Contrary to the market forecasts made a few years ago, it seems email is not going anywhere. In fact rather than losing momentum, according to Emma, email conversion rates are still 40x that of Facebook and Twitter.
Now in my experience, there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that keep a clean inbox, and those who do not. Although unfortunately, neither type of user seems to be any easier to capture the attention of.
But just what constitutes an effective email strategy? How can you improve your click-through conversion rate? Fear not, because help is at hand.
Translating subscriber lists to actual ROI is hard – but not impossible. Use your own consumer behaviour as a reference point. Ask yourself: What marketing behaviours annoy you? What causes you to send an email straight to spam? Is it because the content being shared is irrelevant to you, is it uninteresting, badly written or just poorly put together? What would make you unsubscribe?
Reward your readers
It is quite simple: you need to reward your audience for reading. They do not have to open your email or do business with your company, especially when they have other emails waiting right next to yours in their inbox. You need to give them an incentive, but it need not be a monetary one.
Yes, we all do love a freebie. While offering rewards such as “15 % off on your first purchase” are good enticements to get people to sign up or return after a period of inactivity, providing sneak peaks and membership-only deals gets people to stick around. Not every business has the resources to offer large discounts, but a simple ‘thank you for reading’ is always appreciated and costs nothing to say.
Ultimately though, content is still king. If you are not sending out engaging and relevant content to your contacts, the ‘unsubscribe’ button is going to get clicked. Moreover, if the content you are creating is solely about your products and services, and consists of nothing more than just selling, then you guessed it – it is not going to get clicked.
The Lonely Planet’s newsletter is a great example of offering more than just your product. The Lonely Planet deliver travel advice, inspiration and features straight to your inbox and treat promotional posts as secondary. By inspiring the reader they open up to their product naturally, rather than becoming bored or suspicious because of the hard sell. Sure, not everyone gets to sell the world’s natural wonders, but the same principle can be applied to your products and services too.
Educate, engage and inform. Be an expert in your industry, offer advice, how-to guides and weekly news round ups. You do not need to give weekly discounts or freebies, because knowledge after all is the greatest gift.
Give people options
Unsurprisingly, receiving too many emails is the number one reason people unsubscribe. No one likes to be hounded and striking the perfect balance between informing and annoying can be a difficult line to tread.
If your company specialises in multiple areas or products, allow your email subscribers to decide what they want to receive. Instead of ostracising the reader by bombarding them with unnecessary and uninteresting content, create options or subdivisions so that they can tailor each email to their interests.
Further segmentation can be done through categories like age, location, recent searches and past buying behaviour. If you have limited data available on your target audience, reach out and ask them. Readers will be more than happy to fill in the gaps if it means more relevant and engaging content coming into their inbox. Relevant emails get 18x more revenue than broadcast emails, so it is worth taking the time to get to know your reader.
A study conducted by Experian found that personalised emails had 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click rates than those without any. But just how do you inject personalisation into email marketing?
A few easy but effective tips include:
- Write as though you are talking to just one person
- Refer to them by their name (make sure to spell correctly)
- Sign off emails with a name as opposed to your company name or “the team at…”
- Avoid sending emails from addresses like ‘@noreply.com‘
- Avoid using spam-associated words like as cash, free and urgent
- Do not write in capital letters
Use your growing collection of data to create highly targeted and effective call to actions and provide valuable information for your customers. Share specially selected blogs or services, offer a freebie on their birthday or even just adapt your language. These small steps are vital for making that reader return. Just be careful to not personalise it too much as it may come across as creepy.
Be mobile ready
Now this may seem like a no brainer, but research from Litmus found that 71% of people will delete an email immediately if it does not display correctly on their phone. Given that 54% of all emails are now accessed from a mobile device, it makes sense to make your content mobile friendly.
Consider the font, formatting and display of your email. Is your font too small, or is its colour not stark enough against the background? Are your links clear? Is it easy to navigate? Is your call to action clear?
The more complicated your email the less likely your audience will stick around. If you are unsure, services like MailChimp allow you to preview emails through a variety of devices and different inboxes, including Gmail or Outlook. If you are unsure on design and layout, Benchmark and Emma are apps that aid with structuring emails and creating beautiful email templates.
Perfecting the email is an act of incessant revision. What works today might not work next week and what one user loves, another may find tedious. Be proactive and adaptive and do not be afraid of making mistakes. Create a control group and trial different ideas and play around to see what works and what does not. Consider incorporating video, GIFs and effects into your emails to make them stand out.
Remember to keep it fresh. Are you using the same template for every email? Are you asking for regular feedback from your customer base? Know your purpose before you begin. Is this a newsletter or announcement? Make it clear in the header.
As a general rule, if you are bored writing it, then you can almost guarantee that the reader will be too. Your business is your passion, so have fun with it. Connect with your audience and follow these tips to build those relationships that are so vital for long-term success.