SMS, social media, and push notifications have become more popular over the past decade or so, but email is still a critical channel for most marketers. Effective email campaigns can help you to drive more traffic and sales while staying engaged with your subscribers.
While there aren’t any shortcuts to success in email marketing, you can improve your performance over time by making some surprisingly simple adjustments. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most effective ways to optimize your email campaigns in order to move more leads through the customer journey.
1. Build Your Email List
In general, there are two ways to generate more sales through email marketing—you can either add more leads to your list, or convert a higher percentage of those leads into customers. While marketers often focus on the second step, building a better email list is always a good thing.
Of course, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your contact list. Some brands pay for leads directly, but these will only hurt your performance in the long run. Paid leads are less likely to have a unique interest in your brand, making them less likely to open your messages or click through to your site.
Over time, poor performance on these and other metrics will hurt your sender reputation and email deliverability. Organic list growth doesn’t happen overnight, but you’ll end up with much higher levels of engagement when you attract leads who are genuinely interested in your content.
Lead magnets are one of the most reliable ways to generate more subscriptions. A lead magnet is a free reward given to users in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter.
It could be anything from an eBook or white paper to a free trial or webinar. A strong lead magnet will motivate more leads to join your list and begin their customer journey.
2. Improve Open Rates
Once you add a lead to your email list, the next step is getting them to actually open your emails. Different audiences respond to different tactics, so it isn’t always easy to identify the strategies that are most likely to resonate with your readers.
Even though building your email list is usually a good thing, keeping too many subscribers will hurt your open rate and sender reputation. If a subscriber hasn’t opened or responded to any of your messages in more than a few months, it might be time to let them go. After one last follow-up for re-engagement, you should remove them from your list to maximize your email deliverability.
Subject lines are one of the only elements visible to readers before they open a message, so it’s vital to put together unique subject lines that will stand out from the rest of their emails in their inbox. Generic, sales-centered language like “clearance” or “limited-time” will turn users away or even get your messages picked up by spam filters.
Sender names are another underappreciated aspect of email marketing. For example, some brands send their emails using a personal name like “Emily from (brand name).” These kinds of touches can make your messages feel more personal and motivate readers to learn more.
Finally, you can avoid sending irrelevant emails in advance by asking readers which types of content they’re interested in. Some subscribers might be interested in your blog posts, while others may only want notifications for discounts and product launches. Tailoring your content to the preferences of each unique subscriber will help you provide more targeted messages and improve your open rate.
3. Optimize Your Messages for Mobile
Research indicates that nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile, so mobile users are just as relevant as desktop users when it comes to email marketing. Failing to optimize your messages for all devices will cut into your click-through rate and make it harder to move mobile subscribers through the sales cycle.
Along with short subject lines that can be displayed on a smaller device, you should also avoid using wide formats that could run off the edge of a smartphone screen. Make sure that every button in your emails is large enough for users to press it easily without touching anything else.
Finally, keep in mind that Android users may not see your images at all. Any content that needs to be visible should therefore be repeated at least once outside of any images. Don’t forget to periodically read your own emails on a mobile device to identify any issues.
4. Run A/B Tests
Customer data is one of the most powerful tools for improving your approach over time, and A/B tests are more accessible than ever. An A/B test involves comparing two variants of the same ad to determine which one leads to better results with respect to a particular goal. If you’re managing email marketing for ecommerce, for example, you might test two versions of a discount email to find out which one is better for sales.
On the other hand, you may be more interested in open rates or click-through rates for emails in your welcome sequence. A/B testing also makes it easy to identify a specific, measurable goal for each message. After running a short test, you’ll have the information you need to pick the best variant for the rest of your campaign.
Some email marketing tools go even further by enabling subscribers to test more than two variants at once. If you wanted to change the subject line, sender name, and email timing, you could create eight variants based on two different options for each of the three elements. That will give you clear results on the pros and cons of each choice without the need to run several different tests.
Improving your email performance takes time, but these easily-implementable tips will help you update your current practices and stay ahead of the competition. It’s critical to keep an eye on every email marketing metric, including everything from acquiring new leads to re-engaging inactive subscribers. Over time, you’ll start turning more leads into buyers and more buyers into loyal customers.