Email marketing is the almost first form of digital marketing.
USA’s rock star entrepreneur Gary Venurchuck shares his experiences about how he used to get 98% open rate in 1998-99. But later email inbox was cluttered by promotional emails and your readers learned and became wired to ignore them.
Now a days we see discussion between marketers about the feasibility to invest on email marketing.
Should we still focus and deploy resources for email list building and marketing?
Are there any ways to increase open rate, CTR, and conversion?
Can businesses drive direct business through email marketing now?
Many announced that email marketing is dead. Though we marketers have a tendency to exaggerate things. It is true that email open rate and CTR are coming down overall.
But my view is email marketing is still alive and having huge potential to bring great revenue in the system, but now it is being matured, so it requires matured understanding and planning.
Before driving down, let’s have a look at email usage data and marketing opportunities
Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016)
Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020. (The Radicati Group, 2016)
Gmail has 1 billion active users worldwide. (Statista, 2016)
66% of unsubscribes occur between 5 and 10 p.m. (Tomasz Tunguz, 2015)
86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily. (Statista, 2015)
51% of marketers say enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success. (Ascend2, 2016)
78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails. (HubSpot, 2016)
Actually, marketers do mistake by giving their large amount of focus on email marketing tools. They design, nurture, full funnel or drip campaign according to tools capabilities.
Tools could have powerful or less powerful features but in business most powerful word is customers. So I suggest you build a map on your customer’s behavior.
Before the planning of email marketing, kindly prepare answer of the detailed questionnaire of consumer behavior.
Eg: Do your customers have email IDs?
Whom they give permission to send emails and why?
How do they decide to skip or open emails?
Do mailers influence their decision making?
How they engage with mailers?
You can prepare more detail questionnaires to understand the persona of your customers.
Though customers persona of can be different in individual to individual or industry to industry cases.
So by going through common behavior trait of users, I have listed 11 hacks which can help you to improve your email marketing program.
Email Marketing Hack #1. Subject line optimization
Users read your subject line first then they decide to open the mail or send them into thrash. So you have to be impressive in limited character counts.
As you can see in below image that email open rate in mobile device overtook desktop.
75% of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. (TechCrunch)
It further added complexity in the situation. Screen real estate is relatively smaller in the mobile device as compared to desktop.
So you can not afford subject line length more than 35 characters. If you keep longer length then later words will get truncated.
The Galaxy S4 shows slightly fewer characters – about 33 in portrait mode and 72 in the landscape. An iPad will show 39 characters regardless of the orientation while the iPhone 6+ shows up to 63.
An iPad will show 39 characters regardless of the orientation while the iPhone 6+ shows up to 63.
Here you can see the all different views of phone portrait, landscape, and desktop views.
Second, no one clicks a boring subject line. Here you should use the persuasive words, which simply assures some kind of value to users but be careful and don’t use click-bait techniques.
Keep yourself honest while writing the subject line.
Here I am mentioning five top persuasive words which can improve your email open rate.
1. FREE: The word ‘FREE’ holds the unexpected amount of attraction and value.
If we see it from the perceptual angle, we will find that our brain exaggerates the perceived value of product or service when it is being offered FREE.
Copyblogger in his famous experiment based article “The 5 Most Persuasive Words in the English Language“, counted FREE one of the most persuasive word out of five words.
2. NEW: Human brain craves for novelty and new things. You can use synonyms of the new as well eg: announcement, discover, first, etc.
3. NAME: We all love our name. Simply mentioning a name in the subject line can increase open rate by 29%.
4. SECRET: Everyone like to know the secret. Word secret profoundly stimulate the action and increase open rate.
5. ALERT: We are build to take care from perceived danger. This further wired us in knowing the possibility of danger. So adding word alert in subject line could lead higher open rate.
Note: Using these words in subject line without A/B test can be a bit risky, for getting clarity here you must read this – Alert: 81 Spam Words to Avoid in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Addition influential words: David Ogilvy, the advertising Grand Master, published a list of influential words, that’s still relevant.
