We all send and receive a huge number of emails each year. In 2010, 1.9 million e-mailers sent 107 trillion emails – according to web monitoring service Royal Pingdom – so it’s little surprise that more and more businesses are dedicating a portion of their annual marketing budget to email marketing.
The growing popularity of e-marketing is due in part to the fact that it’s measurable – email marketing software can tell companies all types of interesting statistics about the e-shots and e-newsletters they send, including how many customers received them; how many opened them; and which content recipients found most interesting.
Delivering emails to your customers’ inboxes is the easy part. As a marketing agency – with its own email marketing service – we’ve found that companies are finding it more difficult to get their customers to open their e-newsletters.
Email open rates – the percentage of people in your customer database who have opened your email newsletter – are a key signifier of e-marketing success. According to consultancy Email Marketing Reports, average open rates vary from 20 to 40 percent, depending on the industry.
Following some, or all, of my recommendations below will set you off in the right direction to achieve successful e-marketing campaigns.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a subject line – Avoid words like ‘sale’ and ‘free’ as research indicates that people and spam filters dislike them. A good way to increase open rates is to test two different subject titles on a small proportion of your customer database, and then use the most popular title for the remainder of your list.
- Content is king – Fresh, compelling content is likely to get a more positive response than content that’s been regurgitated from old news stories on your website. From experience, linking content to something topical – a relevant TV show, consumer research, etc. – will encourage people to read it.
- Email design is an art and a science – There are plenty of free email design templates available on the internet but if you want to create your own, read up on email design best practices or consult aweb marketing agency (like PRG!).
- Reveal your identity – Customers are more likely to open your emails if they know the sender, so avoid using an info@ email address and instead, use a well-known named person at your company.
- Send regular emails, but don’t spam – Maintain regular contact with your customers but don’t bombard them with emails, otherwise they will quickly unsubscribe from your list. Send emails at a regular frequency – fortnightly, monthly or bi-monthly.
- Time it right – Most web analysts agree that the best days to send emails are Tuesday to Thursday, either first thing in the morning or immediately after lunch. However, different times will work better for different businesses, so try things out to find what works best for you.
- Data building and data cleansing – Email lists that are built in-house generally have a better success rate than bought-in email lists, because your own lists contain subscribers who have requested to hear from you. If you are building email lists yourself, make sure you review and cleanse data regularly.
- Segment your data – Dividing your email database into groups based on your customers’ needs and interests will allow you to target specific groups with relevant content. The more relevant the content, the more likely customers will open your emails.