If anyone knows how to get you to do something you don’t want to do, it’s your mother. So this Mother’s Day, we thought it would be fitting to snag and share some “advice from mom.” Our goal? Help you get consumers to do one of the things digital marketers struggle with most – read your emails.

We’ve written before about why your emails may not get opened, but that’s just the first hurdle.

Once you get consumers opening your emails, you only have about 11.1 seconds to get your point across and entice them to act.

So what’s inside your emails really matters too.

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are our top pieces of advice on how to keep your email marketing exciting and effective. (And don’t worry – if you fail to follow this advice, I’m sure mom won’t be mad…just disappointed.)

1. First impressions are everything.

Ever heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? It’s never been more true than in the case of email marketing. If the first email consumers receive from you doesn’t hit the mark, you may not get another chance to engage them via email ever again.

When you gather consumer information to build your contact list, what’s the first email message you send them? Do you add new contacts to your database and let them receive the next message you send out, regardless of the context? That could make for a poor first impression and a negative experience.

If first impressions are everything, you need a welcome email that you send the second you receive someone’s email address.

A solid welcome email includes a few elements:

  • A sincere “Thank You” for signing up
  • Some information about what’s to come
  • An introductory offer

Having writer’s block? Check out these free email marketing templates, including one for a welcome email.

2. Never leave home without a clean pair of…shorts.

I’m not sure if I heard this one straight from mom, but it’s a funny (and useful) piece of advice nonetheless. Just as you wouldn’t leave home looking less than fresh, your emails shouldn’t leave your outbox unless they look their best too.

Most small business marketers rely on email service providers (ESPs) and their included templates to button up their email branding. So if you’re still sending plain text emails that lack formatting, eye-catching images, and your business’s logo, you’re getting outshined.

Most ESPs include a couple of templates with their software. Constant Contact, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are all popular ESPs. And not to toot our own horn, but *toot, toot* so are we. Email marketing is only one piece of the larger Thryv business management software. And now, Thryv comes with email templates you can use to button up your visual presentation and impress consumers.

3. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

We’ve all had that foot-in-mouth moment where we say one thing, but it gets taken a totally different way. Maybe what you said got passed over because something else you said was distracting, or maybe the message you intended to get across got misinterpreted because of the tone of your voice. “Of course I want to take the trash out in the rain, dear!” (OK, bad example.)

Whatever the reason, how you say something really affects how your message is received. Our blog post on how to write for mobile consumers has a lot of tips on how to make sure you get your message across when consumers’ time and attention spans are limited.

  • Answer questions immediately.
  • If you’re going to make a claim or an offer, do it fast.
  • Use short words, short sentences, and even shorter paragraphs.
  • If you have to be wordy, break it up.
  • Tailor your tone for the casual mobile environment.
  • Make your calls to action mobile-centric.

4. Never make a promise you can’t keep.

Ever heard of “click bait”? That term refers to when marketers use deceptive headlines and marketing copy to trick you into clicking on something you might not have otherwise been interested in. Even worse, once you arrive at the page or article you intended to read, the message is so vastly different from what you expected, you feel duped.

Though tempting, you shouldn’t need to employ this tactic to get someone to open or read your small business’s emails. In fact, if you do, you risk getting unsubscribed and losing all future opportunities to engage with your valuable contacts.

Avoid misleading subject lines and headlines in your emails. Instead, opt for intriguing one liners that leave a bit to the imagination, but no more than that. And if you make a promise like “You won’t believe this offer!” – you better have a killer offer front and center in that email.

5. Never show up to a dinner party empty handed.

Hopefully this isn’t just for those of us in the South. But where I come from, you don’t show up to someone’s house or party without a treat or gift for the host.

Similarly, the emails you send to your contact list are competing with tens to hundreds of others in their inbox. So if you don’t have something valuable to offer, a brand that shows up with a coupon, promotion or freebie will beat out your emails every single time.

Some popular email promotions:
  • Last-minute appointments or deals
  • Discounted (or complimentary) first-time bookings or appointments
  • Seasonal offers on select products or services – For example, “Last-minute Mother’s Day gift cards are buy one, get $10!”

Whether you listen to mom or me this Mother’s Day, your email marketing could probably use a refresh. So heed mom’s advice, and show your email marketing some love this month.