Throughout 2015, email marketing continued to prove its worth as an excellent marketing medium. Already known as a fast and inexpensive way to generate leads, research by the McKinsey Group, further proved that email marketing is 40 times more effective at generating new customers than social media.
This success may contribute to the annual increase in the volume of commercial email traffic. It’s expected to go up in 2016 as it has gone up by 7% since 2014 and by 16% since 2013. This means your subscribers will be bombarded with even more emails, and in the quest to control their inboxes, it may lead to less engagement. The increased volume also means email clients will continue to refine their algorithms to get better at filtering out spam.
With 2015 drawing to a close, here are five suggestions to improve engagement and stay out of the spam folder in 2016.
Track the (Right) Metrics
Compared to other digital marketing methods, the success or failure of email marketing is more easily measured. But this also means small business owners tend to measure metrics that have little impact on business success.
10%? 25%? What is a ‘good’ open rate? Open rates can vary widely depending on the campaign type, goals, subscriber base etc. Rather than looking at certain metrics in isolation, this data should be compared with other metrics. Rather than obsessing over open rates, focus on comparing the open rates with your click-throughs. Did one campaign have a high open rate but low CTR? This may indicate that the headline was good enough to attract the click, but the content/CTA was dull or boring.
Knowing this information will allow you craft better email content and campaigns.
Using Autoresponders vs. One-Time Emails
The standard idea of email marketing involves creating individual newsletter content and sending it out to subscribers. But with open rates averaging 17%, this type of email marketing can soon start to feel like a waste of time.
To get around this, smart marketers create autoresponder sequences that are triggered only after a specific action or event occurs. A common example is the thank you message sent after a subscriber signs up to your list.
A well-written autoresponder can help you gauge the specific needs of your subscribers. Over the course of the sequence, subscribers can be moved through different sales funnels depending on their individual activity.
Personalization vs. Email Blasts
Does your small business send out email blasts, to inform leads and customers about your new products? I bet the conversions on those type of emails are appalling. With subscribers bombarded by so many distractions, marketers find that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise to reach them. This means those email blasts are less effective than they used to be.
But by personalizing an email campaign, up to six times more revenue can be generated. Most email platforms allow you gather detailed subscriber data, whether it’s by demographics, location, interests etc. This data will allow you segment subscribers into groups and create more targeted messages/campaigns.
Note: Whatever you do, avoid the mistake of failing to place the customer’s name at the top of the email. One of the quickest ways to lose a lead is to send an email that starts with “Hey |first name|”
Surviving Being Graymailed
If your emails are not getting clickthroughs, you may be ‘guilty’ of sending graymail. Graymail is email that your subscribers opted-in to receive at some point, but don’t really want anymore. While not technically considered spam, there is just a total lack of engagement with these emails.
Businesses often send out coupons and special offers to re-engage with subscribers, but subscribers don’t always engage with that content. This low engagement can lead to the email clients automatically sending email from known graymail senders, a.k.a you, straight to the spam folder. This can affect your overall email deliverability and skew your reporting as the emails are sent and delivered, but they’re not necessarily seen by the subscriber.
To re-engage your subscribers, forget about offering deals for a moment, and try these:
- ask them for feedback; replies indicate they’re still interested in your content.
- ask them to update their subscriber information.
- offer them exclusive content.
Fix Your CTR
When all is said and done, fixing your CTR should be your number one task for 2016. Are you sending emails but nobody’s actually clicking through on the call to action? This can be really frustrating especially on a medium that is supposed to be one of the most effective for customer engagement.
A low CTR on your emails could be due to one of many reasons including not being optimized for mobile devices, containing ‘walls’ of text, poorly written subject lines etc. Some readers are just too impatient to read your entire message. For these people, try tweaking the placement of your call-to-action. You can move it to a more prominent position in the email or simply include multiple CTA links throughout the e-mail.
These may seem like a lot of elements to worry about, but remember that they are all directed towards engaging your subscribers and getting them to take an action. If your content addresses a pain-point, it will get read and your CTAs will get clicked.
Whether you choose to write funny, boring, serious or friendly emails, focus on consistently delivering value in your communication. Let Search and More help you jump-start your email marketing in 2016, contact us here today.