We’ve all heard the lament that email is dead. That it just doesn’t work any more. But ask yourself – if that were true, why would you still be getting so much email?
There are over 2.5 billion email users worldwide and they read their email (on average) 3 times more often than Facebook.
If your email campaigns aren’t working, it’s far more likely that you’re making some fundamental errors in the way you set up and run your campaigns.
Here are 5 things you can do straight away to improve your email marketing results…
1 – More meaningful A/B testing
This means using two different subject lines and seeing which one gets more opens, right? Wrong. Well, partly wrong anyway. Testing subject lines is a perfectly valid exercise and helps you find which calls-to-action appeal most to your customer groups. But once you’ve done a few, learn and move on. What’s going to convert openers to customers is content testing. Should you use longer or shorter copy, more images or fewer, buttons or text links, etc, etc?
And then measure the number of clickthroughs you get. Clicks are the crucial metric in A/B testing emails – what’s the point in getting more mails opened if no-one’s doing anything after that?
2 – Improve email deliverability
You might be sending out thousands of emails on a regular basis, but how many are actually getting through to customers’ inboxes? There are many reasons why fewer than you think could be hitting the target and all good-quality email service providers can give you exact percentages. Step 1 – check your deliverability percentage; Step 2 – ask your ESP how they can help you improve it.
3 – Automated campaigns and nurturing
You can get very creative with your email triggers nowadays – using customer actions on your website to automatically send them a specific email campaign. A standard example is cart abandonment campaigns, where you send an email to a customer who left your shopping cart halfway through, including a link to the cart containing their product.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now that content marketing is universally accepted as the single most important thing in digital marketing, you should be triggering campaigns based on the content customers interact with on your website. If they read a specific whitepaper, follow-up with further related information and a call-to-action. If they download a trial version of a product, trigger a series of mails at fixed intervals telling them how to get the most out of their trial, offering tips and tricks, maybe even finishing with a discount offer – the options are limitless.
You can trigger campaigns based on almost any factors you choose – how long someone spends on your site, the pages they visit, the pages they don’t, how long since they last visited, what they bought, the list goes on.
4 – Be clever with your opt-outs
An unsubscribe doesn’t need to be a completely lost customer any more. Preference centres are on the rise – meaning customers can opt-out of receiving certain types of information but stay subscribed to others. My favourite online pet shop/pharmacy does this well – the first newsletter covered all animals, to be on the safe side. From that, I could click to choose which types of animal and product I wanted to hear about.
Now translate that thinking to your own product ranges, services, regional stores and bingo!
5 – Think about what you measure
Number of subscribers, volume of email sent and open rates are pretty mediocre performance indicators, to be fair. Well, open rates are OK, but not the be-all and end-all. You know people open emails. What you need to know is how many of them respond to your CTAs, whether that’s ‘click here’, ‘call us’ or anything else.
Further, you should be breaking those responses – and non-responses, which tell you just as much – into customer segments, personas and demographics. All email recipients are not equal, after all.
Oh, and as it’s Friday, here’s an extra bonus tip for luck!
6 – Send less email…
Sorry? Haven’t I just been saying email works?
Yes, but like all things, moderation is important. Even the most email-centric customer only wants to hear from you so often. Email fatigue will erode your list surely and steadily, so keep tabs on which recipients are becoming less responsive and ease up on the frequency to them. Listen to what your response rates are telling you and tailor your communication schedules accordingly.
Instead, think about moving some of the content from emails into your social channels. That way, you deliver the same messages to customers without them feeling like they’re being bombarded. It also forces you to be more creative in the way you structure the message – and that’s always a good thing.