- On 05/04/2019
More than 250 billion emails are sent every day and this number is expected to increase to 300 billion by 2020.
However, just like any other field, email marketing is also changing over the years. The tricks that worked a few years ago, no longer work and there are some new ones you need to know about.
Email marketing is obviously still a key player in any marketing strategies. In fact, email marketing is still the go-to marketing channel for many experienced marketing veterans.
If you wonder why that’s the case, it’s because email brings the best marketing ROI of all marketing channels. Every $1 spent on marketing, generates a return of $43!
In this post, we will share the best email marketing strategies you can use to achieve extraordinary results through email marketing.
1. How to personalize your email campaigns
Don’t look at email marketing as just another marketing channel. Instead, look at email marketing as the key to improving your overall customer experience. However, keep in mind that when we talk about personalization, we don’t mean just replacing “Dear valued customer” with “Dear INSERT_NAME”. Personalization is much more than that. In fact, even adding the NAME placeholder is not nearly as effective you might think. The reason for this is that so many marketers started using it without adding any other personalization to the email. Additionally, customers today have increased cybersecurity concerns and because of that, they might disregard (or even worse, mark as spam) all emails from senders they don’t know/remember that use their first name.
How are you supposed to personalize your emails then?
Firstly, avoid faking familiarity with your subscriber. This is usually a big turn-off for readers. Open your list, see the information that you have about your contacts and try to find ways to segment them. After you segment your readers into several big groups, start thinking about the problems different groups face with that you can help them solve. You can also use historical information you have about your readers (ex. Purchase history) or their demographics.
After you figure this out, address these issues in your email and use different placeholders that will give the email a human touch. I know this is easier said than done that’s why we’ll take one step at a time. Let’s repeat: there can’t be any personalization without…
Segmentation is a no-brainer because, as we mentioned, it makes your email campaigns more targeted.
For example, let’s say you’re hosting a networking event for small businesses located in your town. Instead of taking a shot in the dark and sending an email to your whole list, try segmenting your list into more groups. Make sure one of your groups is made only of people that list themselves as small business owners. If you don’t have your own contact list, you can use third-party applications that can help you get already segmented email lists, like Get PR Contacts.
Now when your segmentation is complete, it’s much easier to create a campaign that works.
Because you have a group of people that have something in common. They are all small business owners, facing similar issues and concerns. This makes it much easier for you to create a compelling message for them that will sound personalized even though it’s sent to more people. Segmentation isn’t hard, it brings better open rates and more revenues. That’s why I was shocked to learn that 90% of email marketers don’t segment their database. This means that by doing this simple step you will be gaining a competitive advantage.
Here are a few examples of how you can segment your contacts:
- Segment your contacts by industry: If you know the industry in which your subscribers work, that’s a great first step. For example, a person that works with car parts manufacturing is more likely to open and engage with an email that’s related to car products.
- Segment your contacts by company size: As we said, big and small companies have different problems and concerns. This gives you a great advantage when creating your emails.
- Segment your contacts by their sales cycle: If you have previous experience with some of your customers, you will know whether they are early adopters or not. If they are you can send a more “aggressive” promotional email. If not, you can send them a free trial or an article that provides more information about THEIR PROBLEM THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SOLVE. This takes us to…
3. The best content is free content
Everyone loves free stuff that makes their life easier. Most readers have a “What’s in it for me” mindset and many of them will not want to buy your product right away. That’s why you should provide your readers with a lot of free ebooks, expert interviews, and even brain teasers. Look at this as an investment in the relationship you’re trying to develop with your subscribers.
Now that we provided some basic ground let’s take a look at a couple of more technical steps. The first one is…
4. How to create mobile-friendly emails
Today, 54% of all marketing emails are opened on a mobile device. Additionally, 62% of mobile users start their day by opening their emails. If your email is not mobile-friendly, the subscribers will most likely delete your email, or even worse: unsubscribe.
That’s why it’s shocking that even today, 20% of all email campaigns are not optimized for mobile! On the other hand, mobile emails also generate $0.4 per email which is more than x3 that of a desktop email. If you are a part of the 20 %, don’t worry: we have a few tips for you.
- Convert your emails to a one-column template. This simple change always makes the email mobile-friendly.
- Adjust the font size for improved readability on smartphones
- Create buttons that are at least 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels tall but don’t make them too big either.
