Email is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing toolbox, and the most successful email marketers are the ones who regularly review, analyze, and test their campaigns. The reason? Even with proven campaigns, there are opportunities to improve results that can contribute to the bottom line. Let’s look at several key areas:
Content: Do you understand what your customer needs, and are you delivering that in your content? Does your language convey that you are a real, authentic human being interested in building a relationship? Or is your email stiff and focused on building your brand and selling instead of helping your customer solve their problem? It is precisely because everyone is inundated with daily emails that it is critical for you to be personal, human, and authentic. This alone will make your emails stand out from the others in their inboxes.
How do you avoid sounding like a sales person on steroids? The language that you use must convey the sense that you are there to serve your customers and their needs. If you keep this as the primary focus, you should have healthy open rates because you have established a reason for your customers and prospects to trust you. First you build trust with your audience, and then they buy. Without talking about your product directly, you want to discuss the issues and problems that your audience faces and that your product addresses. Focus the content on issues and you demonstrate that you understand the needs of your audience and they will engage with you.
Testing: Successful emailers always test – usually one variable at a time. Every company and every offer is different. What works best for one company does not necessarily work best for all. Test the following to determine best results:
- Subject lines – shorter is usually better
- Return addresses – an individual name vs. company name
- Language – personal vs. corporate
- HTML vs. text only – if you’re emailing educators, the school’s server may block HTML so text-only might be more effective
- Timing – time of day, day of the week, time of year
- Offers – does the language sound service or sales oriented?
Analytics: For benchmarking purposes, it is helpful to know basic email analytic ranges. Companies like Hubspot aggregate email metrics for a broad range of markets and can provide general information such as:
- Open rates for general emails to house files average 25.6%
- Open rates for trigger emails to house files are double that at 49.8%
- On average, only half of your house email list is active at any given time as demonstrated through opens and clicks
Benchmarking your own analytics against the experience of other markets is a good place to begin. However, over time, you will generate your own campaign data sets, and the metrics you create will build historical response meaningful to your market segment. Whether deploying the email yourself or using a service provider, there are foundational metrics particular to your product offering, and only you can decide what are the most meaningful in growing your business.
Effective email marketers continually test to improve campaign results. Tracking open and click-through rates are the basic level of analytics, and there may be more critical metrics particular to your product segment. By focusing on great content, testing, and analytics, you can feel confident that you are collecting the kind of data that will deliver continual improvement and refinement of your email campaigns.