As you take a look at how to get more business this year, you could be tempted to follow the standards followed by some of your peers and influencers. But there’s some research out there that shows that going against those common practices leads to better business overall.
1. Using “Dear [FNAME]” Formatting
That kind of personalization used to be a key factor in getting customer to not only open your email but to be more engaged. Unfortunately, scammers and phishers figured that out too and that led to increases in identity theft and other security breaches. According to a Temple University Study, more than 9 out of ten customers responded negatively to named email greetings. They’ve heard the stories and have learned to be suspicious of anyone who calls them by name.
1.1 Better Option: Direct customers to products that are similar to past purchases and even expand their interest by showing them products they haven’t brought before.
2. Long Email Subjects
Having longer subjects meant that the email recipients knew exactly what the email was about but as it turns out, subjects longer than 70 characters and less than 50 don’t help with response or awareness. In fact, it’s known as a subject line “dead zone”; that’s where your subject gets cut off and readers are unable to read it.
2.1 Better Option: Adestra, a British company, analyzed the subject lines of 2.2 billion emails which showed that subjects with less than 10 characters had almost 60 percent higher open rate. The rule of thumb is usually a shorter subject line will result in higher opens, where a longer one will also generate a higher click through rate. This is due to readers already having an idea of the content [thanks to good subject line] and are eager to engage in your offerings. Just make sure to stay out of the ‘dead zone’ as that will hinder your results.
3. Obeying Business Hours
The standard business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but that doesn’t mean your customer is going to open emails sent during those times. Not to mention having an already full inbox with a lot of unread emails make it less likely that 9-to-5 is a winning email strategy.
3.1 Better Option: It’s become more likely that customers would see you email during the day but wouldn’t open it until later. In fact, Experian Marketing found that 8 p.m. to midnight was a better range for deployment. Primetime emails had higher opens, clicks, and revenue. It’s a good idea to test so that you can be even more precise.
4. Ignoring Mobile
As amazing as your email looks with two or more columns, on a mobile phone that kind of design is tough to read. In fact you could be losing between 40 and 50 cents of every dollar in sales because of poorly designed mobile emails.
4.1 Better Option: Convert emails to a one column format and increase the font for better viewing on a limited space. Remember close to half of all emails opened are on email and taking the time to make some quick design changes can mean better conversions.
Finally, remember that when dealing with mobile clients, it’s good to give them what they want for free. Customers are always asking that magic WIIFM question, “What’s in it for me?” Giving them something for free gets their attention and starts the process of earning their trust. In the case of mobile phones, offering free templates and tools are absolute winners for the mobile crowd.
Temple University Study: http://www.fox.temple.edu/posts/2012/06/dear-insert-company-name-personalized-emails-dont-impress-customers/
Experian Marketing: http://www.experian.com/assets/cheetahmail//email-marketing-quarterly-benchmark-study-q4-2012.pdf
Wholeheartedly agree with #1. I can’t tell you how many emails I get that don’t even have the right name. I get Erin, Erica, Ernest, and others, but hardly ever my actual name. Two words into their email and they already have zero credibility.
Great article, +1 to Eric’s comment too…hate when that happens.