- Make sure you don’t use more call-to-action buttons and test to make sure they are easy to tap.
- Don’t forget that mobile users usually scroll with their thumb. Adjust your mail to make sure that your most important points are in the center and visible all the time.
- What seems short on desktop might appear much longer on mobile. NEVER forget this, and if needed shorten the text of your email
- Last but not least, keep the subject line and pre-header short. Just because the subject line fits in one row on your laptop, doesn’t mean that the same will happen on mobile.
This brings us to the question…
5. Should you use long or short subject lines?
According to several studies, there’s no such thing as the perfect subject line. However, more studies suggest that you shouldn’t use subject lines between 60 and 70 characters long. This is known as the “dead zone of subject length”. Subject lines that had more than 70 characters proved to be more beneficial for engaging readers in clicking through the content because they are more descriptive. Subject lines shorter than 49 characters, on the other hand, usually lead to better open rates but not necessarily better click-through rates.
Sometimes, even extremely short subject lines work, especially when combined with the name of the receiver. In the end, it all comes down to knowing your customer and knowing how they will react to different subject lines. However, as a rule of thumb, if you want to generate awareness and increase open rates, use shorter subject lines (up to 49 words). If you want to increase your click-through rate, use longer subject lines (70+ words) that briefly explain to the reader what your email is about.
6. How to use email automation?
Trigger-based emails are the ones that get sent out automatically as a consequence of one user’s behavior. The most common ones are welcome emails, thank you emails, transactional emails etc. Open rates of automated emails are 95% better than average emails. The average Click-through-rate is more than double compared to average emails. Not only that but automated emails also generate 4 times more revenue and 18 times greater profits!
Because of context.
Let’s imagine you’re visiting a website. You’re browsing around clicking on items, maybe add something in your cart but don’t make a purchase. An hour later you receive an email with a discount code for the item you clicked on. You’re much more likely to complete the purchase now, aren’t you? That’s the power of automation.
You might think this is expensive but that’s usually not true. There are some tools on the market that provide these features for a lower price, like Tabellarius. In the end, here are…
A few examples of trigger emails that you can use for your campaigns:
- An activation email: Whenever a new user creates an account but doesn’t make a purchase, create an activation campaign. This campaign would send the user an email with steps on how they can start using your website and/or invite them to schedule a call in which you can answer all of their questions regarding your product.
- The surprise email: Surprise your loyal customers by giving them something free once in a while. Create a surprise email campaign that will give offer your users a gift card or a voucher that they can use for new purchases or even for a box of cupcakes. Don’t look at it as a cost. Look at it as an investment in the relationship with your loyal customers.
- The wake-up call: Send these emails to passive customers that haven’t purchased anything in the last few months. Create a list of new product features they might be interested in or feature some of the new products (or features) that you are expected to release in the next few months.
More about this in the final part of the strategy:
7. How to re-engage an inactive group of subscribers?
In average, 63% of your subscribers are inactive. This means that once someone joins it’s not very likely that they will keep following your emails all the time. A research by the marketing agency Listrak showed that basically, you have 90 days to convert your sign-up into a devotee. If you don’t, they will join the already big group of 63% of inactive customers. Of course, this can’t and won’t be successful all the time. That’s why you need re-engagement campaigns.
Recently, a re-engagement campaign from Digg wound up in my inbox. The subject was catchy (“This Is Not An Email From 2006”), and the content helpfully explained what the email was all about. Inbox crowding and the deployment times of other marketers go hand-in-hand; if your email goes out when few others do, it stands a greater chance of getting noticed (so quick, start sending between 8:00 and midnight before everyone else catches on).
While not as overwhelming a winner as the 8:00 p.m. to midnight time of day, Saturday and Sunday did outperform their weekday counterparts in Experian’s study of day-of-week performance. Again, the volume of email sent on the weekends is low, just like the volume for evening emails, which could help those messages stand out more. The margins for clickthrough, open, and sales rates were not substantial, but in email marketing, every little bit counts. Optimal mailing for your customers’ needs will be up to you. Test, test, and test some more to find out how your customer ticks and when he/she opens the email.
As with everything that we call science, it’s all about doing experiments. Very likely, if you are doing your own experiments, you might actually have found different results. What are your best email strategies? Tell us in the comments below!