Here’s a stat you can’t ignore: 60% of U.S. adults subscribe to an email newsletter. This vast reach makes email newsletters one of the most opportunistic forms of marketing (especially since people voluntarily opt-in to read your content). But how can you ensure your content resonates with your audience and keeps them from unsubscribing? Or, even worse, marking your email as spam? In this blog, we’ll explore what makes a great email newsletter so you can keep your subscribers happy and engaged.
Despite its basic designs (plaint text, one hyperlink, and CTA button), Hubspot’s email newsletters stand out because of one striking element—they include a real sender name. Using a human face gives your emails a personal touch that immediately draws readers in. In fact, it’s probably where they’ll look first before reading the body copy. Human faces are also great for advocating a solution or giving a testimonial as they bring a level of credibility.
Emojis and GIFs
Emojis and GIFS are a simple way to bring personality to your email newsletter and stand out in a crowded inbox. Not only do they bring diversity to the design, but can also enrich the user experience, reinforce a message, and increase click-through rates. Adding emojis and GIFs to an email newsletter is simple with the right marketing automation tool, and their universal meaning makes them perfect for a wide variety of audiences. The below example from Marcs’ email newsletter uses a simple animated GIF to demonstrate a range of styles without asking readers to scroll.
Social media integration and additional links
Including links to social media accounts and website pages is a great way to create additional touchpoints with your audience. Implement social links at the bottom of your newsletter and/or in-line with your content. Linking to a specific landing page (e.g. blog, website homepage, etc.) a support email address, or flagship address also helps drive more traffic to your website and other brand pages.
ThredUP does a great job of displaying its social media accounts at the bottom of each newsletter. They also try to incorporate a unique CTA in the body of the email encouraging subscribers to go to their Instagram for more style inspiration.
Take a minimalist approach
A newsletter can easily feel cluttered. The trick to making your email newsletter look decluttered depends on two things: enough white space and concise copy. White space is key in email newsletters as it helps visually alleviate the feeling of clutter (and makes reading on mobile much easier). Concise copy is important so that your subscriber doesn’t have to dig for the information they’re looking for. Moreover, you want the reader to have only a small taste of your content so that there’s a desire to click and read or learn more.
Bed Threads’ email newsletters feature a minimal design with adequate whitespace and short copy descriptions.
Although keeping copy minimal is best practice for email newsletters, sometimes you have a lot to say. When that’s the case, be sure to structure information in an easily digestible way. Use dividers and design elements to split your email into a few solid chunks that are reader-friendly as well as aesthetically pleasing. In short, you can’t expect your subscribers to hold more than a few pieces of information in their short-term memory at once.
Instead of creating dividers with white space, Girlfriend Collective takes a different approach by using a “Shop Now” CTA as its dividers, which link to each product on its website.
Stay true to your branding
A brand is a combination of elements, and the visual elements of an email newsletter should reflect your branding (logos, colors, fonts, etc.). Often, we can recognize a logo or a typeface of a company even if we have no idea what that brand or company does. That’s the magic of building a brand using the right design elements. Dropping subtle hints of your brand elements into your newsletters will help spark brand recognition and give your content a more familiar, consistent feel.
Use a variety of shapes and sizes
There are plenty of email newsletters out there using the same standard layout of text-image or image-text alternations. Break from this traditional style to immediately grab your audience’s attention. This can be done simply by alternating between sizes and shapes in your newsletter design to break the monotony of reading. This email by Vine.com breaks the standard text-image format by bringing in hexagons to place emphasis on certain products.
Creative subject lines
Users’ inboxes are flooded with emails. Although subscribers deliberately signed up to receive your emails, there’s no guarantee that they’ll open them. Some marketers keep subject lines the same (for daily, weekly, or monthly cadences) in the hopes of increasing familiarity. But this disincentives subscribers to click on a specific email in the moment. To avoid having your email moved to the trash or spam folder, try to include a different, creative, and engaging subject line for each newsletter you send.
