Ways To Boost Your Email Click Through Rates

Divide and Conquer

click throughHaving a  low click through rate (CTR), similar to having low open rates, can indicate that you have a problem when it comes to the quality of your email list.  If you send the same communications to a unified mailing list, you may be better served to get rid of the ‘one size fits all’ approach and start taking steps to correctly segment it.
Retention and acquisition are the two major email audience segments that you can use.

Acquisition includes individuals who are not converted into customers yet (e.g. have not yet made a purchase).  Sometimes these people are considered to be ‘leads’ and might consist of the email addresses of prospective customers that have been collected via a PPC campaign, lead form or other method or from a purchased email list (which is almost always less effective).  Typically the emails that are sent to this segment include new customer exclusives, re-targeting and aggressive offers.  Email communications for the retention category are sent to registered and existing customers and include special announcements, order confirmation emails, newsletters and welcome emails.

However, there is a much more pronounced difference between the two than merely “current customer” and “non customer.”  You can and should further divide them into sub-segments which is based on time frame and activity volume.  You can nickname these sub-divisions things like Coupon Users, VIP Customers, Inactive Customers, Cold Leads and New Leads.  Every sub-segment and segment has different expectations, so your emails need to take those into consideration.

Don’t send trial service offers to longtime clients or VIP-only offers to somebody who isn’t eligible for it.  Each segment should be sent messages with different frequencies, different wording and different offers.  It does take some practice to do this, but to help you get started with it, begin collecting information on the expectations of your audience segments through focus groups, feedback ratings, reviews and surveys.

Readability

Anywhere from 45% to 75% of all emails are opened on a mobile device thee days.  This means that you need to make sure your emails can be read on all devices and platforms.  That sounds pretty basic, right.  It is, which is why it is so surprising that so many senders are still overlooking it.

Beyond making sure that the design of your emails are responsive, you should take the extra step and look at your emails on various email clients and devices to make sure they are readable.

The following is a partial list of the things you should check for from each of the devices:

– Is the subject line cut off?  If it is, shorten it so the whole thing can be read.

– Do text lines break off in places that are less than optimal, and create obstacles to reading such as lines that have too few words or ones with too many words?  If so, use images or break things up in a different way.

– Is your CTA displayed below-the-fold?  It is very important- you should either shorten your email or add an additional CTA the appears higher in the email.

– Do any of your images look distorted or stretched out?  Make the necessary design change to give your emails a more professional appearance.

– Do your images take a long time to load?  Most people will move on rather than wait for emails to download slowly, especially if they are using expensive cellular data while on the go.  Reduce the amount or sizes of your images.

Make Things Pop

Everybody says to invest in creatives.  That is definitely a no-brainer.  However, the best ways for your emails to be recognizable and memorable is tying them in with all of your other marketing tools.  You need to have additional eye-catching creatives in order to do that.

For both copy and design invest in developing a creative language that is recognizable, which covers all of your consumer communications.  That includes your emails in addition to other online assets like your social media pages and website, along with key offline tools like television ads, brochures and mailed catalogs.

Your plan also needs to take into account special occasions.  During those times it is essential and expected that you will be departing from your usual design.  Using a sightly different color, letter weight or font can gain the instant attention of your regular recipients, prior to the content even being discussed.

Just Say It Already

All good marketing copywriters are aware that you can say one thing in three different ways- the short way, the long way and way that sells.  Frequently, the latter is more concise even than the short way is.  You’ve got lots to offer, now all you need to do is ensure the recipient is aware of that fact by providing him with the essential information using the fewest words that you can.  If you have multiple messages, thinking about breaking these into several different emails and sending them out on different days.

Determine what your key message is.  Then word it in such a way that the value for your recipients is highlighted.  Make sure your call to action appears before the fold (on both mobile devices and PCs).

How To Give Your Email Open Rates A Boost

Sending out regular newsletters and messages to your email list is a great way to stay in touch with your customers, but the best newsletter in the world won’t do anything for you unless your target reads it.

Examine The Root Of The Problem

Email Open Rates
Photo by Yoel Ben-Avraham

Your emails might be being delivered to the spam folders of your recipients.  This can lower your open rates significantly.  The platform that you are using for sending emails may be causing the problem.  If you aren’t using a designated service currently, i.e. are attempting to use an in-house solution yourself using Outlook, you should strongly consider switching over to using an email service provider (ESP).  This will not only potentially boost your deliverability rate, but you will also discover that a majority of reputable EPS greatly simplify the email list management process, in addition to things like unsubscribing and subscribing.

Timing is Everything

Similar to all of the fierce debates there are about when are the best times to post on social media in order to achieve the greatest engagement, the times for sending email do very much matter.  I might have controversial advice to give you on this issue, but it is something I stand by.  Avoid sending your emails during the morning whenever possible.

