Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to drive sales and revenue. For a relatively low investment of time and money, the ROI to be gained from emailing customers directly proves its worth time and again. With a return of $43 for every $1 spent, you can’t ignore an optimized email marketing strategy.
In today’s always-on world where customers’ phones are never out of reach, you can effectively reach your audience at any time. But are you getting the most out of your marketing emails? Are your open rates and click through rates lacking? Here are 11 practical ways to improve your email marketing by increasing subscriber numbers, open rates, and content quality.
1. Monitor email performance with analytics
Tracking the performance of your emails under key metrics like open rate and click-through rate are essential. Most email platforms provide a useful industry benchmark for your vertical so you can see how you measure against the competition. While these averages are useful, it’s important to set your own benchmark which will mean success for your business.
By implementing tracking from your emails to your site, you can monitor the behaviour of your customers after they click through to your store from an email. Google Analytics is a great tool for helping you understand where and what your email audience does when they get to your site. With this data at your fingertips you can start to explore personalization and segmentation knowing you have the findings to backup your tests.
2. Optimize your subject lines
Don’t tell the copywriters, but the subject line is the only part of an email that most people will read, so spending some time on getting it right is key. Using every tactic to improve your chance of getting that open is critical. Take this blog for example, including numbers in blog post headlines boosts click-through rates by 206%. The same applies to emails, where presenting a number or data improves open and reply rates. Offering a 15% discount? Giving customers 30 days to claim an offer? These are all proven strategies to give your emails a sense of urgency and improve open rates.
However, be aware of length when writing a subject line. Mobile devices account for 50% of all opened emails and iPhones will only show around 38 characters in portrait mode. You should be aiming for a subject between 3-6 words in length and no more than 28 characters. You should also write your subject lines in capitalized titles to boost your open rates with each word capitalized. Full sentences and lower case words tend to underperform.
3. Unsure about something? A/B test it
Have two great copy style ideas or subject lines? Run both of them at the same time and compare the performance. Most email service providers have an A/B testing functionality built into the platform which makes comparison easier. Experiment with a portion of your audience, see which works better, and then use the winning option for the rest of your list.
The most useful initial A/B test you can do is on your subject lines. Try to find the word combination which maximises your open rates. Keep everything else about the email the same for a true A/B test.
4. Timing is everything
Just like an optimized subject line, timing can be just as crucial to experiment with to understand how to create performing email marketing campaigns. Reliable research has discovered that the best time to send an email is between 10 and 11 AM, with Monday being the best weekday and Sunday the best weekend day.
However, this research might not necessarily work for your customer list. Run an A/B test to verify your hypothesis and if you find a different time of day that works for you, then don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy. Considering the time zones of your different customers is also key, and segmenting your customer lists by these time zones can be an effective tactic.
5. Segment your email lists
Customer list segmentation will result in better open and click-through rates as delivering targeted messages focused on a specific groups will always yield better results than a more general scattergun approach. Email marketing providers will allow you to add tags or segments to your existing lists so you don’t have to re-upload customer data to segment.
Every list of customers is different, but finding the similarities in any group allows your email marketing efforts to grow. Just remember to make note of all your findings so you have a record of what is working and for who. What works today may not always work tomorrow.
6. Keep your email lists updated
The data gathered from your email marketing service is invaluable to measure how you are tracking against your KPIs so it’s important to protect this data’s integrity wherever you can. If your email list contains old customer email addresses or fake emails, then this will have an impact on all of the relevant metrics which track your emails’ performance, from open rate to bounce rate. If this list contains users who label you as spam, you also run the risk of being labeled as spammer.
If you are using our MailChimp, Bronto, or Constant Contact integrations, NitroSell does this automatically for customers using your webstore. We offer mailing list sign up options at customer registration, customer update, and checkout. On any of these pages, the customer can choose to opt in or opt out of your mailing list, and that gets reflected automatically on your email marketing provider.
7. Use customized responsive email template
Having a branded and coded responsive email template will ensure your emails render as they are supposed to on all devices. Responsive emails use flowing entry forms and images that makes the email content flow seamlessly between screen sizes and mobile devices. At least 50% of your email opens will be on a mobile so it’s essential that your emails are optimised for mobile. Creating this seamless experience cross-device with your email strategy is a key component of your omnichannel strategy. Get in touch with our design team today who will work with you to develop your own custom responsive templates.
8. Be bold with your call to action
You email needs to have one clear call to action which is immediately apparent. Every line of your email should serve the purpose of explaining why your customer needs to take this action. Keep this in mind while writing your email and it will have clarity, purpose, and ultimately lead to more sales.
A simple ‘click here’ embedded in the body of the email will no longer suffice today. Placing a strong call to action button above the fold of your email can lead to a higher click-through rate. You don’t need to deceive your customers into trying to get their click. Make it clear and make it bold what you want your customer to do. If they need more convincing, that’s what the rest of the email is for.
9. Personalize your emails
It’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one, so using the information you have about existing customers keeps your return on investment positive. Using a simple, ‘Hi [first name],’ will make your emails immediately more engaging to your audience who, in many cases, receive an average of at least 90 emails each day.
Personalization doesn’t just stop as using someone’s name though. The emails need to speak specifically to the customer’s shopping experience. If they abandoned their cart it may have been due to a price point issue. Can you offer them a small discount on that item to entice them back? Using location-specific imagery or offers can also help increase the personalized experience.
10. Stay consistent
There is no template for how often you should send out your marketing emails, but research has suggested that it’s better to send emails more often rather than less frequently. While this means you will be sending out many emails per month, it’s important to stay consistent with your audience.
Ramping up around seasonal selling periods is accepted, but maintaining regular schedules for your email newsletters and using email marketing automation to ensure welcome emails and offer emails are sent out as and when they should. Asking your subscribers how often they want to hear from is is also a good idea as it will help not only gauge how engaged your customers are with your brand, but also how your content is being received.
11. Keep growing your list
Always look for opportunities to grow your newsletter email list. Marketing departments have always relied on emails to convert leads into sales and studies show that email certainly isn’t going away. With that, you should take every opportunity you can to grow your email lists.
Most email service providers provide plug ins to implement your email sign up form onto your Facebook page. Publishing content on YouTube? Add a link to your newsletter. On your Twitter bio, place a link to subscribe to your newsletter. Attending a conference, event or trade show? Make sure to have a device to hand where a contact can sign up to your newsletter easily. Take advantage of every opportunity to have your email marketing efforts seen by as many people as possible.
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