Successful email marketing doesn’t just consist of filling up your customers’ inbox. The measure of email marketing success is open and click-through rates and conversions. Email open rates are measured when the recipient either enables the images in the email or interacts with the email by clicking on a link. It is the percentage of emails opened out of the number of emails that actually landed in someone’s inbox. Click-through rates are measured when an email recipient clicks on one of the embedded URL links in your email. Conversions are measured when the recipient clicks through to your website and takes a desired action. For example, requesting a quote. Research has shown that email open rates vary depending on the type of email – transactional versus special promotions — or the type of industry being targeted. That being said, here are some tips on how to maximize email deliverability.
Maintaining a healthy email list will help to ensure your emails don’t end up in someone’s spam folder. Undeliverable emails determine the bounce rate. High bounce rates have a negative effect on the reputation of the sender. Internet Service Providers watch for IP addresses that continually send to bad mailboxes and will block or alter email delivery accordingly.
Here are a few tips to maintain a healthy email list:
- Review email addresses that bounce to make sure it is written correctly. It could be that the email address is one number or letter off, or an email address has been changed.
- Reach out to customers whose email addresses have bounced. This not only helps build relationships, but also helps to maintain a clean email list with a delivery rate of 99-100 percent.
- Revise email changes within your point of sale system and notify those in charge of your email marketing when you receive notifications regarding email address changes.
- Removing undeliverable email addresses can save your reputation as a sender and lead to a higher deliverability rate. Removing the bad allows the good to continue growing and remain healthy.
- A soft bounce means an email address is temporarily unavailable. This could be due to a full mailbox. Remove these email addresses after a reasonable period of time.
- A hard bounce is an email address that is invalid. Remove these email addresses immediately.
Jay Baer, a social media and content strategist, shared some insightful statistics about how quickly email addresses change and can affect your delivery in his article “15 Statistics That Are Shaping the Future”. And here are a few:
- Email lists with 10 percent or more of unknown users get only 44 percent of their email delivered by ISP’s.
- 17 percent of Americans create a new email address every six months
- 30 percent of subscribers change email addresses annually.
Segmenting means that you can send more relevant or targeted emails. To prove the importance of list segmentation, in Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 email marketing benchmark survey, respondents ranked segmentation as the second most effective tactic. An Email Metrics report indicated that in general smaller lists perform better than larger list — a smaller list being 25-499 members. Segmenting larger lists by industry improves the chances that targeted emails will be opened. Tracking open rates by segments allows you to more accurately determine the efficiency of your results. There are various ways to segment industry. In an article published on Constant Contact, Pamela Adams recommend segmenting lists by nonprofits, clothing retailers, restaurants and travel agents, just to name a few. You may also want to consider segmenting lists by the number of times per month a recipient is interested in hearing from you.
The subject line is the first and possibly only introduction to your campaign that your email recipients will see. If your contacts have been informed that by signing up for your e-communications they will receive upcoming promotions, important sign tips and tricks and special announcements, then they will expect just that. Therefore, your subject line should tell the reader what’s in it for them. Subject lines can range from entertaining or asking questions to being direct, brief and to the point. When developing subject lines, remember these best practices:
- Keep the subject line clear and to the point. Put valuable information up front.
- Make sure subject lines agree with the purpose (educate, save money or entertain) and subject matter of the email.
- Avoid using catch phrases that sound like self-promoting advertisements.
- Communicate value to the recipient, whether it is the launch of a new product or service or a special discount, tell the reader how it will benefit them.
Testing of subject lines may lead you to increased open rates, so take the time to compare and contrast your email reports to see which email campaigns are receiving a higher deliverability rate. Testing will glean important information for what does and doesn’t work for your email marketing subject lines.
Relevancy is about developing the right content for a specific audience. This means providing a specific offer with a clear call to action that fits the needs of the audience. Delivering your email campaign to the right person, with the right message, at the right time will improve your email marketing success. Evaluating your customers’ purchasing behavior and preferences will allow you to create targeted campaigns and send them to specific customers at the appropriate time. You will see a stronger return on investment when your customers receive and begin to expect the value of solutions you provide to specific challenges they have.
Social Media Integration
Email marketing can be used to power social media marketing and vice versa. One simple way to integrate social media into your email marketing is to include social media icons — such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — within your email artwork. Doing so will make recipients aware of your online social media presence, and they will be able to connect with you as well as share your information and promotions with their social networks, thus expanding your reach. You’ll also want to connect with the influencers of your target audience through your social media channels because these individuals are more likely to share your information and become brand advocates.
Another way to integrate social media and email is to ask your fans and followers to subscribe to your e-newsletter. This works especially well if you have a large fan base on a particular social network. Don’t be shy! You’ll find that if you ask people to subscribe, they’re more than willing to. Facebook it easy for people to sign up for their favorite brands’ newsletter with email opt-in forms that can be embedded as an application.
More and more people are viewing emails on mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. Even on personal computers, decisions are made about opening email based on a quick view through the preview pane. Make sure your email is designed for deliverability, meaning small in file size and easily viewable whether on a mobile device, desktop or laptop. Your call-to-action should be clear, easy to read and easy to navigate to along with social media and other links. Landing pages associated with your call-to-action should also be relevant to the email content whenever possible.
Successful email marketing has always been about effective conversations. On the one hand, it makes communication faster and in some cases, easier. On the other, it brings in a complex array of choices that simply did not exist ten years ago. This affects not only communication between businesses and their customers, but also between individuals within those businesses.
For some business owners, all of these steps might seem very time consuming, but the ROI will be worth your time. At Signs Now, we take away much of the email marketing guess work for our franchise members with personalized campaigns. But regardless of what you have available to you, this is an area of your business that needs your attention if you want to remain competitive.