Most businesses are still using email marketing to get their message out to their audience.
And why wouldn’t they? It works. At least, it does if it’s done properly.
Here are five tips to help you get your email marketing right.
Choose the right email marketing platform
There are plenty of email platforms to choose from, so you might be tempted not to give too much thought as to which one is right for your business beyond the price you’re willing to pay.
Heck, some of the most popular email marketing programs don’t charge you anything at all, depending on how large your email database is.
But according to research from Melbourne-based email specialists The Orchard Agency, conducted with SmartCompany, the email marketing platform you use can vastly influence the effectiveness of your emails.
Having surveyed 400 Australian businesses using email marketing, here’s what their research discovered, when comparing the return on investment from entry-level, mid-tier and the real top-of-the-wazza, whiz-bang email marketing platforms:
Why the difference? Well, some of it could be down to the functionality of each platform but, in their report, the crew at The Orchard Agency also make this point:
“If you are investing in an entry-level platform, more likely than not, you are not taking advantage of its full functionality available,” they said.
And also: “Although more sophisticated email and marketing automation platforms can enable a business to deliver smarter and more targeted campaigns, it still doesn’t mean an entry-level system cannot perform some level of automation and content personalisation.”
Which brings us to the next point.
Automate, personalise and optimise
To borrow a little more from the Orchard Agency’s report (it’s worth a read – you can access the full document here), there are three things every email needs to be effective.
Personalising an email is just about your best chance of getting the recipient to read it — even if they know their name has been auto-filled into the subject line (and we all know it has). The figures speak for themselves. Personalised emails have a 32 per cent higher click-through rate and 28 per cent higher return on investment (ROI).
Your email marketing platform will normally give you the option to automate certain emails – such as welcome, transactional and lead-nurturing emails. Use them! They can free up so much time for you, allowing you to be more productive elsewhere in the business while still looking totally professional in front of your audience.
Be more scientific about your email marketing. Test out different subject lines, calls to action, and sending days and times. Experiment. See what gets you the best response. The great thing about email marketing platforms is that they are data-rich. You have the opportunity to learn what works; don’t waste it!
Make sure your design is mobile-friendly
Make your email mobile-friendly! You want your email to look right and be easy to read, no matter the size of the screen on which the reader is viewing it.Mobile devices became the place on which most emails are read way back in 2012 and two-thirds of emails are now read on mobile devices, so it doesn’t really matter how good your email looks on your desktop computer — it has to work on mobile, too.
Before you send them out to your audience, test your emails on your phone yourself, to see how they look.
Be super smart about your email design
Email design is about much more than your email just looking pretty (although that’s important, too).
One of the sharpest marketers I know is Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media. He points out that one simple factor that can hugely affect your results is the name of the sender of the email that appears alongside the subject line in the reader’s inbox). It’s much better to send the email from an individual than from a company name, and even better if it’s from an individual the recipient knows.
Here’s a little cheat sheet from Andy, to demonstrate: Sender name, subject line and pre-header text can all have a big effect on your email open rate. Your email body and your call to action will impact on your click-through rates. If you want to know more about what he suggests, you can read a great blog post from Andy here.
Actually measure your email marketing ROI
Take the time to measure your email marketing ROI (whether you’re optimised or not… and you really should be). If you don’t know what’s actually working for you, you could be wasting a lot of time and money.
Somewhat ironically, the Orchard Agency study found 21 per cent of businesses weren’t measuring their ROI because they lacked the time and resources to do so.
If that’s the case, email less often and analyse your data with the time you’ve freed up. Become more efficient and more strategic.
If you don’t know how to measure ROI (and the Orchard guys found that 37 per cent of businesses simply didn’t) then it might be time to think about outsourcing your email marketing to someone who can look after it for you and provide the strategy and execution while taking away the worry.
Interestingly, 68 per cent of the businesses surveyed that were able to quantify their email marketing ROI were using external agencies — so it’s something worth thinking about.
Need help with your email marketing? Lush — The Content Agency is based in Perth, Western Australia, and can help with all your digital marketing needs, including email marketing. Get in touch!