Don’t forget to give people the option to unsubscribe
Unsubscribe links are among the many email newsletter best practices that should be implemented. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, unsubscribe links are a way to maintain an active, engaged subscriber list. Be clear with your language (e.g. “Unsubscribe Now” versus “alter your communication with us” and don’t hide an unsubscribe button behind an image without alt text.
Aside from keeping your subscriber list healthy, having a clear unsubscribe process helps you avoid having your email marked as spam.
Looking for more email marketing tips?
Read some of our latest blog content on the subject:
5 Great Ideas for an Unsubscribe Email
7 Tips and 7 Tactics for Writing Engaging Email Subject Lines
So you’ve taken a bunch of time to write a compelling email—awesome. Now all you have to do is hammer out a subject line and you’re all set. The trouble is, it’s a lot easier to write an interesting email than it is to create a subject line that actually stands out in the chaos of the average inbox. And if you don’t get the subject line right, your recipients are never going to see all that amazing email copy you spent sooooo much time creating. So, in the interest of helping you do a better job, the email marketing experts at Zeta have put together a list of classic tactics that will help you write better subject lines in less time.
Pose a captivating question
Subject lines framed as questions generally perform better than general statements. What questions do your readers have that your content can answer? This will open a dialog with your audience and draw them in, especially if it’s something relevant to the recipient’s buyer persona.
Madewell sent an email with the subject line, “Where’d You Get That Necklace?” linking to “conversation starter” jewelry pieces. Using an enticing question in the subject line encouraged recipients to click in and see what the buzz was about (and hopefully browse products on their site).
Make use of humor and puns
Humor can make your email stand out among rows and rows of dry emails. A successful joke is a psychological currency that earns attention. Successful humor is hard to do well, so you may want to gut-check funny subject lines with coworkers (in addition to A/B testing them). As always, ensure the humor is appropriate for your audience and the level of edginess expected from your brand.
Include numbers & lists
Using numbers and lists is a simple way to avoid creating vague statements in your subject lines. Not only will they help demonstrate a clear message about your brand or offer, but numbers and lists will also help your email stand out and set the right expectations. Consider using numbers and lists to refer to the title of your listicle, a specific discount, and more.
You want to be careful with teasers (because if you get peoples’ hopes up, you have to deliver the goods), but sometimes a little bit of mystery is warranted. A subject line that is slightly puzzling or even a little provocative will generally perform well in getting people to open an email. When creating mystery in your subject lines, be sure to reward that curiosity upon opening, or you risk losing the reader’s trust (and tanking your click-through rates).
Let’s take a look at some out of the ordinary subject lines that can compel recipients to open the email:
- “It’s all over April 19th…”
- “We weren’t going to say anything, but…”
Instill a sense of importance
We all hate to love the nostalgic infomercial phrase, “Act now!” While we don’t recommend using this exact language into your subject lines, communicating urgency in other creative ways can help compel recipients to click your email. Consider phrases like “Redeem your offer before it’s gone” or “Exclusive offers for our loyal customers only.” As a reminder, these types of subject lines should be used sparingly and only when the occasion calls for immediate action.
Have an opinion
Our brains are good at finding the one thing that stands out from a set, which also means we’re good at glossing over familiar and consistent things. One way you can avoid this is by writing subject lines that have an inherent tension or disconnect. Examples include:
- NONSEQUITURS: “Your marketing automation isn’t broken, so it must be working.”
- OXYMORONS/CONTRADICTIONS: “Growing smaller: the office of the future.”
- Out of Context phrases: “Understanding database archeology.”
- MADE UP WORDS: “ Is your CRM software giving you rageroids?”
- OPPOSITE DAY: “How to lose subscribers effectively.”
Utilize engaging preview text
Although preview text isn’t technically part of your subject line, it is something that deserves your attention as a marketer. Preview text gives recipients a sneak peek into your email content as it displays alongside the subject line. If you don’t set preview text, email providers (iPhone Mail app, Gmail, Outlook, etc.) will automatically set one based on the content in the body of your email. This leads to a wasted opportunity to engage your audience.