Are you surprised by this?  Many marketers think they if they send their emails out early in the morning it will guarantee that they have a top spot within their readers’ inboxes.  However, all this does is set them up for failure.  It’s like attempting to dance on a dance floor that is already very crowded.  Try to send out communication emails during the early afternoon hours at a time when your emails are more likely to be opened by somebody who is checking their email again for the second to third time that day.

When it comes to timing the sending of your emails, it is just as important to consider this issue in how it relates to the purpose of your email, to ensure that the email is sent at the maximum relevant time.  If it happens to be a 1-day offer, then you have to send your email out during the early morning hours- and you will want to have an urgent subject line.  Sending an email event out that advertises an event that starts in 48 hours is fine.  However, it is needs to be written in such a way that this fact is emphasized and gives readers a clear option for what they can do about this right now.  If they can do anything about it right now, then 99.99% of the time your email is not necessary.

Optimal Frequency

Is there a set email schedule that you follow, like on Tuesdays sending out new member offers, Thursdays giving updates, and every other Friday providing sales alerts?  Although there are many advantages to it, having a rigid email schedule potentially can turn into a double-edged sword rather quickly where you end up sending emails out even when you don’t have a lot to say, or end up limiting yourself to only emailing on specific days, which might not always line up well with real-time events, both external (unexpected events that are relevant to your audience and/or industry and holidays like Black Friday) and internal (important announcements and product updates).  Those kinds of factors frequently can have a very profound effect on how your emails perform and should take precedence over your the email schedule you have established.

Get Your Foot Inside The Door

Most people are completely inundated with marketing messages every day, in addition to using their inboxes for personally communicating with people.  It is a well-known ritual: you wake up in the morning, get your emails downloaded, scan the subject lines, open a couple and then delete or overlook the rest of your emails.  In fact, just having the name of your company as the sender can put your message at great risk for being overlooked or deleted.  Marketing content, similar to social media newsfeeds, aren’t nearly as exciting as getting an email from a friend or family member.  That is why the subject line is by far the most critical aspect of your emails.

There is no DNA for high quality subject lines.  However there are certain characteristics, in my experience, that increase the chances of an email getting opened:

Free Of Spam: Be sure to become familiar with the most recent patterns, phrases and words that are on the radars of the spam filters.  Some of the most known offenders include hyperbole, excessive symbols and punctuation, words that are found typically in unsolicited emails (such as ‘enlargement’), and words in all CAPS.  If you aren’t sure if a certain subject line is risky or not, or if you can’t decide between several different ones, then run A/B tests.  Particularly on protocols.  You will learn a lot about your customers this way.  Use a subject line tester when brainstorming subject lines.

Urgency: There are always ways of creating urgency without resorting to often spammy and obvious options that scream ‘NOW!’  It isn’t necessary to degrade your service or product like that and still respect the deliberation process and time of your customers.  Some examples of a more subtle approach include specifying a certain time period (e.g. “24 hours left”), using a vague phrase that makes the person want to open the email to put their mind at rest (e.g. “tick, tock”), or using an external event to justify a time-limited offer (Free Shipping Guaranteed for Christmas), and making use of positive testimonials that emphasize the immediate benefit to having what you are currently offering (e.g. “I don’t know how I ever lived without this.”)

Emotional Appeal: It isn’t applicable to non-profits only.  Emotion is in fact used in all types of marketing.  Don’t hesitate to add a personal touch or work in some humor in your subject lines.  From the curious (“Choose a side”) to the dramatic (“We really need to talk”) to the ultimate tug on the heartstrings (“You can save a child’s life”).  There is also the more risky method of getting someone emotionally engaged through creating a low form of disappointment (“Your offer is expired”) and then offering a positive surprise in the body of the email (“Just kidding!  There are still 24 hours left”).  This kind of a roller coast rider is viewed by consumer as addictive at best and clever and humorous at worst.

Mild Personalization: This can be a very tricky fine line, given the fact that personalized subject lines tend to be viewed as spammy (even using the word ‘You’ to a certain degree is considered to be spammy), although in most industries it has also been shown to produce higher open rates.  The best way to use personalization effectively, is to use it strategically and occasionally.  For example, a welcome email should include the individual’s first name.  A person’s first name doesn’t necessarily need to be included in update emails and ongoing offers.  It can start to get old and mainly seen as an empty gesture.  Everyone knows it’s just a matter of a computer matching up an email address with a first name.

How To Write a Business Newsletter Made Easy

The internet, and especially email, has made reaching current and potential clients extremely easy and cost effective.How to write an email newsletter

If you have ever wondered how to write business newsletter that will both inform your target audience and feed your sales funnel then you will be delighted to know that by following a few easy steps you can produce newsletters that really work.

The first step in learning how to write a business newsletter is to decide what your key messages are. What services or products does your company offer and what i is the unique selling  proposition that differentiates you from your competition?