Email Marketing Hack #2. Urgency and Exclusiveness
We don’t like to miss the opportunities. If you offer any special value to your readers and tag that with a specific time.
It will create the urgency situation for your readers and they won’t like to miss that out.
If you blend urgency with exclusiveness, it‘ll simply synergies the response. Exclusiveness differentiates you from the mass and your readers love to be treated a special.
When subscribers feel a sense of urgency, they’re more likely to make decisions quickly. It’s not just a marketing tactic; it’s actually supported by human psychology. Urgent situations force the human brain to make decisions instantly, which can be extremely helpful when a subscriber reads your email.
Here’s a list of urgent words you can add to your subject line or preheader to create a sense of urgency:
· Act Now
· Limited-time offer
· Instant savings
· Save today
· Deadline approaching
· Limited number available
· Time sensitive
· Don’t miss this
Here are some examples of emailers with is based on urgency cue. Pic source: Campaign Monitor
Aforementioned three mailers using three types of urgency cues.
a) Example 1: Offering something scarce
b) Example 2: Setting Deadline
c) Example 3: Using urgent language to promote what’s inside
Email Marketing Hack 3. Hook of consistency
“BUY FROM ME” did not this sound little weird? Web buying is not impulsive. You have to get little “Yes” first by just adding value.
After getting first “Yes”. You are likely to get second “Yes” too; you have to just nurture the relationship.
The trick of getting first ‘Yes’ just ask small action.
Gary Vaynerchuk has written a book called “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” where he describes it as a game of boxing which is a right mix of Jab and hooks.
He further defines it as a “Give, Give, Give and Ask”. It will create first “Yes” for you.
The crux of the matter is, you have to consistently solve the problems of readers and win their trust. You know that you don’t miss emails from your trustworthy senders.
Email Marketing Hack #4. Using social proof
Early adopters are very few because it is common human behavior that everyone wants to reduce the risk. If you show that how you solve problems of person X who are just like you.
It will reduce the risk and your readers will take action faster.
See in the below mail, sender used the social proof.
Your readers trust the opinions of others, particularly if they’re like of them.
If you can present a proof to your reader how others like them have taken up your offer, they are more likely to make a purchase decision.
Email Marketing Hack #5. Negativity works
You may be finding this little weird but negativity works.
Simply you just inform readers about how negative thing happens or could happen with them.
The subject line could be like “Don’t let inflation destroy your investment returns” or ” You can commit 7 mistakes while purchasing a refrigerator” Reader can’t live without opening this mail as he/she has to know about it.
Creative use of negativity can give you positive results but use it carefully.
Email Marketing Hack #6. Create Availability Biases
Readers don’t believe you right away because they are skeptical. Until they are not believing you, You can rest your hope of desirable actions from them.
So here you can bring available references to create availability biases.
Eg: If you are selling road accident insurance then you must include the reference to numbers of death happens last year in the road accident.
This available information will create availability biases in the mind of the readers.
In outcome, this will stimulate them to take a decision.
Email Marketing Hack #7. You are better than Your Competition
Authority and expertise make you look better than the competition.
Here you have lots of scopes, you can mention research report, how media covered your particular topic, your leader delivers a speech in some big event etc.
So basic idea is to embed all concept which position you as an authority on the subject. Eg: You are running a restaurant and it is being reviewed by prominent food blogger or media person, You can embed that like “Hey, see Food Expert MR. X rated our Fresca Pasta with Five Star Ratings”.
Email Marketing Hack #8. Give The Reason
People don’t take action without reason.
Two scenarios persist a) For tracking my fitness I need to buy a fitness tracker (I found the reason to purchase fitness tracker)
b) You should care about fitness, It will be easy to track through a good fitness tracker (You gave me the reason to purchase the tracker ).
So Every time it is not necessary that your reader will discover the reason by themselves. if you are looking any desirable action from your reader then you have to give reason to them for that action.
