5 Opt-In Best Practices For Any Email Marketer

Ensure your subscribers say yes the right way

Ensure your subscribers say yes the right way

A recent report found that email marketing is still one of the top marketing channels, according to both marketers and consumers. Its ROI is the highest for any online marketing path, and it can offer better rewards than most offline marketing channels.

The effectiveness of your marketing depends on the quality of your list. The better the match of the mailing list to your target audience, the greater the effectiveness of your campaigns. Likewise, how you sign subscribers up to your list can make the difference between conversion or not.

The opt-in process can be challenging. There are legal restrictions to consider as well as how your subscribers might react. Here are five best practices to help you create the perfect process.

1. Give The Audience A Choice Of Email Frequency

In the recent report from Marketing Sherpa, the survey found that customers prefer to set the frequency at which they receive emails from the brand. Therefore, by offering your subscribers a chance to determine how often you contact them, you can get your relationship off to a good start.

The top options to offer could be weekly, fortnightly, and monthly. While you might think that this stifles your marketing efforts; using segmentation could automatically reduce the number of emails sent to an individual subscriber that complies with their request.

2. Confirm Subscription

This is a legal practice in most countries – but not all. When someone enters their details on a sign-up form, send an immediate email to confirm their subscription. The new subscriber will then need to click on a link to confirm their subscription.

In the United States, this is a legal requirement. While it is not a strict requirement under UK, Canadian or Australian law – it is highly recommended in all countries. It does also provide you with some protection. These countries have strict anti-spam laws, and double opt-in provides you with evidence that the subscriber had intentionally subscribed, and it wasn’t entered by a robot or another person.

3. Collect The Right Amount Of Information

The more information you collect from subscribers, the better you can segment your email list and send relevant emails, and the easier it is to maintain your list.

In contrast, the more information you request – the fewer new subscribers you’ll attract to your list. Consider what information you really need and what information you could collect from your audience through your email marketing campaigns.

For instance, you could collect a name and email address and then ask subscribers to provide more details further down the line, or, monitor their behaviour to collect further information.

4. Provide Value To Your Opt-in

To increase the number of new subscribers, you should entice your audience with an offer. Free ebooks, discount codes and other freebies are the perfect gifts to attract new signups if the offer has value to the audience.

Don’t give away your freebie too easily either. And don’t use a pop-up that will give them access as soon as they’ve signed up. Instead, wait until after they’ve confirmed their subscription via double opt-in and then send their reward via another email.

5. Don’t Use A Pop-up

From January 2017, Google will introduce an algorithm change in their search engine that gives a negative rating for any pop-ups that aren’t required by law. The target is pop-ups suggesting the audience subscribe to a mailing list.

Therefore, using landing pages for offers is going to be the better option when generating subscribers and will enable you to still rank highly on Google search results. If people can’t find you – they can’t subscribe.

Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the best channels to sell to your audience. It helps you build trust and give relevant offers to list members. To get the most out of your marketing campaigns, you need to have the best quality lists, and this starts with your opt-in process.

Using the tips above you can start to manage your business’ email opt-in process and acquire a better marketing list to help you grow your revenue.

What are your email list opt-in tips?

Let us know in the comments below.

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3 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Growing Your List

How you can't grow your mailing list

How you can’t grow your mailing list

Your email marketing list is important to help you grow your business but you need to be managing it the right way.

Did you know that the average unsubscribe rate for a mailing list is approximately 0.53% or one out of every 200 subscribers?

Losing subscribers is not always bad; especially if they no longer have an interest in your brand’s message. Losing old subscribers means you can spend more of your time and money focusing on those who could potentially be converted into customers.

In fact, every so often, you should be removing subscribers from your mailing list who aren’t interacting with campaigns. Go through your list at least once a month. Send a re-engagement email to accounts that have been inactive for six months, if they don’t respond to the re-engagement email within two weeks at most, remove them from your mailing list.

Despite your best efforts to re-engage disinterested subscribers, the bottom line is that you will lose some and without the right action, you might even end up with a diminishing list. What you need to do is grow your mailing list.

Not All Growth Is Equal

Most businesses with email marketing campaigns understand the need to grow their lists, for example with whitepapers, online seminars, trade shows etc.

However, there are some methods to grow a mailing list, known as black-hat techniques that you should avoid. While they may get some results, their true value and legality are often questionable.

