Every day over 306 billion emails are either being sent or received worldwide. And, that figure is expected to increase by over 50 billion within the next four years. Considering that you likely have countless unopened emails sitting in your inbox as you’re reading this right now, however, these numbers may not surprise you.
While emails were once thought to be on their way out of fashion due to the rise of dynamic digital and social media messaging platforms, it still remains one of the most effective marketing communication tools available to brands of all sizes.
If your brand is currently executing emails but you aren’t seeing the results you need, it may be time to review your email marketing strategy for some key opportunities.
We develop, create, execute, and manage client emails every day. We’ve learned a things what make an email campaign successful, and we’ll share some essential tips on how to improve a brand’s email marketing strategy.
Before sending an email to your entire subscribers list, make sure it applies to the person who is receiving it. For instance, if you’re doing a flash sale on your in-store only products, you’d want to send it to your local subscribers only. Sending this type of message to everyone, including your out of state subscribers, would result in fewer opens and clicks.
Aldrich notes that sending relevant information to the appropriate people keeps them interested. If the right people are receiving information that pertains to them, you’ll likely see fewer people unsubscribing.
A/B testing subject lines
Writing a good subject line is more important than you think. In fact, almost half of email recipients decide to open emails based on the subject line alone.
To determine if your subject line will be successful, Aldrich suggests sending the same email with two different subject lines to 10-20% of your mailing list.
Once those emails are sent and the analytics start to trickle in, determine which subject line is outperforming the other and send it to the remainder of your mailing list. You can measure open rates, conversions, profits, or anything that you feel is most meaningful to your overall goal.
By testing a small sample of your mailing list, you can improve the overall conversion of the email. We’ve found this to be the most effective way to test subject lines for our clients.
Mobile friendly design
About 42% of emails are opened using a smartphone or tablet. With almost half of all emails being read on a smaller screen, a mobile-friendly design is a must when you’re looking to improve your email marketing strategy.
“By creating designs with mobile in mind (i.e. live text, properly sized images, simple formatting, smaller file sizes) people are more likely to actually read the email,” Aldrich suggests.
As a general rule of thumb, designs should be simple and easy to read on any device. Avoid crowded text and unnecessary design features.
“Adding too many flashy features could make it harder to read and may actually break on older devices. This can especially be an issue when targeting older demographics that may still be using Internet Explorer or Outlook 2005,” says Aldrich.
Eye-catching imagery placed strategically at the top of the email helps to entice the customer to keep scrolling to learn more. Oftentimes when a person clicks to view an email, and there’s just a wall of text, they will be less likely to read on. At Commit, we like to be creative. Beyond great images, we like to explore the use of short videos or animated graphics like GIFs to grab readers’ attention upfront.
If you’re struggling to come up with original, compelling images to use in your emails, don’t force it. Using too many images (especially generic stock images) can actually deter your reader from scrolling further and engaging in your content. And, depending on your brand voice and the context of your email, adding a bit of “strategic personality” in your emails, like classic emojis, is always a good idea to engage your audience.
As we mentioned before, customers don’t want to be bothered with reading a giant block of text. If you’re consistently word stuffing your emails, now is the time to stop and reevaluate.
Instead, write out the main points you want to get across in short, digestible segments that can be easily read or skimmed on a tablet or mobile device.
It’s also important to keep your emails engaging. Kelly suggests using dynamic content like animated GIFs, videos, and even interactive polls and surveys to increase engagement.
She also notes that it’s best practice to switch up your format. Pushing out the same template and design for too long can get stale and uninteresting, especially when competing against others in a crowded mailbox.
Quality over quantity
Quality far outweighs quantity when it comes to producing effective emails people will actually want to read and resonate with. Kelly recommends creating a long-term strategy surrounding a schedule to avoid sending multiple emails in one day. Saturating your customers’ inboxes can often increase unsubscriptions or condition your audience to open your brand’s emails less and less frequently.
If you have multiple messages to communicate, try condensing them into one email or strategically drip them out in intervals that will not overwhelm. Your subscribers will thank you.
Keep in mind, less is more when it comes to email marketing. You don’t want to frustrate or annoy your customers, your goal is to engage and delight them. Give them something to look forward to when they open your email, whether that be a new product launch, or a special promotion just for them. Condition them to anticipate and find value in what you send.
Think globally, and take into account that all of us are inundated with marketing-related emails and newsletters every single day. Be thoughtful and strategic about everything you do, so that your customers read your emails not your competitors’.