Smart marketers understand the unexpressed need of customers also. It is marketers job to tell people that why they need this service or product.
Email Marketing Hack #9 Questions and List
Your reader’s life is full of questions and they keep searching for getting those answered. That is the reason the 5 Ws looks quite catchy to them.
Using these five terms ( 1.Who, 2.Why, 3.When, 4.Where and 5. How ) instantly invoke the desire to know the answer.
Second, We love organized information, because our brain like to organize the information for future use.
List are felt great and easy to consume psychologically. Eg: 8 solid reasons why you should start a blog immediately,
This kind of listic subject line creates an assurance that there is very organized information available inside.
Email Marketing Hack #10. Find The Best Days
You may be well aware of the best days to send your mail. Many experts suggest that you should avoid sending emails on Monday as inbox is heavily flooded with them.
Similar you can skip very popular festival like Christmas and all and find out less popular event and create mail around it.
Around the popular festival, readers receive tons of promotional emails in their inbox. If you send your mail during those time, there is more probability that it will be missed.
You can use your reader’s personal data like birthday or anniversary to give personalize experience on best days of their life.
Coshedule has collected all study together about best days to send emails.
- MailChimp’s insights for send time optimization.
- Customer.io’s research on best day to send emails.
- GetResponse’s research on the best day to send email.
- WordStream’s research on the very best time to send email newsletters.
- GetResponse’s research on the best days to send email newsletters.
- Experian’s email marketing benchmark.
- CampaignMonitor’s research on the best time to send email campaigns.
- GetResponse’s roundup of the best time and day to send email.
- HubSpot’s best time to send a business email report.
- MailerMailer’s report on email marketing metrics.
Key observation of all reports….
Best time to send the emails
You should do your own study also, it might possible that your audiences have a bit different behavior.
Email Marketing Hack #11. Reverse Engineering
I have personally very good experience using this hack. Nowadays spam filters have improved and often HTML emails are stuck by it.
Second outlook and many other email management tools don’t show visual HTML mail in the default view. Readers have to download it to see and read.
Third desperate e-mail marketers ruined it as people are being wired to ignore HTML emails.
So, You can try simple text emails as like you write to your friends, bosses, and colleagues.
But my suggestion is please don’t jump directly on my suggestion. You can have split test ( HTML Vs Text ) and see which format is working best.
Hubspot study showed that Plain Text vs HTML and basic HTML Template Vs Heavy HTML Template
Retarget the list on Facebook: This step will integrate your email marketing strategy with social media.
I don’t require to explain the power of retargeting. This retargeting works on facebook very simply.
You just need to put a java snippet code in your emailers.
Then after Facebook will start building the custom list for retargeting.
This is a very powerful Facebook ads feature but you can’t do it through Facebook Ad manager or Power editor.
This feature is available through Facebook Ad exchange (FBX). So it is open for only big budget advertiser only.
But you do not need to worry, here you can find some solution provider like Perfect Audience who offer this service to small size businesses as well.
Make your mailers mobile optimised: Here sharing you the stats which is self-explanatory that why you need to think about optimising your email copy for mobile devices.
Here you can see that 48% of emails are opened on a mobile device but only 11% email templated are mobile optimised.
So catch this opportunity.
More than 34 % of people in the world use email, this is about 2.5 billion people. So thinking that email marketing days are gone is absolutely wrong.
Yes! It is being cluttered and for getting attention in users inbox you have to reimagine the possibilities.
People only open and read those email which has some meaning for them. You have to think from reader’s side that why they will read your emails? Will your mail improve their life?
Keep remember email marketing is all about the process of sustaining a relationship and in that relationship you get some business and doing it wrong can hurt your reputation too.
There is a very thin line between doing email marketing and spamming your subscribers.
Ok! Let’s discuss…. You can put your views in comment section.
Since 5 years I am self-learning this tech-based online marketing practice and ideas.
The purpose of this blog to share and receive the information and ideas to my community.
Prior to take formal education in Marketing Management. I studied History and India culture.