Email marketing can be confusing and intimidating. When done correctly, however, email marketing connects your business to customers and boosts sales. From growing a subscriber list to best practices, we’ve answered the most common email marketing questions to help you develop a successful strategy.
1.) Why is Email Marketing Essential?
Even with the rise of social media, emails remain the best way to reach a large number of people directly–an email campaign connects with three times more people than Twitter and Facebook combined. Unlike creating a blog or posting on Facebook, sending an email allows you to ensure that many customers see your content, even if it is just the subject line and name of your business.
On top of that, you’ll be able to release timely content, create highly targeted messaging, and monitor your campaigns. It’s easier to measure the performance of emails, and you can make small changes to increase engagement. Having an email marketing strategy is essential no matter your industry.
2.) How Can I Tell if my Email Marketing Strategy is Successful?
The best way to tell whether your strategy is improving your business is to establish clear goals and keep careful track of the performance of email campaigns. What is your email marketing goal – to boost sales? To drive more traffic to specific landing pages on your website? Determining your end goals will help you build a successful strategy.
Then, there are common email marketing metrics you can use to determine how your campaign is performing. Two of the most important metrics are:
- Open rate: The number of people who open a specific email out of the total number of subscribers you sent it to.
- Click-through rate: The number of times a link within your email is clicked on out of the total number of subscribers the email was sent to.
3.) What’s Considered a Good Open Rate and Click-Through Tate?
It’s helpful to know the numbers you should be aiming for. According to Mailchimp, the email open rate on average across all industries is 21.33%, and the click rate on average across all industries is 2.62%. You can also conduct research on your specific industry to find averages for companies like yours, which will provide a useful baseline.
These numbers also help you set realistic goals; some opens at all may be a great achievement if you are just getting started. It all depends on how you and your team measure success.
4.) How Do I Get Potential Customers to Open My Emails?
To ensure your emails are opened, offer the type of content your customers are most likely going to be interested in reading. One of the best practices to email marketing is to fully understand your audience–what type of deals are they looking for? How often will they be making a purchase from you? Familiarizing yourself is the first step to crafting engaging and timely content.
You also need to ensure you grab people’s attention in the first place with an intriguing subject line that’s eye-catching and encouraging.
5.) How Do I Craft a Great Email Subject Line?
Writing a great email subject line is easy once you fully understand your customers and you’re knowledgeable about subject line best practices, such as:
- Your line should be 50 characters or less, and a general rule of thumb is to aim for 10 words or less.
- Include numbers and lists to promise a quick read.
- Tap into customer’s emotions; create a sense that time is running out on certain deals, or promise exclusive content that only certain people will gain access to.
- Ask questions to open a dialogue.
- Use punctuation and emojis to catch attention–but only one or two at a time.
6.) How Do I Get People to Click On Links I’ve Put Into My Email?
An effective method to encourage subscribers to click on content in your email is to include CTAs (calls to action). These are quick, simple instructions that provide readers the next step and explicitly describe the action they should take, such as “Click Here,” or “Shop Now!” CTAs clear up confusion and add urgency to any exclusive or intriguing offers you are providing.
7.) Are There Any Other Email Marketing Metrics I Need to Know?
A combination of email marketing metrics will help you set goals and truly measure whether your strategy is working well for your business. Foundational email marketing metrics include:
- The acceptance rate, or rate of email deliverability. This is the rate of an email being successfully delivered to a person’s email address. Sometimes emails are bounced (rejected) by servers. Other times, people delete the email address they originally used to sign up.
- Spam reports: This is how many times people who received your emails marked them as spam or junk mail.
- Unsubscribes: How often recipients ended up unsubscribing from your list completely.
Your email marketing strategy will likely involve several metrics. For example, you might aim for a high open rate and a low amount of spam reports.
8.) How Often Should I Email My Whole List?
While the frequency of your emails will depend on a number of factors, a general rule of thumb is that sending too many will cause your readers to unsubscribe. The trick is to figure out what “too many” is for your business, and to find your email marketing strategy’s sweet spot.
It’s a safe bet that your subscribers will not like daily emails. According to Smart Insights, the average rate of successful email frequency is 1-2 a week. To find your company’s sweet spot, you can run tests and analyze the performance of different frequencies, then continue with the number that brings you close to the metrics you are aiming to achieve.
