The following post is from Meghan Veroneau, Marketing Coordinator – Retail & eCommerce.
There’s a lot of talk about email being dead, but I disagree. Email is alive and kicking, more so than ever. Did you know that there are three times as many email accounts than there are Facebook and Twitter accounts combined? No, well that could be because so much emphasis is put on social media marketing, and you can lose site of the more traditional routes.
Brands are using email for one-on-one conversations, promotions, and sales (of course). Which makes email a transactional medium; customers are expecting to see deals in their email and are generally in a “buying” frame of mind. Especially now with the promotions tab in Gmail – consumers are taking a look at those emails when they’re thinking of making a purchase.
The biggest benefit to using email, is that your list of subscribers is yours. Unless someone unsubscribes, you’ve got their information. Now compare that to a social platform… what will happen when that platform disappears and you lose those brand followers with no way to retain their information (think: Myspace).
If you’re not emailing your subscribers, you’re missing out on opportunities to engage customers. To help ensure you’re creating the best emails and getting the most bang for your buck, check out the email tips below.
When Preparing Your Email:
Your email needs to look good on ALL devices, particularly mobile devices. Hospitality has a 37.33% open rate on mobile, while retail has a 28.91% open rate. To capture your mobile audience consider making your email responsive, so it looks good on all devices, or have the content of your email in a one-column format.
We’ve all seen subject lines that grab our attention, and have no problem trashing the emails that don’t have clear subject lines. Your subject line is the first (and potentially only) thing that subscribers will see. The ideal subject line should be between 28 and 39 characters. Also remember to avoid words like FREE, excess punctuation, and ALL CAPS, as these are all things that will get your email flagged as spam.
Targeting Your Audience
Your list is probably composed of many different segments of your audience. Make the most of your email campaigns and segment your lists so that people are getting emails with promotions and information that interest them. For instance, it’s not in your best interest to send a college student an email with an expensive vacation highlighted inside – likely, they won’t be able to afford it. If you continue to send your lists information they’re not interested in, they won’t see the value in receiving your emails and will subsequently unsubscribe.
Consider A/B Testing
Bad news, there’s no magic day of the week or time of day to send your email. You can however determine the best day and time for your organization with A/B Testing. The point of A/B testing is to change one variable, in this case, the time of day.
For example, you’re getting ready to send out an email campaign but aren’t sure whether you should send your email at 11am to 2pm. Break your dissemination list into 2 equal halves, then send the email to half at 11am and the rest at 2pm. From there, use the metrics (in more detail below), to determine when people are more likely to open your email.
You can also use A/B testing to determine better: subject lines, “from” name, images v. text, and the pre-header message. Over time, when you use A/B testing, you’ll better learn what your email list will respond to and in turn craft better emails.
What Should Email Success Look Like?
When you’re measuring the success of your email campaign you’re going to look at three main areas: open rate, click-thru-rate, and the click-to-open-rate. Yes, there are other stats you can measure, but these are the big three, as I’ll call them.
Open rate – this is how many people are opening your email and should be 15-20%.
Click-thru-rate – this is the number of people overall that you sent it to, that clicked on a link in your email. This should be 1-3%.
Click-to-open-rate – this is the percentage of people that opened your email and clicked on a link in your email. This should be 7-15%. This, I think is a real indicator of success – you not only got the person to open the email, but also click on a link.
The more targeted your email audience, the better the big three metrics will be. For example, look at the chart below, which is a sample of the click-thru-rate and open rate from the last 5 emails I’ve sent. You can see that the more targeted emails (#1, #2, #4) were much more successful than the non-targeted emails (#3 & #5).
But they’re not opening my emails…
When looking at your email statistics, if you continue to see the same group of email addresses aren’t opening your emails time and time again, consider sending them an email to ask if they still want to opt in. Ideally, you want your list of subscribers to read your emails and engage with you on a constant basis. Cleansing your list from time to time is a very beneficial thing, you want quality email addresses, not quantity. The better your list, the better the click-to-open-rate.
CAN-SPAM Rules to Remember when sending an email:
• Include an unsubscribe link
• Include brick & mortar address
• Honor unsubscribe requests
• Avoid list purchasing