While there are tons of legitimate and valuable methods for marketing your business, email marketing is the one component that seems to hold steadfast no matter what other changes are happening in the SEO or social media world. As a matter of fact, according to Entrepreneur, email marketing offers an average return of $44 for every $1 spent. Don’t let anyone tell you that email marketing has gone by the wayside.
There are two main components to successful email marketing campaign tracking. The first is your open rate: how many people see your messages in their inboxes, and how many actually open them up to see what is inside? The second is your click-through rate. How many people, after opening your emails, click the links inside to visit your website?
High click-through and open rates mean more conversions, so it makes sense to foster them whenever you can. The good news is that these numbers can be increased with strategic email planning.
Improving Your Email Open Rates
In order to succeed in email marketing, people need to open your emails in the first place. It’s useless to you if they simply hit spam and move on. Here’s the best ways to improve your email open rates without making the process grueling.
Write a Compelling Subject Line
This sounds basic, but it’s not. Your email subject line needs to be compelling – intriguing. You should come up with several subject line ideas and conduct your own A/B split testing, just as you would with a website or landing page. Test two pages, keep the best performer, add another, and keep going. You should always strive for improvement.
Who is Sending Your Emails?
Emails that appear to come from a company name or group are also more likely to be filtered into “advertising” folders or marked as spam. Give your email a personal touch by making sure it appears to be coming from an individual associated with your group.
Timing is Everything
One of the most overlooked components in email marketing is the importance of finding the right day and time to send an email. When you send and when an email is received can drastically change how successful conversions are, including open and click-through rates.
A lot of companies find that Monday morning emails don’t do as well because people are focused on starting their work week, digging through client emails, and getting organized. Tuesday morning emails tend to do better because people aren’t feeling as crunched by the start of the week. Some clients find Friday afternoons work well because people are becoming tired and unfocused and are scrolling through emails while daydreaming about the work week being over.
Similarly, lunchtime and early morning tend to be best for targeting B2B. This may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense because that’s when busy decision-makers sit down to check emails. You’re less likely to access them in mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
You may find that switching the day you send your email doesn’t alter your open rate, but may impact the click-through rate. There are a lot of studies with a lot of different suggestions, but at the end of the day you’re going to need to split test this aspect of your marketing as well.
Avoid Looking Spammy
You email could end up in a spam filter for a number of different reasons. You may be using an IP address that someone has sent spam from in the past, your subscribers may have complained that they didn’t opt-in to your list, and you may not be sending through a verified domain. Language that is heavy on sales is also considered spammy, so you’ll want to avoid using all capital letters or words like “buy,” discount,” or “clearance” too often as well.
Clean Up Your Email List
From time to time you should go into your email list and get rid of the people who haven’t opened your emails in ages. Some companies run campaigns targeting those who haven’t opened in a while, asking them if they’d still like to be on the list. Others will occasionally go in and simply delete the ones that have been ignoring or deleting without opening for months or longer. Getting rid of the dead weight and spam subscriptions will help to improve both the email open rate and the click through rate.
Improving Your Email Click-Through Rates
Once your readers have opened your emails, you’ll need to keep them engaged and convince them to click through to your website. It doesn’t matter if you want them to read a blog post or purchase from your ecommerce site. Your content needs to be compelling and targeted to convince them to click through.
Keep it Simple, Seller (KISS)
Okay – yes, the real KISS acronym does mean something slightly different. We’re not going to go there, though, because we know you’re smarter and more capable than what the real meaning insinuates. You have this!
Long emails tend to overwhelm and bore readers. Keep things as short and sweet as you can. A couple of paragraphs of tight copy will do far more for you than a full page of fluff. It’s fine to write 100 words of really compelling content if that’s what it takes to tell the story and tempt people in. Never inflate your emails just to create filler content – this is the very definition of spam.
Format Emails Properly
A greater percentage of your readers are using mobile devices, so make sure your email looks good on both desktop and mobile platforms. Use a responsive design that adjusts itself to look nice on either device. No one will continue to read the text on your page if they have to keep scrolling to the right and left to get through a paragraph.
Also, make sure any images you include are catchy, but that that any pertinent details are also repeated in the text. That way your readers won’t miss out on important information if an image doesn’t load properly.
Offer Value and Encourage Action
No one will take action if you don’t give them a reason to. You know what your email’s goal is. Your message needs to reflect your goal. If it doesn’t, readers may simply move on.
Let’s say, for example, you simply want your readers to click through and read one of your blog posts. Your email should contain a short, captivating blurb about the article, but it should also contain a very noticeable, clear icon or call-to-action your reader can click on to get to the blog post. Make it easy for your readers to take the action you want.
Experiment with Content Types
Your readers will tell you what they like. Some respond really well to videos embedded within the newsletter content. Others like feeling as though they are getting an exclusive announcement about a new product or special before the general public. Include the link you want people to click through on several times in the email, in different formats. Offering a special or sale? Include a deadline. You may find your readers respond better if what you have to say has an urgent tone or nature.
Email marketing is part science, part art. The numbers don’t lie when it comes to how successful email marketing can be, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Take some time to set up different campaigns, conduct careful A/B testing, and experiment. Have fun with it. You’ll be amazed at how well you can do with email and content marketing once you hit your stride.