Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach out to potential and current customers. But with a bit of effort, you can take your email campaign optimization game up a notch by following these 14 tips.
Personalize Your Subject Line
1) Personalize your subject line. People are more likely to open emails that have their first name in the subject line, so if you’re using an “opt-in” form on your website or blog, be sure to ask for people’s names when they sign up.
Personalization works so well because it makes people feel special. Since it’s a common marketing tactic, people are used to receiving emails with “Dear (name)” or “Hi (name),” but many ignore those messages without ever opening them.
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes-personalized subject lines make you feel as though the email is specifically for you, so you’re more likely to open it right away and read what your favorite brand has to say.
Use shorter subject lines
2) Use shorter subject lines. Again, no need for long sentences here – short will get the point across just as well while saving precious space in someone’s inbox. And don’t forget about those intriguing questions: What’s cheaper than free? What’s better than bacon?
Attention spans are decreasing as the years go on, so your email recipients are likely to read something that’s got less than ten words in the subject line.
Keep emails distraction-free
3) Keep emails distraction-free. With high-resolution images and beautiful designs taking over the Web, it’s easy to get distracted by an email that looks too good to ignore. Opt for text-only emails instead of design-heavy ones; they’re more likely to be read.
If you want your message to stand out from the crowd (and who doesn’t?), keep things simple with **a few** carefully chosen images or graphics rather than a slideshow of every stunning photo on your website.
Don’t rely on HTML logos or other graphic shortcuts – those are often deleted without ever being seen.
Keep your email short and sweet
4) Keep your email short and sweet. Think of Twitter: how much information can you pack into 140 characters? Email marketers also need to be savvy about their word choice, especially on mobile devices where screens are small and text lines shorter. Make your point quickly and get out.
While long paragraphs work well in a blog post, they don’t translate well to other forms of media. The more you write, the less likely your email is to get read on mobile devices and even worse-in full before being deleted unread.
Use links wisely
5) Use links wisely. Images aren’t just eye candy – they’re also handy for directing readers where you want them to go via hyperlinks (just click a picture of that tasty bacon in your email!). Make sure those images work for you by linking to relevant content on your website or blog instead of sending people off-site unnecessarily.
Using images with social media buttons can help generate traffic back to your site from places like Facebook or Twitter; check out this infographic about using infographics for social media.
Split Test Everything
6) Split test everything. If you’re sending an email to a group of recipients, consider splitting them into different segments instead of sending one long email to everyone at once (known as “bulk mailing”). Try creating several groups and sending the same message to each or test whether your subject line will get better results when short versus long.
If you want a more scientific approach, A/B split testing might be the way to go: Send out two versions of the same campaign-but with one difference-with instruction on how recipients can tell you which version they prefer via a simple reply. The best-performing version is then used again in future campaigns!
7) Be consistent. You’ve got their attention in the inbox, but they’ll just hit delete if you’re not relevant enough. Instead, consider setting up a reminder system that emails your recipients regularly with helpful updates and marketing information. For example, you can use this to let them know about sales or new products; in fact, the email could announce the latest product release!
Test different frequency rates to see what works best for your audience: Do they prefer weekly or monthly updates? Sending both might be beneficial – your customers will appreciate getting everything at once while you benefit from greater engagement with fewer messages sent.
Consider drip campaigns
8) Consider drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are another way to connect with repeat customers long-term (for, say, a subscription program). Simply set up an email campaign to customers on a recurring schedule-perhaps once every two months. Your customer will come to expect your message with the regularity of your delivery – so you can use this expectation to your advantage!
In each dripped mailer, consider including relevant information about new products or services you offer, as well as discounts and special offers. If there’s one thing we know about people, it’s that they love getting more for less (and even better: free!).
Scrub Your Email List Regularly
9) Scrub your email list regularly. If you’re building a new mailing list, make sure to avoid sending messages to people who have already unsubscribed, used spam addresses, or have stopped opening your messages.
This includes removing subscribers that haven’t opened or clicked on any emails you’ve sent in a while – so set up an auto-responder message on the schedule you prefer with links for how to subscribe again if they change their mind.
Always be relevant
10) Always be relevant. Don’t send out meaningless offers (especially after several months of not being heard from). They’ll just hit delete. On the other hand, be ready when customers decide they want what you have by having everything organized and ready for them to see it right away.
To help speed things up, consider creating landing pages specific to your products.
If you’re concerned about your content or email design, test them on an A/B split to get a clearer idea of what works best for recipients.
11) Use storytelling. Instead of making the email message itself about your product and how you can help, use stories about people who have successfully had success with your products – or even better: tell a story about someone who hasn’t yet realized they could benefit from what you offer.
This way, you’re helping them to make the connection for themselves.
You can use this same strategy in blog posts: If you’ve got a great story about a customer who has benefited from your products or services (and ideally even written an email back to say thank you!), post it on your company blog and include links for how they can connect with or get in touch with that person if they want more information. Social media tools like Facebook are also good places to share stories – and people often respond when a brand is willing to put itself out there like this.
Analyze Your Data Regularly
12) Analyze your data regularly. There’s no point in testing every time you send out a campaign if you’re not going to review the results and take time to reflect on what you’ve learned.
Analyze which emails were opened, how many clicks they got, and where they went from there. Measure your conversion rates as well; this will help you better understand if any of your changes are resulting in more sales or sign-ups for your services.
Use Clear CTAs
13) Use clear CTAs. Include a clear call-to-action in every email you send out and give recipients an obvious way to move forward with the action you’d like them to take. This will help increase your conversion rates (as well as present more opportunities for follow-up later).
People often prefer different ways of being contacted; it’s smart to offer several options in one place before asking for additional information or a sale. For instance, if someone wants a PDF version of your report or whitepaper that they’ve requested via email, make sure you also include download links for both iPhone and Android users – or at least make it easy for them to find these links on your website (if your content is mobile friendly).
Segment Your Email List
14) Segment your email list. When you have a large clientele, segmenting your email list can make it easier to keep track of how often each person wants to hear from you – or how they prefer to be contacted (email, phone, text message, or social media).
This also helps you manage what’s most urgent and respond accordingly without having too many messages coming over all at once. Remember: it’s not just about sending out emails when necessary; sometimes, replies can be delayed or lost in the shuffle if there are too many other messages bouncing around at once.
These tips will help you optimize your email campaign, increasing the chances of it being read and your business’ name remembered.
However, testing is one of the most important parts of making it work for you.
You need to test your design, subject lines, and content frequently in order to see what part of your campaign does well – or if what you’re doing is really drawing people in in the first place.
Just like any marketing strategy, a good email campaign optimization is a never-ending process. Once you’ve dialed it in and found what works, stick to your strategy – but stay flexible enough to make changes when needed.