And if you REALLY want to write better subject lines…
Talk to us. Our team understands the intricacies of effective email acquisition marketing better than anyone else. From the mid-size to the enterprise, we know what it takes to deliver more powerful email marketing to consumers. If your brand works with our team, we promise we can help you write better subject lines in less time.
NEW YORK (June 1, 2021) — Zeta, a leading cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers enterprises to acquire, grow and retain customers, announced today the launch of its initial public offering of 22,727,272 shares of its Class A common stock comprised of 15,617,272 shares of Class A common stock offered by Zeta and 7,110,000 shares of Class A common stock offered by the selling stockholders. In addition, the underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3,409,091 shares of Class A common stock from our selling shareholders at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The initial public offering price is expected to be between $10.00 and $12.00 per share. The company has applied to list its Class A common stock on New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ZETA.”
Morgan Stanley, BofA Securities, Credit Suisse and Barclays will act as joint lead book-running managers for the offering. William Blair, Needham & Company, Oppenheimer & Co., Canaccord Genuity and Roth Capital Partners will also be co-managers.
The proposed offering will be made only by means of a prospectus. When available, copies of the preliminary prospectus relating to the proposed initial public offering may be obtained from Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10014; BofA Securities, Attention: Prospectus Department, NC1-004-03-43, 200 North College Street, 3rd Floor, Charlotte, NC 28255-0001, by email at email@example.com; Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, 6933 Louis Stephens Drive, Morrisville, NC 27560, by telephone at (800) 221-1037 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; and Barclays Capital Inc., Attention: Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, by telephone at (888) 603-5847 or by email at email@example.com.
A registration statement relating to the proposed sale of these securities has been filed with the Securities Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold, nor may offers to buy be accepted, prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy these securities, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.
Zeta Global Holdings Corp. is a leading data-driven, cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers many of the world’s largest consumer brands to acquire, grow and retain their customers at a lower cost than they can achieve without us. The Company’s Zeta Marketing Platform (the “ZMP”) is the largest omnichannel marketing platform with identity data at its core. The ZMP analyzes billions of structured and unstructured data points to predict consumer intent by leveraging sophisticated Artificial Intelligence to personalize experiences at scale. Founded in 2007 by David A. Steinberg and John Sculley, the Company is headquartered in New York City. For more information, please go to www.zeta2020.wpengine.com.
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Summer is swiftly approaching, and it’s not just warm weather that people are looking forward to. More than anything else, it’s a return to normalcy that consumers crave, and with its return, a surge in pent-up discretionary spending. At least, 50% of U.S. consumers expect to spend “extra” this summer on national park lodges, air travel to beachside locations such as Mexico and the Caribbean, and family vacations to Disney World, just to name a few. To make sure your summer marketing campaigns are on-point and ready to capitalize on all this demand, here are some of our favorite traditional and digital advertising campaign examples from this year (and years past).
1. Everlane: Feels Like Summer Marketing Campaigns
The first of our summer marketing campaign ideas is from the clothing brand Everlane. The brand executed a series of emails as well as social ads to get consumers excited about their annual curated Summer Shop.
The above email’s curated content instills nostalgia for warm weather with its intro copy and offers recipients exclusive access to new arrivals that are perfect for summer. By linking to the “Summer Shop,” on its website, consumers can easily find new summer staples to freshen up their wardrobe. All while minimal messaging paired with clear CTAs help increase the chances of click-through rates and ultimately conversions.
The below social ad uses a similar approach to the brand’s email. It includes an intro description of what the consumer can expect to see when they click the link, as well as compelling overlay copy on the image and a 10% coupon code for added incentive. Using the callout “curated collection” before the CTA also establishes a sense of exclusivity.
