So you’ve built your mailing list through hard work and perseverance. Now what? That list of emails can be a powerful tool to grow your business, but only if you know how to use it. Luckily, scores of researchers and marketing consultants have done the hard work of figuring out what makes a successful email campaign, so you don’t have to. If you’re not sure how to get started, here are 10 tried and true tips for optimizing your email marketing strategy.
1. Use A/B Testing
Also known as split-testing, A/B testing is a method that uses two versions of the same email to see which is more effective. This is a crucial aspect of email marketing because it gives you real, hard data from your very own subscribers. Rather than guessing what will work for your business, you can use the results of multiple A/B-tested emails to hone your marketing strategy. When A/B testing, only test one element at a time (e.g. subject lines, preview text, body text, etc.).
2. Don’t Neglect Your Subject Line
The subject line is your only opportunity to entice the recipient to open your email. Crafting the perfect subject line takes some practice, which is where A/B testing can come in handy. Subject lines should convey a sense of urgency. They should also pique curiosity while staying relevant to your subscribers’ interests.
3. Personalize the “To” and “From” Fields
Use personalized tokens to address your recipient by name. It might seem simple, but it can go a long way. Personalized emails are reported to get 20-50% more opens. The same goes for the “From” field of your email. Avoid using a “no-reply” prefix on your email address. That way, your recipients can rest assured that you are a real person trying to build connections with other real people.
4. Leverage the “Curiosity Gap”
The curiosity gap is simply the difference between what we don’t know, and what we want to know. It’s a powerful subconscious motivator for most people. In email marketing, you can leverage this through the use of teasing subject lines that omit vital information, which makes the recipient want to open the email to learn more.
It’s the same concept that make those clickbait, cliffhanger-y headlines so compelling to read. Here are some examples:
Subject lines should be interesting enough to motivate the recipient to open your email. It might take several tries before you find the right balance. This is another reason why A/B testing is useful.
5. Aim to be Skimmable
A big wall of text can put off a lot of subscribers. Pay attention to your email’s layout and design, including as much blank space as possible. Limit each email to one or two topics. As for the language of the email itself, the copy should be brief and to-the-point with no unnecessary details or tangents. Cap your paragraphs at three sentences, and use a friendly, common words that are easy for the everyday customer to understand.
6. Stick to One Call to Action Per Email
A call to action (CTA) is simply a device used to get an audience to respond in a certain way. In email marketing, this could be a link or a “Buy Now” button. Every email should be dedicated to one CTA. That doesn’t mean your CTA has to only be in one place. Try placing your CTA in multiple locations, such as your header image, your email copy, and your concluding CTA button. This way, your reader has more opportunities to click.
7. Offer Something of Value
Refrain from shooting off an email to your list just because it’s been a while since your last campaign. Subscribers signed up for your list to get something in return. Therefore, you should make sure you are always giving it to them, whether it’s a flash sale, free ebook, industry news, or something else. When in doubt, ask yourself what you are selling in your email and if it’s something you would be interested in. If your answer to either question is “no,” it might be time to restrategize.
8. Make It Mobile-Friendly
Smartphones haven’t dominated the world quite yet, but they’re well on their way. According to CampaignMonitor.com, mobile users are now responsible for 50% of all opened emails. They are also more likely to delete an email within three seconds if it displays poorly on their devices. Desktop use is projected to decrease as the younger generations age into economically viable adults. Knowing all of this, is there any reason not to go mobile these days?
9. Send Emails at the BEST Time
People are more likely to open emails at certain times of the day over others. Luckily, tons of research has been done on this topic. In general, the following hours are known to be the best times for opening emails:
There are also certain days that are better for emailing than others. Tuesday, Thursday, and Wednesday are reported to be best, in that order. In general, try to aim for the middle of the week when people are paying attention to their inboxes. Your subscribers will likely be busy with errands, family, and leisure activities on the weekends.
10. Use the Double-Opens Strategy
Not every subscriber on your list will engage with an email. Did you know it’s possible to do something about it? If your latest campaign got partial opens (which is pretty likely), try sending the same email with a different subject line a few days later only to the subscribers who didn’t open the first time. This is the double-opens strategy, and it has the potential to increase your engagement by 30%. Those numbers are definitely worth the extra minute of work it takes to try it out.
Bonus: Keep Yourself Updated
As society evolves, so does email marketing. Technology is advancing faster than ever. Strategies that worked last year could be obsolete in the future. Educating yourself on email marketing techniques is only the first step to success. The rest of it comes from staying educated. Keep yourself updated on what works, what doesn’t work, and what your audience wants to continue getting the most out of your mailing list.