Father’s Day, Bacon, and Inbound Marketing

Jun 9, 2014 | E-mail, Inbound Marketing

If you’re like me, your inbox can go from (relatively) clean to completely cluttered in a matter of minutes. Newsletters, “offers you can’t refuse,” and sales announcements make it their gathering place. I know you don’t take the time to read each one. (You’re busy—I get it.) On a good day, you open only those with interesting subject lines from organizations you like. Otherwise, off to the trash folder it goes.

But what if you’re the sender instead of the recipient? Email marketing is incredibly valuable to any business. It can play a crucial role in building and retaining leads. So, how can you create emails that are not only worth a second glance, but also glean a higher click-through rate?

You probably know the basics by now: Create great content, a dynamic design, and avoid looking spammy at all costs. But there’s more to it. It comes down to inbound marketing techniques.

At 212 Media Studios, we are all “Inbound Marketing Certified,” meaning we’ve gone through rigorous training and examination to keep us at the top of our game in the marketing field. (Learn more about inbound here.) As a writer, editor, and graphic designer, I apply this knowledge nearly every day. Instead of rambling on for a few more paragraphs, I decided to design two examples for you.

Let’s say you own a restaurant. Your atmosphere, menu, and pricing lie somewhere between Cracker Barrel and Olive Garden. You’ve been operational for five years and finally have a strong customer base—with 183 email subscribers to boot. (Good for you!) This spring you decided to launch a new event: a Father’s Day “Bacon and Bratwurst Brunch.” Posters, print ads, and even social media have served you well in spreading the word, but you’re counting on email to yield the best results.

A preliminary email like this could help you gain lots of ground—or ruin your chances of a good turnout if you do it poorly. Let’s look at these two examples to identify the components of successful inbound marketing within this format.

Inbound Marketing Done WRONG

Bad email marketing example

A. The design should speak to your clientele. You don’t run a Chuck E. Cheese’s or McDonald’s. And your email subscribers don’t want to be treated like they’re seven years old. The artwork and layout should reflect their demographics, needs, and interests in ways that also pertain to your business.
B. Be concise and get to the point. This is an email, not an impromptu speech. Provide further information on your website, which will encourage them to click.
C. Make RSVPing easy, while also obtaining more contact information—which won’t be as efficient via telephone alone. Plus, the fewer hoops to jump through, the better.
D. The readers have been to your restaurant, so they already know where you are. If you must include your location, give the address only. Don’t weigh the content down with needless or tacky details.
E. Headlines are incredibly important. Make them count, and only use language that’s appropriate for your readers.

Inbound Marketing Done RIGHT

Good email marketing example

A. Attention-grabbing images go a long way. The readers subscribed to your newsletter for a reason—they probably love food and/or your business. Whet their appetites with high-quality images that will bring them back for seconds. (A picture is worth a thousand words, right?)
B. Use a relevant and prominent headline that immediately communicates the purpose of the email.
C. Always link to your social media platforms! Give them lots of ways to stay connected to your company.
D. Clearly communicate the call-to-action. In addition to phone reservations, allow customers to RSVP online—on your website, where you can publish additional information about the brunch, and embed more links for them to explore. All images in an email should link to your website.
E. Use a layout and theme that’s appropriate for their tastes. If the restaurant’s interior design features neutral tones with pops of color, play off of that. It’s all about knowing your buyer persona. What draws their attention and keeps them loyal to you?

A week or so later, this email should be followed up with a second email, with a stronger CTA and perhaps a deadline. The goal is to get your subscribers to continue interacting with you and build loyalty. Cater to their interests and preferences. Do your research and put your best foot forward in email marketing.

(P.S. This is a fake event. But you should probably find something equally as cool for your Dad or Grandpa on Father’s Day!)

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