Email is a powerful marketing tool. With 99% of people checking their email on a daily basis, it’s an easy method to get your promotions noticed. However, as the frequency of email marketing campaigns increases, consumer tolerance is reducing. In fact, DMA Insight’s 2017 report says that 53% of email recipients claimed to receive too many irrelevant emails from brands.
So, what does this mean for email marketing?
If you want your messages to turn into clicks, then you need to focus on creating a detailed strategy, purposefully designed for your customers. These email marketing tips will help you create a relevant and impactful campaign.
It’s no longer enough to send the same email to your whole list. In fact, doing so can actually result in 50% fewer clicks. Why? Because recipients who find no relevance in your email are quick to mark it as spam. That’s why it’s essential to create a segmentation strategy for your campaigns. Several ways exist to partition your list; the option you choose should be based on what’s most relevant for your customers and products.
Most email marketing services offer simple tools to achieve segmentation. On MailChimp, you have the option to set up five conditions for each segment. For example, if you want to target new female customers, you would set the grouping to split by gender and date subscribed — this would be a two-condition segment.
In terms of content, two main segmentation options exist.
When your subscribers sign up, you can collect information that’s crucial for future marketing efforts. However, requiring too many details can turn people off from joining your email list. Usually, you can easily justify asking for simple demographic information, such as:
Personalizing your emails in a way that considers these demographics can improve your click-through rate by 54.79% according to the most recent MailChimp study. You have the potential to run gender-specific promotions, create age-appropriate content, and capitalize on the different weather and climates of different areas. For example, you wouldn’t market woolen sweaters to customers living in the southern states, but it would be perfect for those closer to the Canadian border.
It’s also incredibly beneficial to address your emails to the name of the recipient. All the best email marketing services offer the option of personalizing the “To” field in this way.
While demographics are a good place to start, they offer very little information about the customer’s personality. With more specific data, you can guarantee an even higher click-through rate; Mailchimp figures estimate 74.53% more than for non-segmented campaigns. However, collecting personal details can pose a challenge, as you can only ask for so much on sign-up forms.
Fortunately, ways to gather more data do exist.
Subscribers like interactive content, so creating a survey fulfills two aims. You can gather more information while cultivating brand loyalty. Fun polls and quizzes can be made on many platforms, such as:
- Survey Monkey
- Google Forms
- Fluid Surveys
It’s also possible to add an interest section to your Mailchimp sign-up sheet, but try to keep the number of questions as low as possible.
Alternatively, you can use behavioral elements to gain a psychographic profile of your customers. Page-level targeting allows you to track the page your customers were on when they chose to subscribe — which gives you extra insight into the type of content they’ll enjoy. Other elements from which you can deduce extra information include:
- Purchase history
- Items saved to wishlist
- Page comments/likes
- Shopping habits (e.g., buys regularly, splurges occasionally, buys only from the wishlist, etc.)
Urgency has long been a tried-and-tested marketing tactic. Creating an atmosphere where your customers are encouraged to act fast will take away the time for second-guessing. A study by Experian found that promotional emails using these tactics enjoyed a 14% rise in click-to-open rate and a staggering 59% increase in transaction-to-clicks.
Urgency is communicated best through language. The following are all examples of powerful words that capitalize on the natural human tendency toward greed and exclusivity:
Become an Insider
No Strings Attached
- Your call-to-action (CTA) is the point in your email that encourages the customer to act. It’s one of the most critical factors for click-through rates, as it’s the final level or persuasion before a customer decides to click or bounce. You should always create your CTA with urgency in mind.
- Use the imperative mood to make the CTA a direct instruction rather than a suggestion. For example: “Visit our website for unmissable discounts” is considerably more compelling than “You can visit our website to find unmissable discounts.”
- Use dynamic action words to increase the sense of urgency. For example: “Don’t wait! Act fast to bag our latest trends.”
- Offer exclusivity to create scarcity. For example: “Use this code for a once-in-a-lifetime deal” is more impactful than “Use this code for a deal.”
- Add a personal touch by using first person. A survey by Unbounce (as reported on ClickZ) found that changing a button so the text says “me” instead of “you” could lead to a 90% increase in conversions.
Offering time-sensitive deals is a great marketing tactic. However, it must be done well for the desired effect. As humans process images 60,000 times faster than text, pictorial cues can be extremely effective. For example, including a timer or countdown in your email will encourage readers to act fast!
Another method is to use color psychology. Endless research exists about the impact of different colors on consumers:
- Red, orange, and royal blue are ranked as most effective for creating urgency.
- Royal blue and orange have also been found to encourage action.
A recent survey by Stackla revealed that nearly 90% of millennials rate authenticity as the most important factor for engaging with a brand. A similar 2013 study established it was one of the top qualities that attract consumers to a company. In this age of phishing scams and spam messages, presenting an authentic front is essential for cultivating trust and guaranteeing the clicks you need.
Several elements contribute to a company’s trust level.
