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by Laura Phillips on 5th December 2013
In this day and age your potential customers spend their days being bombarded by marketing message after marketing message; sources reckon 3,000-30,000 per day in fact, many of these in the form of email. The average UK email user may receive 416 commercial emails per month!
So how do you get customers to go the extra mile and open your emails in amongst all of the others they receive?
I would suggest very much so.
Email marketing is still an important marketing tool at all levels of business, offering relevant advertising and incentives to a highly targeted audience (when used correctly). Compared to other marketing channels email is often highly cost effective, personalised, and a good converting channel.
Now, before we go any further we should talk a little about open rates and how unreliable they can be. Sounds silly I know, but what counts as an ‘open’ and what does not may not be what you think.
According to GMS there are a number of inaccuracies and discrepancies in the way email open rates may be recorded, and they should be taken with a pinch of salt. Here are some examples from them:
Equally, open rate is an easy statistic to obsess about, but it does not relate to ROI, and shouldn’t really be looked at as a stand-alone stat but rather as part of a bigger picture.
If there’s one thing guaranteed to stop your email subscription list getting off the ground it’s an overly complex sign up form. The basic rules of conversion optimisation will give you some common sense guidance on how to optimise your sign ups, but here’s a few pointers to get you started:
Probably the most important element of your entire email campaign. If the subject line doesn’t make the user want to open it, the content is irrelevant. You need to cut through all the junk and spam that clogs every email inbox in the land, stand out and be seen.
Timing can be a really important factor in email marketing. Remember that your users will be on different devices at different times of the day, on none at all at some points, relaxing at times, and run off their feet at others.
Of course, the best timing for your emails will depend on your industry to a point, but in general :
Again, your industry will dictate how often you should be emailing your users, but there are a few rules of thumb which may help if you are unsure…
In this study by Mail Chimp a negative correlation was found between frequency and engagement. The more often an email was sent, the lower the engagement rate became. This cannot really be extrapolated to other situations of course, but it makes for an interesting read.
If they made it past the subject line and your recipient has opened your email, that’s great! This is where it gets interesting and you have to have the content to back up your awesome subject line. Don’t let them down now or it’s unlikely they’ll open your next email.
You can find loads of great guides and tips on writing good content and marketing emails elsewhere on the Koozai blog, such as this great guest post by Trevin Shirey or our free Content Marketing whitepaper.
ALWAYS include an unsubscribe option in every email you send, and make unsubscribing a one-click affair.
If you make it hard for users to opt out one of three things will happen:
Social media and email marketing make a powerful tag team. Think about how much you could extend your reach by allowing the information in your emails to be shared socially. Then make it easy for users to subscribe via your social media pages, and you have a double win.
Again it depends on your business, but bring in your Facebook, your Twitter and your Google+ buttons, and if you have them already add some image based platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. You don’t want to swamp your users with choices, this puts them off, but give them a few options at least.
According to Vertical Response the top five industries that use social media and email marketing are, in order:
The top five industries that use both email marketing and social media, and have the highest open rates on their email marketing are, in order:
It’s a matter of opinion, but I think there are very few businesses that cannot or should not make use of email marketing and social media. I hope this post gives you some ideas for creating your own email + social media campaign.
If you have any useful tips yourself please leave them in the comments section below.
Laura has experience of SEO, PPC and Social Media both in-house and within an agency environment. Having worked across a variety of industries from travel to law, and retail to education she is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the search and social visibility of her clients across various platforms.