Heads up – this is not one of those blog posts that outlines how to write an email, how to choose a subject line and all the other good stuff that you can read online about how to construct a decent email. This article focusses on the one thing you need to know to improve email open rates for your business. You can get all that other advice from the infographic below – but first read the important bit.
There is loads of contention about email open rates – are they a useful marketing metric or a false flag? Whatever you point of view on the subject they can be a good indicator as to the effectiveness of your emails. So if you want to improve email open rates and thereby boost your email click throughs then here is a step by step guide on getting it done and the numbers going up.
Step 1 – Know who you are sending to
I bang on about persona work to clients to the point of irritation. But many companies still send out one email to all contacts in their database every time they communicate. No-one seems to get the concept that a message for everyone resonates with few. Improve email open rates – I don’t think so – this strategy boosts unsubs and complaints.
But But But…..interrupts the Marketing Manager – our newsletters have some information that is relevant to all our contacts.
What a load of rubbish.
If you compile all your worthy news into one email and send it to everyone in the hope that most will find a snippet that relates to them then you are delusional about how valuable your email comms can be. Even worse if you use a specific subject email to drag out from your list who is interested in that particular area of your product/service and then expect everyone else in the list to wait patiently for the next round robin communication – then you have no respect for the contacts in your database and maybe marketing isn’t the profession for you.
I can’t tell you how quickly people will be turned off from irrelevant emails in todays age of skimming and goldfish attention spans.
Everyone is busy and everyone is rushing around and if you send beige and bland emails to your list – your contacts are going to switch off from your comms. You may not even see the unsubscribe rate increase that much as we are often too busy to be bothered with that nowadays. But what you will see is a swift delete and a poor open rate to your efforts. The obvious solution to this is to put more contacts in the pot and keep doing what you are doing. How does the saying go? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” – go home!
If you are going to do email then invest some time to do it right. This will improve email open rates for your efforts.
If you haven’t done any persona work for your business yet then your first step is to grab some key people from the business and brainstorm who you are selling to and what problems they have – then go talk to them to validate your assumptions – because until you actually speak to a few prospects and customers, that’s all they are is assumptions.
Once you have identified a number of buyer personas then map their digital habits.
- Are they office based and do they only get work email during those hours
- Do they have access to work email out of hours on a mobile device
- Is that mobile device a phone, tablet or laptop
- Do they use Google to look up work related information online
- Do they belong to any user / professional groups
- Are any of these groups online
Once you have an idea about your personas habits, you’ll know the best times to reach that audience, the types of devices they are likely to be reading your email on and how to get to them using other channels with the browser version of your email.
So you now have a number of prospect personas identified and some traits to work with, now break them out into lifecycle stages – this email you are planning to send may not be suitable for all of the lifecycle stages of your contacts. These are as follows:
- Qualified Leads
Have a look at each group and work out
- Is you planned message relevant to that lifecycle stage – if the answer is no then don’t send the email
- How can you craft the message to make it personal for that lifecycle stage?
This may sound like a lot of work and involving multiple emails to multiple groups. You can automate some of this process with Hubspot and their smart content feature in their email builder – if you want to learn more about this then get in touch and I can walk you through making use of this feature.
For those of you who expected this post to be about how to write a great email – there is loads of content on the web about that or have a look at this great infographic from the Hubspot blog.
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After reading this ebook, you’ll learn:
- How to grow your email list
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- Deliverability: What is it & how to get it
- How to optimise your emails for conversions
- 5 safe ways to segment marketing emails