Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing

How alarming is this fact? IBM research found that 17% of all emails never see the inside of a recipient’s inbox. From defunct emails and SPAM traps to uninteresting subject lines, there’s a multitude of reasons why consumers are not seeing emails. And yet, despite this conundrum faced by brands, some of the ways to improve email marketing are simple and easy to implement.

So let’s get into Mastermind’s Top 10 tips to optimise email performance:

1) Seriously Consider Subject Lines

An email’s subject line is the equivalent of a magazine’s headline or the TV promo’s hard sell. It’s a brand’s opportunity to hook the attention of consumers with a strong message and reel them in to read the content of the email. So those 5-10 words in the subject line represent precious real estate. Make them work hard! Remember, the subject line is what your readers see first, so make a good first impression. Keep it straight forward, punchy and enticing.

According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. And yet we continue to read subject lines that are weak, overused generalisations, such as “Spring Newsletter” or “Latest news from Brand X.” Attack your subject line like you would a piece of short form ad copy – keep it short but entice the reader to open by giving them a taste of what to expect.

2) Use a Customized Email System, such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor

Reliability is of the utmost importance when managing an email marketing campaign. Imagine filling your car with the best fuel possible, only to find the engine doesn’t turn over when the key is turned. What a missed opportunity.

The same fail could occur with emails due to a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that a strong system will ensure emails successfully cruise past firewalls and arrive safely in the inboxes of your subscribers. A customised email system such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, or Emma will ensure that your emails reach more people.

3) Test Different Segments

Test, test, test. It’s the only way to know what will and won’t work with email marketing. Testing is particularly important if open rates are lower than you would like. Testing, especially headlines and subject lines, can help you determine what is most effective and how to deliver the best results. A/B or split testing of emails can improve conversion rates by almost half, to understand what is working and optimise.

Results have shown that segmented email campaigns can deliver 760% (Campaign Monitor statistics) more revenue, so it’s worth taking the time to think about your messages and target accordingly. There’s a number of ways – existing clients vs prospects, geographical location, past purchase history.

4) Plan Content in Advance

It’s important to send emails with some kind of strategy – it’s like publishing a magazine with no content list from month to month. So plan your content in advance. This could involve planning a series of emails that build on one another, such as part of an auto responder series, or it could mean planning emails to correspond with certain holidays, seasonal celebrations or promotions.

Remember, many consumers will read your email on a mobile device, so keeping content relatively easy to digest on a mobile is imperative. It may be that you summarise the headline in the content and then direct people back to your website or blog if they want to read more.

5) Have a Professional Copywriter Craft Your Content

Make the small investment of engaging a copywriter to craft the content for your emails. Consumers are more likely to be won over when the message is polished, slick and professional, which in turn lends increased credibility to your company, and improves the chances of subscribers clicking through to your site.

6) Clean Up Your Lists

Of course, bigger is better when it comes to the size of your email list – overall response rates are higher. But it’s important to spring clean your list from time to time. Correct the date details of your customers and ensure first names are entered where possible so you can personalise content, and potentially think about an activation campaign for those who have not opened your emails for a while.

7) Ensure you have an unsubscribe feature

Under the SPAM Act in Australia it’s mandatory for all commercial emails to include an unsubscribe link.  This must be easily accessible, and be available for at least 30 days post email send-out. Have a read of the SPAM guidelines in Australia to check you comply as hefty fines can be applied if you’re in breach.

8) Think about design

We’re visual creatures at heart so email design is important. Having a striking image with strong calls to action will help improve the way consumers respond to your messages. And it’s worth aligning the visual identity of your emails with the visual identity of your overall brand collateral. Are the colours the same? Are the fonts similar? Are all the images up to date and looking fresh and appealing?

9) Grow your list at every opportunity

Growing your email list is like capturing the passing trade for a retail store. So many businesses neglect to collect email addresses when opportunities present themselves and opt new members into their database. Let’s face it, the more qualified and engaged people you have to talk to, the greater the response to your campaigns will be.

There are tools like MailChimp Subscribe or Guestbook that allow you to easily collect email addresses via venues or at events to continue to add new targeted names. So set these systems up as part of your email acquisition strategy.

Other ways to grow your list might include running a targeted competition (although beware of those pesky competition junkies), including a sign-up link on your outbound emails in signatures, including sign-up on social media profiles. Have a read of this great article about how the top 500 Internet retailers collect email sign-ups.

10) Track Results via Google Analytics

So how do you know what’s working? Testing and monitoring results over a period of time. But you don’t need a data analyst to measure results – simply look at the results section of your email program and measure more than just how many emails are delivered.

Have you set up Google Analytics properly? This can track email campaigns to show the broader impact on sales and website traffic. When you’ve enabled ecommerce tracking, you’ll often be able to see financial returns from your email programs and also understand the role of email in conversions.

Sometimes the challenge of fitting in all these extra components of the marketing mix can seem overwhelming. Mastermind can help with your email strategy, in both big picture and small doses. Our team is resourced across all the necessary elements of getting it right, so contact us to recruit the help and you’ll see results follow.