There have been rumors over the past several years that email was dead. It’s not. As Mark Twain once famously said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” While many insist that email is not the marketing juggernaut it once was, it remains the top way to reach clients and potential customers directly, for the lowest cost and with the most effective results.
Knowing how to maintain your list and tweak your offers to get the best results can improve your odds of scoring sales through your existing campaigns, and put new campaigns on the right footing for success.
Start by tuning up your list.
Emails change, subscribers block your messages, domains become extinct and a lot of the names you collect will only be valuable to you for a season. Sending to names that aren’t eager to receive your messaging leads to complaints, bounced messages and uses up costly volume for those working in limited email programs with a set number of messages per month.
If your current email service provider does not automatically verify and scrub your list of bad emails, you might consider switching. Here are some features we like about mailchimp. Other email providers support automated list checking and removal of addresses feeding into spam filters and other negative behaviors.
- Set your system to automatically scrub your list, or find an email verification service to run your list through on a regular basis.
- Removing bad and spam reporting addresses will make your other messages less likely to get caught in spam filters or bounce.
- Keeping your list up-to-date ensures the best response and conversion rates from your email campaigns.
Spend more time on your subject lines
Like headlines,email marketing subject lines are key to open rates. Subject lines that are personal, sound intriguing and build curiosity lead to better opens. One of the most effective we’ve seen read “A message from your future self”, who’s not going to find out what that’s about? Your subject also needs to be appropriate for the message. If you are cold contacting, start an idea that finishes in the email, or ask a compelling question. If you are talking to insiders, get straight to the point and let them know what the message is about up front.
- Personalize your messaging, especially when dealing with new, or cold contacts. Use the recipient’s name in the subject.
- Put your most important information up front, 30% of your emails are likely opened in mobile and your subject line may get cut off.
Optimize your sending times
Even in a 24-hour digital world, your message is competing with hundreds, or thousands of other emails in your subscriber’s inbox. Making sure it arrives at the best time will make it more likely to be opened. You’ll need to test to find the best times and days for your list. It varies widely from one audience to another. Mailchimp did some detailed analysis based on their tool that you can find here. Testing for times is fairly simple.
- Divide your list in two equal groups, send to one in the AM, and the second in the PM.
- Based on your results, send your next message during the half of the day that got the best results,and divide it into more specific times.
- Continue testing until you narrow down the best send time for your audience.
Pre qualify your audience with a double-opt in list
Email spam regulations require that you include only those addresses on your marketing list that have “opted in” or requested to be put on your list. Most marketers use what is known as a double opt-in. This method requires a confirmation from the receiver, before they are added to the list. It may seem counterintuitive, since adding this extra step is sure to lose you some subscribers, but better qualified leads lead to better conversion rates.
- Each action your leads take to become a part of your list builds further trust and is an indication of true interest in what you have to offer.
- Asking subscribers to confirm leads to better open rates, fewer bounced messages, and less spam filtering.
- You eliminate many who may have been curious but would never have been serious potential customers.
Divide your list into segments
It may sound impressive to have a 100,000 email subscribers, but the real value in a list is knowing what to offer to each subscriber. Many email programs will help you track who responded to which messages, giving you more insight into which offers, products, events and information your subscribers are likely to respond to. Instead of making every email one-size-fits-all, you can tailor each message to a narrower audience. Segment your list to make the most out of your leads.
- Communicate more or less frequently, depending on subscriber’s preferences.
- Offer different products and services to new, versus previous customers.
- Offer the same services and products, using different copy and imaging, depending on audience, for increased conversions.
Focus on one clear call to action with each message
Common wisdom tends to move us toward sending fewer emails. While flooding your subscribers inbox is probably not the best way to get positive reactions, it’s important to make sure that every single marketing email has a point. What do you want your subscribers to do after reading your email? Try to focus on one clear cut “call to action” or “ask” for each message.
- Time is precious. Get to the point and make it clear. Buy this, download that, get my book today. Make sure they know what you want and keep it simple.
- Making multiple offers in the same email can be confusing. Save upgrades and extensions for your point of sale, rather than putting them in the email.
- Confusing or unclear calls to action are the best way to end up deleted. More than one of these in a row is enough for most people to unsubscribe.
Applying these simple tips and staying on top of your email marketing will produce better results. The key to improving your marketing efforts is consistency. By maximizing what you are already doing, you will make the best of your marketing dollars and schedule.