Here’s an undisputed fact; email is the number one communication channel; according to optinmonster.com, around 99% of consumers will check their emails every day. Naturally, people’s engagement with email varies, depending on their age or what they do for a living, but email is a “fact of everyday life”. In addition, your email list is one your business has grown and owns. It is extremely valuable.
The cornerstones of an effective email marketing campaign lie in fostering engagement and reducing unsubscribers, while keeping your brand exposure high. There may be a bit of trial and error involved, and metrics can assist you with investigating how successful a particular campaign was, but there are a few best practices to keep in mind when developing your strategy. A healthy open rate is typically between 20 and 40% of your base.
More is less
Timing and frequency are important. Email fatigue is a thing. And you don’t want to be an unsubscribe casualty because you’re either inundating your audience with a mail a day or catching them at the wrong time. So, aim for once (twice at most) a week for shorter email communications, and once a month for newsletters. Best days for emailing? According to 14 different studies referenced by the Coschedule blog, Tuesday is by far the best day, followed by Thursdays and then Wednesdays; and the best time times are: 10am, 8pm, 2pm and 6am. Bear in mind time zones for international clients.
On the subject
Simple, catchy, to-the-point subject lines work best, but there’s always room for creativity, and humour. Remain true to your brand while intriguing your audience. After all, you want them to open the mail. Consider these options:
- Simple closed question: “Looking for solo travel opportunities?”
- Report back (e.g. ebook): “100 Kitchen hacks”; “Your provisional tax in a nutshell”
- Special-event discount: “Father’s Day special – 10% off Magazine title“
- Time-limited offers: 25% off our “Two-day SEO and Analytics Workshop” – Special ends at midnight
Avoid juicy clickbait headings that may disappoint your audience – you want to build trust, after all. You can also choose more than one subject line and kicker to test which one works better with your audience.
Louder than words
A good rule of thumb is to include more visuals (two to three and/or a video) than copy, but that said, the words you use should be chosen wisely. If you want to include more information or a full article, use your call to action to link to your website’s landing page or blog post. Your images are vital to your campaign so use a file optimisation tool so that they load efficiently; as users may delete or skip the message if it takes too long. You can also use GIFs, but test them first on a variety of devices so that users will see the full animation. Your images should adequately reflect your offer. Using the examples above, images could include travel landmarks for the lone traveller; two or three pages of the ebook with legible headings; the cover of the magazine you’re offering; and an image of the digital “guru” who’s leading your workshop plus their credentials. And don’t skimp on image quality.
By now you should have some idea of what your audience is interested in (based on which channel the recipient has used to subscribe); segment accordingly and personalise the information you send to them. For example, if your user signed up to the newsletter from a specific blog post based on particular content, target them with similar relevant content, i.e. an ebook or a special offer to an event. In this way you will “shift” customers further down the channel.
Optimise your mailer content for all devices – smartphones, tablets, desktops. A responsive email design is typically the best solution. Your audience expects you to interact with them on their preferred devices. A tool like Litmus will allow you to see how your email will render on multiple devices.
There are a number of ways to measure the success of your email marketing campaign – use the metrics available to indicate overall performance and investigate ways to improve. Look at click-through rates, how conversion rates are impacted by certain emails, and what your website traffic looks like. If you’re unsure where to start, get in touch with us to help you get going, and monitor the results to refine your strategy.