The art of Email Marketing has become an essential element in the increasingly digital age.
97% of small businesses use Email Marketing as a way to connect with their customer [eMarketer, 2015]
The content created and shared by a business through their emails is, of course, an essential element toward success. Therefore, before dedicating efforts to increasing open rates you should ensure you are creating and distributing:
- quality content
- that is of value to your audience.
Once you are secure in your content quality you can begin to tackle the hurdle that many marketers struggle to overcome: Getting people to actually open and read your emails. Here are 5 Email Marketing Tips to get you started with improved open rates:
Email Marketing Tip #1: A Good First Impression
There are two things that your email recipients will see before opening your email: whom it’s from and the subject line. These are the gatekeepers to your content, if your recipient doesn’t like what they see they won’t be clicking through to all your incredible content. Here are some ways to optimise this prime real estate to entice your recipients and avoid their trash cans.
It has been seen that adding personalisation to your marketing emails can increase open rates. There are two ways to do this:
- Try sending your emails from a person within the company, not from your stock-standard business address. If you’re unsure, just ask yourself; are you more likely to be interested in and open an email coming from Madison Seymour or firstname.lastname@example.org?
- Another way to personalise your emails is by addressing your reader directly. Nearly every Email Marketing platform will allow you the ability to draw personalisations from your customer list – utilise this! Rather than sending “Hey There, We Have Content For You” you could be sending “Hey Madison, We Have Content For You”. I know which I’d be more likely to open.
This brings us to the subject line. MailChimp provides some great tips and best practices for this vital component of your Email Marketing, including:
- 4 Words or Phrases to Avoid: free, help, percent off, reminder
- Localisation Helps: providing a city name can increase open rates
- Newsletters have Half Lives: be aware that using the exact same subject line for each newsletter can decrease open rates
- Subject Line Length: keep your subject to 50 characters or less with the exception of highly targeted audiences
Email Marketing Tip #2: Timing
Sending your emails at an inappropriate time or on the wrong day can have a negative effect on your open rates. This element requires some common sense as well as some experimentation. Sending emails too early in the morning can result in them getting lost in the myriad of other emails sent the evening before or in the early morning. However, sending too late in the afternoon can result in your recipients putting off the email for the following day (thus piling it under even more mail).
To determine when you should be sending your emails you need to first understand your customer. Think about their schedules and their priorities and how they link to the message and intent of your email when scheduling your communications with them, but remember that the only way to know which day and time works best for your business is to test your campaigns. Do also keep in mind that frequency of emails can have a large influence on open rates. Avoid “list fatigue” by ensuring you don’t send too often.
Email Marketing Tip #3: Avoid Spam Filters
Spam filters are programs that are used to detect unsolicited and unwanted emails, and prevent them from reaching a user’s inbox. Spam filters analyse a large list of criteria when determining “spam score”. If your email campaigns total spam score is over a certain threshold then it is sent to the dreaded Spam inbox. There are some common mistakes that are easily avoidable if you know what to look for.
Spam Triggers To Avoid:
- Spammy words and phrases such as “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”
- Too many symbols such as !!!!!!!!!!! $$$$$$
- USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
- Sloppy HTMLs
Email Marketing Tip #4: Refine Your List
Cut Dead Weight:
The idea of cleaning up your list may be seem daunting but depending on what email service you use for your email marketing campaigns, there should be a report that allows you to determine which emails are either bouncing or which subscribers are not opening your emails on a consistent basis.
By pulling people from your list who never open your emails you are cutting dead weight and your open rate can be dramatically increased. Also, you will no longer be paying for these emails to be delivered and never read. Deleting these users emails completely, however, is not recommend. Instead, try to do some digging to find where the email subscriber originally came from so that you can create a more targeted campaign to get them re-engaged.
List segmentation allows marketers to tailor their content to specific recipients based on their position within the sales funnel. This gives you the power to deliver great content or special offers to your subscriber at a crucial moment in their decision-making process.
To segment your readers you need to know what your subscribers care about. Try creating an online survey for you existing subscribers to gain the information you wish to segment on and update your point of subscription to include the field you want to segment by. For example, at The Lead Agency we ask subscribers to specify their name, email address and the industry with which they work when they subscribe. This allows us to tailor our content based on the areas of business our subscribers operate within.
Email Marketing Tip #5: Mobile Optimisation
While your message may look fabulous on a desktop be aware that the majority of your subscribers may not view it as you do when designing it on your desktop at the office.
According to the latest US Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk, 66% of all emails are now opened on smartphones or tablets, leaving only 34% being viewed on desktops.
This shift toward mobile devices as the primary platform for viewing emails means that marketers need to pay attention to how their messages will appear when viewed on various devices. Test your emails on smartphones and tablets before sending them off and make sure they are optimised for these platforms.
What is a Good Open Rate?
Now you have 5 Email Marketing Tips under your belt to improve your open rates, below is a table from Constant Contact that summarises the open, bounce and click through rate standards of emails by industry. Find out what the standard is for your industry so that you have a benchmark to strive for and get our there and get your customers and prospects clicking!