Promotional emails are very specific types of emails. They’re intended to get your audience excited about something. You may have a new service or product to announce or you may just have excess inventory to get rid of. The bottom line is you’re looking to promote something that will bring traffic to your store and accomplish awareness or overall sales increase.

Below, I have outlined a few tips of advice to keep your subscribers engaged and to stay clear of the spam folder.

Promotion and Strategy:

1. What are the benefits? Not for you, for your customer. Line up the reasons as to why your product or service exists. What problem(s) are you solving? When doing this, make sure your customer is at the center of it all. Explain what they can achieve with your product then include the how. Often times companies will get caught up in the features, bells and whistles. These are great and will help you stand out from your competition later, but will mean nothing to your audience at first unless it is tied to a solution to a problem they may have. Starting off with what is important to them (solving their problem) will catch their attention and keep them engaged to continue learning about how you will help them.

2. Be focused and consistent. The other day I received an email that was promoting a special to travel to Hawaii for 10 days in the subject line. When I opened the email, they were promoting 8 different travel packs. At first, this may seem like a great idea because the company used a catchy subject line to get me into an email to then just show me everything they have. The problem with this is that I have too many options to choose from. I opened the email because of a trip to Hawaii. If I can’t quickly go on to see the details of this trip, I will abandon the email. Use the email as the doorway to your landing page. Doing this, you are able to create a build up to a sale. The subject line catches my eye, the email provides important details that should motivate me to click on the call to action to buy on the website. Once on the website, you have much more real estate to complete the sale for the trip to Hawaii or even show similar travel options at strategic milestones of your sales path. These milestones can be divided based on location, number of days or even price. Make sure to set up your sales path in such a way that it allows you to identify these moments. Overall, be sure to stay focused on what you are trying to sell first. There is a reason you made the promotion in the first place right? As you do this, keep consistency from your subject line to the “Thank you” page.

3. Keep a smooth flow. You want to make sure your message is quick to read and has easy steps to follow. Too many clicks, page loads, waiting time or any other hurdle will reduce your promotion success rate. A few things to keep in mind for this:

  • Make sure your email is scannable. People skim before they read. Titles are your best friend here.
  • The steps to follow after the email should be extremely visible and easy to follow. If your subscriber thinks the process will take too long, they will abandon. If you need a longer process, think about how you can break it up into bite size pieces
  • Taking this last point of bite size pieces, what are your side orders? Any restaurant will always ask, “Do you want a side salad with your steak?” / “Do you want fries with that?” Make sure this is setup as a side option and not part of the main sell. Separating this can easily generate more revenue for your business, just make sure to not distract from the main course. “Thank you for your purchase! Other customers who purchased this item also bought…”
  • Anything that isn’t relevant to the promotion should be eliminated. If they opened your email, clicked on your website and are ready to buy, the last thing you want to do is distract them with “shiny red balls”. Let them purchase what they were interested in first and use follow-up emails to offer add-ons or other services later.

4. Calls to action. These should be to the point, actionable and directed to a landing page, not your homepage. If you are going to take the time and effort to do a promotion, don’t leave it halfway. Creating a landing page allows you to stay focused and gives a constant flow. Interrupting this flow will massively reduce your conversion rate. Think of it as if you were telling a story. You want to make sure the punch line aligns with the previous parts of the story. When it comes to placing calls to action on your email, it’s best to have one visible as soon as the email is opened and another one towards the bottom if you have a longer email.

5. Create Urgency. The other day I saw my girlfriend on her phone for over 40 min straight looking through this online store. I tried to catch her attention a few times and failed. As dinner was getting cold, I asked her what was so interesting on her phone? She had received an email from a local store that was offering all of their items at a 60% discount for the next hour. As she clicked on the call to action in the email, she was sent to a landing page with a giant timer on it. You can create urgency in many ways, the bottom line is to get their attention now because later … they will be distracted by the next promotion.

Tips to stay out of the spam folder:

  • Subject Line Guidelines. Catch the eye but don’t stand out like a sore thumb. Writing IN ALL CAPS or with a too many exclamation points will only push your email into the spam folder. Emojis and symbols are trending, but should be used sparingly.
  • Content in your Email. Avoid a lot of bright colors, too much bold font and make sure your emails are responsive. Less is more here. When adding images, be sure to respect the inbox and avoid large images. You want your email to load as fast as possible. Also, be sure to include image descriptions in case your subscriber has images turned off in their email client.
  • Sending Your Email. This is a big one! Make sure to send your emails using your private domain (e.g. Free email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, etc are used for personal use. Sending a promotional email from a personal email address will increase the chances of your email to land in the spam folder.