At the top of most wish lists for 2015? Stronger lead generation, ROI, and business performance. In a nutshell: email marketing. Historically, email delivers such strong results that Forrester Research calls it “the workhorse of digital direct marketing.”
Email is more than 40X more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined. Plus, approximately 91 percent of U.S. consumers use email daily, according to McKinsey and Company. According to ExactTarget, “Increasing conversion rates is a top digital priority for 47 percent of marketers in 2014.”
Because “increasing conversion rates is a top digital priority for 47 percent of marketers in 2014,” as reported by ExactTarget, optimizing email can make a big difference. To boost email marketing effectiveness in the year ahead, try these proven tips:
1. Think “Mobile First.” Design and write with multiple screens in mind. How an email displays on mobile has never been so important. Email is the No. 1 mobile activity for most users. 80.8 percent of emails are now opened on mobile devices, compared with only 12.20 percent for desktops. Make sure you don’t miss out! Mobile responsive design will ensure your message displays correctly.
2. Keep building your list and offer real value for subscribing. Seventy-seven percent prefer to receive permission-based marketing messages through email. Email’s primacy is constant across all age groups; it is most popular among 35-44-year-olds and 55-64-year-olds (both at 81 percent) Source: Marketing Charts
Test messages containing valuable information: a special offer, or an insider’s advantage like advance ordering privileges or exclusive educational content.
Tuesday and Thursday afternoon are typically the best times to send, but track the behavior of your list and you may reveal some telling differences.
3. Don’t treat everyone the same. Match content to recipients’ interests to create more effective email. Segmented emails typically have a higher open rate, stronger click-through rate, and ultimately, a stronger conversion rate.
Include geographic information for local flavor. Segment on past behavior or average past purchase value. Test time of day, day of the week and frequency of email contact. All can affect the outcome of your efforts.
4. Use high-quality visuals to captivate your audience. Sixty-five percent of people prefer emails that contain mostly images. Thirty-five percent prefer mostly text (HubSpot). Visuals are processed in the brain 60,000X faster than text. Think mobile first, and you’ll be on the right track. (See Tip #1!)
5. Keep messaging short, concise, and use a clear call-to-action (CTA). Let readers know what you want them to do. Display your call-to-action near the top, so recipients see it even without scrolling. Seeing the CTA is a cue that it’s time to do something. Put that power to work. Throw in compelling subject lines, high-quality images, one central idea, and a clear CTA—and you’re set for success.
6. Keep subject lines to 50 characters or less. According to Salesforce, 64 percent or prospects report that they open an email because of the subject line.
Photo by ddpavumba, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Thomas Harpointner is the founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc., a strategic digital marketing agency based in Atlanta, Ga.