The stats are in and email far surpasses social media in the marketing stakes. But when the average worker receives around 120 of the staggering 269 billion emails that are pinging around the globe every day, how can your business sidestep the trashcan, avoid the ‘unsubscribe’ and make a winning inbox impression?
We’ve picked the brains of Claire Belbeck, Marketing Manager at The Bentley Restaurant Group, and Hannah Silverton, Marketing Manager at Smack Bang Designs, and unearthed their top 10 easy email marketing tips.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is the use of email to promote your business. Broadly speaking, email marketing is any email sent from a business to a current or potential customer. More specifically, it might look like a welcome email, a friendly nudge to return to an abandoned cart, news about an event or new product, or a request to complete a survey.
The purpose of email marketing is to reach potential customers and boost engagement among current customers by keeping them in the loop and sharing discount offers and promotions.
Why is email marketing effective?
Statistically speaking, email marketing is the most effective form of marketing because:
- More people have an email account than a social media account. By the end of 2019, there are predicted to be 2.9 billion worldwide email users—that’s more than one-third of the global population.
- It encourages engagement. An average of one in five marketing emails gets opened, with a click-through rate of 3.57%. Facebook, by comparison, has a click-through rate of 0.07%.
- It converts sales at a higher rate than social media marketing. A whopping 66% of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as the result of a marketing email, compared to 20% from a Facebook ad and 6% from Twitter.
- It has the highest ROI out of any marketing strategy. The median ROI for email is 122%, while social media sits at 28%.
- It lands where we are. Research shows we spend 28% of our workday in our inboxes.
- People tend to check their emails more frequently than their social media accounts. More than half of internet users (58%) check their email as soon as they wake up and close to 9 out of 10 email users visit their inbox at least once a day.
On a personal note, people engage with email marketing because they’ve willingly opted in to receive updates and offers from their favorite brands. From a business perspective, sending your database high-quality content is an extremely effective way of building rapport and loyalty—and it keeps your brand front of mind.
1. Keep your emails short, sharp and to the point
“Everyone is time poor, so you need readers to be able to scan the email quickly to pick up the overall message,” says Claire. “If you do need to include extra copy just ensure you provide some visual breaks which makes it much easier and quicker to read.”
“Bearing in mind the majority of your audience is going to be opening it on their mobiles, they’re not going to want to have to do more than a few scrolls to get a good gist of the content,” says Hannah. “So keep it short, sweet and on-theme rather than trying to jam every nugget of info into one campaign. They’re called ‘campaigns’ because they should be treated as just that—a strong piece of communication with a core purpose, not an electronic tabloid of mixed messages.”
Getting the word out about your event or promotion? Try a simple, striking template like the Pink & White Tropical Minimalist Simple Clean Summer Event Flyer or Blue Edging Advertising Flyer.
2. Write clear and compelling subject lines
According to Hannah, “subject headers are your most fundamental ingredient”. “Never treat this as an after-thought as so many mailers seem to. No matter what time of day you send your EDM (Electronic Direct Mail), chances are it’ll be competing for attention from dozens if not hundreds of other unread messages, so the only way to ensure it isn’t deleted before even being opening, or ignored altogether, is to make that precious line as enticing or intriguing as possible.”
“Remember that mobile inboxes cut off the subject line much shorter than desktop inboxes,” adds Claire (notably, more than 70% of people read their emails in a mobile app). “Use emojis to break up the text and to grab attention.”
Marketing tip: Emails with subject lines containing emojis are shown to have a higher unique open rate.
3. Perfect your timing
“Make sure you send your emails at the optimum time to help increase your open and conversion rates,” Claire advises. “You will need to use your own data and analysis to determine what the best time is for you. Generally speaking, the best time to send is during business hours—but avoid lunchtime—and Tuesdays and Thursdays. At The Bentley Restaurant Group, we aim for 10 am on Tuesday.”
Marketing tip: Research shows that the best time to send a reminder about an abandoned online shopping cart is one hour after a potential customer has clicked away.
4. Be consistent
Hannah urges email marketers to create a schedule and stick to it. “Consistency is key: This applies to both tone and timing,” she says. “In a world full of chaos, us humans take great pleasure from small certainties—like when and how we are going to hear from someone. At Smack Bang Designs, we send our newsletters every fortnight—not sooner, not later, not more, not less—on a Wednesday. It’s that simple. People are so much more inclined to sign up for something when they know exactly what they’re getting. People respect businesses who do what they say they’re going to. It’s a trust thing!”
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5. Include call-to-actions (CTA)
What do you want your receiver to do… shop now? Learn more? Subscribe? Visit your site? Guide them with a clear call-to-action button on your emails, and as Claire stresses, less is more. “It is best to focus on one clear call-to-action button per email. If you ask your readers to do too much your message can get lost and be confusing. Make sure the CTA button is clearly visible and easy to click on.”
6. Customize your offering
“Internet users are savvy creatures,” says Hannah. “We’re bombarded with so much media on a daily basis that we’re now programmed to smell a bog-standard, cookie-cutter template from a mile away. So if you want to stand out visually—and position your newsletter as original, aesthetically pleasing, super professional and not just run of the mill—then get acquainted with customization and make your EDM design your own.”
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7. Hyperlink all images
“Ultimately you are wanting your readers to click through to a website,” says Claire. “You can help increase your click-through rates by ensuring all images are hyperlinked—and this avoids the need for multiple CTA buttons. For example, if we are sending an email to promote an event, we will hyperlink all the images with the website of the venue. Just remember to triple check all links are working and correct!”
Marketing tip: Make sure all of your images are optimized for mobile. Reduce their size as much as possible without sacrificing image quality.
8. Show off a signature move
As Hannah says, your signature move is “a little something that your brand can be known and loved for in its newsletters”. “We have a snappy, sassy sentence at the end of our EDMs as a signing off sentiment—it humanizes the email, offers an opportunity to make our brand voice and character clear, and hopefully makes the reader smile. Some senders begin every newsletter with a quote or include a recent favorite or most inspiring—but most importantly, relevant—piece of content from around the web. Your EDM reputation could come from being the best GIF-er, running epic competitions, sharing goodies not available elsewhere… Have a think and a play with what your je ne sais quoi could be.”
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9. Preview and test
“It is a good idea to preview how your email will be displayed on multiple devices – mobile, desktop, tablet, etc,” says Claire. “Always preview and test emails before sending and ask for another set of fresh eyes to look over where possible. Triple check images, content and links are working correctly.”
“It’s a lovely touch for an email to address you directly – ‘Hey Hannah’ – however, if it goes wrong you’ll lose your reader from the get-go,” says Hannah. “If you’re not confident with your mail merge system, or aren’t willing to test it several times until it’s 100% perfect then don’t bother. Better to not name someone than to name them wrong!”
10. Monitor and analyze performance
“Make sure you take the time to analyze your emails’ open and click-through rates,” says Claire. “Look at the best performing emails and try and determine what worked well and apply any lessons learned from the data to your next one!”
Hot tip: The email marketing metrics you should be measuring include open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, conversion rate, campaign ROI rate, and bounce rate.
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