You might be wondering just how you got here. Well, a good chance of that is it’s either you purposely went to our blog, or you just happen to click a link in an email that we’ve just sent you. Pretty neat, huh? Let’s get to it. Now, an effective email marketing campaign has been a vital component of any business ever since people started relying on the internet. It is a powerful tool that helps in acquiring traffic, encourage your target audience to engage with the content you offer, and nurturing the leads you already have in your database.
Despite what most people might think, email marketing is not dead. It is still growing rapidly. On its own, Google’s Gmail already has a huge 1 billion users worldwide, and according to email marketing experts, The Radicati Group, the total number of worldwide email users will hit 3 billion by the year 2020. It’s only half of the world’s entire population. Can you imagine just how big that number is?
That number alone is enough reason for you to start optimizing your emails and reap benefits of having positive RIO courtesy of your email marketing strategy. However, though email is certainly alive and going, it is getting harder and more complicated to do well. To help you get started with your email marketing optimization, here are 13 points that you need to consider. These set of guidelines are according to the email marketing topic being discussed during this year’s most recently concluded INBOUND 2017 event. Read on and learn what strategies you should avoid, implement and maintain for this year, and in the years ahead.
How to Improve Your Email Marketing Approach
1) Send Your Emails to People That Are Genuinely Interested in You
Let’s start with the obvious; this one’s a no-brainer. You will always want to send your emails to people that will find interest in what you have to offer. You should stop sending your email to lists with low engagement rates and focus more on the lists that give you high engagement activity. Keep in mind that whenever you send you emails to unresponsive lists, you are hurting your domain reputation and your chances of reaching out to other potential customers. An unresponsive list will only give you poor engagement and low open rates, which is why you should avoid sending your emails to these kinds of lists.
Successful Entrepreneur Tom Monaghan had the best take on this topic during his talk on last year’s INBOUND event. According to him, “You are what you eat, and so is your marketing.” His statement speaks a lot of truth when you think about it. Receiving tons of unwanted emails from brands you don’t even engage with will find you constantly deleting them or marking them as “read,” which is a lot of work. You should always think about empathizing with your list. Going back to Monaghan’s statement, you should treat their inboxes the same way you want your inbox to be treated. That way, you are more likely to know what they want out of what you are offering.
2) Determine You Goal First before Sending Your Email
If you fail to establish a goal for your emails, your recipients will most likely find your emails irrelevant and ‘lacking a point.’ Don’t let this happen to your emails. Before pressing that “send” button – heck, even before you even start building your list – you need to come up with a definite goal for your emails. That way, you will be able to use that goal and create your desired list.
Your email goal could then include each of the following:
- Filling out a form to a restricted content offer, providing them with more information about your team and your organization.
- Giving them the opportunity to redeem a promo code for any purchase on your website.
You should provide options to your emails, such as links to your texts, or calls-to-action buttons. Offering these options will provide your subscribers with different available avenues to achieve your established goal. Also, keep in mind that everyone has different behaviors, so make sure your emails are flexible to each of your subscribers.
3) Customize & Personalize Your Emails
Believe it or not, personalizing your email really works. In a study conducted by Hubspot in 2014, it was found that emails featuring the recipient’s name in the subject lines gained higher CTR (click through rate) than emails that didn’t.
When customizing and making your emails unique for each of your customers, you should not overdo it. Despite this, you should still stick to the basics. Personalize your email according to its recipient’s name (or company name), but again, don’t overthink it. Keep it simple so you won’t come out as strange or creepy.
Receiving a “Dear [First Name]” or “Dear Customer” email can come off as too generic. Test each of your emails and make sure you are sending you emails with your recipient’s name on your subject line.
4) Have a Personalized Account
While we’re on the topic of personalization, you should also make sure that your customized emails are coming from a personalized Account. Avoid sending emails from a “noreply” account. Always consider the power of personalization and how it can impact every aspect of your email marketing campaign. Boost open rates and email engagement by having your very own personalized email address. Doing this will drive replies from your subscribers, as your email is coming from a real person, and not from an unattractive “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
5) Experiment your Email-sending Patterns
Most marketers know that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are considered as the most popular days for sending email. So what you should do is to stop sending you emails on these days.
You might think of me as crazy, saying that ‘these days are the most popular days, why should I change my schedule for sending emails?’
Exactly my point.
Again, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are three of the most popular days for sending email. Though that seems to be the case, they aren’t the most ideal days for sending also. These days being popular means they are clogged with messages that might overwhelm your subscribers. In other words, your subs are receiving a lot of email during these days, so if you want to get noticed, you should not go the same route as everyone else.
If you want your emails to be seen and opened, you should send your emails on different days of the week. How about you try sending on a Monday or Friday? Emails containing CTA’s perform better during Saturdays, giving you a reason not to disregard the weekend, as well. Take advantage of this information and try to experiment with your approach. Focus on lessening your lists’ email load from Monday to Friday, as these are the days where business and marketing emails are most commonly sent.
