Email marketing is a critical part of any content marketing plan. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram are great, but they will hammer you with their algorithm and make it a challenge just to have your content appear to your own acquired audience. But when it comes to email marketing, there is no algorithm deciding what should appear to your audience. As long as you do the basics to avoid the spam filters, you should get 100% deliverability, if not very close.
Here are 7 ways you can instantly achieve better results from email marketing:
1. Split-test to write better subject lines.
The common misnomer when it comes to subject lines in email marketing is that evaluating subject lines is, well, subjective! “I know I would open that email.” Well that’s good for you, but that assumes everyone reacts the same way as you. That is simply not true. The best email marketing practice for writing better subject lines is split testing two or more to small list segments to see which one resonates best with your audience. This works to take the guess work out of the equation and ensure the subject line you are using is optimized for a strong open rate.
2. Design your emails for mobile first.
Another common mistake marketers make when it comes to email marketing is they test how the email looks using a desktop device. Yet 75% of your audience will viewing your email on their mobile device. It is best to design your email to look great on a mobile device, and then ensure that it responds well to the larger resolution of desktop. This usually just means that your email will simply show in a more narrow view on desktop, but given the preview pane of most email clients today, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially for those users who have a side preview pane where narrow will fit much better. It is best to keep you email content width within 600 pixels. You could push it out to 800 pixels, but you would risk a bad experience for older smartphone devices.
3. Include a well-placed, clear and compelling call to action.
Making sure your email has a clear and enticing call to action is imperative if you want to improve click through rates. But just like writing subject lines that will encourage opens, calls to action also require some initial experimentation to ensure you are leaving nothing to chance. Split-test your calls to action alongside your split-testing efforts in testing out subject lines. Where you place your call to action is just as important – above the fold is great, but for longer form emails, you will want to place multiple calls to action throughout to consistently encourage the click during the entire experience. Also, before just sticking the call to action above the fold for the sole purpose of keeping it above the fold, think about the overall experience. Is it too early in the overall copy to be putting in a call to action? You don’t want to come on too strong. It’s ok if the call to action comes below the fold if it means you are giving the desired action the context it needs to be effective. Scrolling has become second nature on today’s internet, so do not worry about the fold above all else. It is important, because you do not have long to grab someone’s attention, but it is not the end all and be all.
4. Take a personal approach.
Email marketing is about making private and personal connections with your audience. Personalize your emails and you should see an immediate up tick in your results because you will connect better with your audience and establish a sense of belonging and trust. It is easy to do mail merges with most email marketing software, and your members will appreciate the personal touch.
5. Keep a consistent look and feel.
All marketing emails you send out should be consistent with your brand. This helps re-enforce your brand promise and makes your customer feel safe that the email is coming from you. If you stay within the image of your brand, you will evoke a trust relationship that will serve to exponentially increase your open and click through rates and significantly reduce your chances of having your emails end up in junk or deleted item folders.
6. Write your content to promote a response.
The content contained in your email should offer real value and resonate with your customers so that you compel them to take a desired action. This again comes down to testing. You can run split testing to smaller audience segments like I recommend for subject lines and calls to action, or you can measure results over time and adjust accordingly. When it comes to content marketing, the way you write the headline of any article you are promoting in your email is very important. I recommend split testing different headline options and then sending the winning headline to the larger list. For offer emails, you tend to learn what kind of offers resonate best with your audience over time.
7. Discover the right time to email.
While many email marketers will stress the 9am sending time as ideal, every list and situation is different. For business-to-business email lists, earlier in the morning tends to do better than later in the day. The best time to send consumer content or offer emails vary all across the board. It is best to evaluate this over time, but to give you some instant insights, email softwares like Mailchimp or Aweber can calculate the best time to send any particular message based on a historical analysis of your past campaigns. Research that would otherwise take a human being the better part of week to complete is provided in a matter of seconds by these systems. Changing the time you send can make a huge difference in open and click through rates.
The email list is quite often a company’s most valuable marketing asset. The real challenge when it comes to email marketing is getting your audience to open your email and then take a desired action. In order to do so, you have to study the metrics of your email marketing efforts and constantly adjust to see a consistent uptick in your open and clickthrough rates. Make sure to get the most out of it by applying the best practices above.