Once you have determined your messages what you will need to do is develop an editorial, or content, calendar that lays out which aspect of a message will be focused on in each newsletter. This will enable you to keep up a stream of newsletters on a regular basis.

Once you have an idea of your content the next step is the development of a plan for getting regular newsletters out to prospects and existing clients. There are a number of software packages for the management of email newsletters which provide highly effective design templates. These pieces of software, also known as autoresponders, also make it a simple job to keep track of responses to the newsletters and better manage potential sales leads.

If the idea of a newsletter appeals to you, but you are not confident in your writing ability or simply do not have the time to produce and manage the newsletter there are a variety of freelancers and larger public relations companies that will do the job for you.

Of course that approach will inevitably cost more than the DIY approach – however keep in mind that by shopping around on the internet for these sorts of service providers you can often find extremely professional advisers for much less than you might think.

How to Build an Email List

One of a local business’s best marketing properties is a healthy and balanced e-mail list. While appropriate administration and use of your email documents will certainly drive profits immensely, it is usually a.challenge to develop the email list itself. With inbox clutter on the increase and also customers ending up being very sensitive toward any type of unwanted communication, online marketers must create their subscriber listings with careas well as discretion.

There are a number of simple and also efficient methods of creating an e-mail list, including traditional online and offline strategies, along with emerging approaches, such as paid search, direct.mail, webinars, and special deals. The challenges at every client touch point are:

  • Using these strategies sensibly
  • Abiding by all legal requirements
  • Valuing subscriber inclinations
Direct Mail– Make The Most Of This Longstanding Channel

Advertise email sign-up in all catalogs,directory site advertisements and direct-mail order forms. Include an area for writing in an email address on expense forms, refund cards, registrations, and so on will increase your list substantially.

When using this strategy,  email new customers whenever you possibly can. It’s essential to keep your brand fresh in their minds.

Email Sign-Up Boxes– Enable Customers To Sign Up For Email

Positioning a clear as well as noticeable form on your Website will promote e-mail sign-ups for your Website visitors. This typical purchase practice is not just efficient, it is also really  easy to do. There are a couple of crucial things to.take into consideration when utilizing this method:

  • Keep the appearance and  feeling of all Website sign-up boxes consistent and. clean. This makes them very easy to find as well as familiar to your.audience.
  • Try to position sign-up boxes either as acomponent of the top banner or just below. The majority of tests have revealed that those located near the top of the Website perform far better compared to those positioned in the footer area.
  • Couple your sign-up boxes with a clear description of “what’s in it for them.”
  • Tell consumers specifically just what to anticipate when subscribing,  and offer the perks for getting on your e-mail list. This could be as. easy as promoting the basic advantages of the channel– such as. being able to receive information as well as supplies faster while it’s  eco-friendly.

 

How To Select An Autoresponder

Autoresponders are an essential tool for all types of small business, including internet marketers.
Autoresponders are an essential tool for all types of small business, including internet marketers.

An autoresponder can help you build an email list, communicate with your customers, and keep your message out there with little effort.  The right autoresponder can help your business scale quickly.  There are many good autoresponders out there, but it’s important to pick one that will meet your needs.

Make sure you go with an established company.  The autoresponder company you select will host one of your company’s most important assets – your email list.  While it is essential that you back up your list often, you don’t want to pick a company that will vanish overnight, so it is your best interest to go with an established company.

Not all autoresponders are created equal when it comes to features. Make sure you take the time to compare the various features of autoresponders you are considering using. You want to choose the one that offers you the features you want and need, such as:

 

  • Unlimited Lists – This is a must.  Even if you only have one website, you’ll eventually be segmenting your customers into different lists, and want to be able to manage them all from the same interface.

 

  • Unlimited Follow-Ups – Another essential feature. If the autoresponder a restricts you to 3 follow -ups, then you won’t be able to offer, let’s say, a 5-day email course to your subscribers.

 

  • Unlimited Message Length – Yet another must. You want to make sure you have unlimited message length and unlimited editing of messages.

 

  • HTML and Text Emails – You should be able to choose whether you want to use HTML or plain text, and allow your subscribers to choose (with the help of radio buttons) which format they want to receive.

 

  • Personalized Messages – Think about the fields you want to use and make sure your autoresponder can handle them all – and allow you to add-in custom fields.

 

  • Email and Link Response Tracking – Your autoresponder should allow you to track your email campaigns, providing both general stats and specific URl tracking so you can see which message and which link converted

 

  • Import and Export –Ease of import – and mapping fields- as well as the ability to customize exports makes back up and switching between autoresponders easy.

 

  • Free Unlimited Customer Support

 

It is a good idea to choose an autorespodnder that offers a  user-friendly interface.   Most companies offer a free trial, so you can play with the autoresponder for a while before making a permanent commitment