Update Your Email Marketing Tactics for Better Results
Email marketing gets a bad rap. I freely admit I delete everything in my inbox without really reading the subject line, even if the emails come from companies I already know and trust. Not even my favorite bands get my full attention when they send out email updates. What happens when I get emails from companies with which I’m not familiar? A lot of grumbling, sure. And if I have time, I click that little unsubscribe button at the bottom and end my torture within 7 to 14 days (as they update their database, of course.)
In spite of my feelings on email marketing, which probably match the sentiments of the vast majority, online retailers have quadrupled the rate of customers acquired through email, according to a new study by Custora. Clearly, people still read emails and make purchases as a result. So, how can you leverage that information for your company? How can you overcome the terrible spammy stigma and improve your email marketing tactics?
In the immortal words of Marshall Mathers, “You only get one shot; do not miss your chance.” The From field and Subject lines are all you get to convince potential customers to read your email. Personalizing the emails with your name in the From field is a great idea, but be sure to also include your company name. If you place your brand name in the Subject field before the actual subject of the message, you’ll waste valuable space that could be used to hook your readers. For instance:
From: Jen at IMA
Subject: I Now Have All the Room I Need to Get My Point Across!
Your subject should be tailored to your target audience, too. Trendy terms won’t convince older buyers to click, just as stuffy vocab will turn away your millennial consumers. If your product is a crossover that will reach just about any age, gender, and economic status (the Snuggie, anyone?), develop several different emails with test subject lines for each age range, economic background, and even gender. Is it more work? Of course. But if you can convince more people to open that email upon seeing the subject, the time spent on targeting your marketing will be will worth it.
Beyond the First Glance
Your subject line is incredibly important to your email open rate, but it’s not the only thing you have going for you. Many email programs now support a preview, whether it’s one line of the email body directly after the subject or a larger look in a hover screen. That means you get yet another chance to hook your potential buyers before they can hit that delete key.
To take advantage of this email preview, you must devise the perfect opening line of your email. Echoing the subject is a Bad Idea, with capital letters and everything. Why would you waste such an enormous opportunity to tell your readers more before they even open your message? If your subject didn’t hook them the first time, you’ve lost your shot by simply repeating those words. Let’s look at a possibility for the Snuggie, because…well, why not?
From: Brit and her Snuggie
Subject: Lower Your Heating Bills This Winter!
Preview: Buy One Get One means everyone stays warm…
So far, we’ve personalized the email by sending from a real person named Brit. We’ve identified the company or product without taking up valuable space on the subject line. We offer a significant value proposition in the subject line with the seductive idea of lowering heating bills. Finally, if readers aren’t hooked enough, we promise free stuff in the preview. Anyone in the market for a Snuggie, or lowering heating bills, or free stuff in general would be hard pressed to pass this up.
Keep Track of Metrics
The only way to truly improve your open rate is to keep track of what doesn’t work. Why spin your wheels with the same techniques over and over when you don’t have solid proof they’re successful? When sending out emails with various subject lines, keep track of which receive more engagement, from the open to the purchase. Note the language that seems to reach your buyers and avoid vocabulary that doesn’t prompt clicks.
Set up testing charts where you can keep track of the percentages. It won’t be long before you see definite patterns. This will help you better target future email marketing campaigns, and that’s the only true, guaranteed way to improve your email open rate.
photo credit: hegarty_david via photopin cc