So here are three things you should never do when you are growing your mailing list.

1. Buy A Mailing List

This is a quick way to gain loads of new contacts and start promoting your business, yet it is also a quick way to get your mail server blacklisted and your reputation ruined. Some of the other reasons why you shouldn’t buy a mailing list include:

  • Poor results – a bought list has very low returns compared to an organically grown list.
  • Loss of reputation – your company is seen as a spammer, and this can damage your long-term prospects.
  • Fines – Most countries have laws stating that you must have permission from the receiver when sending an email. Without it, you could face a fine.

Don’t be caught out by sellers who state that their lists are clean, carefully selected for your business or any other promise. A bought list breaks laws and terms of service with most email marketing software providers.

While it takes longer to grow a mailing list without buying one, it is worth the effort.

2. Neglect To Fulfil On Promises

If you’ve promised all new subscribers get 20% off their first order with you, don’t go back on that promise. It’s unprofessional, and your audience will abandon you very quickly. They might also post negative reviews about your business practices on third party websites which can damage your long-term prospects.

If you want to offer a deal for those subscribing to your mailing list, then thoroughly consider what you can afford and are willing to offer. Don’t price yourself out of business, but it does still need to be enticing to the customer. One option might be free delivery or a free gift with their first purchase – something that adds value to the order rather than takes it away.

3. Don’t Be Too Generic With Your Targeting

You might think that numbers matter on a mailing list, but in truth, they don’t matter as much as you think. You could have thousands of contacts, but if none of them has the resources, need or authorization to buy your products then those contacts are useless.

Instead, look to attract valuable contacts who are more likely to convert. Everyone else is just a distraction.

Are You Growing Your Mailing List Right?

Your mailing list is valuable. It is part of your sales process, and it can earn you a fortune if you create the right campaign and attract the right contacts to your list. If you don’t, it can be a waste of time and money. Therefore, don’t fall into bad habits and ensure you have a priceless mailing list.

How do you grow your mailing list? Do you ever audit your approaches?

Let us know in the comments below.

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If Your Business Isn’t Using Social Media You’re Missing Sales

If you aren't promoting on social media - your business will suffer

If you aren’t promoting on social media – your business will suffer

Social media isn’t known for its sales. However, it still plays a prominent role in the digital sales process that many startups can actively utilise to increase revenue. The use of social media is demonstrated by some important statistics:

  • 90% of young adults (18 to 29 years-old) have at least one social media profile.
  • The average person spends a quarter of their internet time on a social media platform.
  • Consumers say social media is as much of an influence on their purchasing decisions as television.
  • 33% of millennials prefer to use social media to communicate with brands than other platforms.
  • 74% of salespeople who beat their quota in 2014 used social media extensively in their campaigns.

Social media doesn’t just impact direct sales. It can help your site to be found on Google, increase inbound links and generate leads when social media users sign up to your mailing list.

Difference In Platforms

Of course, it is important to ensure you are on the right platform for your audience. Certain audiences prefer to interact on different platforms; for instance, younger audiences prefer SnapChat and Twitter, while older audiences prefer Google+ and Facebook.

However, despite this, there are certain social media platforms where brands are not well received by users, an obvious one is SnapChat.

So, if you want your business to start using social media, you need to be sure to focus your efforts in the right place.

How To Get Started With Social Media

If you haven’t started with social media yet, then you are already behind many of your competitors. Research has shown at least 81% of small and medium businesses use social media, but that doesn’t mean they are all being effective.

Typical reasons for failing to get results from social media are not knowing the best metrics to use or how to create an effective strategy. In fact, 55% of small businesses struggle to develop their social media strategy.

So here is a quick guide on how your business can start using social media.

  1. Choose the social media platforms you want to use. You can choose as many or as few as you think are valuable for your business. These should be platforms that can present your business in a positive light.
  2. Get on the social media platforms and start interacting as an individual. Start building a network of contacts and interact with them. Remember to promote your knowledge and expertise rather than your products actively. If you come across as too salesy, then people won’t want to interact with you.

This will help you to discover the norms and socially acceptable values of the social media platforms you’ve chosen.

