Each year the number of email users is growing at an astonishing rate – it is expected that by the end of 2022 there will be over 4.2 billion users. What these numbers show, besides that email remains one of the preferred ways for business communication, is that email marketing is still a highly effective way of reaching out to potential customers – if not essential in order to get the best out of a marketing strategy.
Considering the fact that there are over 293 billion emails being sent every day, it’s inevitable to ask the question – in a sea of emails, how can you make your business stand out from the crowd and get bigger sales by higher open and click-through rates?
1. Get Personal – But Have Your Boundaries
There’s no doubt that email personalization is a great tactic proven to have amazing benefits on your mail campaigns. According to Invesp, compared to non-personalized, personalized promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates. The benefits even go further – An Epson research states that 80% of the customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides a personalized experience.
While it’s great to familiarize the relationship you have with your customers, you have to be careful not to cross the line – overusing names will just make you look weird in your customer’s eyes and damage your reputation. This explains why in a study conducted by YouGov, 32% of the participants stated that they don’t like personalized messages because it felt like they’re invading their privacy, while 29% stated irrelevance as their top reason for disliking marketers using their name in emails.
However, personalization is more than just mentioning each customer’s name in the email, there are plenty of other ways to do it and it’s up to you to test and see which option works best for your mail list – here’s where having the right customer data can help a lot. For example, using behavior-based data is going to help you send segmented emails, which your subscribers will find relevant and guide them towards in the sales funnel.
Another option for personalization is to use general user data, such as birth dates. In fact, an Experian research found out that birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue per email, 179% higher unique click rates and 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails. This looks like a pretty good reason to include personalization emails in your email marketing strategies, right?
2. Keep Your Subject Lines Short
47% of email recipients open the mail based on the subject line only, and those that are personalized are 22% more likely to be opened. This shows that subject lines are extremely important for your email marketing campaign’s success. However, statistics show that it’s not just the content you need to be careful about, but the number of the characters used as well. In fact, email subject lines with 6-10 words are those with the highest open rate. Another statistic that goes well in your advantage is that those subject lines with a sense of urgency or exclusivity give a 22% higher open rates.
Example of a short and relevant subject line
What seems to be a simple one-liner, can, in fact, take a lot of time to create the right one. Subject lines can either make or break your campaign’s success. So, the next time you’ll find yourself crafting one, don’t forget that the more you tell with less, the better the chances of a successful campaign you have.
3. Pick the Right Time for Email Sending
Timing is everything when it comes to the success rate of your email campaigns. You are surely aiming for improved open and click-through rate so choosing the time wisely is an element you should focus on. One more reason is that loyal users may want to engage with your content (share with friends or on social media, etc.). Having that in mind, you should use all the tools you can to determine what’s the best timing for them.
There is no one-fits-all time to send. A huge factor to consider here also is the type of business you own. Here’s a table that will help you find the perfect timing depending on your type of business:
On average, 51% of the companies are currently using automation, which is no wonder – there are countless marketing automation tools that can help you execute advanced multivariate testing in order to find the ideal timing for messaging your users. In return, this will save your business plenty of time and resources and will let you focus on the important aspects of your email marketing strategy.
With the help of tools like these, you can incorporate AI delivery, which basically means that the automation software itself learns what resonates best with your audience by tracking their actions. It takes a certain period (from the moment users enter your email list) to intelligently decide when the users engage most with your app based on previous behavior. Consequently, users will receive your messages at the ideal moment. This type of email optimization can definitely save you from investing time and resources into the wrong email marketing strategies.
4. Give Away Freebies
Promotional giveaways can not only significantly increase the number of subscribers, but they can increase your income as well. You might be skeptical as to why you should give away something free of charge, but this kind of promotional content is what many subscribers like and are willing to give you their email address in exchange for. Freebies such as templates and tools are the most popular with a 26% to 66% click-through rate.
However, as much as you want your email list to grow bigger and bigger, there are rules to be followed, and by that, we mean the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act). According to the CAN-SPAM Act, when sending out an email, it should have a relevant subject line, your commercial email address at the bottom and an unsubscribe option in every mail – no exceptions.
Therefore, even though your subscribers gave you their email in exchange for a freebie, you still must follow what the law says, not just because of the legal consequences, but more importantly - because building trust between your brand and your customers is the #1 marketing strategy you have up your sleeve!
5. Send Mobile-Friendly Emails
Imagine sending an email that’s so good on a desktop, but the moment you open it on your phone the images don’t show, the text is everything but right and the whole point of the email is lost in this bad design. As a result, your subscribers won’t be able to get what your goal was and therefore to seriously affect your campaign's success.
Here are some quick design tips that will help your marketing strategy to avoid the dislikes by your subscribers:
- Create one-column mails
- Place important text centered
- Have an easy-to-tap, call-to-action button
- Use a bigger font size
- Display small images
80% of the Internet users own a cell phone and this number is even expected to grow over the years, which means that you should never leave your email marketing strategy without a mobile-friendly design. Regardless of where subscribers check their email, make sure to always send emails that will be of high-quality.
