Freya Ruane, Marketing Coordinator at HdK Associates shares some suggestions and tips on how you can assess and improve your current email marketing campaigns. In the mass of marketing emails people receive on a daily basis, it’s important to ensure that your emails are the ones that reach out and engage audiences.
Social media can often be the main focus for digital marketers. However, with 99% of consumers confirming that they check their emails every day (Hubspot, 2020), it’s important to consider allocating time and resources to this effective communication channel. When used well, email marketing is an excellent tool to help maintain and sustain relationships with existing audiences, as well as to engage and develop connections with new audiences. However, this can be challenging to get right. Here are some top tips on how you can develop your email marketing strategy and optimise your results.
Analyse Your Audience
Who has recently signed up to your emails? Who is reading your emails? Who is ignoring your emails? It is essential not to identify your audience as one body of people, similarly to advertising. You should explore the different audiences that are receiving your marketing emails. Identifying and segmenting your audience is a great way to access and improve your email campaigns. Look at your subscription list and determine who are your active audiences, who is a new audience member and who is ignoring your emails. By understanding your audience, you can start adapt the content of your campaigns to best appeal to them.
Always Identify Clear Objectives
To ensure that you are using the appropriate language, style and content, it is important to know what you are looking to achieve from your email campaign. Here are three popular objectives that you can use to outline your approach:
- Awareness – Building brand awareness, letting people know about your performance, tour or event, creating brand loyalty
- Engagement – Developing relationships, expressing personality
- Conversion – Selling tickets, attracting donations, encouraging people to take a specific action
By outlining the objective of your email campaign, it will enable you to clarify your content and develop clear calls to action that resonate with your audiences. For instance, with our client Dance Consortium, we develop email campaigns that transition with the development of their current tour. The initial email builds awareness around the tour and company, while the follow up focuses on engaging readers with new assets, such as feature videos. For the third stage, we opt for content that will encourage ticket sales
Content and Design
Like most aspects of marketing, content is key! The content included in your email campaign will vary depending on the style and objective, for instance:
- Newsletters (Engagement) – Developing relationships with existing audiences
- Welcome Emails (Awareness) – Reaching out to new audiences, introducing the company/organisation
- Campaign Emails (Conversion) – Campaign emails may be specific to a particular event/product or have a clear call to action for audiences
In this way, you can tailor your content so that it reflects your overall goal and intention.
However, it is important to remember that content has to provide real value to your subscribers, not only focused on promotion. Only 14% of email subscribers feel that the majority of the emails they receive are relevant to them. To stand out, you should approach your audience emphatically, understanding their needs and how they might change. For instance, in unprecedented times like these, it is important to adapt your email campaigns to reflect what audiences might be looking for and relevant information that could be of value or entertainment. The length of content can vary, however, it has been suggested that 200 words is the best for conversion rates.
As with all digital platforms, there are always new trends in content and design, so make sure you experiment and try out different styles. The layout and presentation of content helps to tell the story of a particular product, company or event. It should guide the audience clearly and be easy to navigate. Here are some tips :
- Make your image central
- Use animations to grab attention (but make sure you test this on different email formats to ensure all recievers can see the information clearly)
- Use still image with click through to video
- Clear and single call to action. Make sure your call to action button is easy to click and easily visible
- Remember to check your design on different devices. Up to 60% of email opens are on mobile devices (Campaign Monitor) and 42.3% of consumers will delete an email if it isn’t optimized for mobile (Backlinko).
Another essential aspect to having an effective email campaign is getting the information to the audience at the right time. You know your audience, you have great content, so the next step is ensuring that you reach them at the perfect time. Many email marketing softwares provide analytics that can help you determine the optimal time to send out email marketing.
Research suggests that Tuesday has highest email open rates (18.3%), whist Saturday is determined to be the worst for open rates (17.5%) (Campaign Monitor). However, make sure that you analyse your results and assess your audiences’ patterns.
Another common concern is how many emails should you be sending audiences? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. However, research suggests that 1 to 2 emails per week tends to be an effective place to start (SmartrMail). Like all things though, this may depend on your goals, brand and company. Therefore, try out different approaches and see what works for you and your audience.
TEST, TEST, TEST
To keep improving and developing your open rates and engagement with your marketing emails, you will need to monitor their development through analytics and testing. Monitor open and click-through rates, user engagement revenue and ROI. Analyse your results by highlighting review stages, establishing high and low points to review and draw conclusions on what works and what does not.
A study found that ‘Email marketers split test less than 50% of their campaigns’ (Salecycle, 2020). Like with social media posts and advertisements, you need to try out different methods, audiences and content. Split tests are a great way to determine which content is the most effective – vary your content, design, subject lines and call to action language to find out what resonates best. When carrying out a split test, it’s important to set yourself a clear and measurable hypothesis. Here are some examples of tests that can be useful, in refining and establishing your approach:
- Does the language we use on call-to-actions change our conversion rates?
- Should we use emojis in subject lines?
- What affects open rates (from names, subject line)?
- What affects engagement (content and design)?
- How many emails to send per month (split audience)?
The most essential tip to take from this blog is TESTING. We find ourselves in unprecedented times and it can be useful to use this opportunity to reflect, analyse and test your email marketing. Emails provide direct and personal contact with your audiences, so it’s a great opportunity for trialling, adapting and refining your approach.