According to a Radicati report, an individual worker in the USA receives, on an average, 126 emails daily. Hubspot published that email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3,800% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available. The Content Marketing Institute reported that 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content.
These are just a few stats that tell us that email still remains a powerful engagement channel for marketers across both B2B and B2C segments. If email marketing is done right, it can do a lot more than just pushing messages onto people’s inboxes – it can create massive returns in terms of creating new sales opportunities, building brand loyalty and trust, and improving customer experience.
The key is to do it right. So what are some of the ways that marketers can improve the overall engagement from their email marketing campaigns and get better OR (Open Rates) and CTRs (Clickthrough Rates)?
Read on as we discuss.
1. Don’t Spam Inboxes
When you are beginning your email campaign, you might be tempted to buy contact lists and email addresses so you can send email blasts to thousands of recipients. However, this will not add significant value to your campaign. This is because:
- Since owners did not ask to receive your email, they are likely to regard it as spam and delete it without even a click or it might land up in their spam folder
- There is no way for you to know if the ones you are sending the emails to are even interested in purchasing your product or are fit to buy what you are offering
- According to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, recipients have been given the right to stop emailing them and there are also penalties for those who violate this law.
- You risk your domain reputation score.
Instead what you should do is to build on your database and send emails to only those who subscribe. When you do, this is what you should bear in mind:
- Add your organization’s name and postal address in each email
- Give the recipients an option to opt out of your emails. For example, an ‘unsubscribe here’ button
- Send emails from your official ID rather than from a generic one like firstname.lastname@example.org. This is because recipients tend to trust emails that have a personalized sender name more
- Don’t sell your database to another company
2. Send Relevant Content
Just because you have a huge contact list, it does not mean that everyone on that list will be interested in everything. Hence, you need to keep this list segmented based on age, professions, geographies, their needs and others. Now you need to draft different emails based on relevancy so as to engage the recipients.
3. Follow-up Promptly
When you get a prospect’s contact details – be that at an event or after a meeting – you should send a follow-up mail promptly. The rule of thumb is to do it within 24 hours as your brand is on top of the prospect’s mind then. Based on the reply, you can gauge the prospect’s interest and also predict what the future engagement will be like.
So that you do not waste time drafting an email after a meeting, you should keep one drafted from before. Based on who the person is who you met, you can always tweak the words and information a little before sending the email.
4. Set a Preview Text
When prospects use the iPhone Mail app, Gmail, or Outlook they not only see the subject of your email but also a preview of the content that the email carries. The preview is a short synopsis, of 50 characters or less, of what your email is all about. If you do not pre-set it, the email app that the prospect is using will auto-pull out text from the email content and this will look messy and unimpressive. Hence, if you want to increase your clickthrough rate, you must pre-set the preview text so that it creates the maximum impact in the mind of the prospects.
5. Write Compelling Subject Lines
When you send an email to your prospects, know that yours won’t be the only email that will be in their inbox! Yours, in fact, will be competing with many others. It should then have a compelling subject line so that it stands out from amongst the rest – only then will the clickthrough chances increase. Some tips to make your subject line a compelling one are:
- It should be in simple language so that it is easy to understand
- it should not have more than 50 characters as else it will get cut-off if a prospect view the email on a mobile
- Use verbs as this creates excitement
- Let it have words that convey a value proposition like “free” or “discount”
- Adding their names or even mentioning the place where they stay can get them to click more (personalization or tokenization)
6. Send Concise Emails
People don’t have the time to read long emails – especially when they need to read many emails. Hence, it is always advisable to keep your emails crisp and concise. Other advantages of short emails are:
- It shows that you know what point you want to focus on. A long email is usually regarded as spam
- When prospects read short emails, they have more time to think about the message before deciding on their action
To compose a concise email:
- You should write it as if you were in conversation with someone
- Break it into small paragraphs as this helps the reader to skim through the content faster
- Highlight the words you want to draw attention to
7. Include a CTA Button
A Specific CTA Button
Not all recipients will go through your email in detail, but rather just skim through it. Hence, having a clear CTA (call-to-action) button will help you to catch their attention – even those who scan emails the quickest, notice it. Without a CTA button your readers will not be able to take any action on the email that you sent. For it to garner the maximum impact you need to place the button where it is most easily visible
A CTA Image
If your CTA is an image then you need to add alt text to it. This is because, at times the recipients are unable to view the image as it is blocked by their emails by default. When they can’t see the image, all impact is lost. However, if you include an alt text that tells them what action to take, they will still know what the CTA is. To do this, you can enter the alt text by using the rich text editor in your email or manually enter it in the HTML editor.
8. Choose Hyperlinks Carefully
Too many links in the content of the email makes it look cluttered. Rather, add them sparingly and at noticeable places. For example:
- A hyperlink to a picture that will take the recipient to the page that you want him to ultimately visit. For example if you want him to download the new ebook, then include a picture of the ebook in the email and add a hyperlink to it which will take him to the required page.
- Place at least one link near the start of the email. This is especially needed for those who view emails from their mobile phones. Mobiles need a lot of scrolling. So, if the recipient is given an actionable item at the beginning, chances of you getting a positive response from him is more.
9. Add Buttons for Sharing
The more people who can view your content and take the action that you want them to take, the more successful you can consider your email to have been. So, if you add buttons for social sharing in your email, the chances for this increases.
You can even add a tweet for the recipients to your email by using the ClickToTweet. Once your custom tweet link has been generated you can add it to your email and link it to your Twitter sharing button.
Another way to make recipients share your email further is to prompt them to share it with their network. You can do this by making the ‘Share with your Network’ a CTA or by adding a note at the end of the email that tells them to feel free to forward it to their friends.
10. Preview Before Sending
Do not hit the send button before you have reviewed your email. For this, you can send a test or preview version of the email to yourself and to some teammates to see what it looks like.
Also, double-check the grammar and spellings before sending. Any email that does not look good or looks sloppy and unprofessional will not get the clickthrough that you are looking for.
11. Clean-up Your Email List
You need to clean up your contact list from time to time – don’t always wait for a contact to opt out. After sending a number of mails if you find that he is not clicking and opening them, he should be removed from your list and contacted through a different medium instead. Else due to constant spamming of his inbox, it is possible that he will close up on becoming your customer at all. Removing such people will also prevent your email from getting reported as being invalid and abusive.
12. Analyse the Emails Being Sent
Just sending emails and hoping for an improvement in the clickthrough rates will not work. You need to monitor each email that you are sending and analyzing why the clickthrough of one is better than the other. You can analyse them by asking questions like, ‘Did it work better because…’:
- Impactful subject line?
- Of imagery?
- Better audience segmentation?
- Offers in the email?
- Better and more relevant content?
Email marketing is challenging since the mind of the recipients is tough to read. However, with the above tips and proper monitoring and analysis, you can improve your open and click-through rates significantly and get the most out of your email campaigns in terms of ROI and engagement.