Modern consumers are extremely savvy when it comes to marketing. Millennials, in particular, are aware of marketing messages and often take pains to avoid them. So in 2018, it might be time to re-examine your email marketing methods to appeal to today’s audiences.
Email has been a pillar of marketing programs for decades, and for good reason—it works:
- Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.
- 86 % of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.
- 59 % of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.
But before you can win them over with your content, you have to make them open your email in the first place. Which is easier said than done. Here are some ways to accomplish it.
This is the one we’ll shout from the rooftops over and over. Personalization is by far the most effective marketing tactic no matter what channel you’re using. Consumers want to be seen as individuals, and the only way they’ll be receptive to marketing is if it is directly relevant and useful to them.
Email, in particular, is highly personal—after all, you’re not just one of a million people seeing the same TV commercial; these are messages coming directly into your space, so they better apply specifically to you.
MarketingSherpa states that personalized subject lines lift open rates by 29.3%, and GetResponse found that personalization in the email body has an open rate of 29.95% more than non-personalized emails.
More than half of email marketers believe that email list segmentation is one of the most effective personalization tactics, and most email platforms can make it easy for you. You can use demographics and behavioral data to target lists with specifically tailored content. Then, set triggers to automatically respond to user actions with appropriate messaging in a timely manner.
Integrating your email marketing with your CRM is the most efficient and effective ways to boost personalization. You can use insight from your CRM system to go beyond simple name greetings to automatically incorporate user-specific information in the content of your email, including the subject line.
Engaging Subject Lines
According to Invesp, 47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line, so you have to be thoughtful and make them count.
Obviously, you need to make them as personal as you can, but it’s also a good idea to include a benefit/value message as well. What will they get in exchange for opening this email? For instance, Campaign Monitor found that 72% of customers open an email due to the discount it offers.
The call to action is another powerful element of your subject line. You should not only let them know what they’ll get when they open the email, but what they’ll be expected to do to get it. Sign up? Forward to a friend? View a demo? Giving a clear path to value will make them more likely to want to know more.
Fun fact: Business Wire found that subject lines containing emojis have a higher read rate than comparable text-only subject lines.
Focus on Mobile
This one should be a no-brainer, but here are some compelling stats if you’re still not convinced that mobile should be a priority.
- Emails not optimized for mobile devices get deleted by a majority (80.3%) of users, and 3 out of 10 users unsubscribe from the list if the emails are not mobile optimized. (Bluehornet)
- Mobile email will account for 20 to 75% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product, and email type. (eMailmonday)
Make sure your emails are compatible with the major devices and their email clients, images render appropriately, and subject lines are concise for easier reading on smaller screens.
E-marketing experts dictate that you should include video and attractive HTML, and consumers will often say that’s what they want too. However, plain-text emails get higher open rates, according to Hubspot.
The best practice is probably somewhere in between. Interactivity, graphics, video, gamification, etc. are all elements that can be engaging, but don’t cram them all into a single message. Use one of those elements and then keep the rest concise, text-only, and value-oriented. And as always, make sure you’re compliant with mobile requirements.
Timing is everything, so they say, and it’s certainly true with email.
Opinions may vary on the best day and time to send an email, but according to multiple studies compiled by Coshedule Research, Tuesday is the best day of the week to send emails. If you send two emails a week, send the second email on Thursday. Coshedule also found that the best times to send an email are 10 a.m. and from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Of course, the only way to know for sure what timing performs best for your particular audience is to test. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Follow Spam Guidelines
Today’s spam filters are extremely sophisticated, and not only that; Invesp found that 68% of recipients will report email as spam based solely on the subject line.
So to prevent being weeded out by spam filters or recipients, avoid trigger words in your subject lines, and make them personally relevant as mentioned above.
Also, be sure to set frequency caps. It is recommended that you send no more than two emails per week.
A/B testing is your best friend, no matter what industry or channel you’re working in. For email, it is an ideal way to determine which subject lines, frequencies, days and times are leading to the most opens.
You may think you don’t have the time, but it’s an easy thing to do with most email clients, and it will be an invaluable resource for eliminating waste and boosting e-marketing ROI.
Millennials are being accused of killing lots of things, and it can be tempting to put email on that list, especially with the popularity of social media among that demographic. However, 73% of millennials identify email as their preferred means of business communication, and they make up an ever-increasing portion of your B2B audience.
As such, modern business practices are being steered toward millennial preferences. Your e-marketing should be no different. Follow the guidelines here and make your emails irresistible to open in 2018 and beyond.