Your first challenge as a marketer is to ensure your emails actually get the correct inbox. Email services all use spam filters to keep out obtrusive messages. Whether your mail ends up in the spam or inbox depends on your sender score. This metric is a number between 0 and 100 and is applied per IP address, meaning that if you share a mailbox with others, their activity will affect you.
Factors that affect your sender score include:
- Being manually flagged as spam
- Sending emails to inactive accounts
- Industry blacklists
- Other complaints and spam labels
Improve your sender score by regularly cleaning out your email lists, personalizing your messages, and retaining good brand authenticity.
Creating authenticity as a brand may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you may think. The primary tactic is putting a face (or faces) to the name. Regarding an email marketing campaign, this could include the following:
- Sending your messages from a named email rather than a general account. Stats show that 42% of people check the sender before opening an email.
- Including a signature and photo at the end of the message.
- Using social media links to your accounts, which proves you exist elsewhere and can increase click rate by a staggering 158%.
The actual setup of the email is another essential factor. Users expect attractive, interactive content, and are less likely to click when this is not fulfilled. It’s important to think about the basics. For example, as over 50% of web access comes from mobile devices, you must ensure your content is optimized for a smaller screen.
Similarly, the old journalistic “above the fold” concept still applies. Consider the first thing the recipient will see when they open the email. Then put the most impactful content above the point where users are required to scroll. Doing so will immediately grab their attention.
Subject Line & Preview Text
Before you can even consider the click-through rate, you need to ensure your emails are being opened. Your sole tool to achieve this is the subject line and preview text. On Gmail (and other popular email service providers), you have to option to edit the preview. Always opt to do so when possible.
When crafting a subject line, follow these rules:
- Make it Actionable. Think of your subject line as an initial call-to-action. Make it something snappy that invites the reader to do more. For example: “Meet our new celebrity influencers” is more impactful than “X celebrity is now promoting our brand.”
- Reflect Personalization. If you’ve taken the time to segment and personalize the email, you need to communicate that in your subject line. Pick something that shows you’ve thought about each recipient’s interests.
- Keep it the Right Length. Sometimes, length does matter! The current guidelines suggest 50 characters or fewer is best for your email subject line.
- Avoid Clickbait. Modern audiences have become savvy about clickbait. Creating a subject line that makes wild claims and uses overdramatic wording is no longer appropriate. For example, an email entitled “NEW IPADS AND IPHONES JUST $5??” will guarantee a one-way trip to the spam folder.
- Fulfill the Promise. Aside from avoiding clickbait, you also need to ensure your content actually fulfills what you’re promising. If your subject line makes wild claims about free gifts and discounts — but the email doesn’t reflect this — your bounce rate will increase.
Your content will be personal to your brand and company, but specific rules can be applied across all industries.
- Use images, as humans respond better to visual cues. But don’t put the important information in pictures only, as they may not be visible to everyone. Creating a good “alt text” for you images can help reduce this problem.
- Encourage interaction by including content that compels users to act. Some examples include polls and surveys, or you can ask for direct feedback on a specific item or issue.
- Use the same readability rules as you would for articles. Include subheadings, bullet points, and lists, and ensure you are concise with any text.
- Decide on one action you want the reader to take, and design your content around this. Don’t include multiple ideas or aims, as recipients may get distracted and miss the main goal.
Reviews are one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal. Thanks to the extensive metrics provided by email service providers and other platforms, such as Google Analytics, we have the power to see the intricate details about what is working and what isn’t. If your email campaign isn’t producing results, then you can experiment to find the problematic elements.
Also known as “split testing,” this process allows you to review individual components of your emails. Just identify the element you want to test — it could be the CTA, subject line, or even the content — and split your recipients in half.
Half will see one version, half will see the other. You can then review the click-through rate and establish which proved more successful. If you want to try more than two options, then segment your list into four randomized sections. Test every element of your campaign for the best possible results.
Sony recently upped their sales by 20%, just by A/B testing different banners.
It may seem simple, but it’s something from which many marketers shy away. However, resending your campaign to people who don’t open your email the first time increases open-rates by 30%, as reported in HuffPost. Aside from offering recipients another chance to bite, repeating your emails means you can experiment with optimizing different features.
- Send the post at a different time of the day to try to inspire engagement
- Tweak the subject line for something more catchy
- Try a different segmentation strategy so recipients receive more targeted content
Guarantee High Click-Through Rates
It’s pointless just to send out emails and hope they convert into clicks. If you don’t have a strategy for your campaigns, you are wasting time and money. By using these marketing tips, you can carefully devise promotional emails that are guaranteed to interest the recipient. Once you’ve got them on the hook, you’re one step closer to making sales!
DMA Insight: https://dma.org.uk/research/dma-insight-consumer-email-tracker-2017
MailChimp study: https://mailchimp.com/resources/research/effects-of-list-segmentation-on-email-marketing-stats/
Experian study: https://www.experian.com/assets/cheetahmail/white-papers/top-5-flash-sale-tips.pdf
Stackla survey: https://stackla.com/resources/reports/the-consumer-content-report-influence-in-the-digital-age/