When it comes to digital marketing, buzzwords tend to lead the conversation among so-called ‘gurus’ that look for the next famous technique in a constantly evolving landscape. A new holy grail arrives seasonally, the flavor of the month changes and buzzwords regenerate as others tire. This kind of mentality has led many to jot down the time of death for tried and tested mediums like email marketing which, contrary to what many will tell you, is not dead.
Far from it - 89% of marketers still rate email as their primary channel for lead generation and over half see email as the most effect and least difficult form of digital marketing to execute. Email marketing is here to stay, but old adages need to be reassessed and new technology utilized to keep email relevant enough to be effective. We’ve put together five tips for getting email marketing right in the rest of 2016.
Tuesday is neither the best day nor the worst
One of the most commonly accepted truisms is that Tuesday is the best day to send marketing emails. The idea is that people aren’t yet in full swing for the week (Wednesday and Thursday), aren’t catching up (Monday) and aren’t just waiting for the weekend (Friday) - thus, Tuesday. The reasoning for Tuesday is so basic that it’s unbelievable it’s so widely accepted as ‘best practice.’
According to unbounce, Tuesday is actually the worst - or second worst, depending on the size of your mailing list - day to send out a blast. Emails get lost in the noise when everyone thinks Tuesday is primetime. In truth, Tuesday is probably no better or worse than any other day of the week in terms of customer reception to a marketing emails - in some cases, the weekend actually outperforms the week. As with any inherited wisdom, it’s worth looking closer, running your own tests and finding what works for your customers.
Respect the importance of good copywriting
Many companies spend a great deal of money ensuring their email marketing content looks polished, is strongly branded and has engaging media. To focus too heavily on this ignores one of the most important facet of email marketing - tone. In fact, unbounce found that: ‘Plain text emails with no logos or colors at all convert the best.’
Plain emails performed about 35% better in testing. Without logos and media, then, all you have is the strength of your copywriting, and marketers need to ensure it is engaging enough to engage the customer alone. Length was actually found to be less important than many marketers considered it to be, too, and you shouldn’t be afraid of testing longer-form emails if the content itself is engaging enough.
This point seems so obvious as to almost be redundant, but it’s amazing how few companies are properly using analytics to inform their email marketing strategies. Email is the top source of analytical data for marketers, but still only 41% use it. This isn’t enough - evaluating open and clickthrough rates can provide insight into your customers’ behavior and their preferences when opening or ignoring an email.
Once you start analyzing your marketing data, you can begin segmenting your email audience. In the age of analytics, broadcast emailing is dated and the numbers support segmented emailing as the most effective. Marketers that use personalization see 26% more opens on average, and research from MailChimp found that segmented campaigns were opened 14.41% more than non-segmented campaigns and the click rate was improved by 63.75%.
It’s time to focus on mobile
As almost all companies adapt their digital efforts to exploit the shift to mobile, their email marketing should be as optimized for smartphone use as any other area of their business. In the four years between 2011 and 2015 mobile grew from 8% of all email opens to 55% - this number will only grow, and all email marketing should be mobile-first from here on in. This means your CTAs will have to be reconfigured for a mobile screen, and Mashable recommend avoiding phrases like ‘If you’re having trouble reading this email click here’ - all space in a mobile email is prime real estate.
Email should never be sent in isolation
It became quickly apparent during the social media revolution that brands could use the services for more than just promotion. Customer service on the likes of Twitter and Facebook is more personal, more engaging and more public, three boons for brand popularity. Include clear links to your social media channels in your emails, consider offering promotions to those that follow them and use the information gained, like birthdays, to offer customer-specific promotions.
Encourage the use of hashtags, certainly encourage sharing of the content in your email and make your company more accessible with the use of multiple channels. Email still offers a 17% higher conversion rate than social media, but there’s no reason the two shouldn’t work together for a more rounded customer experience.