People keep saying email marketing is dead, but we’ve checked in and it’s still alive and kicking. In fact, it plays a crucial role in the inbound marketing process, especially when it comes to the ‘close’ and ‘delight’ stages.
So, does email class as inbound marketing? Yes, as long as you don’t buy your data in, or guess email addresses and hope for the best.
Instead, you can attract people through social media posts, blogs and ads, and convert them with the offer of valuable and relevant content. That's right, they voluntarily share their personal contact details, amazing right?
You can then use email marketing to nurture them from leads to promotors (with a couple of steps in between).
Don’t get us wrong, we definitely agree that cold email marketing is dead. With all the noise out there right now, no one is reading impersonal, cold spam. But they are reading warm emails that provide the value they need.
So if you’re struggling to get a return on investment through your email marketing efforts, you might be doing it wrong. But don’t worry, we’ve pulled together the top tips for successful email marketing in 2020.
1. Add value to your audience
Believe it or not, consumers actually enjoy receiving promotional emails. If they’ve opted in to hear from you they want to see what you’ve got to say. Chances are, if you’ve done your research, you’ll have some real value to add so make sure you share it with your audience.
Having said that, there’s a limit to the amount you should be sending. Going over the top with your email communications (naming no names, Groupon) is what leads to unsubscribes.
Of course, this magic number depends on your industry and business. One email a week might work for an art gallery but a retail fashion brand is going to send much more.
The open rate for each industry is also different, and these statistics change regularly. Stay informed by checking out HubSpot’s email open rates benchmarks and use their calculator to compare your stats.
2. Size does matter
When it comes to email marketing, don’t worry about being the biggest and the best. If the size of an image file is too big, it’ll probably end up in the receiver’s spam folder.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to compromise with awful pixelated images in emails going forward. Simply reduce the size of the image file.
It sounds simple, but a smaller image file really can help to ensure your email lands in someone’s inbox.
3. Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
You might think it’s important to have as many images in an email as possible - it’s actually not. Obviously, it can be good to have a featured image or two dotted about, but...
As the number of images in an email increases, the click-through rate tends to decrease.
Text is actually more important than you might think, as it helps the email server determine that what you’re sending isn’t spam. Instead of bulking an email out with images, beef it up with a bit of copy.
In the case of both image and copy though, make sure you have a clear focus. A great email needs a strong theme running through the content and a clear conversion path for readers. If you include a dozen images and loads of links, people won't know where to look (or click).
Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple and to the point. Your audience will appreciate your transparency rather than trying to inundate them with images.
4. Compare, test and test again
When we send out emails for ourselves and our clients, we keep an eye on the date, time, subject title, open rate and click-through rate. HubSpot makes this all very easy. But why do we do this?
It might seem obvious, but we use this data to analyse and optimise our sends. You’d be surprised to know that only a small percentage of people compare and test their emails. What’s the point in spending hours crafting an amazing email if no one opens it?
Think of your email competing against all the other noise in an inbox, there’s plenty going on in there so you need to make sure your email is the one that gets opened.
Look at which emails performed best for you and replicate those features. Here are some easy ways to get started with improving your email metrics.
5. Optimisation is key
Did you know that almost half of the emails you’re sending are opened on a phone.
Mobile opens account for 46% of all email opens
This figure is rising and will continue to grow as phones become even more a part of our everyday lives.
So what does this mean for marketers?
An email on desktop vs mobile looks very different, so you need to make sure your email template looks great on any screen size. Otherwise, you’ll lose your audience and risk them hitting unsubscribe.
6. It's time to get personal
Whilst some people might find it creepy to receive an email from ASOS with their name on, the stats show that personalised emails perform better.
But personalisation isn’t just about using someone’s name. It’s about tailoring the content to their needs and using personalised subject lines to encourage them to open the email.
As with everything though, there are rules. You can’t just use someone’s name in an email when they’ve never had anything to do with your business. You need to build it up as you would a normal nurture process. And we’ve all seen those personalisation tags gone wrong that address the email to “NAME” - that’s not going to work on anybody.
Know your audience, consider what personalisation you're using and think before you send. As a rule of thumb, don't add any personalisation unless you think it is relevant to the content of this particular email.
Find out how personalisation can help with creating content in a new era.
7. Clear, concise, call-to-actions
Whilst it might seem like an obvious point, you need to make it clear to your readers what they should do and where they should click. This is where CTA’s come in. Having clear and obvious call-to-actions (CTAs) in your email marketing will make it obvious to readers where they should be clicking. And they’ll be more likely to click them.
Using button icons and contrasting colours can help CTAs to really stand out.
We often use relevant and engaging landing pages behind CTAs rather than simply directing readers to a homepage. Landing pages help to minimise bounce rates, as people won’t be left stumbling around your website struggling to find the information they’re after.
There may be more avenues to communicate with your audience than ever before, but email marketing still has a place and continues to be one of our most popular communication channels.