  1. Connect with social media users who are like your current clients. This can easily be done by looking for keywords your clients use.
  2. Share, comment and communicate with your potential clients on social media. There is nothing more important than appearing to be sociable with your contacts. If you only share content about your business, then you aren’t going to get the response you wanted.
  3. Choose metrics and measure them. There is a debate on what metrics are important for social media. However, as a basis, use these statistics to engage how successful your campaigns are:
  • Number of connections, likes or followers.
  • Number of shares of your content.
  • Website traffic generated because of your social media content.
  • Number of new leads developed through social media.

Conclusion

Social media is an important part of our lives. Too many businesses and consumers are using it for your business to ignore it. If you aren’t using social media, then your competitors probably are, and you will lose out.

Start your social media campaigns today to increase your business’ revenue.

What social media platforms do you use? How much time a day do you spend on social media?

Let us know in the comments below.

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8 Tips To Growing Your Email List Without Spamming!

email list building

Don’t build your email list by spamming.

The money is in the list. This is the advice of most marketers, and the statistics support it. Email marketing has had the highest ROI of any digital marketing platform for the past decade and with limited costs, endless design options and being easy to monitor – email is perfect.

There is a challenge, however – growing your email list, and this is where people can often feel compelled to cheat, either by spamming their way to longer lists or by purchasing them from third parties.

Both are less than desirable. Buying an email list is illegal, and you can be fined if someone receives a marketing message from you that they didn’t give you permission for.

Spamming, while not technically illegal, annoys your potential customers and makes it harder for you to build trust with them.

So, what options do you have for growing your email list without spamming? Here are eight for consideration:

1. Smartphone Apps

Smartphone usage has now reached over one billion, so not utilising Smartphones within your list building is a wasted opportunity.

One option is to allow people to use an app you’ve created simply by entering their email address.

2. QR Codes

While QR codes aren’t new and adoption is slow, they are still useful and can help you grow your marketing list without issue.

Simply create your QR code and attach it to your marketing materials (leaflets, business cards, posters, etc.).

All potential clients need to do is scan the code with their phone and they’re sent through to a signup form. Simple, easy and far-reaching.

3. SMS Marketing

If you’ve got the mobile number of a prospect, then you can send them an SMS message. In this, ask them to respond with an email address if they want to receive marketing messages from you.

This is a fantastic way to cross-market platforms and gain more interactions with already engaged prospects.

4. Run A Competition

A competition is hard to resist, especially if the prize is something of value.

Having the prospects signup to your newsletter to enter the competition is not just easy, it’s also a great way to grow your list. Remember a good competition has several components:

  • A clear deadline for entries.
  • A prize that is related to your business and valuable to your potential customers.
  • Easy ways to enter.

You can make your competition more valuable by offering prospects further chances to win by following you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

5. Give Them A Gift

Free gifts are just as hard to resist as competitions. They also offer you a chance to demonstrate the quality of your product or expertise of your service.

You should give away something that will be valuable to your customer such as an ebook to solve common challenges, case studies, whitepapers on the latest trends or to-do lists for your potential clients.

6. Be Subtle

Don’t plaster your mailing list everywhere on the web. Some companies make every social media update and blog post about their mailing list.

Instead, be subtler and attract people with offers, competitions and good writing rather than demands and heavy promotion.

It’s Not Just About Adding Names To Your List

The average annual churn rate for email is between 25-30%. This is high because so many companies don’t follow best practices and lose a significant number of subscribers every year.

By following the tips below, you can reduce your churn rate.

7. Don’t Email Too Frequently

Emailing too frequently means that people will get bored of seeing your emails in their mail box. At the very least they will delete your emails without opening them or just unsubscribe.

Try to minimise email marketing messages to one or two per week at most.

8. Don’t Always Promote

Sometimes the best marketing message can be about the client. Giving them some information that can help them solve a challenge or improve their life/business. If you prove you aren’t just going to talk about yourself, then people will remain subscribers.

Conclusion

Email marketing is great. It has a substantial ROI and can be tailored to your business. However, sustainably growing your email marketing list can be a challenge. It doesn’t just mean attracting subscribers to your list; it also means keeping them on it. Use the tips above to increase subscriptions and reduce list churn.

What is your subscriber churn rate? How do you attract prospects to your mailing list?

Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Build Your Campaigns To Match Your Brand

You couldn't change the font in the old days, now its part of your brand.

You couldn’t change the font in the old days, now its part of your brand.

Your email campaigns will be better received by your audience if your email messages are branded.

Branding introduces reliability, expectations and above all trust to your subscribers. These are all the qualities a potential customer wants to see.

