Email marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing, and it’s easy to see why. If you understand your audience and have a clear message you can achieve excellent results in both a cost and time effective way.

In this article we talk about different approaches that can potentially assist you in optimising your results.

Segment your database

This might be time consuming initially but is definitely worth the effort.

Your customers want to hear about things that are of interest, importance or relevance to them, whilst on the other hand, sending them information or verbage on irrelevant topics will lead to lower opening rates and more unsubscribes.

By carefully selecting your recipient groups you will boost not only your opening rate but also potentially that all-important conversion rate.

Take time to test

When utilising a programme like Campaign Monitor, A/B testing is quick and easy and the results will provide you with valuable information on what sender name, subject lines and email content works best for your audience.

  • What optimises your opening rate?
  • Calling them Mr Smith or Peter?
  • Using Mr Smith or Peter in the subject line?
  • Posing a question or making a statement in the subject line?
  • Sending an email containing more text or an abbreviated email with links to the text on your website?
  • Using more images or less?

What is your optimum ‘send time’

As might be expected, B2B emails normally obtain their best opening and click-through rates when they are sent during the week.  

Although ever evolving, prevalent technology, such as mobile and tablet devices are beginning to change the results a bit, it is still likely that mid-morning on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday can increase opening and click-through rates.

Research indicates that at 11:00 your recipients have already opened and acted on all emails received overnight and are much more likely to open and read your message. The same goes for 15:00 when recipients have cleared the lunchtime backlog, therefore boosting your chances of success.

What does your A/B testing tell you about your optimum ‘send time’?

That all-important subject line

  • It is simple, the subject line should describe the subject of your email and the best subject lines tell what’s inside, whilst the worst subject lines attempts to sell what is inside.
  • Make it concise and keep it short and informative – try to do it in 22 to 45 characters.  If that is not possible, make sure that it is scannable by getting the important information up front.
  • Personalised subject lines are a simple way to catch your recipient’s attention as people respond positively to their names; subject line personalisation is therefore a proven opening rate enhancer.
  • A Mail Chimp study of 24 million emails sent by their subscribers showed that personalisation with a first name delivered a significant open rate boost, but using both first and last name was nearly 4 times more effective.
  • Experian found personalised promotional emails sent during 2013 had 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click-through rates than non-personalised mailings. For newsletters the difference between personalised and non-personalised will probably be less apparent, but it is still worth doing an A/B test to ascertain what works best for your audience.
  • Interestingly, using “Dear” within your personalisation adds significant spam points so be wary of adding it to the subject line.
  • If you make it compelling your reader will feel they must open it, or spend the rest of the day wondering “what if??”  Often offering a relevant ‘how to’ will pique interest...
  • When you add a question mark to the end of any statement it forces the brain to read the statement as though it is a question and it engages the reader mentally. Any subject line that is engaging the reader mentally has a very good chance of getting a higher response rate.
  • Tell them about a real and impending deadline to urge them to act.

 
Call to action

Your email marketing must motivate your customers and prospects to perform a certain action and a weak call-to-action can ruin an otherwise great campaign.

In the body of your email clearly tell your customers:

  • WHAT you want them to do
  • WHY they should do it
  • HOW they can do it
  • WHEN they should do it by (adding in a timeframe creates a sense of need and urgency)

Shareable content

Create an email that your recipients will want to forward onto their friends. Whether it contains a discount code, special offer, or something really memorable; include something your customers will want to pass on.

Responsive design

Getting your email newsletter to display optimally on mobile devices is just as important as ensuring that it can be read in long-standing email client formats like Outlook and Gmail. In fact, mobile email client usage is soon set to eclipse both that of webmail and desktop clients, meaning that providing a less-than-optimal reading experience on the small screen may not only inconvenience a few recipients, but eventually the majority – significantly reducing the impact of your email.

Remember to check your statistics to see what percentage of customers are already opening your e-shots on iOS, Android or other mobile platforms as this will give you a clear picture of whether investing in a responsive template is the right choice for you at this point in time.

We would love to hear about your e-marketing experiences and what works best for your client base –email [email protected] with your feedback or if you require our expertise in boosting your future campaigns.

Author: Marina Jones