12 Jan 7 ways to transform your email marketing strategy
With it’s great ROI and audience targeting, email is still one of the best performing marketing channels.
While it’s not as sexy as social media, or as thrilling as above the line, email should be a priority in your marketing strategy. And the good news is it’s straightforward to optimise, with simple tricks and changes quickly impacting engagement.
So here are my top email marketing tips from my recent experience as an email channel lead and strategist.
If you’re sending blanket emails to huge lists, stop. Spammy, irrelevant emails will quickly lose your customers’ interest and it can be very hard to win them back.
Segment your audience so that you can send more personalised content. Do you know what they’ve bought before? Email them about similar products or sales. Did you capture their email when they expressed an interest in a particular topic or issue? Contact them about that, gradually introducing related, relevant content.
If segmentation is currently out of scope, at the very least you should be personalising your emails by seeding the recipient’s name into the content. You should also send relationship building emails by personally thanking them for completing any actions.
Ideally, only email a customer when you have rich, relevant content to send that you think will be of specific interest to them.
Design for mobile
Mobile first is nothing new, but it doesn’t always filter down to email strategy. Is your email template responsive and optimised for display on mobile? Is your copy short, so that it can be digested on mobile screens? Can your call to action be easily completed on mobile?
Your customers take their mobile everywhere, increasingly researching products and completing transactions on their phones. So make sure that your email content works seamlessly for your growing mobile audience.
Test, test, test
Your audience is your audience. So while general marketing advice is helpful, what your audience specifically reacts to should always impact your email strategy.
A/B tests are easy to set up in most email content management systems and are a quick way to see if a new idea’s cutting it. Think you need to shout more about discounts? Split test this against an email that emphasises quality. Your audience may be more interested in the excellence of your product and put off if it appears cheap.
I run a 24-hour subject line test when an email’s going to an audience large enough to gather good insight. This enables me to not only build a reference bank of effective subject lines, but also continually see what my audience reacts to at any given time.
Be specific about send times
Think about when your audience is most likely to open your email and take your call to action. Hypothesise the best send day and time and test, test, test it.
You may already have a send time that performs well, but you can be more specific. Can you segment your audience by age? For example, sending an email at 11am to retirees and 6pm to catch young urbanites on their way home from work. Do you have an audience that’s most likely to open an email during the week and one that would react better to a weekend send?
When even a small increase in open rate can dramatically impact revenue, it’s well worth continually optimising send times.
Keep subject lines short
This year, more and more of your emails will be opened on mobile, soon outstripping desktop if they don’t already.
Inboxes viewed on mobile show even less of the subject and preview lines. You’ve got even fewer characters (about 27 to fit most mobile screens) to get your customer’s attention. So keep your subject lines short.
Over the past year, I’ve seen short – even one word – subject lines consistently win in split tests. Suggesting that they’re intriguing, attention grabbing and hook that key mobile audience.
Remember the preview line
On key email clients, like Gmail, the first line of your email will be shown next to the subject line in the inbox. This is a great opportunity to grab your customer’s attention, so should always be considered in tandem with the subject line.
It’s a chance to introduce personalisation, integrating the customer’s name or bespoke CTA in the opening sentence. Or to elaborate on a one word subject line, quickly showing why the email’s of interest.
Whatever you do, make sure your email template doesn’t just populate the preview line with autotext like ‘Email not displaying properly?’ or ‘View text only version’.
Don’t be afraid to use gifs and emojis
During my time as a lead email strategist, I saw our audience respond really well to gifs and emojis.
Used in a subject line, an emoji can help your email stand out in the inbox. It can add a sense of fun and intrigue that will get your customer to open the email.
You can win over sceptical stakeholders by using an emoji in several subject line split tests. You’ll then have a bank of evidence to show how your specific audience reacts to them.
Gifs can be a great piece of value-adding content. Thank your audience with a gif that delights. Convey stats or multiple-messaging in a quick, fun way. Jump on a trend with a meme-style gif.
Not all email clients will display gifs, but that shouldn’t put you off. As long as the first frame makes sense as a static image you can send a gif, as any unsupported clients will just show this first frame.
As with all good content, the context should be considered. Emojis and gifs are light-hearted so shouldn’t be used when they’d make your messaging seem insincere or inappropriately flippant.
If you’d like some help with your email or other content strategy, please get in touch.