Marketers, like anyone in any other sector for that matter, need to exploit opportunities that allow for more to be done with less. Email marketing is one such opportunity, boasting the possibility of increasing ROI by an enormous 4,300% (Statistics from Direct Marketing Association). Companies, on average, are attributing 23% of their total sales to email marketing whilst only investing 16% of their total marketing budget on email (Statistics from Econsultancy.)
Clearly then, if done right, email can generate great revenue for businesses from not very much investment. But what exactly is it that makes a great emailer?
In this blog post I will take you through the three critical stages for a successful email campaign; open rates, click through rates and conversions, and how to optimise each for the best possible results.
The first and arguably most important hurdle that an email campaign has to clear is engaging enough with consumers for them to even open your email. If this isn’t achieved your campaign will sink before it even had the chance to sail.
The first step to ensuring recipient engagement is to consider who is going to receive your email. The same offer and information will not necessarily appeal or even be relevant to different demographics, locations and genders. It is important to consider segmenting your contact list and to adapt the email to each group and target audience. Rip Curl does this very well.
A campaign must have an optimised “from name”, subject header and preheader that entice the recipient. Take a look at the example below:
‘Trainline’ is a “from name” that consumers will be familiar with and happy to receive frequent emails from. However, if you are sending an email to a cold contact list for the first time, give your campaign a “from name” that will exude trustworthiness e.g. your business name rather than your own name, which people are less likely to recognise.
The second weapon in an emailer’s arsenal (and is the most potent and important device in driving opens) is the subject line. This line should summarise what sort of benefit will come from opening your email. Most device and mail applications visually highlight this line, by making it bold, and thus drawing our attention to the fact that it significantly affects open rates. It needs to be appetising to prevent people swiping right and removing your email from their sight!
When considering a subject line the first thing to be aware of is the length. A typical iPhone can fit around 30 characters and it is imperative that this isn’t exceeded; all the bait needs to show within a 30 character limit. Additionally, a recent study by Campaign Monitor has shown that by personalising the subject line an email is 26% more likely to be opened by the recipient.
The third factor in optimising an email campaign for open rates is the preheader. This, in short, should compliment and build on what has already been introduced in the subject line. They should work together to entice the recipient even further to open the email with not to miss benefits and solutions.
Thus, concise, custom and complimentary seems to be the formula to be followed to ensure maximum possible open rates.
A strong steady growth in smartphone usage has resulted in a reduction in human’s attention span. Microsoft recently undertook a study that has confirmed this: 2000 individuals’ brain activity was monitored by researchers who discovered the average adult attention span has fallen from twelve seconds in 2000, which coincidentally was around the time that the ‘Mobile Revolution’ began, to a mere eight seconds today – even a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds!
Furthermore, in 2012 there were 1.9 billion mobile devices and this total is set to reach 2.6 billion by the end of 2016, (Instiller.) It is not surprising then that over 73% of emails these days are being opened on mobile devices, (Econsultancy), and a staggering 71.2% of users immediately deleting an email if it does not display correctly (Instiller).
This translates for marketers, and email marketers in particular, as one simple message; responsive and engaging email design is no longer optional.
In the wake of this, Campaign Monitor has suggested the inverted triangle approach, (as shown by the grey triangle on the featured emailer), to maximise recipient interest in the shortest time possible to stir a call to action (CTA) being followed.
Climax Promotions demonstrate this approach perfectly:
The recipient can quickly scan this email and clearly understand what is being offered and how to access this.
Visually too the design compliments what is trying to be achieved; the viewer’s eye is funnelled down to the CTA which stands out and clearly states what is does.
There is also continuity between the brand’s website and this campaign. It is probable that when someone receives an emailer they will already be familiar with the brand in question, and will in all likeliness have had interaction with it on one level or another. Continuity and familiarity strengthen a brand and goals a recipient to click through, as visually they trust the email.
The content in Climax Promotion’s email itself is also inducing. Buzz words such as “surprise”, “only”, “premier” and “looking huge” give this campaign the feel of exclusivity and a sense of urgency in an attempt to persuade the recipient that it’s more than just an event promotion.
A sense of urgency to is instilled in the reader with the necessity of buying a ticket. Scarcity can be used to enhance this: a strong example of would be something along the lines of “only one day left” or “when they are gone they are gone!”
To maintain recipient engagement after the email has been opened, the offering and benefits that it will bring to the recipient need to be communicated in the simplest and quickest way possible whilst driving a sense of necessity.
Hence, to optimise an email campaign to maximise click through rates the content needs to be clear, compelling and coherent (as well as sitting nicely on the page.)
If your email is successfully opened and the CTA receives clicks, the battle still is not yet won.
About half of all people that visit a landing page from emails will leave the site in the first eight seconds, thus causing most of the efforts that email marketers have gone through to get this all important click through to be wasted.
Silverpop has conducted a study in which they analysed the effectiveness of 150 landing pages. Their findings show that from clicking the CTA to purchasing or registering, it is vital that the opener’s path is uninterrupted, simple and focused.
Silverpop discovered that too frequently landing pages contain distractions and difficulties for converting customers. Similar to the email itself, the landing page needs to grab the visitor immediately.
I have narrowed it down to three simple boxes that need to be checked to ensure your landing page is optimised to secure the highest number of converting customers:
The first of these and most vital is that the landing page needs to mirror and repeat the email. This will help to reinforce the conversion by reiterating to the recipient what the offering of your campaign is and keeping the path of the opener focused; make your goal easy to achieve by making the CTA very obvious and easy.
The second box on the checklist is to explain any forms you may be using. If you need any information from the subscriber it needs to be clear why you need this. Additionally, the shorter you can keep these forms the better, long and unexplained forms have a high rate of abandonment due to user frustration.
The third box to tick is to stick to your words. Whatever was offered in the preceding email must be offered on the landing page, and offered clearly. If this is not the case the whole campaign will have been pointless and can indeed cause more harm than good. It can result in high unsubscription rates thus hindering future email campaigns. The resulting bad user experience will harm your brand and create an air of mistrust.
Subsequently, it appears then that continuity, clarity and commitment are the blueprints needed to optimise your landing page for the highest chance of consumer conversion.
So there you have it: an all-encompassing recipe to improve upon your open rates, click through rates and ultimately to generate more conversions from your email marketing efforts.
Email is an extremely versatile platform that can be shaped to fit any campaign and for any audience and If these steps are followed correctly, email marketing offers a fantastic opportunity to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.
Here at Rooster, we can help elevate your email campaigns and ensure that they stand out. Discover more about our email marketing.
We utilise a number of time-tested, and industry proven tactics to drive open rates, increase click through rates and ultimately ensure conversions.