.

“Your job as a marketer, with every piece of content you produce, including your emails, is to make the reader stop and say, ‘Holy Smokes! That’s (insert adjective here)!’ If your headline and subsequent email copy does that, you win,” Falls said.

A buzzword right now in the world of content marketing is ‘marketing automation’, which allows users to create more of a ‘personal’ feel to emails. Someone can not only create a personal greeting, but also program a marketing automation platform to send different emails to different people, then different follow ups based on their response, lack of response, frequency of response and more.

In addition, someone can categorize and monitor the behavior of prospects based on size of company, geographic region and gender of the primary contact.

Falls said the conversion rate is high, but it takes a lot of planning with breaking down all the data and programming it.

However, it’s worth it. “… building out rules in your system that makes the reader feel a bit more human in the exchange can be the difference between a 15 percent open rate and a 25 percent open rate, or a five percent conversion rate and a 10 percent conversion rate,” Falls said.

For more information on how to cut through the email inbox noise, please order the CEIR Guru report HERE

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