Email marketing is not dead. In fact, your email list is the most important asset you have for your business. It allows you to communicate important information to your customers and market effectively to your prospects. However, despite it being your number one asset, you’d be amazed at how many people don’t test their email campaigns for optimization. According to the MarketingSherpa, only 42% of people surveyed test and optimize their email campaigns. Yikes!
You want people to open your email and you want them to click on links within it, and you also want them to share it.
What are the things to test for best optimization?
- Subject line (phrase and length) – Successful subject lines are brief (fewer than 50 characters) , branded (your company name) and truthful to the intention of the email. Many marketers experiment with this as it is the easiest thing to change when sending out a mass mailing.
- Message (greeting, body, closing) – Consider where people are reading the content. Most read on iPads or mobile phones. Consider where they are reading it too. If you send it out at 11am, chances are most people are reading it at work.
- Layout and images – Although this is the most labor intensive, experimenting with color, image fonts, layout and size of images can lead to better conversion rates. What if your call-to-action button was going unnoticed because it was too small or at the bottom of the email? Make it prominent, larger, and if you can’t adjust the size, put it in multiple places. Experiment with it with different segments.
- Call-to-Action (CTA) – If they clicked and opened your email, what do you want them to do once they’ve done that? Do you want them to click on a link? Share the email with a friend? Tweet something? Spell it out and put it above the fold. According to Silverpop, B2B companies who had a CTA below the fold experienced a 58% lower click thru rate than those who put a CTA above the fold. Try doing an A/B test by sending one email out with the CTA above the fold and one with the CTA below the fold and see which gets more clicks.
- Day of the week sent – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays are the best days to send email messages because people aren’t just coming back from a long weekend and catching up on their email (Monday) and aren’t eager to clock out for the weekend (Friday). However, every business is different which is why some marketers experiment with this and try sending things out on Sunday night or Friday mornings.
- Time of day sent – Early morning is best (2am – 9am) even if you serve more than one time zone. You can also split up your email by geo segment if you are truly concerned about the time the email is delivered.
- Personalization – Everyone likes to see their name in print. The terms customer, service provider, advocate, etc, are boring and don’t make the end user feel special. You don’t just have to use the personalization in the salutation, use it within the text. Historically, including a person’s name has increased open rates as high as 30%. See the Obama campaign email below.
- Landing page – If you have a CTA or any link for that matter that you want someone to click on, the landing page it takes them to had better say what you promised with out a lot of hoops and marketing mumbo jumbo. That’s all I am going to say on this subject.
- Target Audience – B2C (business to consumer) companies have an easier time segmenting their customers and are thus more able to test different messaging than B2B (business to business) companies. But this doesn’t mean that B2B can’t segment what they have.
- From line – Rule of thumb is to include your company name so that people know it is coming from you. If you send weekly emails then you may want to differentiate who it comes from every week so that people don’t experience burn out. This tactic is quite successful for daily/weekly emails. Look at HubSpot or the Obama campaign – both send out emails from different people all the time. They mix up the “from line” so that you think it’s not coming from the same person all the time.
- Mobile layout – If the majority of your constituents are reading your email on a mobile phone then consider one or no images, short paragraphs of three sentences or less, and bullet points with concise text. How do you know where they are reading it from – you can check your CTA links on your website and check the Google Analytics there.
- Enable sharing (social and digital) – they clicked, they opened, and now what? You just want them to close the email and be done with it? No! You want them to forward it, tweet it, post to Facebook, “like” it, Pin it, and more. Make it easy for them to share with links or small icons. And limit the number of icons you put there. The fewer the better. I wouldn’t put more than two.
Keep in mind, what works for one company may not work for your company. Test a sub-segment of your target audience with new creative to determine what works and what doesn’t. Good luck!