Ah, the unattainable empty inbox. We all strive for it and yet we also add to it – as marketers, emails are often part of our digital strategy. The goal is to make it past that initial check-and-delete phase during the busy workday and leave an impact.
If correctly optimized, email marketing can produce impressive sales results. Increased mobile capabilities and user connectivity makes it easier than ever to reach potential customers at any point in the day. The first hurdle, however, is capturing attention with the subject line in order to improve open rates.
47% of consumers make the decision whether or not to open emails based on the subject line. Therefore, the headline should be given just as much attention as the actual email. It needs to convey the content while offering value: give consumers a reason to open it.
According to Entrepreneur, there are four primary ways to get people to open emails:
– Solve a problem
– Save them money
– Make them smarter
– Entertain them
Which tactic would best fit your business? If you aren’t sure, a test of several different subject lines (A/B testing) can help determine which is most effective with your audience. In targeting diverse demographics – or potential customers vs. current customers – you should customize email content as well as subject line. Making it easily shareable increases the chances that it will reach more consumers and expand your list.
Timing is vital in email marketing. There are numerous ideas as to which time of the day brings the best open or click-through results. Email software provider GetResponse reports that the best time of day for email opens is between 8 am – 9 am and 3 pm – 4 pm.
An Experian analysis in eMarketer, however, says that emails sent late at night outperformed any other time of the day. According to this report, emails sent between 8 pm and midnight generated higher open and click-through rates and greater revenue per email.
The ideal time is likely to vary depending upon industry and customer demographics. Although it’s important to be aware of the successful times others have found, conducting your own consumer research is also recommended. For example, if your main demographic is stay-at-home moms, they are likely to check their email at different times (and be attracted by an alternate subject line) than a college student or corporate businesswoman.
Mobile is certainly changing email marketing. Consumers can check email while in line at Starbucks or at a red light – and that distracted attention necessitates compelling content. Along with the subject line, email design and links should be interesting but simple. All emails should be crafted with ultimate usability in mind for PC and mobile devices (text size, layout, images).
After solidifying your email content, you can focus on growing your email lists. In the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, it was reported that 77% of email marketer’s drive email list growth with website registration pages, while 48% drive growth by way of social media sharing buttons in emails.