Here are six simple steps to make your email marketing campaigns better aligned to your brand.

1. Add Your Logo

There is nothing more important than your logo within the body of the email. It is the symbol of your business, and your audience should connect it with your brand within seconds.

A good logo will also describe who you are and what your business’ values are.

There is no one, best location for your logo. However, it could be useful to place the logo at the top for immediate identification, or at the bottom where your signature would usually go.

2. Use Colours That Represent Your Brand

Don’t be too free with your colour choice. Colours have an emotional impact on the reader, and certain colours will represent your brand more than others. For example, blue colours tend to represent expertise and authority while red can be perfect for passionate brands.

Be careful with certain colour combinations as some are copyrighted. While you might not be sued if you are in a non-competitive industry, certain big brands might take offence if you sell similar products and use a similar colour or combination of colours for your logo.

Colours used within the body of the email should complement your logo.

3. Add Visuals

Visuals are an important aspect for your marketing emails. They put your email into context for your audience, making it easier for them to understand your offer or message.

Many sites offer quality visuals, e.g. Pixabay and these photos are free for commercial use. Another site to take a look at is FreeDigitalPhotos.net, which can be free to use for a reference, or images bought for a reasonable price. Check the terms and conditions of any images you use and/or purchase carefully.

Or, if possible, you could take good quality, high-resolution photos yourself.

4. Use Consistent Fonts

In the same way that colours can distinguish your brand and its ethics – so can the font you use. Customers will expect your brand to use one or two fonts in all its communications. Your chosen fonts can say a lot about your brand and how it operates.

Don’t constantly change the font you use in emails. It can get confusing for your audience, and lower the success rate of your campaigns.

5. Include Relevant Links

You may think that links have nothing to do with branding, but it can be the aspect that signifies your brand beyond the email. For instance, if you connect to blog posts, then you are saying that information is a key aspect of your brand, if you connect to a social media page, you are identifying interconnectivity and communication as having a major role.

Think carefully about what you want your brand to represent and then express this by your choice of links on your email.

6. Find Your Voice

Each brand has a unique way of speaking to their audience. Some will emphasise formal sentences while others will be informal. Finding your voice, and keeping it consistent is of vital importance and each tone and style will attract a different audience.

Think carefully about your audience and how they talk to their peers before you decide on any particular voice for your brand. At the same time, consider how your staff speak.

And, keep it consistent. If your mailing content speaks one way, but then the customer gets another style when they contact your customer services, they could get confused and even wonder if they’ve contacted the right business.

Branding Your Emails Couldn’t Be Easier

With these six points in action, your emails will be better placed to connect with your audience. You should start to see open rates and click-through rates increase and with better results will come higher ROI on email marketing, more revenue, and growth within your business.

How do you brand your email marketing messages? Have you changed it recently and regretted it?

Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Write Marketing Emails That Convert

writing email copy that will convert

How do you write email marketing copy that will convert?

Email marketing provides the best return on any digital marketing, but it is only effective if you produce content your audience wants to interact with. Everything from the tone, to the language and specific words used, can make a significant difference to your results.

Isn’t Email Design Important?

While the look of an email is important it will only offer you so much reward. Email subscribers are more interested in the content of the email, where the value of your message is. Each member of your marketing list will have questions when they receive your email, such as:

  • Who is sending this email?
  • What do they want me to do?
  • How will taking action benefit me?

The answers to these questions should form part of your email copy. If your audience can’t find the answers, they won’t take action. When statistics show that click-through rates can be as low as 1.3% to 5.41% – any small action that helps you get interaction is necessary.

How To Write Better Marketing Emails

If you want to be successful in business, being able to convert prospects is important. So learning how to write great marketing emails is a must. Here are some tips to help you:

1. Write Emails For Email Segments

If you haven’t segmented your email list yet, then you need to start today. A segmented list allows you to identify trends among groups of similar individuals on your marketing list, and then send them offers they are likely to be interested in. For example, a business offering software to students could split their email list into segments for different courses, software needs or the university they attend.

Once you’ve segmented your list, you can write your emails targeted to that specific group, and when they read content that is relevant to them, they’ll be more likely to follow up on requested actions.

2. Remove Unnecessary Words

There are certain words, known as ‘stop words’, which can be removed from your writing most of the time. One such example is ‘that’. A stop word slows down the reading and disrupts the flow of a message, so the message becomes less powerful.

