There are over 144 billion emails sent each and every day. How do you separate yours from the rest? When it comes to email marketing, there are three key tactics you need to be utilizing to stand out, close the sale, and win the war of attention in the inbox.
Keep reading to learn each.
1. Vague, short headlines get the most opens.
When it comes to email marketing, headlines have one key objective -- get the recipient to open the email. But that’s easier said than done. Email marketing software giant, MailChimp found that, across all major industries, open rates range from an average of 17 percent to 28 percent. That means only around one out of every four people even open your email (let alone read or click any links in it). As you can see, optimizing your headlines is key for making sure that your subscribers actually read your email. Doing so isn’t hard. Just remember two important elements when crafting your headline -- keep it short and keep it vague.
Arguably, the best headline in email marketing history was sent during Obama’s first presidential campaign, which raised $690 million online (mostly through email marketing). It was, “Hey”. No, that’s not a typo. The headline of the email was simply, “Hey”. Why did it work so well? It all comes down to psychology. You’re more likely to open emails with headlines that are normally in your inbox from friends, family or colleagues.
For your next email marketing campaign, keep your headlines short and vague and watch your open rate soar.
2. Mix content with offers.
Email marketing has been declared “dead” more times than I can count. The truth is, it isn’t dead and it never will be. Email accounts for the highest ROI across the board in digital marketing because, dollar for dollar, it is the only inexpensive way to directly reach targeted consumers. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association found that email marketing has a return on investment of 4,300 percent. In my own business, email marketing has made my clients hundreds of thousands of dollars this year alone.
While email isn’t dead, the glory days of email marketing are. I’m referring to the time in the 1990’s when marketers would inundate us with every offer, coupon and deal imaginable. But it worked and marketers were making big bucks spamming their emails. Today that doesn’t work -- we’re much less susceptible to spam emails, filters are able to keep our inbox clean and there are even laws (like the CAN SPAM Act) in place to protect us from unwanted emails.
Even with all of these barriers, how can you make email the most powerful tool in your digital marketing strategy? Simple. In addition to sales, coupons and deals, add value-driven-content to your email marketing campaign.
If your email marketing campaign is “sell, sell, sell”, you’re going to wear your subscribers out. They are going to get bored with your offers and eventually unsubscribe. This is known as email churn and statistics show that it can lead to a decline of around 25 percent of your subscribers each year.
The solution many marketers take to decrease churn is to increase spending when it comes to growing their list of subscribers. However, from a cost perspective, it’s cheaper to keep existing customers coming back than acquire new ones. To keep your churn rate down, you need to keep those existing customers interested. That’s where content can help. Use content as a means to educate and inform your customers, without selling. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Curate a top 10 list of interesting industry articles and share them with your subscribers. Moz, a SaaS company, does a great job of this with their “Moz Top 10” newsletter.
- Mix curated content and your own blog content in with your sales emails. HuckBerry, an ecommerce store, does this at the bottom of their emails.
- For certain emails, make education a priority over sales. Luxury skincare company Yon-Ka Paris uses this strategy to educate consumers about the treatment options they offer in addition to the products they sell.
3. Test everything.
When it comes to email, you have the ability to test nearly everything and get (almost) instantaneous feedback. This allows you to constantly learn and improve your campaigns based upon your findings.
The easiest tests to run are called split or A/B tests because you’re sending out two or more variations of emails to your subscribers and recording their reactions to each.
Here are the top three things you should be testing in your email marketing campaigns to get the most out of them.
- Headlines: As mentioned above, headlines are very important. They’re the door to your email and if they aren’t optimized, no one is going to open it. Test different variations of length, capitalizing each word, using uppercase type, and even adding emojis.
- Design: Recently, I tested a design for an email marketing campaign that heavily varied from the traditional email design we were using. Everything from color scheme to typography to verbiage was different. I was amazed by the results. The new design ended up selling an astounding 50 percent more products than the traditional design. Remember this -- even if you’re satisfied with the design, your subscribers might not be. Test different variations of colors, buttons, typography, and graphics.
- Send Days and Times: A study by Experian found that emails sent on the weekends outperformed their weekday counterparts. They also found that 8 p.m. to midnight is the perfect time to send emails. This makes sense because usual email volume is low on these days/times because most people aren’t working. However, every industry is different and you’ll want to keep that in mind when testing. Try to find days and times when the subscriber won’t be distracted by other things when your email pops up in their inbox.
The overarching theme of this post is this: don’t treat your subscribers like subscribers, treat them like real people. Talk to them the way their friends, family, and/or co-workers do, share valuable content with them, learn more about them through experimentation, and you’ll find email to be your most successful marketing channel.