Five tips to boost your email marketing
Last year’s Ofcom Communications Market Report revealed that 78% of UK adults own a smartphone, 90% of homes have internet access, and many people spend the equivalent of 24 hours a week online (over twice as long as in 2007). It’s therefore no surprise that (according to the 2018 Econsultancy Email Census) 74% of companies still rate email marketing as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ when it comes to ROI. Note the addition of ‘still’, however. The same survey found signs that the number of respondents rating the success of their email campaigns as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ has been falling over the last couple of years. Emailing remains inexpensive, instant and adaptable. But it’s important to review your emailing techniques if you want to continue to get the best out of it. Here are just a few ways you can boost your email marketing efforts:
Naturally, you probably think that your product, offer or service is fascinating, and no one will be able to resist opening your email to find out more. But consider the statistics: 78% of people use their smartphone to go online, so they’re probably doing something else at the same time. And if you do get their attention, their average stay is said to be around 72 seconds. So the subject line is vital. Keep it short and to the point – 55-70 characters is optimal as mobile email services cut subject lines with any more. Shorter could be better still – research by Adestra suggests that subject lines with fewer than 10 characters have an open rate of 58%. Another study by Hubspot found that adding an emoji to a subject line increases open rates. They also suggest that urgency, piquing curiosity or hinting at a freebie are all good tactics too.
A recent survey by Ascend 2 found that 62% of respondents considered personalisation to be the most effective factor in email. But take care. In an age of cyber fraud and identity theft, ‘Dear Miss Smith’ may not like being addressed by name by someone she doesn’t know. There’s also the danger of auto-correct going horribly wrong. ‘Jen’ can become ‘Ken’, ‘Sarah’ turns into ‘Satan’. And is the tone of your greeting appropriate? Use personalisation intelligently, and demonstrate that you are aware of the recipient’s history with you, or what they might want from you. For example, if you’re a fashion brand it could be a simple message like: ‘Hi Sarah, you loved our winter collection, see what’s new for spring.’ Remember - if you’re going to get personal with content, keep it meaningful. As always, use A/B testing to find out what’s really working for you.
Analysis is key to success in any digital marketing strategy, so don’t accept ‘facts’ as facts. For example, the received wisdom from Experian is that the peak time for opening emails is between 8pm and midnight, with Mondays being the best day and Sunday the worst. But other studies say 11am is peak opening time. And another by Optin Monster suggests Tuesdays. The thing to take away from this? Everyone is different. Know your customers and their habits, find out what time of day people are most likely to engage with your brand, and run A/B tests if you don’t already know.
In this age of ever-shorter attention spans, we’re (apparently) not so keen on reading boring old words. And it’s been proved that emails with links to video, graphics and gifs are more attractive. HubSpot say that 64% of people prefer these rich text emails. But don’t overdo it. The same research found that as the number of images in an email increases, the clickthrough rate tends to drop. However, video seems to be particularly effective. 98% of people have watched a video to learn more about a product or service and it can increase purchase rates by 144%.
It doesn’t matter how good your emails are if they’re not reaching the right people. Segment your mailing list so that it generates customers, not leads. You can do it along the lines of age, gender, location, profession. Or go deeper to divide between returning customer, repeat customer, new prospect, the date they joined your list. MailChimp produced the following stats to show the superiority of segmented over non-segmented campaigns: opens, 14.31% higher, click-throughs, 100.95% higher. Unsubscribes were 9.37% lower. Their conclusion is that segmenting, however you do it, has an overwhelmingly positive effect on open and click-through rates.
Dear Retailer (you know who you are), I bought some t-shirts online from you once. Since then, you’ve sent me an email every day offering me mind boggling offers, each one better than the last. Haven’t you heard that (according to HubSpot) 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from a brand that bombards them with emails? Now why haven’t I thought of that?