When deciding to remove certain words or not, read the sentence out loud, with and without the word. Here is an example:

“There are a lot of words that you can remove from your email copy.”

“There are a lot of words you can remove from your email copy.”

3. Personalisation

At least 70% of business emails sent do not include any personalised information. How can you expect to build trust with an audience without being on first name basis? At the very least you should include the first names of both you and the recipient in the body of the email.

In addition, you can include their business name, actions they’ve taken on your website or orders they’ve recently made. The more personal you get, the more interest you’ll gain.

4. Be Personal

Don’t write in a neutral tone. Instead use the second person perspective in your emails by including “you”, “your”, “our” and “us” in the copy. It creates a more inviting and personal touch to your emails that will make people think there is a person writing the messages and not just an automated system.

5. Speak Plainly

Corporate talk is not going to sell you anything. Plain speaking is going to get you much further with your audience. It also proves that you know what you are talking about, that you understand the subject more than your competitors who only speak industry lingo – which can lead to mistrust.

If you don’t build trust with your audience early, you won’t have a chance to sell.

6. Keep Your Emails Short

People are always pressed for time and if your email is too long, they will not read your email all the way to the call to action. If you have a small email, with a noticeable call to action, more people will click-through.

Therefore, try to keep email messages below 100 words.

Write Your Email Copy

While the design of your email is important, especially in today’s increasingly mobile world – words still count. Writing effective emails requires skill, patience and time. Use the tips above to help you get the most from your email campaigns and start selling more online.

How do you write your emails? What are your click-through rates like?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Boost Office Productivity With These 5 Hacks

Eat healthily to help your productivity

Eat healthily to help your productivity

When business leaders look to increase profits, they often consider making more sales. While this can be necessary, it can also sometimes mean you need to hire more staff to cater for the new clients. Therefore, the returns on additional clients and work can be smaller than expected.

If your business were to take on new work and use the same resources, your profit margins would be much better. This technique relies on you increasing productivity within your office and ensuring staff are doing more work within the same amount of time.

This is often a challenge for small businesses. However, there are simple tricks you can utilise that can help you improve your office productivity. Here are five of the best productivity hacks for your office.

1. Schedule Your Daily Activities In Advance

Don’t wait until the morning to schedule your day. At the very least, you need to be scheduling and organising your day the night before, if not much further in advance. Using a to-do list, which includes the must-do tasks, is a motivator boost. When you cross off items on the list, you’ll feel great about it.

2. Track And Limit The Time You’re Spending On Tasks

Only about 17% of people can accurately estimate the passage of time. Most people think that they are spending less time on activities than they actually are. This can cause serious time management challenges. Therefore, ensure you are setting appropriate timescales for tasks and monitor the passing time carefully.

3. Don’t Multitask

This is an important one. We are used to being told how the ability to effectively multitask is an important attribute in today’s modern workplace. However, research has shown that the brain can’t effectively switch between tasks. It is best when we concentrate on one problem, or task, at a time. When we do switch tasks, we waste time that could have been put to better use.

Further research has also shown that when we are multitasking, our retention rates drop and this can have serious implications for productivity; by either having to redo work or by adding in more checks.

4. Healthy Diets, Healthy Mind

Everything you eat gets converted into glucose that fuels your body. When you run low on glucose, you’ll find it difficult to concentrate and operate effectively. However, not everything is consumed by our bodies the same way. Foods like pasta, bread and cereals provide a quick glucose boost but then end in a slump. High-fat foods, like cheeseburgers or BLTs, provide longer lasting energy but require more oxygen to digest which can make you groggy.

Try to snack continuously throughout the day, as this will prevent spikes and slumps in your productivity by maintaining a consistent glucose level in your body. Also, try to snack on foods like fruit, nuts and protein bars – these will provide the best boost to your glucose levels and productivity.

5. Be Distraction Free

You can’t eliminate distractions from your working day. There will always be the unexpected call from a salesperson, customer or the interruption from a colleague, manager or employee looking for information. However, you should try to minimise your interruptions as much as possible. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t have your email inbox open. Emails pinging into your box are a big distraction.
  • Close the office door.
  • Don’t have social media notifications turned on your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Keep your desk tidy – too much mess is a big distraction.

Productivity To Business Success

As you become more productive, you’ll find that you can generate more revenue without increasing hours or payment. Therefore, your profit margins increase and you can spend more time on activities that can also increase your lead generation or sales.

