When customers share their email address with you, they do so with a certain amount of trust: that providing you with it will benefit them in the future.
Email campaigns that do not conform to the most basic standards (opt-outs clearly visible, company registration details, engaging content and so on) will most likely head straight to the trash.
Get it really wrong and your carefully constructed promotional email will feel like an abuse of that trust, meaning a trip to the spam folder, a click of the unsubscribe button or a place on the block list.
If this is the case, what are you doing wrong? Here are eight suggestions to help improve the success of your email campaigns:
You aren't sending the right email to the right person
You’ve got lots of data about your customers – use it! Email campaigns will be more successful if they’ve been segmented by demographics, geographical location and/or behavioral activity. The more relevant the email is to their interests, the greater the chance it’ll be opened.
Make sure you monitor how your customers are responding (opens, clicks and unsubscribes) so you know your customers better in future.
If you haven't already, make time to re-evaluate your data. You're going to need to bring your different data silos together (email, CRM, ecommerce, etc.) to understand some common differences between customers. Be sure to segment your customers into groups based on purchase behavior, relevant content/products, geographic location and so on.
You aren't resending unopened emails
If your email isn’t opened first time round, it’s easy to assume you’ve done something wrong. It’s equally possible that your recipient was too busy, or even missed it completely. So, consider sending the email to non-openers again, with a few caveats:
- Only resend your most important campaigns – sending every email back for a second go will not sit happily with your recipients.
- Try a different subject line – a new approach may capture the attention of some contacts who missed it first time, and reinforce the importance of your original email.
- Choose a different time of day – a recipient bogged down with emails first thing in the morning might have more time later in the afternoon.
- With a mass email, always plan the content or your resend at the same time. Aim to change the subject line and between 15-20% of the content to see if you can engage again.
Your emails aren't personal enough
It’s common sense that recipients will be more inclined to open emails containing products tailored to their taste. Having a Single Customer View can help ensure that the message is more accurate and relevant by using the customers' history to personalize the content.
Don’t assume that personalization means sticking the customer’s first name in the subject line, though – if your recipients see your email as generic, without any value to them, personalizing an email in this way can lead to your email being flagged as spam.
Most good email tools provide the ability to add dynamic content, allowing you to customize emails based on geographic location, gender, age, previous purchase history or behaviors. When authoring your emails, take time to use the dynamic content to ensure that the language, tone, content and offerings are personalized.
Your subject lines are bland
There's no guarantee what makes someone more inclined to open an email. Even so, there are a few approaches you can try to encourage those all-important clicks.
A-B testing is an essential process that is often overlooked. Most email tools provide capabilities to run A-B tests by adding multiple subject lines. The system will then take a small percentage of your email list and run the split test to determine the most successful and then send the email en masse to the rest of the list.
For example, try a subject line format that is simple and to the point, humorous, controversial or encourages a sense of urgency.
Also consider how your subject line displays on different devices. Does your email still make sense when it appears on a smartphone? Even worse, has it cropped the sentence so it says something unintentional?
Your emails read like spam
In your quest to write an attention grabbing email, there’s a danger your emails could sound spammy. Even if these emails aren’t singled out by spam filters, many of your recipients have come to associate certain phrases with junk emails.
Here's an article from eConsultancy providing 45 words to avoid in your email marketing subject lines.
Your call-to-action is weak
If your click through rate (CTR) is suffering, try addressing your Call-to-Action (CTA). Not only does it need to stand out, it will need specific wording so the reader knows exactly what clicking the CTA will achieve. If sending a longer email, including multiple CTAs can significantly improve CTR.
Your word to image ratio needs to change
Consider your email design as a two part process:
- What the email looks like without the images opened
- What the email looks like with the images opened.
A lot of emails sent out rely heavily on images rather than proper written content. One of the best things you can do is to test how your email looks without any images opened because that's the first thing your recipient is going to see from you.
If your email is 100% images then they will see nothing, so you need to try to ensure that you have enough written content to entice your recipient to open the images.
You're too full on
Bombarding your customers with constant marketing messages can test the patience of even the most loyal customer. Sending fewer messages of greater relevance and interest to your contacts should see greater success from your email campaigns.
There's no golden rule for how often you can (or should) mass email your customers. However, once a week should be more than enough if you ensure that you use dynamic, personalized and relevant content.