6) Reach out to Contacts who have submitted Forms
When a user fills out the form, you just sent to them, along with providing their personal email address, the engagement rate of this user will typically be higher than a cold contact you’ve managed to import from a list. This goes to all users who go through the same form-filling process.
That’s because these people are interested in what you offer. They want to hear more from you and choose to see what your content is all about. Though they haven’t told this directly to you, they already have by filling out your form. This just goes to show that the methodology for inbound marketing is indeed working.
Also, never be tempted to buy/purchase email lists as you are only going to hurt your credibility, as well as annoy people who aren’t interested or haven’t even asked to hear from you and what you offer.
7) Remove your Unresponsive Subscribers
Avoid sending out graymail.
So you’re here sending nothing but honest and genuine emails to your subscribers, thinking that they are going to engage with you. However, you might potentially be sending spam without even knowing it. That’s because the meaning of spam has altered. Before, people were concerned about spam and nothing more. Now they also have graymail to worry about.
Graymail refers to any bulk emails that aren’t technically flagged as spam since recipients are still giving you their information. However, the truth is, they are getting your emails, yet haven’t touched them. Engagement rates will drop off the moment recipients are not opening your first sent email. So if your subscribers continue to ignore you, the chance of them opening your emails is going to go way down.
Make sure you avoid sending out graymail; pay attention to what your subscribers are telling you. Start removing unengaged and unresponsive subscribers. Doing so will increase open rates, and inbox providers can see that you are indeed responding to your subscribers’ behavior.
8) If People Start Unsubscribing, don’t Panic (yet)
One truth that you need to know and accept is you really can’t please everyone. Unsubscribes is inevitable, and it will happen whether you like it or not. It this completely normal, and you should consider yourself lucky that your ex-subscribers didn’t mark you as spam. By simply unsubscribing, these people are plainly telling you that they are not or no longer interested in hearing anything from you.
When people start unsubscribing, don’t panic just yet. However, if more and more of your subscribers start opting out, try to determine the potential cause of this mass unsubscribes. Once you determine the cause, try adjusting and making changes to your approach. Also, consider stopping or sending fewer emails to your subscribers that are not active.
9) If People Stop Opening your Messages, figure out the Problem right away
Whenever your open rate starts decreasing, it simply means you’re not meeting the expectations of your recipients. You should start preparing for worse results in the coming days. Having lesser open rates only means that unsubscribes and spam complaints are coming. You should figure out what the problem is, along with suppressing your unengaged and unresponsive subscribers. Doing so will give email providers the impression that you are responsive and is listening to feedback. Try experimenting with different kinds of emails that you send to your subscribers, and determine if whether or not you can make improvements on your open rates.
10) If People Start marking you as Spam, Identify the Source of the Problem Right Away
If you’ve come to a point where your subscribers are starting to mark you as spam, you need to stop sending email to these people right away. Right now, your reputation is at grave risk, and you could potentially be blacklisted because of this. Whether the reason for the complaints stem from wrong forms, a new source, or not meeting expectations of your subscribers, you should slow things down or ultimately put an end to sending out emails until you figure out the problem.
On the other end, not getting unsubscribed or receiving spam complaints is good. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re safe from trouble. The messages you’re receiving could actually be going straight ahead to your recipient’s junk folder.
11) Your Subject Line should have a Touch of Thoughtfulness
Just like writing a blog title, you should NEVER resort to adding clickbait on your email subject lines. Whenever people click on your email message and then immediately exit when they realize that your content doesn’t match what your subject line promised, your click-through rates are going to suffer severely.
To get the best results, personalize and customize your subject lines. Make beautiful subject lines while still maintaining that level of genuineness. You can also experiment and make use of emojis to make your subject line a lot more attractive.
Pro tip: Before pressing “send,” read your subject lines out loud. Afterwards, ask yourself, “would you be willing to open that email if it was sent to you?”
12) Always Remember: Email Marketing is Getting Harder, but it still Works Wonders
Engagement rates are slipping each and every year, and it’s getting a lot harder to be able to reach people’s inboxes successfully. Despite all these complications, it isn’t an indication that email marketing is losing its touch. These factors are just signals that email marketing is getting more and more competitive. The split between marketers who are aware of what they are doing and those who are not is growing at a rapid pace. Make sure you keep testing different email marketing strategies, as well as putting an effort to keeping your subscribers active and engaged for the most of your campaign.
Test, Experiment, & Dominate
As you might have noticed, there have been two recurring themes on all of these mentioned guidelines. These are testing and experimenting. Always put in the back of your mind that every audience and contacts database is different, which is why you need to do something about it and not make a mistake by sending the same thing to all of your subscribers. Make an effort on testing different kinds of strategies and using them accordingly to your subscribers’ behavior and how they engage with your emails. That way, you are more likely to maintain a healthy list of subscribers and work your way towards a successful email marketing campaign.
How’s your email marketing campaign going? Do you have other strategies in mind? Share them with us now by sending us a message at email@example.com.