The Email Marketing Workout
You have no more excuses: It's time to get your email marketing in shape! Columnist Paul Ford offers five ways to pump up your email campaign.
We’re now well into the festive season, and marketers need to be bringing their A game.
At SendGrid (my employer), we believe in the power of preparation, so we have developed what we call the “email marketing workout,” a list of the five most important pointers for marketers to run through when planning each email campaign to ensure that they are getting the most clicks and subscribes.
Don’t be too wordy. A clear and direct approach might sound obvious, but it’s critical that there is no ambiguity around what action your users need to take.
It’s worth bringing a slight sense of urgency to your CTA (call to action). Words such as “now” or “today” do have a positive effect on engagement levels.
It’s important to present yourself in an appropriate way. Think about how your name and email address appear in the recipient’s inbox. Recipients are more likely to reply to a named person than to an anonymous email which appears as part of an automated system.
And beware: No-replies are never welcome. This simply tells your customers that you don’t want to hear from them.
2. CTA Design
In this context, size does matter. The CTA is the most important part of the email, so make it stand out (and be careful not to clutter the space).
It’s also worth considering multiple tactful placements to make sure the reader can’t miss crucial information.
Visuals, although not the be-all and end-all, can also be an effective way to draw in your reader, so long as they speak a universal language. Use color on your CTAs, and if you have two CTAs, highlight the most important one.
And last but not least, test your CTAs in advance with various readers to make absolutely sure your call to action is clearly visible with images on and off.
3. Subject Lines
Carefully chosen keywords in subject lines have been proven to have an effect on engagement rates. Words like “tomorrow” and “soon” are preferred to “today” or “yesterday.”
Avoid using hashtags and too much punctuation, which may lead to lower engagement.
It’s always best to keep your subject headers as succinct as possible, especially given that the majority of your readers will be glancing at the email via a mobile device, where a wordy subject header will be lost on them. In fact, our data indicate that subject lines of just three words see the highest engagement levels.
4. When To Deliver
Weekends are prime delivery time. We’ve found that emails sent on a Friday and Saturday show the lowest unsubscribe rates. Though if you must send your email on weekdays, those late in the business day will be more effective, when email traffic slows down.
Our statistics show the worst times to send are Monday through Thursday, between 4:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., so avoid these windows at all costs.
5. Opt-In And Opt-Out
If you have an opt-in form, make sure it’s visible. Provide incentives, and don’t ask for too much information. Make sure you disclose everything so as not to annoy your reader; providing credentials will help to earn their trust.
Having said this, the benefits of opt-out over opt-in are clear. If the default position assumes a right to market and requires no further action by the recipient, average collection rates will be considerably higher, since emails can be sent to a wider audience.
Implementing an email preference center will reduce your unsubscribe rate and spam reports and allow you to showcase your email offering and implement segmentation strategies.
At SendGrid, we firmly believe that breaking down your email marketing dos and don’ts into these five sections is a great way to simplify your strategy and avoid making any mistakes. We’d advise any marketer to digest these fundamental bites of information before preparing to launch an email campaign.