2. Budweiser: “Taste of Freedom”
Last summer, Budweiser launched a marketing campaign showcasing limited-edition Patriotic cans. The message was simple—to honor both military heroes and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For every case of beer sold between Memorial Day and Fourth of July, Budweiser donated $1 to the military charity Folds of Honor. Moreover, the popular alc-bev brand sponsored a livestream charity event and promoted the social hashtag #TakeTwoMinutes to remember those heroes who had lost their lives.
This summer, Budweiser is bringing back the popular campaign on social and continuing its donation promise of $1 to Folds of Honor for every case sold. This is a great example of how a successful seasonal campaign can be reused year-over-year.
3. Walmart: What’s Cooking?
With the goal of driving engagement and understanding consumer needs, Walmart took to Twitter for a fun Fourth of July poll asking users what they were most excited to grill up. Moreover, after users selected their response, they could order their favorite ingredients with Walmart’s curbside pickup option.
Not only was this tweet a simple way for Walmart to increase social engagement, but it also offered insight into the products consumers want most. The brand can then use this data to inform future campaigns.
4. Campbell Soups Snack Brand ‘Late July’: Bring Out the Good Chips
Audio content experienced a constant upward trajectory for the past few years. In 2020, digital audio accounted for 11% of total media time per day for US adults. Campell Soups Snack Brand, Late July, took advantage of this trend for its summer campaign “Bring Out the Good Chips.” Although summer 2020 plans may have been dampened by COVID-19, the brand recognized that snacks were still in high demand for at-home hangouts.
Knowing the interests of its demographic, Late July sponsored a popular summer playlist on Spotify to reach the growing number of snack lovers who were also active users of Spotify music.
5. Madewell: Getting Dressed Again
Madewell’s recent summer email campaigns tap into relevancy as consumers are itching to get back into “normal clothes” again. Madewell recognized this desire and launched its campaign featuring essentials for getting dressed again.
The first email in the campaign encourages women to venture into the real world of clothes again. As you scroll further into the email, you’re met with compelling images accompanied by witty copy such as “give your monochrome house dresses a break and be seen.” Each section links to the brand’s curated summer shop where consumers can browse all available items.
Another email in the “getting dressed again” campaign is more focused on getting consumers back in the sunny spirit. The email opens with a hopeful subject line of “This summer > last summer” and includes products from every category the brand offers that are great for sunny days.
Both emails in the campaign do a great job of getting consumers excited (and well-dressed) for the summer season, all while promoting the return of the brand’s summer shop.
6. BUSCH: The Ultimate Family Reunion
For summer 2021, beer brand Busch launched a series of summer social media posts aimed at those itching to get outside again after COVID-19 lockdowns. This modern-day sweepstake asked social media users to describe the family tradition they’ve missed most. In return for their response, participants were entered for a chance to win cash towards planning “the ultimate family reunion.” By incentivizing users to tag their submissions with #BuschReunionContent the brand was able to spread the word and drive a significant amount of engagement.
7. Coca-Cola: Open for Summer
In the same vein as Busch, Coca-Cola launched a series of summer marketing campaigns under the title “Summer Tastes Better”, a mantra that hints at countries reopening after COVID-19. Part of the campaign includes the release of poetry-laden packaging that’s meant to get consumers excited for the return of summer rituals.
Some poems included in the packaging are an ode to the return of in-person activities (e.g. baseball games and the movies), both of which are now more feasible with widespread vaccine distributions. The brand is keeping restrictions in mind, however, and being mindful of language used (e.g. using “movie marathon” instead of “movie theaters”). By creating a new spin on its historical “Share a Coke” campaign, Coke is able to reach a new demographic and maintain seasonal excitement.
Want more inspiration for your Summer 2021 marketing campaigns?
Read our recent blog on 5 B2C Marketing Statistics You Need to Know for Summer 2021.
The summer of 2021 will be one of opportunity for B2C marketers—a time to recoup some of 2020’s losses and make good on what was last year’s “lost summer.” With expanding vaccine rollouts and the slow, steady return to normalcy, consumers are chomping at the bit to spend their long-held dollars on an array of goods, services, and experiences. To help you and your brand make the most of the next several months, here are 5 B2C marketing statistics to know for summer.
