With over 144 billion emails sent each and every day, email marketing remains one of the elite channels for business communication. So how does the signal separate itself from the noise?
Did you know that there are 3x more email accounts than Facebook & Twitter accounts combined? Or that you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from email than Twitter?
As a savvy marketer, you’ve probably seen the reports that show email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel available and you’re probably keen to start using it to drive sales and revenue for your business.
But how exactly do you get started? What are the steps you need to take to get up and running with email and ensure your campaigns are a success?
To be sure, finding the key to a stand-out message is critical to your bottom line— whether that bottom line is cold, hard cash or community engagement or anything in between. What follows are eight inbox-tested email marketing strategies that successful senders have used to get their emails clicked.
No more “Dear [INSERT NAME HERE]”.
The practice of personalized email greetings is not nearly as effective as it may seem. In fact, research by Temple’s Fox School of Business suggests that this particular kind of personalization could be harmful.
“Given the high level of cyber security concerns about phishing, identity theft, and credit card fraud, many consumers would be wary of emails, particularly those with personal greetings.”
A significant element of email marketing is relationship. Does a recipient trust you? Does a recipient even know who you are? When an email jumps the gun by forcing familiarity too soon, the personalization comes across as skeevy. Intimacy is earned in real life, and it would appear to be the same way with email.
Faking familiarity with the subscriber turns many wary email readers off. But this isn’t to say that all forms of personalization are off-limits. In fact, a particular brand of personalization can pay off big time: Sending email that acknowledges a subscriber’s individuality (e.g., purchase history or demographic). A study also found that product personalization, in which customers are directed to products that their past purchasing patterns suggest they will like, triggered positive responses in 98 percent of customers.
The takeaway here is that if you are to use personalization as an email strategy, do so in a meaningful way.
When it comes to deciding how to craft that perfect subject line, there appears to be really only one area to avoid: the subject line of 60 to 70 characters. Marketers refer to this as the “dead zone” of subject length. According to research by Adestra, which tracked over 900 million emails for its report, there is no increase in either open rate or clickthroughs at this 60-to-70 character length of subject line.
Conversely, subject lines 70 characters and up tested to be most beneficial to engage readers in clicking through to the content, and subject lines 49 characters and below tested well with open rate.
In fact, Adestra found that subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58%. So the question becomes: Do you want to boost clicks (response) or opens (awareness)? Go long for clickthroughs; keep it short for opens.
Either way, a helpful email strategy is to squeeze out more words or cut back just a bit to avoid that 60 to 70 character dead zone.
While many a quality email may be built during business hours, the ones with the best open rates aren’t being sent from 9 to 5. The top email strategy is to send at night.
In their quarterly email report for 2012’s fourth quarter, Experian Marketing Services found that the time of day that received the best open rate was 8:00 p.m. to midnight. This block not only performed better for open rate (a respectable 22 percent) but also for clickthrough and sales.
Inbox crowding and the deployment times of other marketers go hand-in-hand; if your email goes out when few others do, it stands a greater chance of getting noticed (so quick, start sending between 8:00 and midnight before everyone else catches on).
Optimal mailing for your customers’ needs will be up to you. Test, test, and test some more to find out how your customer ticks and when he/she opens email.