What productivity hacks do you have? What have you tried to do on the list above?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Why Your Email Layouts Are So Important

Have you got your call-to-action button in the right place?

Have you got your call-to-action button in the right place?

Designing your marketing emails is completely different to designing a website or leaflet for direct mail. Subscribers and audiences react differently to your emails than they do to any other form of content. Get your layout wrong, and your campaign could be completely disregarded.

How Is Email Design Different?

Firstly, subscribers tend to open email campaigns in three stages: envelope, content and landing page. If you fail to optimise your subject line, pre-header text or sender information, then your audience could be dissuaded from opening your email in the first place. To get people to continue reading your email, you will need to design the content so it matches any promises made in the pre-header text. Your landing page will also need to build on those promises as well.

Secondly, you could struggle with the difficulties associated with coding. There are no standards for email coding between inbox providers. As there are ever more inbox providers, there are numerous codes to consider and therefore, getting your emails to display as you intended on all inboxes can be problematic.

Finally, the growth of mobile devices has made it more challenging for businesses to produce email designs that perform well on all devices. Emails are being opened on mobile devices more often than on desktop devices, so a mobile responsive design should be a priority.

Image Implementation Matter

Another consideration is that some email inboxes will automatically block images which can make certain email designs look ugly. A design that isn’t visually appealing will not attract your audience to take the next stage of the sales path.

Another consideration is that if you contain all the content in images, this can reduce the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Also, because there is less speed on mobile devices, campaigns might have very small open rates.

Therefore, while images are important, they should also be used sparingly – when they will be most effective.

Reading Heat-Map

How we read documents on computers and mobile devices is vastly different to how we read documents on paper. While on both sets, the reader is most likely to scan the document first to pick up key points, the reader is likely to see the whole page on a paper document. In contrast, on a digital document, the reader tends to look at what is in the left column and at the top of the page the most.

The bottom section of any page is often disregarded. Another consideration is scrolling. Most readers will not scroll down on a computer to continue reading. Therefore, the majority of the information should be contained above-the-fold.

The call to action button should also be above the fold and to the left of the page to encourage more people to click through.

Top Tips For Email Design

There are many considerations for you when it comes to designing your email. Here are some top tips for you to use in your next email design:

  1. Ensure all links are obvious on the page.
  2. Be CAN-SPAM compliant with all the necessary information included in the email.
  3. Minimise image use and ensure they are optimised for download and quality.
  4. Always have the call to action and link above the fold.
  5. Minimise your text. Keep it to below three hundred words.
  6. Minimise the use of spam words (i.e. free).
  7. Test your emails on multiple platforms and email clients.

If you follow these design tips, your emails will be more acceptable to your audience, and you will see better results.

What design tips do you have for email? What results do you get?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Six Rules Of Email Marketing – How To Increase Your Open Rate

How do you get more opens of your emails?

The success of your email marketing campaigns is all about how many people open your emails. There are several ways to encourage this so you get more subscribers open your emails every time you send them a promotion, brand news or simple message.

Our six rules will help you get better results:

1. Long Subject Lines

Get Response studied the results from over three hundred emails. They found that those that contained more than 61 characters in the subject line got more open rates. According to the study, the highest open rates were approximately 12.38%.

Split testing can help you find the perfect length for your audience. Consider testing subject lines at 60 characters, 100 characters and 130 characters to see which gives the best results.

This tactic also increased the number of people who clicked through.

2. Preheader Text

Use your preheader text to give a brief outline of what is contained within the email. Preheaders are like an elevator pitch, so keep them relative, enticing and readable on mail clients. Some like Gmail and Yahoo will only give you preheader lengths of 100 characters, so keep it that short.

Preheaders should be changed for each email; they should never be the same as the title, and you should attempt to include a call to action.

3. Create Intrigue

If you want people to open your emails, they’ve got to want to find out more about your message. That is harder to do if you give away the whole story in the subject line and the preheader.

This technique is called the open loop. People become interested in the content without knowing exactly what it is about, so they open it to find out more. Then in the mail, you close the loop. An example of this would be:

“This is how you get more emails opened…”

See how this doesn’t actually mention what technique you are using. Therefore, it creates curiosity and compels the reader to open the email.

