Email marketing success is on the agenda again. After the false reports about email being dead, we see that it continues to be our most potent outreach strategy. Of course, you still need to be on social channels because your audience hangs out there. But, as we’ve discussed in previous articles, your website and email list are the only two pieces of digital real estate you own.
In a crowded digital landscape with trillions of bits of data published every day combined with ever-changing algorithms, your excellent content may never reach the eyes of your target audience. If the platform goes down, you’ll have no access to your followers unless you’ve collected email addresses or other contact information. Email marketing is one of your most potent weapons for lead generation and customer retention.
The Benefits of Email Marketing
- Your email marketing investment returns on average $42 for every $1 you spend. (ConstantContact stats)
- Email is approximately 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter in helping your business acquire new customers. (McKinsey)
- Email is more likely to drive sales than social media marketing. (Optinmonster)
- 91% of US adults appreciate receiving promotional emails from the companies they do business with. (MarketingSherpa)
- Email marketing success doesn’t depend on the size of your business. You can be a startup, small business, or enterprise company.
Email Marketing Was A Bright Light During The Pandemic
Faced with an unprecedented global shutdown, businesses quickly optimized their online presence. Digitizing was the only way to stay connected to their customers and continue outreach campaigns.
“Email became a critical tool for organizations of all kinds to contact various stakeholder audiences with the combination of flexibility, speed, precision, and low cost not available through other modes of communication.” George Schlossnagle, founder of SparkPost.
Post-COVID, marketers are dealing with new challenges, such as increased privacy and data concerns, changes in privacy regulations, and shifts in consumer demands for personal data protection. As a result, brands are looking to invest in owned marketing channels.
The demise of third-party cookies adds another motivator behind email marketing and SMS, as first-party data becomes more critical than before.
How To Power Up Your Email Marketing Success Rate
Email marketing success depends primarily on two things: (1) the recipient opens your email, and (2) after reading, the person takes action.
So how do you power up your email marketing success rate? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Email Marketing Success Begins With Your Subject Line
The headline should tell the reader how the email will help them within the first two seconds and what they’ll find inside.
- Provide context to enable the recipient to know what’s in your email.
“Your weekly roundup of hot stocks is ready.”
- Be authentic: no bait and switch.
- Speak to the reader’s pain points in the subject line to arouse curiosity.
- Just like articles, list headlines are more engaging.
“3 new hacks to help you close more deals today.”
- Test out possible subject lines to improve your email marketing success rate.
How long should it be?
While research shows that the average email headline length is less than 50 characters, longer subject lines tend to gain the highest open and click rates. This doesn’t mean you should write lengthy subject lines, but don’t confine yourself to 50 characters. Don’t worry about it if you need 60 characters to make the subject line personal, authentic, and valuable.
Should you personalize?
Email best practices guidelines tell you to personalize the subject line. And this has been the norm for some time. But, surprisingly, new research has found that personalized subject lines reduce open, click-through, and click-to-open rates. And the unsubscribe rate increases.
The open rate for emails with personalization in the subject line was 18.79%, whereas it was 22.14% for emails with no personalization in the subject line.
As with everything, the best practice is to test and assess.
Meaningful Content Improves Your Email Marketing Success Rate
Make sure your email content is informative and resonates with the recipient. Redundant content or content that has no value will increase your unsubscribe rate.
Do your homework first to understand what your target customers want to read. For example, research and surveys show that many social media users are tired of text-based content zoning out when reading. These findings may translate to other forms of digital content, such as emails.
If your recipients open your email and it’s redundant, not personalized, offers no value, and is not authentic, they’re likely to hit the delete key.
Automation tools are critical for email marketing success. They are easy to access, affordable, and straightforward to use.
Automation tools enable you to personalize, segment and retarget your email campaigns. For example, your recipients will appreciate that you know which products or services they have purchased previously. Automation also enables you to analyze the best times and days to improve open rates and follow up with recipients who haven’t opened their emails.
Humanize Your Conversation
You’ll want to automate, but you don’t want your email to sound like a machine wrote it.
- Write as if you were talking face-to-face.
- Speak in the same language as your readers.
- Keep it short. Your email should not be a substitute for website articles. Instead, include a link for the reader to continue reading or learn more if you provide a lengthy update.
- Provide an option for the recipient to reply directly to your email, as they would if you were talking in person. Plus, you’ll gain valuable insight, deepen engagement, and build long-term relationships.
Skip The Fluff And Show-biz Type Language
Your readers receive dozens of emails every day. They don’t have enough time to read everything. But, hopefully, they will open the email; depending on your subject line, read the first line and scan the rest to determine if it’s worth their time. So, keep it straightforward, concise, informative, and personalized. Try not to sound like an advertisement.
Optimize Your CTAs
You might send emails to inform or update your customers, but your primary objective is that the reader should take action.
- Create compelling CTAs.
- Make sure your CTAs are visible and engaging.
- Be sure that when they click on the CTA, such as “learn more,” they’re taken to the correct page on your website.
Everything In Your Email Should Be Factual
If you claim to offer a product or service that accomplishes an objective, be sure you can do it. For example, if the recipient visits your website to find out more about the product or service and your website describes it differently, they’ll block your emails, and you’ll lose a customer.
Mix Up The Type Of Email Content
People consume content differently. It’s best to mix up your content type depending on your campaign goals and target list. Research shows that the most popular types of content today are videos and infographics. So, you’ll want to include some of these in your email content. Gifs and memes are also trendy.
More than 250 billion emails are sent and received every day. Your readers could easily skip over your email. They might decide to save it for later and then forget about it. So make it fun.
Sign-off With Your Name
Use your own name as the email sender, not a generic department name, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using your name or the name of your CEO personalizes the message and helps you build long-term relationships with your customers.
Improve Your Email Marketing Success By Constantly Analyzing Your Metrics
Metrics are essential to email marketing campaigns. It’s the only way to know what’s working and what’s not. For example, your metrics will enable you to determine if you need to pivot your messaging, what subject lines result in the most opens, what content is resonating, etc.
At the least, you’ll want to measure these key metrics:
- Click-through rate: percentage of recipients that click on the links you’ve embedded in your email. (average click-through rate is 10%)
- Open rate: percentage of recipients who opens the email. (average open rate is 19.66)
- Conversion rate: percentage of click-through recipients who follow through with the action you ask them to take, such as signing up for a webinar, downloading a white paper, buying a product, or making an appointment for a service. (average click-to-open rate is 9.94%; this is not a conversion rate but gives a benchmark for recipients who at least click on your product or service offering)
- Unsubscribe rate: percentage of recipients who unsubscribe from your email list. (average unsubscribe rate is 0.11%)
[data source: Getresponse.com]
Email still works. In fact, it may be your most critical marketing tool in the near future.
- Be creative and daring. Don’t be afraid to test out email content, subject lines, opening lines, and CTAs.
- Be authentic. Humanize your content and talk to your readers as if you were in the same room together.
- Keep a close eye on your metrics so you can pivot when necessary.
- Be sure to follow all spam guidelines so your emails don’t end up in the spam folder.
- Use verified email and domain addresses. You’ll save money and lower your bounce rate.