Effective email marketing tactics to use now
Email marketing shows no signs of slowing down, according to an email marketing metrics report by MailerMailer, an email marketing software service. Email remains the top way individuals share information, and over 90% of Americans use it every day. One top email trend: mobile. ClickZ reports that four out of 10 individuals regularly check email with a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.
With the growing number of emails sent and received each day on so many different devices, what do small to midsize business owners need to know now about email marketing? First, check out my posts on email marketing traps to avoid and how to build a subscriber list.
These tips, which are based on MailerMailer’s report, will also help you use email marketing effectively:
- Understand your open rates. The percentage of delivered emails that are opened by recipients – a.k.a. your open rate – can be a useful gauge of email campaign performance. Open rates vary by industry. Banking (16.8% open rate, on average), non-profits (16.1%), consulting (15.9%), and small business (15.9%) scored the highest open rates. Medical (6.5%), media (7.5%) and education (8.2) typically had lower open rates.
- Size your lists right. Smaller lists (25-499 members) perform better than larger lists (500-999 members), with average open rates of 28% versus 22.3%. Smaller to medium lists tend to be more targeted with messages that are more relevant to recipients.
- Schedule your email for maximum impact. Open rates gradually decrease throughout the week, which suggests that recipients are more active earlier in the week. Highest click rates – the number of unique clicks divided by the number of email recipients – occur on Sunday. Messages that are scheduled to be delivered between 4pm and 4am typically have higher open and click rates. Midday appeared to be the most sluggish time to schedule a message, with both reduced open and click rates. The bottom line: try scheduling your emails for 4am on Sunday and compare the open and click metrics to your current results.
- Manage bounce rates. High email bounce rates – the percent of sent messages that cannot be delivered – can negatively impact your reputation as a sender. Effective opt-in and list update practices can help you reduce your bounce rates and stay in good standing with the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as AOL, Cox, and Comcast, that deliver your emails to inboxes.
- Use personalization sparingly. While most software solutions provide email personalization capabilities, you don’t need them to waste time setting them up. The MailerMailer study found it is better not to use a person’s first or last name in an email, than to use it in the wrong place. Personalizing the subject line, for instance, can depress open rates, because this is a technique typically associated with spammers. Personalizing only the message can have a slight positive influence on open rate as well as click rate.
- Write effective subject lines. Your subject line can make or break your email campaign. Recipients glance at a subject line for no more than a few seconds before deciding whether to open or delete an email. You need a subject line that grabs their attention with relevant keywords and makes them want to open the email. And keep it short – subject lines with 15 characters or fewer boasted the highest open rates (15.2%). The longest subject lines, with over 51 characters, had significantly lower open rates (10.4%).
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