Email marketing has been overshadowed in recent years, thanks to its fast-moving, up to the minute younger brother social media. However, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have actually made it easier for consumers to access their emails anywhere, anytime – according to a survey from Ipos, 85% of internet users engage with email communications, compared with 62% who converse via social media.
Clearly, email marketing is still a valuable tool in today’s marketing armoury, as long as it’s done well. If you’re disappointed with previous email outcomes but still want to reap the benefits that you suspect email marketing can bring, check out these 9 easy ways to improve your marketing emails.
1. Keep it short and sweet
For marketing emails, less is more. You’re competing against hundreds, or even thousands of other messages fighting for attention in your recipients’ inboxes, so get straight to the point, make your call to action crystal clear, and don’t waffle.
2. Avoid subject line spam
This is just a simple formatting point, but it will make all the difference to the way that your recipients view your email. Messages containing multiple exclamation marks, ALL CAPITALS, *** and other miscellaneous symbols may seem like they’re fun and attention grabbing, but actually they look unprofessional and off-putting. Furthermore, messages formatted in this way can even be vacuumed up by spam filters without your recipients even knowing you ever tried to contact them.
3. Add a £ symbol to the subject line
Speaking of subject lines, according to research from Adestra’s July 2012 report, subject lines containing the £ symbol had a significantly higher open rate than an average email. Consumers are attracted to numbers and statistics because they are factual, so use the £ sign if you want to communicate a price-based offer.
4. Personalise your subject line
The same Adestra report found that messages with personalised subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened than those with generic subject lines – an easy win!
5. Include an offer
A study from Chadwick Martin Bailey revealed that 58% of consumers subscribe to mailing lists for the primary purpose of receiving discounts and special offers. Running this kind of campaign isn’t suitable for all businesses, but if it’s right for your brand, rewarding your subscribers with offers and discounts can help attract and retain sign-ups to your mailing list.
6. Don’t send too many messages
Chadwick Martin Bailey’s research also showed that a whopping 69% of people say that receiving too many emails is the number one reason that they choose to unsubscribe from a mailing list. Whilst you want to keep your business in people’s minds, you don’t want it to become an annoyance – you may want to consider giving people the option of receiving daily, weekly or monthly updates from you.
7. Pick your moment
When sending your emails, you also need to consider the times of day that people are most willing to engage with them. Research from TailoredMail’s 2012 Email Marketing Trends survey deemed the best times for click throughs to be between 6am and 8am, and between 6pm and 8pm. Try changing your marketing email send times and see if that makes a difference.
8. Make sure your emails are mobile
In more news from Chadwick Martin Bailey, two-thirds of people under the age of 30 now read their emails on their mobile devices, rather than using a desktop or laptop. Even if your target audience is older, more and more people are using smartphones and tablets to access their email accounts. Make sure your emails are easy to read on any device.
9. Test, test and test again
Not sure if your email tactics are working as well as they could? It’s time to adopt A/B testing – also known as split testing. This functionality is built into all decent email marketing software, and enables you to measure the results of differences in your subject lines, ‘from’ names, email delivery times, and more. For example, to test out our fourth tip (personalised subject lines), you would tell the software to send an email with a personalised subject line to 5% of your mailing list, and an email with a generic subject line to a further 5% (all selected at random). The remaining 90% of your list would then receive the winning version of the email (you can alter these percentages if you like). If there’s any part of your email campaign you haven’t yet tested, it’s time to put this essential feature of your email marketing software into action!