The one overarching purpose of every single marketing campaign out there is to increase sales conversions. Most campaigns are a carefully orchestrated symphony of multiple marketing tools and platforms. From search engine optimization to broadcast television to email marketing, every tool in marketers’ repository is pulled out with one objective – gaining wallet share from the target audience.
Of all the various tools a marketer can employ, email marketing stands out as a nearly free and extremely efficient means of converting customers. Every $1 spent on email marketing nets a return of $38, as per the DMA National Client Email Report 2015.
That said, opening your email inbox to a barrage of spam is not a novel experience for most of us. Be it newsletters from financial institutions, updates about the latest gadgets in town, style tips from your favorite fashion retailer or even an appointment reminder from your dentist, marginally important emails eat up a surprising chunk of real estate in the average user’s inbox.
So how does one stand out amidst all this email clutter? How does one get users to open and interact with our emails instead of being consigned to the ignominy of unread emails? To start with, just use some common sense:
That was about the bare essentials. But what can you do to master email – that golden goose of marketing tools? Here are three ideas that work like a charm.
Craft Eye-Catching Subject Lines
I must admit that there’s not silver bullet to open rates and engagement. However empirical evidence points to a definite upswing in email open rates when the subject lines are subjected to some extra TLC.
Some handy tips that improve conversions include:
- Inject elements of interest into your subject line. Since the idea is to ensure that as many users open your email as possible, be crafty when drafting your subject lines. A line like “Are you one of our Weekly Winners? Find out what you won!” arouses curiosity and tempts users into opening your email. A caveat: DO NOT create subject lines that are unrelated to the content of your email, just for the sake of getting users to open. It’s an internationally recognized spamming tactic that gets penalized severely by every email client in the market.
- Keep your subject lines under 60 characters, including spaces. A majority of emails are read on mobile devices. The limited screen space means your email subject lines will be shortened by the email client, murdering the desired effect you were hoping for, while simultaneously slaughtering your open rates.
- Personalize your subject line to kick start open rates. Include your users’ first names and address them directly through your subject line. We have a tendency to look when someone calls out our name. The fact that you used their name also indicates to users that the email is from someone who knows them, and not from some spam-bot. Having said that, remember that personalization is not limited to using names.
- Test multiple subject lines before finalizing on one. Just as you maximize conversion potential for your landing pages by running them through umpteen A/B tests, test your subject lines for conversions. Use an email marketing platform like GetResponse that offers built in email A/B testing capabilities if you find it too complicated to do it yourself. Only when you’re satisfied with the best performing line should you shoot out that email newsletter to the bulk of the database.
Time it Right
Too many marketers take the “Out of sight is out of mind” adage to heart and apply them to their email marketing campaigns with gusto. Subscribers are lavished with a truckload of mails to the point they regret the moment they subscribed to the newsletter. The result? The harrowed user unsubscribes from the mailing list or marks the emails as spam. This was certainly not a part of anyone’s engagement plan. But that’s what you get when you overplay a hand.
When creating an email marketing program, think like your user. Would you be thrilled about receiving two emails a day from your insurance company? I guessed not. Resist the urge to reach out to them too often. The best way to determine the apt frequency of mailing for your audience is by testing multiple frequencies and picking out the sweet spot. What works well for a business in one industry might be overkill for another. For instance, an email a couple of times a week from an ecommerce brand is palatable. But imagine if a company that sells snow blowers sent emails twice a week (including summers)? Waaay too much.
Amanda Dodge has compiled an interesting list of 17 questions you must ask yourself before determining the perfect frequency of mailing your database.
Besides frequency, the other key time related variable that makes all the difference, is the time at which you send out your emails. To arrive at what’s the best time to email your users, open your email analytics and check out what time of day sees the best open rates among the emails you’ve sent out so far. See an early morning spike? Pre-schedule emails to be sent out at the start of the day, to maximize open rates. Are more emails being read in the afternoons in the middle of the week? Send out emails accordingly.
The email marketing guys over at WordStream claim that between 8 and 9 am on Thursdays is their best time slot for maximizing email conversions. Another study by GetResponse seems to have found the same:
Regular mails that do not overwhelm a reader’s peace of mind find a place in their mailbox and initiate a positive action. Not to mention, more often than not, when quantity reaches gigantic proportions, quality inevitably deteriorates.
Let Your Content Sparkle
Finally, despite how brilliant that subject line was or how perfectly you timed your email send time, conversions boil down to how good your content is. When it comes to being rated as ‘good’, what it really means is your content needs to be relevant to your user.
- Segmentation: Instead of sending out one-size-fits-all email blasts, slow down and take a minute. Understand who your user is and what they like. Segregate your users into distinct segments based on their buying behavior, profile data, geography and the like. Create content that speaks to each segment individually. This may seem laborious at first, but it sure brings results. As Neil Patel puts it, “Email segmentation is an effective strategy that can increase your email open rates by 203%.” Moreover, segmentation combined with personalization is a sure shot way of improving your conversion rate.
- Deals and Offers: Who does not like a sweet deal? A surefire way to excite your audience and propel them into action is by including an irresistible offer in your emails. Make sure the offer is something that they value and time bound. By making it time bound, you encourage users to take action NOW, instead of putting it off for later. Another important thing to keep in mind when sending out deals is to include a special coupon code for your email campaigns only. That way, you’ll easily be able to track your email conversions by simply looking up how many people redeemed your email-only code.
- Triggered Emails: Use email retargeting to reach out to your site visitors who left without making a purchase. Site analytics will help you determine the product categories viewed by a user any given point of time. Triggered emails that showcase the products a user engaged with on your site help in reminding them of their little window-shopping spree and encourage impulse buys.
This strategy delivers its results gradually with time, engaging customers in between transactions. Every mail you send acquires visibility for your brand and familiarizes you with customers. If I were you, I’d bet my top dollar on a platform like email that is easy to set up and execute, while offering disproportionately great results in return.