Email marketing plays a major role in the marketing mix of many businesses, both brick-and-mortar and online. And there is a good reason for that. A recent report by the Radicati Group found that:
- Half of the world’s population is using email in 2017.
- In 2017, the total estimated number of emails sent and received daily is 269 billion.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why you should be using email marketing. Email marketing is more widely used and accepted for marketing purposes than almost any other modern marketing channel.
However you look at it, there are a lot of compelling reasons why you should be using email marketing services in your marketing mix.
With 269 billion emails flying around every day, most people will be filtering the emails coming at them. How can you make certain your emails aren’t languishing unopened in an inbox somewhere, or worse – moved to the deleted folder?
Email Marketing Best Practices
There is and will continue to be an enormous volume of email flying around on any given day. Your email marketing strategy must take this into account to make certain your emails get opened, read and acted on. The last thing you want is your emails wasting away in an inbox somewhere.
To that end, here are the six suggestions for increasing and maintaining your email marketing open rate:
1. Be engaging.
Luckily for you, research shows that 72 percent of consumers prefer their communication with companies to come via email. It’s important that you don’t squander this opportunity by always and only selling to them.
Give your readers something visual, something moving in a video, or a compelling piece of content that prompts them to click through to your website where you can engage them and further nurture through the conversion process.
2. Be genuine.
It’s very common to begin emails with “Dear [insert name here].” That seems like a good idea, and it may be if that fits your brand. However, consider being more personal with your greeting. “Howdy [insert name here]” may be a more effective greeting for you, especially if your greeting is previewed in their inbox.
On the other hand, sometimes it is not appropriate to use a greeting line. Research by Temple University’s Fox School of Business discovered that this unsolicited personalization might sometimes harm your email campaigns. If you have not established a relationship with the individual, a greeting line may not be appropriate.
3. Be concise.
Effective subject lines are vital to the success of any email campaign. A survey by Adrestra in July 2012 found subject lines utilizing less than 10 characters had an open rate of 58 percent. An opened email is more likely to produce results than one that goes straight to the delete pile.
4. Be clear.
To make certain your emails rise to the top of the heap and immediately catch your readers’ attention, make your email easy to read. If you’ve got a compelling subject line, people will usually at least give your email a cursory scan.
It’s critical that important information jumps off the screen and grabs their attention. If they see a huge block of text with a lot of flowery bloviating, your email is most likely trash bin bound. If they scan the email and see descriptive and interesting highlights, they’re more likely to read and ideally click through.
5. Be on time.
Experian’s Quarterly Email Benchmark Study found the best time to send emails is between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m., and midnight to 4 a.m. Sounds off, right? But in their study, they found these times to have the highest response rates in all areas. Emails sent on Saturdays and Sundays also had the highest opens, click-throughs, transaction rates and revenues per email.
Do you send out a company newsletter? Try sending it on different days of the week and at different times of the day. Every audience is different. You may find that your list also performs best on a weeknight between eight and midnight, or perhaps your list performs better on a Tuesday between eight and eleven in the morning.
6. Be generous!
Give something away. Don’t underestimate the power of “free.” Bluewire Media tested different types of media to gauge the highest rates for opens and clicks. Templates and tools as freebies were the hands-down winners.
The caveat here is that your freebie must hold some sort of value to the recipient. Before you decide on a freebie to try out, consider determining what you can afford as an acquisition cost per customer or purchase. That acquisition cost will give you a budget to work with on your freebie. Alternatively, your knowledge is a great give away, again, just make sure that the knowledge that your sharing hold value to your customers or potential customers.
Do Your Own Email Marketing Testing
The best practices are the ones that work for your specific business. Try running a few small-scale experiments of your own. Do several experiments with different email styles and content, track what works and what doesn’t, then go with what works.
Some email marketing platforms, like MailChimp, even offer A/B testing for subject lines. This feature allows you to choose two subject lines to test. Emails are then sent to a sample of your list using each subject line. The subject line that is opened the most is then used for the remainder of your list.
Us your tests to define your own best practices, then kick it into high gear to compete with those 269 billion daily emails.
Email is one of the most used and most abused forms of marketing today. The most common mistakes that people make are a result of focusing too much on what their customers or potential customers should do and not enough on what they want.
A strong email marketing program will combine your customer service, promotional, and content marketing messages into one seamless channel of communication between you and your target audience.
The bottom line is that if you are genuine, engaging, clear, concise, and reach out to your target audience with something of value when it is best for them, your email marketing campaigns will be successful.