1. 57% of shoppers will share information in exchange for personalized offers
Consumers expect personalized marketing experiences, especially after a year and a half of shopping mostly online. A recent study shows 57% of shoppers will share their information in exchange for personalized offers.
Personalization not only enhances the overall customer experience but also arms marketers with better data to make informed business decisions (e.g. predict consumer action). Consider using personalization tactics this summer on your website (in the above image, you can see an overlay with recommended products used as a personalization device on the Glam website) and in emails.
2. 50% of consumers expect to exercise BOPIS
Even though consumers are resuming in-person shopping, many will continue to buy online and pick up in-store. In fact, 50% of consumers expect that they will primarily visit brick-and-mortars this summer to pick up.
For retailers, ensure your customer service (both online and offline) is buttoned up and that consumers can easily find what they’re looking for. This means ensuring fast fulfillment (typically 1-3 hours) and offering consumers with multiple product alternatives and pick up options. For example, if an online item is not in stock for pick up at your local store, enable the option to have the item(s) shipped directly to the store. Moreover, offer several BOPIS experiences when the customer arrives to pick up their order. This can be via curbside pickup, retail lockers, or visiting a customer service desk.
(Bonus statistic: Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t.
3. 49% of online shoppers aged 18-34 will use pay-by-installment services
As a way to avoid credit card debt, younger generations are interested in “buy now, pay later” services for online purchases. In fact, more than 49% of online shoppers ages 18 to 34 will use pay-by-installment services for at least half of their major purchases this summer. All of this is to say as Millenials and Gen Zers increase their discretionary spending over the summer, it’s the brands ready to offer a variety of purchase plans that will be in the best position to win.
An additional tip? Consider teaming up with an after pay provider such as Klarna or Afterpay. Not only will this appeal to current customers, but it will also give you access to new customers through the provider’s own marketing networks.
4. 62% of millennials will keep spending on essentials
US consumer spending is expected to change this summer compared to previous years. 62% of millennials who have cut their spending as a result of the pandemic will keep spending mainly on essentials. Half of this group will spend at restaurants through takeout and delivery (1-2 times per week) rather than dining in. The remaining top spending categories will include groceries, alcohol, and beauty.
Keep these spending habits in mind when creating your summer marketing campaigns. Segment various groups based on their wants and needs and build messaging surrounding what they’re most likely to purchase during this transitional time.
5. 59% of consumers consider brand purpose when making a purchase
COVID-19 and the social injustices that took place during the summer of 2020 placed greater emphasis on brand purpose. A 2021 Social Trends Report from Hootsuite states that “the smartest brands will understand where they fit into customers’ lives [. . .], and they’ll find creative ways of fitting into the conversation.” The consumer expectation for brands to speak up and take a stance will continue well into (and beyond) the summer of 2021.
As of this blog’s publish date, 59% of consumers consider brand purpose when making a purchase (even with impulse buys). When developing brand purpose as a marketer, it’s important to be transparent and take a stand. . Highlight initiatives in areas such as sustainability (e.g. calling out ethically sourced materials), activism (e.g., raising money for criminal injustice), and philanthropy (e.g., donating proceeds of every purchase). This will keep your brand aligned with your audience’s values and build positive brand sentiment.
When it comes to email marketing your subject line is the catalyst to creating a lasting impression. If compelling enough, your email subject lines are a ticket to standing out in one of the most competitive spaces in digital media: the email inbox.
In order to engage your unique audience and advance your business goals, your email must get opened as many times as possible. Consider these 7 tips and 7 tactics to help guide you in writing engaging email subject lines that people will want to open.
Tip #1: Optimize for mobile viewing
Today, 81% of all emails are now opened and read on mobile devices. Prioritize email layouts on mobile first and desktop second. Be sure to keep your subject line (and overall content strategy) short and to the point. This will help safeguard content from being cut off since mobile email apps only display approximately 35 characters of a subject line in the inbox view.
