We’ve talked a lot recently about some important subjects related to email campaigns: how to avoid spam filters, how to work within privacy legislation, and we’ve touched a bit on how to write effective subject lines. This time around we’re going to move ahead in the process, discussing how to make decisions about when and where to send your campaigns, and more details on the process that follows getting into your members’ inboxes.
When and Who You may find this surprising, but it’s actually hard to send too many email campaigns. A study by Hubspot found that most organizations can send up to 30 per month without starting to experience reductions in open rates; in fact, under most circumstances, sending 16-30 campaigns to a user per month is the sweet spot for maximizing both open and click rates!
However, organizations with over 200 employees get the most out of sending out much fewer messages, so read the results of their study to learn more about what’s right for you.
As for who – well, the 16-30 limit is generous, but it’s also still not infinite, which is one of the big reasons you can’t just turn everything into a blast that gets sent to all of your contacts. The brute-force approach doesn’t work for email campaigns; you will get much better results from segmenting your audience according to demographics, professional interests, or whatever other categories help you tailor your message to smaller and more specific groups.
When your message is not only consistently personalized but also consistently relevant, the recipient has a lot more reason to believe that you understand their interests, and a lot more reason to keep clicking.
Never Ignore Mobile Compatibility Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic in terms of raw global page views, and that is an impressive statistic, to say the least. The continuing shift to mobile use cannot be ignored, especially given the immense effects on engagement when users open email on mobile and then check them out later on a desktop computer. Though the exact figure varies according to the source, roughly 50% of all email opens happen on mobile devices; now more than ever, it is a market share you cannot afford to ignore. Make sure all of your email campaigns render properly on mobile devices, and make sure to check on both Apple and Android phones. A badly-formatted email is bound to get deleted quickly, so always take care to design for your whole audience.
The challenge of subject lines is making your message seem enticing, important, or interesting within a very short period of time, all while a hundred other unread distractions are competing for your audience’s attention. Getting past a spam filter into their inboxes is only step one; we’ve got a few guidelines for trying to get their attention afterwards.
Short and sweet is the name of the game. You can get away with a longer subject line if you’ve got something very compelling or controversial that will keep a person reading; generally, though, you want the focus to be clear and obvious, and that means cutting out length that doesn’t need to be there. Make the intent or call to action clear, concise, and obvious.
There is so much you can do with data, and personalizing email subject lines is among the most tried-and-true – but we’ve come a long way since the days where inserting a first name into a subject line was impressive. An offer of products or services “in your area” comes off as a lot colder and less interesting than a subject line offering opportunities in that recipient’s state, province, or city. The ease of using data to more deeply personalize your communications with members, clients, and customers is a tool you should leverage.
Use Commands, Not Suggestions
This is perhaps the most consistently covered theme in any discussion, and for good reason: language that gives a command, instruction, or some other call to action gets much better results than a simple offer, statement, or suggestion. “We have X, coming soon” does less for you than a message spelling out what you want your audience to do about it.
For instance – do you want them to click so that they can pre-order this product? Does this email contain a subscription link? Or are they going to have to apply to be able to receive this product or service? “Pre-order X now”, “Subscribe to X, starting in November”, or “X available soon – apply now” all ask different things of the reader, while also making it very clear what is at stake in this email.
This principle is stated over and over because it works: if you want readers to follow your train of thought, then you have to lay out the tracks for them first.
Driving Conversion Rates
The next step is to make sure that once it is opened, your message achieves something: obviously, conversion is the big goal here. Your efforts from this point are all towards causing your audience to respond to your message in a particular way, so your message needs to make that happen.
Layout and Organization
Make it easy to find what your audience is looking for: if the conversion you want all hinges on a link you need them to click, then make it into a button and make that button obvious, with everything else serving as a means to entice them towards clicking it.
But maybe your goal is just to draw attention so that people follow through and connect with you on social media; in that case, they’ve likely got a few options to choose from, between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and in that case, you’re less concerned about the visibility of the buttons (only because the logos are so recognizable that everyone knows what they mean) and more about making your message a good argument for following you.
Here’s where you engage your audience and let them know why you’ve sent this message. You should still be concise here, but now is the moment to tell them why they should be interested. Make your message interesting and useful, and make sure that whatever you’re offering wasn’t oversold or distorted by the subject line. Even if you can’t convert an open into a click, at least try to make sure the reader doesn’t feel like they wasted their time – after all, you’re not going to grab everyone’s attention, but you can at least ensure they’re receptive to the next message, too.
There’s always more to be said on this subject, but putting this advice into practice now will already give you a head start on the engagement you’re looking for.