6. Segment Your Subscribers
Segmenting your email lists speaks more directly and intelligently to your users, giving them the right information at the right moment. If you do it right, the results will be certain. In their research about the power of segmentation for marketing campaigns, Optimove found out that target groups with up to 150 customers had at least $1.90 uplift per customer, while those groups of 1,500+ had an uplift of $0.90 the most – meaning, the smaller the group, the bigger the range of possible campaign outcomes.
According to Lyris’s Annual Email Optimizer Report, businesses that use email segmentation experienced 24% higher sales. Subscribers want to receive relevant content to their likes and dislikes – since it creates a seamless customer experience. Taking this into consideration, it is crucial to properly segment your lists to maximize your engagement.
Some quick and easy segmentation strategies to help you in the process:
- Segmentation on demographic data - One of the basic ways you can segment your list is to do it by demographic data (gender, age, location, income level, company position, etc.). If you are a clothing retailer, knowing the gender of your customers will be a piece of essential information. On the other hand, if you are a B2B software developer, demographics such as company position will be of great value.
- Segmentation on email engagement - This may sound basic, but it truly has a huge impact on the overall results. The main metrics here are the open rate and click-through rate. Using this type of segmentation, you can designate active vs. inactive users (ex. Someone that hasn’t opened your email in 90 days). After creating this segment, you can target your inactive users by crafting a specialized re-engaging campaign.
- Segmentation on past purchase - This is another simple but effective way to optimize your targeting. You can start by sending recommendations for similar purchases these users have made. Let’s say someone has purchased a hair product from your site. You can make an educated guess about when this product might run out and send an email to the very same user suggesting reorder ahead of time.
- Segmentation on the position in the sales funnel - A valuable way to customize your messaging is to segment your users by where they are in the sales funnel. The point is, you can’t target those users at the bottom of the funnel with the same messaging as those who are at the top. If they are at the bottom - a group of brand-new subscribers - you should send more generalized messages offering a range of products or features. However, if they’ve already signed up and have already interacted with your content (clicked on certain links, bought specific products, etc.), you can use that information, determine what they’re interested in and target them more specifically.
7. Re-engage with Inactive Customers
You will roughly lose a quarter of your subscribers every year if you don’t work hard to send engaging and relevant information. Email list decay is inevitable, but you can prevent it to a certain degree. So, how do you keep your subscribers active, or to put it in another way – how do you make inactive subscribers active again?
Re-engagement email campaigns, or also known as win-back campaigns, include sending a sequence of emails in order to get the inactive subscribers to interact with you.
Before you do this, you need to define what inactivity means to you:
- What does being inactive means to you, and for what period of time? In particular, is it being inactive for a period of 3, 6 or 9 months? Think about what is it that your subscribers don’t do anymore that fits your inactive criteria - they don’t log in as much as before, or maybe they haven’t purchased anything in the last month?
- Think about all the actions that your subscribers do or don’t do that fit your inactive criteria. For example, many companies try to engage with their subscribers as much as possible, to the point where they send out too many emails and the subscribers find them boring, or not relevant. Also, never underestimate the power of good email design - if your emails aren’t user-friendly and mobile-optimized, then there is a risk that your email will be marked as spam, deleted, or even not opened.
Another thing to consider when it comes to the right strategy, you need to answer the above-mentioned questions, then you can focus on creating the re-engagement campaign. There are many creative ways for executing the win-back. Some go for the “we-miss-you” type of campaigns, as well as discounts, and promo codes – or maybe even both.
The win-back campaigns are often not so easy, but keep in mind that companies that invest in re-engaging campaigns in their email marketing see a $28.50 return on each $1 spent. This means that getting back inactive subscribers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
If you’ve already sent a certain number of emails and nothing seemed to inspire your subscribers to come back, then it’s best to simply ask them to update their preferences and decide whether they still want to receive your emails. A cleaned-up email list is better for your email marketing success than spending resources on subscribers that won’t come back no matter your strategy.
The most powerful way to find out what works best for your business is to always test your email campaigns. This will save you typos, errors, bounces, and other kinds of troubles that could have been prevented should you sent out test emails prior to the official one.
Also, it's important to note that testing isn’t something you should do occasionally, but rather continuously, on-the-go, and to test different variations of the same email campaign. It will give you plenty of information about how your subscribers respond to your design and content choice so that you know what works well, and what needs to be improved in your next campaigns.
Having so many possibilities that lead to growth and success is what makes email marketing both a challenging and exciting process. It is a great basis for creating well-planned strategies that will lead to generating higher sales - if executed the right way. Putting a substantial amount of effort into communicating with your subscribers on their way of becoming loyal customers is what’s going to put you in front of your competition.
If you need support with choosing the right email service provider, improving your email engagement metrics, or for guiding you through the IP warming process, do not hesitate to contact Alite International. We have been working with multiple large organizations in supporting their email marketing strategies & their move towards full marketing automation. Send me an email on email@example.com.