4. Subject Line Capitalisation

Having every word in capitals is not a good idea as it gives the impression that you are shouting at your audience, and nobody likes that. However, most businesses write subject lines with the first letter of every word as if it is part of a document title.

This is not how people write emails to each other. Instead, they may capitalise the first word but leave the rest (except nouns) as lowercase. You can mix it up by using special characters in your subject lines and by also adding the odd word in capitals (when you want to emphasise certain points).

5. Double Opt-In

Research has shown that those using double opt-in subscription methodology can increase subscriber engagement and increase open rates. It also helps to decrease spammers subscribing to your mailing list.

To help you keep audiences engaged, immediately after they sign-up, send them an email immediately and then send them a reasonable amount of further engaging mail in the days that follow. Research has shown that this increases the number of people who convert from strangers to customers within four weeks – making your email campaigns so much more effective.

6. Be Negative

Sometimes negative words can be more compelling for your audience. Using words like ‘the worst’, ‘absolutely wrong’ and ‘no fewer’ can be used to attract subscribers to open your emails.

This works because people like to feel that they can prove they are better than others – but what happens is that they realise they are making those mistakes, and then want to contact you to improve.

Conclusion

Your email marketing campaigns are important, but they are only a success if you have people open your emails. There are several techniques to get more people to open your emails, but the best strategy is to always split test your campaigns to see what works for your audience.

What is your open rate? How much higher could you go?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Does Split Testing Actually Help Me Get More Opens?

Ask the question: what could make my emails better?

Ask the question: what could make my emails better?

Split testing is a marketing technique experts often state you should be undertaking on a regular basis. Yet when marketing their brand, leaders are sometimes hesitant to analyse their email marketing in this way, not knowing whether it does actually increase the number of opens in the long run or not.

So why is it that online marketing experts state you should be split testing? Is there any truth in it helping your business? Will it lead to an increase in your marketing results? Here are some of the key considerations:

What Is Split Testing?

Split testing is the process where you test two versions of a piece of marketing (landing page, email, social media, advert etc.) and see which one audiences prefer. For websites and emails, traffic or subscriber lists are randomly split in half, so one half will go to one version and the other half will go to another.

When the results are in, you should see if there are any major differences in the behaviours of those who saw the content. Then you can use this knowledge to produce more effective marketing materials.

Split testing is also referred to as A/B Testing.

Why Is It Split?

Some will question whether it really is applicable to test two variations of an email against an audience. This is often based on the number of variables that can affect the open rate. Audiences may prefer one email over the other but was it down to the wording of the email or the design?

So when split testing, it is important that you only change one variable, for example the colour of your call to action, or the wording of a title. If it is done in this way, split testing becomes the only logical way to determine which email variation is effective for marketing to your audience.

Short-Term Impact

The short-term impact of any split testing is always dependent on how effective your marketing was before the testing. If you actually had the most effective design and layout for your emails, then you will find that any other variant will lead to fewer opens and conversions. In the early stages of testing, you might find that this occurs anyway and therefore, you might get the impression that split testing will harm your email marketing campaigns.

Audiences sometimes react negatively to change, so if you’ve made a major change, audiences might react to the action of change itself rather than the variant. You might need to run the test for three to five weeks to test the long-term impact.

If the change does create a negative impact, then at least you know. However, one split test should never be enough. You should constantly be finding ways to improve your emails and what works best for your email campaigns.

Long Term Impact

The advantage of split testing is that once you’ve found a variation of your email design and copy which produces better results, you can use it as a control for future testing. Also, because you have found a more effective marketing design, as you create more emails, you will be getting more opens. So any subscriber interactions you may have lost previously will be gained again now at a greater rate.

Imagine that you lost 10% clicks on one variation but another produced 5% better results. On a subscriber list of 1,000 split evenly, you had a net loss of 5% opens (or 25 opens). However, in the next campaign, because you are only using the better variant, you have eliminated that loss and in the next campaign, the net effect on opens is increased.

Does Split Testing Work

There is so much research online documenting the positive results of split testing. Looking at some of the evidence on sites like Kissmetrics, Optimizely and others, tells you that a simple A/B test can help you achieve better results, including opens.

The results are clear. If you test, you can find a better way of running your email marketing campaigns, and subsequently, increase engagement. This should create more leads and sales to grow your business. So, can split testing help your business? Yes, it can.

Do you undertake any split testing? What results do you get?

Let us know in the comments.

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