Statistics show that:
- Email is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74% of all online adults.
- 63% of mobile email users check their account a minimum of once a day.
True, consumers got wise to email marketing being used as a channel to push products or services, but it's still a viable medium for creating awareness. What's more, it's now completely mobile too, through the proliferation of Smartphones, tablets and other portable devices.
Here’s how to ensure your email marketing campaign works:
1. Choose the right Email Service Provider
The key to choosing an Email Service Provider is reliability. Whether it’s uptime (remember, 99.5% uptime is two days’ annual downtime), helpdesk support, response time, back-up, monitoring or compatibility, it's important to research first and be sure you are getting an ESP that can handle the demands your email marketing will put upon it.
"The software should always work, no hiccups or quirks. And the phone should always be picked up by the ESP, as an example for capable and active support."
Jordie van Rijn, Email Vendor Selection
2. Define your mailing lists
"Batch and blast" email marketing is dead. Long live segmentation. Analyse your database and cross-reference with subscriber information. Segment into groups dependent upon buying behaviour, demographic, response history and stage in the buying process. Hitting the right people at the right time encourages the desired action and a sense of trust can be achieved through personalisation, increasing brand awareness.
Personalisation in the message has a 2.2% higher click-through rate than personalisation in the subject line. And a 1.9% higher click-through rate than personalisation in both the message and subject line.
3. Choose a strong content style
Building awareness is key. Align the content of your emails to the individual you are addressing, as per segmentation. Be different – 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted in to. Avoid 'push' selling, offer value and don't give cause to unsubscribe.
Ten second case study: Groupon attracted attention not only for the success of its email marketing, but also the unique and quirky style of its content. Some may find it irritating, but it certainly got them noticed and has gone on to be one of the most successful email marketing campaigns ever.
4. Choose compelling subject lines
Your subject line is the first thing a lead will see and can mean the difference between opening and deleting. Make them powerful, make them compelling, arouse curiosity, test different wording and analyse response data. Keep them pointed.
Click-through rates by subject line length (characters)
- 4-15 : 3.1%
- 16-27 : 4%
- 28-39 : 3.9%
- 40-50 : 3.3%
- 51+ : 1.9%
5. Follow best practice
- Avoid words known to trigger spam filters.
- Always offer the opportunity to unsubscribe, even though it's the last thing you want.
- Keep links blue – everybody recognises blue links. Don't allow confusion to get in the way of action.
- Familiarity breeds contempt – exhibit self control. An unrelenting stream of emails will only encourage spam reports and unsubscribing. Once a month is most effective. Make each email count.
- Add social share buttons. Studies show that emails including a social share button enjoy a 115% higher click-through rate than those that don't.
- Proof read your communications – typos look sloppy and unprofessional and are guaranteed to turn prospective leads off.
6. Measure the results of email marketing campaigns
Measure the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. Use analytics to establish who clicked on what and when. Ignore open rates; it's the mobile age, yet iPhones measure a deleted email as one opened – go figure. Remain on top of all metrics*; invaluable intelligence can be drawn from:
- Click-Through Rates (CTR) – The number of recipients who clicked on a link or links in the email.
- Sharing Rates – The proportion sharing or forwarding the email to a friend.
- Conversion Rates – The percentage of those who clicked on a link and went on to perform the desired action.
- Revenue Per Email – A calculation of the ROI, dividing total revenue by number of emails sent.
*Requires integration of your analytics platform and Email Service Provider.
Follow up every lead. Some 90% of business owners don't bother and lose the sale to a competitor who does. The consumer wants to hear from you – that's why they opted in to your email campaign.
Research has shown that lead nurturing can result in a 375% boost in sales.