Haters gonna hate they say, which applies to email marketing just as to any other marketing methods. Often the people who say they hate email marketing are people who are fed up with it themselves. Either they received too many newsletters or the ones they received had such bad quality that all email marketing started having a negative tone. Yet there is a good reason why companies are still doing it: email marketing works. According to a study published recently by McKinsey & Company Email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.
In order for email marketing to work well it needs be done well. Just as with any other marketing methods, it's easy to get caught up with old habits and repeat methods that were once proven good. Instead of just sticking with what feels comfortable email marketers should experiment and try out different things. To help you boost your email marketing for the upcoming year we decided to provide the readers of our blog tips to improve and upgrade their email marketing.
6 tips to improve your email marketing
1. Segmentation and targeting subscribers
Segmenting subscribers is a fairly simple way to target your newsletters better. However, if you decide to collect additional information about your subscribers make sure your newsletters reflect this information. If you are interested to know your subscribers' age or where they live, utilize this information to improve and segment your content. To do so you might want to use content filtering which enables you to use segmented content blocks in your newsletters. These segmented blocks display different versions of your letter based on subscriber info, such as a special offer for people living in certain town or products only for people over 60 years of age. Content filtering is an easy and resource-saving method to improve your targeting since you only need to compose your newsletter once and a filtered content is shown based on subscriber information.
You may also map out subscriber preferences by asking them about the preferred frequency of emails, for example. According to a study published by BlueHornet last year email frequency remains the top reason for unsubscribing from an email program. While asking your subscribers about the preferred frequency of emails also ask them why they unsubscribe by adding a drop down of reasons next to the unsubscribe button. These reasons might give you valuable information on how to develop your content and communications further.
Recent studies have shown that more than half of email opens worldwide take place on mobile devices. Yet a surprisingly small amount of newsletters are designed responsive. By taking your subscribers into better consideration you also give your own content the best possible visibility. If a subscriber has to struggle to see your content a half of their interest will most likely disappear on the way. Your polished top-content will thus never have the change it was supposed to.
3. Landing sites and A/B testing
A well made newsletter is an excellent starting point yet it doesn't work on its own. While improving and perfecting your newsletter also pay attention on where the reader is directed to after they click on a link. According to studies landing sites make email marketing much more effective and help achieving the desired goals. They also give a logical journey to the reader: instead of throwing your subscribers on the company's front page you may design and optimize the content and layout of the landing page specifically to a group of people. Thus much more advantages may be achieved.
A/B testing may be used for the optimization of both landing sites and newsletters. In newsletters it could be utilized to find the best subject line, for example. In such a scenario the email program will A/B test different alternatives of the heading on a test group after which the better alternative is sent to the rest of the group. Similar methods of A/B testing may also be used for landing pages.
4. Enrichment of subscriber lists and opt-in
Updating your subscriber lists and maintaining the quality of the lists is without a doubt one of the most crucial success factors in email marketing. In addition to keeping your lists up-to-date also remember to collect opt-in subscribers. Opt-in subscribers, in other words people who free-willingly subscribe to your newsletter themselves are usually your most loyal readers and most interested in your content. In many cases opt-in-lists represent the only option since using rented or purchased lists might be forbidden or the quality of those list might be poor.
You may also enrich your subscriber list by trying to activate non-active subscribers or by offering more content to those who are specially interested. One of the ways to do it is to sort subscribers into smaller groups such as people who haven't been active in the last year and send them a campaign asking "Do you still wish to receive our newsletters or do you want to unsubscribe/how could we serve you better" etc. Doing such campaigns is a much better option than trying to hide your unsubscribe-link or maintaining subscribers on your list who never click on your links or open up your newsletters. All in all it is an active and up-to-date subscriber database you want to achieve. On the other hand your most active subscribers might be willing to receive even more content and newsletters from you.
5. The quality of your content
If you are not quite satisfied with your Click-Through-Rates (CTR) it might come down to the content you produce. Sometimes it might even be the smallest things that matter, such as the tone of your writing or the kind of language you use. Perhaps your subscribers would prefer softer selling or less persuasive texts? Improving the quality of your content is a continuous process that takes time but pays off given that you have the motivation and urge to develop your content further.
6. Learning best practices
There's nothing wrong about learning best practises from others, quite the opposite actually. Learning from others doesn't mean you have to copy exactly what the others are doing yet you might get valuable ideas and discover things you want to apply in your digital marketing efforts. For new ideas and inspiration we recommend that email marketers subscribe to many different newsletters themselves. Luckily with email marketing you don't have to guess if your changes are working out but instead you can always measure and test the choices you make. So as a digital marketer be brave, test, explore and learn from others.