9.) Is There A Time and Day I Should be Sending Emails?
The answer to this question is the same as email frequency – it depends. There is no universal time and day that’s been identified as “making an email campaign successful.” For example, according to Mailchimp, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2-5 PM is the ideal “send” time best. But a study conducted by Wordstream determined that early mornings on Thursdays were better.
One of the biggest factors for your perfect time and day is whether you are a B2B or B2C business. Take into consideration when your subscribers are likely to see and open your email. For B2B, that’s likely during the workday. Since your specific audience will respond differently, it’s best to conduct experiments and study your own data to determine the best time and day for your business.
10.) How Can I Test My Emails to See What Works Best?
People will open emails for different reasons. Most of the time, it’s based on a person’s preference or a particular and immediate need that they have. It is possible for you to run tests on your emails to understand which factors–subject lines, images, content, even layout– work best so your campaign hits the metrics you’re looking for.
An easy way to accomplish this is to perform an A/B test, a simple experiment that allows you to compare two versions of one variable and determine which is more effective:
- Create two emails that are similar in every way except for one factor (a different subject line, sent at a different time, different email body, even differently-colored call to action buttons).
- Send the emails to subscribers who are randomly selected.
- Observe which email performs better according to the goals you’ve established.
The more you test your emails, the more you’ll come to understand your subscribers’ preferences. It’s a simple but effective way to establish successful email campaigns.
11.) How Do I Segment My Emails?
Once you’ve run A/B tests, it is possible to segment your subscriber list so that certain people get certain emails and your marketing is tailored to specific preferences. For example, you’ll be able to send one email in the morning to certain people, and one in the afternoon to others. Breaking it up in this way can boost your overall rates.
Many email platforms allow you to manually segment subscribers based on specific factors. Interestingly, you could also use an algorithm to tailor your marketing campaign.
12.) Are There Tricks to Getting More Subscribers?
Growing a great list of subscribers takes time, and the best method is to grow your list organically. Start with current, past, and potential customers; this will be the largest aspect to your list. Branch out from there and make sure people have chances to sign up for your emails through boxes and other opt-in opportunities on your website and marketing materials.
Keep in mind that having a large number of subscribers doesn’t automatically mean your email campaigns will be successful. The key is to have the right people on your list–qualified leads who will actually open your emails and click through them. Even a small list of subscribers can be prosperous if those people consistently engage with your content.
13.) Are There Any Email Marketing Laws I Should Be Aware Of?
Yes. Your emails do actually need to be in compliance with the law. It may seem intimidating, but these laws were mainly put in place to protect against unsolicited advertising and spam. While each country has its own laws dictating what email marketers can and can’t do, the main law for the U.S. is the CAN-SPAM Act.
If you are using email marketing for commercial purposes, CAN-SPAM requires that you:
- Don’t include deceptive or misleading information in your subject lines and headers.
- Disclose that your message is an advertisement.
- Include a valid physical address so recipients can see your location.
- Include a link to opt-out in every single email so people are able to unsubscribe.
- Honor unsubscribe requests in a prompt manner and never email the person again unless they opt back in.
14.) What Are Some Other Email Marketing Best Practices?
One of the main best practices is to avoid coming across as spam, but there are other things you can do to ensure your email marketing resonates with your customers:
- Keep it short and simple. People get dozens of emails each day and don’t have much time, so try to convey your message as quickly as possible.
- Communicate your intentions when asking people to subscribe so they understand what they are signing up for.
- Remember that sending too many emails will cause people to unsubscribe.
- Personalization is key to engagement, so take your time getting to understand your audience and make sure your emails are tailored to their needs and preferences.
15.) What Makes an Email “Good”?
This is another email marketing question where the answer simply depends. What makes an email “good” for your business relies heavily on your own practices and standards. For one company, a good email may be one that performs to the expected metrics. For another company, a good email is one that appeals to their customers and brings a boost in sales. Other companies may value high-quality content that simply teaches subscribers something new. Your own expectations and standards will determine the success of your email marketing.
Developing Your Email Marketing Strategy for Success
There are no dumb email marketing questions; it’s a complicated business strategy that takes time and practice. Success depends on a variety of factors, and an important takeaway is to test and monitor your campaigns to determine what works the best for your business. Make sure you adhere to best practices and established laws.