20 / 02 / 17
5th December 2016
As more and more emails flood our clients inboxes daily how do we as businesses ensure that our email campaigns are delivering maximum ROI?
Emails are meant to engage, excite and inspire current and potential clients but if not done with due care can have the opposite effect and actually damage our relationship and reputation. Here’s a collection of best practices, tips and tricks you can use to improve subscriber experience, open rates, clicks and conversions and ultimately drive more revenue out of your campaigns.
It sounds simple but it’s vital that every campaign has an objective. What are you looking to achieve - drive sales, communicate a launch, share industry information? Knowing this upfront will allow you to tailor your content to meet your objective in a way that is meaningful and adds value to your customer. It will also give you clarity in your messaging, giving your customer a consistent story throughout instead of a disconnect between the subject line, the content of the email and the resulting landing page, a trap a lot of businesses fall in to.
The first touchpoint your subscriber has with your campaign is how it appears in their inbox. A good open rate means somewhere between 30-50% of your audience will see your email, but almost all of them will see your from name, subject line, and preview (or pre-header) text in their inboxes so it’s important to ensure that these are relevant, meaningful and not too long (cut-offs not only look untidy but can be unfortunate!) Stick to the below character limits and you shouldn’t go far wrong:
* 75% of emails are displayed in the inbox with preview text showing. As standard this text will display the ‘If you have trouble displaying this email click here to view in browser’ message. Always ensure you change this default to a relevant, engaging, inspiring introductory message.
When it comes to subject lines it is tempting to try to maximise open rates by using a really dramatic subject line, but driving clicks which lead to conversions is actually far more important. If subscribers open an email based on the subject line but don’t find the content they expect they will immediately click off or delete. It is far better to use a clear, action-oriented subject line that tells the reader exactly what is inside the email and creates an immediate response which compels them to click. You may sacrifice your open rate but the subscribers that do go on to read your campaign are pre-qualified as interested, resulting in a higher click to open rate.
Only about 79% of permission-based emails reach the subscribers inbox, the remaining 21% are picked up my spam filters. Some of the most notorious subject line spam filter triggers are things like FREE, £££, free gift, offer and promotion and any subject all in capital letters so be wary not to use these.
When it comes to email content quality is better than quantity; being concise, clear and direct is the name of the game. Ultimately the objective is to drive your customer to your site by engaging them with a clear benefit, piquing their curiosity and leveraging immediate response. Content should be highly relevant to the target audience, describe what benefit you are providing, create an emotion (curiosity, urgency), and then provide an enticing call to action to drive them to a landing page where the offer or content lives. Try not to mix too many messages within one campaign as this will confuse the subscriber. Keep things simple and focus on one single strong call to action.
It’s well known that images speak a thousand words and this is true for email campaigns too; two thirds of consumers prefer emails that contain mostly images over emails that contain mostly text. However bear in mind that a whopping 43% of emails are viewed with images disabled so it’s vital to optimise your images and always include ‘alt text’ for subscribers who have images turned off.
Like with web, not all fonts will display in all inboxes and will default to a standard system font. If you have a specialist brand font it is more than likely it won’t render correctly in your subscribers inboxes. Go for web-safe fonts, and choose one that best suits your brand whilst also being legible.
Like with all design, structure and hierarchy, alignment, use of white space, colour and text size & spacing are all important - possibly even more so as email recipients scan rather than read. It is important that the design makes it as easy as possible for the subscriber to absorb the presented information, understand it and be compelled to act on it. Here’s a few design tips to bare in mind:
It goes without saying that having a clean database made up of opt-in customers is absolutely fundamental. To ensure your list is clean:
On top of this you should segment your list as much as possible to ensure that you are sending relevant information to relevant audiences so you are not simply spamming your entire list with every email.
Before you send your campaign to your full list it’s a good idea to test it out by sending to smaller groups (circa 50 recipients) with different subject lines and calls to action first and checking the performance metrics. Then send the better performing test to your full list.
Tracking and Measuring
As with all marketing activities it is vital to track and measure each campaigns success. Every decent email marketing platform (Mail Chimp, Campaign Monitor etc) has reporting included for email campaigns so half of the job is already done for you. Most businesses rely on a few standard metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of their company’s email campaigns; deliverability, open rate, click-through, conversion, and unsubscribe are the favorite few. However the biggest metric that you need to look at is the click to open rate (CTOR).
CTOR measures the relevancy and context of an email by taking the number of unique clicks divided by the number of unique opens, and then multiplying by 100 to show it as a percentage. As a vary basic rule of thumb a good CTOR can vary from 20% to 30% for promotional campaigns, and 30% to 40% for triggered campaigns.
Google analytics should also used to measure conversions actually on your website to get a better idea of the whole funnel.
For more information or to talk to us about creating an email marketing campaign that will drive revenue for your business please get in touch!
Interesting? There’s plenty more where that came from…