Tip #2: Be concise and specific
Subject lines with 6 to 10 words are ideal in order to deliver the highest open rate. If you struggle to keep subject lines short and sweet, consider which words matter less and where you can remove frivolous details (e.g. “Your order is being processed” vs. “Order #1456873456 is being processed.”
That’s not to say that clarity should be overlooked at the expense of fewer words (specificity will always be more important than length). There will always be exceptions to this rule, e.g. with time-sensitive content that should include the timeframe even if it means adding length. No matter the situation, clearly communicate what the email content will deliver on to encourage the recipient to click through.
Tip #3: Use a familiar ‘From:’ tag
Sender names are the lowest hanging of the subject line fruits, but one of the most frequently overlooked. The email “From:” line can have as much impact on your open rate as the actual subject line. Ideally, these two work together to create clarity for the reader in terms of who the email is from and why it’s important.
Generally speaking, specificity is the end goal. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a name in your ‘from:’ tag. You just want to sound as human as possible. Consider using the following formats: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or ‘email@example.com.’
Additionally, avoid using the common ‘no-reply’ sender name. Due to the number of spam emails people receive nowadays, there may be hesitancy to open an email from an unfamiliar address.
Tip #4: Leverage personalization tokens
Message Personalization is the number one tactic used by email marketers to improve click-through rates and performance. In fact, brands that personalize their email marketing see 27% higher click-through rates. Leveraging personalization tokens (e.g. name or location) in the subject line can create a sense of rapport.
However, studies have shown that personalizing the subject line with a recipient’s name can depress open rates. Conversely, personalizing just the email content can increase open rates and click-through rates. Consider personalizing your subject line with a city name instead of a recipient’s name to maximize your marketing efforts.
The personalization tactics you choose depend on your business goals, but this blog post can help you understand the how marketing personalization can help you keep up with customer demands.
Tip #5: Time it right
Sending an email at the right time with the right subject line can make all the difference in terms of increasing open and click-through rates. A great example of this can be seen with Quip, which sends an email reminder to its subscribers when their refill is preparing to ship. The brand clearly specifies what the email will entail in the subject line by saying “refill processing!”. But it also prompts the user to click-through with language to review additional account information.
Tip #6: Avoid using certain words
There are 2 kinds of trigger words to avoid using in email subject lines—words that trip spam filters and words that trip our own mental aversions. Fortunately, they tend to be similar—words that alert deals and offers. Unfortunately, if you are trying to promote a great opportunity, you have to contend with the fact that many marketers have used the sales and promotions tactic too many times now. Get creative, and remember that you’re ultimately selling a product, not a discount.
HubSpot recently identified a number of email spam trigger words to avoid, including:
- Free sample
- Special promotion
- While supplies last
Tip #7: Segment your lists
Emails blasts that go out to an entire mailing list can be relevant and helpful for some, but not all. For example, a restaurant sending a list of local steakhouses to someone who eats a plant-based diet can cause confusion and frustration.
It’s important to create a personalized experience from information you already have on your customers (e.g. forms they’ve filled out, products they’ve purchased, personal preferences, etc.). Use this to segment your lists and exclude recipients whose interests or preferences don’t align with your messaging.
One final note on email subject lines…
You really need to be A/B testing. Period. No two marketer’s goals are the same and figuring out what works best with your specific audience is the first step to crafting a successful email marketing campaign.
Companies that A/B test every email see email marketing returns that are 37% higher than those that never do A/B tests!
Truth be told, there’s no silver bullet or magic formula for writing high-performing subject lines. While we can see the types of things people click on, that doesn’t mean we know what causes a subject line to get more opens than another. Experience and data can point you in the right direction, but the only true path to success lies in repeatedly evaluating and optimizing.
Don’t think of the following tips as an end-all-be-all to writing the perfect subject line. Rather, use these recommendations as a testing ground for writing potentially perfect subject lines.