Despite the rise of social media marketing, good old fashioned email remains the most popular and successful tool in the small business marketer’s toolkit. According to a survey by Constant Contact, 39% of business owners make email marketing their priority and consistently rank email as “the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and customer retention.”
Why? Consumers want email. They actively sign up to hear from your company. In fact, the same survey reports that 91% of adults say they like receiving promotion emails.
But just because you have an email program in place, it doesn’t always follow that it’s going to work for you. One of the biggest challenges faced by any email marketer is getting readers to open the emails in the first place. And if your customers aren’t opening them, their internet service provider takes note and marks future emails as spam.
So what can you do to improve your open rates and boost conversions? Here are eight tips:
- Maintain a Clean List
A clean list can help avoid your emails being flagged as spam. Set aside some time to assess the quality of your email list. Start out by running a re-engagement campaign to see if your customers still want to hear from you. Offer frequency options: “do you want to hear from us weekly, monthly, once a quarter?”. Verify new sign-ups to ensure that no spam trap emails have made it onto your list.
- Practice Segmentation
Research by Mail Chimp shows that segmented email campaigns have a 14.64% higher open rate than non-segmented ones and, almost a 60% higher click through rate.
An easy way to segment is to break your list into two groups – customers who have purchased from you recently, and customers who haven’t. Make sure you customize the content for each segment. Other segmentation options include demographics, job title, location, interest groups, and so on. Email marketing software makes this process a lot easier than it sounds based on data captured about your subscribers.
- Show your “Superfans” Some Love
“Superfans” are those subscribers who open and click-through your email the most. Constant Contact found that 51% of all opens come from 10% of openers, while 44% of all click-throughs come from 10% of clickers. By focusing on those who are already engaged and active will yield the best results in terms of ROI. You can do this by:
- Look for ways to connect with them and thank them for their loyalty – events, unique offers, etc.
- Send them exclusive content.
- Tailor the content you send based on what they’ve interacted with in the past.
- If you use a CRM or marketing automation system, make sure you “score” these superfans so that you can better follow up with them in the future.
- Nurture your New Subscribers
Turn new subscribers into superfans by setting up an email nurture campaign. These automated emails are sent to your new readers over a period of time with the goal of driving deeper engagement. Think about using these emails to introduce your business, share interesting content like blogs, encourage them to visit your social sites, share product tips, and so on.
- Keep your Content Concise
In today’s mobile dominated and information-overloaded world, emails perform best when they are short and direct. Aim for 20 lines of text and three or fewer images to get the best click-through rates for your content. Don’t go overboard on links. Two call-to-action (CTA) links is probably enough, over five links and you risk confusing your reader and muddling your CTAs.
Make sure you are using a responsive design template to maximize your mobile open rates. This will automatically re-size the content based on the device (tablet, smartphone, etc.).
- Write Great Subject Lines
Subject lines often get short change, but they are your one true opportunity to stand out. Here are nine things you can do to improve your email subject lines.
- Time your Emails
According to Constant Contact, the best time to send emails to maximize open rates depends on the industry you are in. Restaurants, for example, experience higher open rates at 7 a.m. on a Monday while accountants and financial advisors fare better at 6 a.m. on a Tuesday. Look at your metrics to see when your emails get the best traction.
- Test, Test, Test
Don’t forget to test the changes you make. Use A/B testing to gauge how one version of an email performs against another when sent to a very small sub-set of your list. Once you’ve tested your emails, run with the one that performed best. You can test everything from different subject lines, calls-to-action, formats, or try sending your tests at different times of the day to see which gets the most open rates.
Check out these blogs for more email marketing tips from Fundbox bloggers.
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