Email marketing has always been an important channel for communication and lead generation activities since the rise of the Internet. However, not everybody still gets it right. We've compiled this beginner's guide on how to optimise email marketing performance and improve your MARCOM results. Let's dig in!
> SEND YOUR EMAIL FROM A PERSON, NOT THE COMPANY.
Multiple studies have shown definite inrease in open rates when personalising the sender name. The average open rate increase is ± 3%.
Note: do keep in mind that a combination of a person's name + the company name might also result in better performance. Make sure to run a few A/B tests to see how the difference in From field affects your email marketing activities.
> LIST SEGMENTATION
No matter what type of email marketing provider you are using, every professional software will give a feature to segment your subscribers by lists, and sometimes also segments and groups. Make sure you apply the right segmentation to later on send people the right content.
Here's an example: If a person subscribes to receive Trading Signals, have a list for just those traders and send them exclusive Trading Signals updates, offers and cross-selling opportunities.
> PERSONALISED AUTOMATION
Many companies misunderstand the real value of automation, thinking that it loses all the personalisation in it. However, it does not always have to be that way! We recommend to personalise your newsletters, direct emails and email workflows to include information that you have captured in your CRM based on the demographic profile of the subscribers and their behaviour.
Here's an example: Use subscriber's first (and last) names in the main body of the emails and the subject lines to make the message more personal. Mention their company name, pages that they viewed on the website or the offer they registered for. It will not just give your email a personal touch, but also show how much you care to pay attention to the details.
READ MORE: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF WEB PERSONALISATION >>
Nearly half of the emails are being read on mobile devices, which is why responsive emails are a MUST for any campaign.
Remember: if you see that most of your email opens are done on mobile devices, don't forget to ensure also the responsiveness of the landing pages, as this is where your subscribers will land once they click a link in your email.
> ADD SOCIAL SHARING BUTTONS
If you are sending a newsletter, a promotion or another general information email, you might want to get a web version of it and allow people to share it with their friends and network. Reasons to doing so? New website traffic, lead generation and increased engagement!
> SIMPLIFY SHARING WITH READY-MADE POSTS
More to just adding the social icons, you can also customise the post and image that will be shared by your subscribers. They can of course customise it.
> ADD A READY-MADE EMAIL FORWARDING OPTION
Sometimes, especially when you apply personalisation fields in your email, you might want a more standard version if people decide to forward it to their network. This is an important part of your checklist for those instances, if you don't want people to see the "code".
> DON'T SEND EMAILS DURING “OFF” HOURS
Timing is one of the most important factors to be tested. Make sure to run a split test during work hours (morning - afternoon) and see what time is best to reach out to your audience.
Tip: test differences in open rate performance.
> ONLY TEST ONE ELEMENT AT A TIME
When applying A/B tests to your email campaigns, make sure that you only test 1 element at a time, being it a colour of a button, a choice between a button vs. a text link, a header image, email footer or other.
READ MORE ABOUT THE PRINCIPLES OF A/B TESTING >>
5. DON'T FORGET THE BASICS
> SUBJECT LINE
Subject line is one of the first things that your email readers will see. However, you don't just write a subject line for them, you also write it for their email server! Make sure that your subject line meets the CAN-SPAM requirements at all times! There are multiple tools to check your subject line. Our favorite is subjectline.com.
> DON'T ASSUME AN OPT-IN
Sometimes we see instances of startups purchasing lists, importing their LinkedIn contacts or looking up contact details online. This could be done of course when you are starting up all new and fresh to have a basic foundation, but if you do decide to go this road, at least ask people to confirm that they would actually agree to receive your emails further and not mark you as SPAM.
Tip: if you have an old subscribers list from over a year, who have not interacted with any of your previously sent emails, we strongly recommend to ask them to opt in again in order to avoid being marked as Spam and optimise your email performance statistics.
> MODIFY THE PLAIN-TEXT VERSION
Once you create an HTML email, all the links, images and personalisation aspects appear as a type of "code" in a plain text version. To avoid this, before sending an HTML email, make sure to customise your email plain version (remove repetitive links, set default fields for personalisation, etc)
> ADD LINKS TO YOUR IMAGES
Studies have shown that many people tend to click on images instead of the achor text in emails. For this reason, make sure you add hyperlinks to your images to increase the CTR of your campaigns.
> ADD ALT TEXT TO YOUR IMAGES
Often we tend to forget about the alt text, but this is an importnat step, as many email servers do not show images, but instead - the alt text, before a reader clicks to "Load images". To make sure that they see the right thing - add custom alt text to all your email images, including buttons, logos, campaign previews, etc.
> UNSUBSCRIBE LINK
Unsbscribe option is not just for following the CAN-SPAM procedures, but also a good way to actually let your subscribers change their email preerences and provide you with some feedback.
Tip: prepare a custom email subcription options per Frequency and Content type to ensure people are receiving WHAT and WHEN they want it. In addition, if people do proceed with the opt out, lead them to a survey and ask a couple of questions as per WHY did they decide to leave you.
READ MORE: PRINCIPLES OF VIDEO MARKETING AND ITS IMPACT ON BUSINESS >>
Let's wrap it up! Email marketing remains #1 channel for B2B conversions and also, became #1 activity of smartphone users over the past few years. Understanding of how to optimise email marketing performance is an ongoing work in progress, but you should make sure to follow the checklist and constantly optimise your email marketing campaigns.
Share your best practices of email marketing with us in the comments below!