People who buy products marketed to them via email spend a whopping 138% more than people outside the email marketing campaign.
With figures like that, email is a channel your business can’t afford to ignore.
So why is email marketing so valuable? It’s because your subscribers want to hear from you. They’ve signed on the dotted line, metaphorically speaking. They’re a warm lead, ready and primed to buy what you’re selling. Most people check their inbox multiple times a day (if you’re anything like me, ‘multiple’ doesn’t even do it justice) and they trust you enough to let you in.
Don’t break that trust, and you could be making some serious money from email marketing.
Here are six tips to make sure your email marketing is on the money.
1. A Strong Subject Line is Everything
The cardinal rule of all marketing: if they don’t see it, they can’t buy it. You could compose the best email in the whole world, but if your subject line doesn’t get their attention you’re heading straight to spam. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200.
I could write a whole piece about optimizing your subject lines, and there’s no shortage of research on the subject, but I’ll summarize:
- Keep it Short: 6-10 word subject lines have the highest open rate, so don’t ramble.
- Choose your words carefully: If it sounds like sales rhetoric, bin it.
- Personalise: Personalized subject lines get up to 41.8% more opens so use merge tags to add personal touches.
- Be Benefit Orientated: A pro tip from copywriters everywhere: focus on the benefits. Why should your prospect open your email? What do they stand to gain?
- Don’t SHOUT: Caps can be used to some effect very occasionally, but on the whole stick to sentence case or Title Case. No one likes being shouted at, especially not from the comfort of their own inbox.
The subject line is often a critical component to increasing open rates, but if you want to really hone in on boosting your opens, then this post on seven valuable email marketing strategies will benefit you.
2. Work on Your CTA
A marketing email without a call-to-action is just an email. If you don’t tell your prospects what action you’d like them to take, they probably won’t take any.
Just as with the subject line, your CTA needs to communicate a clear benefit to your reader, to convince them to click-through.
It also needs to be short. Work on distilling it down to the absolute core benefit – it needs to be punchy, not verbose. Think five words or so. Another great tactic is to use a time sensitive offer – creating a sense of urgency that encourages your readers to click for fear of missing out. FOMO is as real in the online world as real life.
Here’s a great example from Vistaprint:
The first thing that grabs you is the benefit: Boost your business. We all want that, right? Next, 50% off. Great stuff. Short and simple CTA with ‘Shop now’ and then the warning, ominously against a red background at the top, tells me to click-through now or lose out.
3. Leverage Transactional Emails
If you’re not using transactional emails as an upsell and cross-sell opportunity, you’re missing a trick.
Transactional emails are the email you get to confirm you’ve done something, triggered by an action you’ve taken such as inputting your address, purchasing something or setting up an account. Transactional emails have a 4 to 8 times higher open rate than other emails, so they’re a valuable opportunity you shouldn’t be wasting.
Here’s an example from Harvard Business Review after I signed up recently:
They’re ticking all the boxes with this message. Notice how they immediately confirm my registration, as well as reminding me why I registered in the first place – re-emphasising the benefits to make me feel good about signing up.
Then they capitalize on these emotions by offering me a time-sensitive saving of 20% if I go a step further and subscribe.
Email marketing best practice from HBR – they’re doing everything right.
4. Personalization is Key
Personalizing your subject line is optional, but personalizing the body copy of your email isn’t. In fact, personalized emails have a significantly higher transaction rate and click-through rate.
Personalization is when you send targeted, specific content tailored to your subscribers. For example, you might personalize based on purchase history, subscription preferences, location, or interests. It makes people feel like you’re talking to them personally, which makes your emails harder to ignore.
Personalized emails can incentivize subscribers to buy, upsell to current customers, and reactivate dormant subscribers.
Back in the day, personalized email meant sending emails one-by-one, but that isn’t the case. Today, email marketing software can segment your email lists and automate most of your campaigns, all with minimal effort.
Everything comes down to how much data you can collect about subscribers, and how well you segment your lists.
That’s how transactional emails work too – consumer behavior triggers an email, or a series of emails, specifically designed to appeal to and convert customers at that stage in the funnel.
5. Think Mobile
Up to 70% of emails are read on mobile. If your emails aren’t responsive, you’re losing out on a lot of potential custom.
Focus on keeping your emails short and sweet, as well as checking to ensure your images load. There’s nothing worse than working hard to create a compelling, converting email only to discover after you’ve sent it that it looks horrendous on mobile.
The things to look for are:
- Length: Long text and mobiles don’t go well together. It’s like Mark Twain says – “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one”. Writing shorter is more difficult – it demands clarity, precision, and flair. Go back to basics and highlight the core benefit of your email, and work your copy around that.
- CTA: I’m sure we’ve all got one of those emails on smartphones where the text is so small you can’t actually click-through on it, even if you wanted to. Make sure your CTA is big enough that mobile users can really easily follow through.
- Images: Images are the most obvious way an email goes wrong on mobile. Not loading, not displaying properly, displaying HUGE and sending the text all over the place. Sort it out.
Most email platforms will show you exactly how your email will look on mobile, but if not, you could simply try sending it to yourself and see how it looks!
6. Split Test EVERYTHING
As with everything marketing, different things work better for different people, different audiences and different products. These tips are all generally accepted email marketing wisdom, but testing is the best way to refine your own unique campaign.
Split testing, if you’re not familiar with it, sounds more complicated than it actually is. It simply means splitting off a small proportion of your audience and sending different versions of your campaign out to different segments. You can test how well each version does, and then use the highest performing campaign across your whole audience.
Only change one variable at a time to isolate the specific cause of the high-performance (or low performance – you can use split-testing to troubleshoot too).
You can test any element of your email – from CTA to subject line, images to headline, offers to layouts, and through a process of elimination you’ll work out what the perfect email composition is.