Despite the surge in SEO and social media, one of the oldest tricks in the book – email marketing – is still alive and kicking. In fact, statistics gathered by Sign-up. To show that marketing emails sent by SMEs in 2013 received an average open-rate of 22.87%. When you compare this percentage to the increasingly low chances of your updates showing in Facebook’s news feed and the difficulty of getting and keeping your website on Google’s first page, email marketing shines through as a reliable shot.
Yet, achieving a great open rate and ROI isn’t as easy as bombarding the inboxes of your contact lists with self-promotional messages and calls to action. For success, you must pay close attention to your audience, refine your message and proof, proof, proof your campaigns. Successful email marketing takes time, monitoring and reflection. Here are just some of the fundamentals:
1. Treat your campaigns as an ongoing dialogue
Blasting your contact list with emails that tell them to check out your site, complete a survey or view your latest offers aren’t always the best way to drive a reaction. To get in the good books of your recipients and encourage them to engage, you need to:
a) Provide them with a benefit e.g. ‘Monday treat – 20% off your next order.
b) Push the conversation forward. e.g. ‘Tell your friends on Facebook’
Treat your email campaigns are a dialogue with your audience. See your emails as the beginning of a conversation and aim to carry it on by incorporating social share buttons and calls to action that ask them to communicate rather than look.
2. Optimise for Mobile Devices
With 7 in 10 people in the UK owning a smartphone, the chances are your recipients will see your email on their mobile first. Hence, ensuring that your campaigns are prepped for optimum display on mobile devices is vital. If your designs aren’t compatible with mobiles then not only will they get ignored but they could get you unsubscribes, meaning you lose valuable audience and custom. Keep up with the growing importance of mobile optimisation and your recipients will keep up with your messages.
3. Personalise Emails
Your subscribers will appreciate your messages much more if they are personalised to their interests. Analyse your data from past campaigns, including which emails recipients click through and how they behave on your website, to segment your contacts into further categories. This way, you can refine your audience targeting for specific messages.
For example, there’s no point sending John Smith an email about facial hair growth shampoo if he only ever visits the ‘Shaving Products’ section of your site. Tailor and refine your messages so they are relevant to your recipients.
4. Mix it Up
To get great performance from your email campaigns, ensure you mix up the content, styles, designs and methods of your campaigns. Test sending your campaigns on different days and different times and measure how changing your subject lines, your headers and your clickable links make a difference to your results. The more you mix it up and measure, the more you can improve your open rates, click-through-rates and ROI from email marketing.
Even the best planned and most creative email campaigns can fail to reach the inboxes of their intended recipients and that’s why keeping a check on your deliverability is key. There are 3 key ways you can proof your campaigns to ensure nothing can get in the way of their journey to inboxes:
a) Ensure you have permission to send to your recipients – build your contact list from subscribers to maximise your open-rate and decrease your chances of unsubscribes.
b) Choose your language carefully – avoid words such as ‘free’, ‘offer’ and ‘click here’ in your email title and content – these are recognised by ISPs (Internet Service Providers such as Outlook, Apple Mail and Yahoo Mail) as spam trigger words and could send your mail straight into the dreaded junk folder.
c) Maintain your contact lists – remove any unsubscribed contacts or bounced email addresses. ISPs track the percentage of your emails that will bounce and will block your messages getting through to any of your contacts if you continue to deliver to closed mailboxes.
Stay on top of the quality of your campaigns, your contact lists and your sender reputation to improve your chances of successful email marketing results.