Email has long been a staple marketing tool for its affordability and scalability. But the key distribution channel still poses quite a few challenges for marketers. Many often search for email marketing tips to help.
A recent survey of U.S. marketing professionals found that the top four hurdles to success include:
- Increasing engagement (59%)
- Measuring performance/ROI (47%)
- Integrating email data with other data (36%)
- Improving deliverability (33%)
With saturated inboxes, shorter attention spans, stronger spam filters, and increasing distrust of salesy messaging, today’s consumers are harder to engage and convert than ever. So how can marketers increase the effectiveness of their email campaigns? Here are some tips to help improve your team’s email marketing for 2023.
Prioritize quality over quality
Mass emails to everyone on your list might give you a relatively high open rate, but that doesn’t equate to success.
Your goal should be to create engagement with interesting, informative, or useful content. This will not only build trust with your recipients but also decrease the chances of them unsubscribing.
Channel your efforts into effective campaign strategies, planning through well-timed emails, strong subject lines, responsive designs, and messaging that doesn’t condescend or feel overly salesy.
Personalization, beyond simply including the recipient’s first name, can significantly improve the performance of your campaign. In fact, 65% of marketers around the globe indicate that personalization has the most impact on email marketing, according to Insider Intelligence.
Measure with the right metrics
Speaking of open rates, they’re basically vanity metrics at this point. Why focus on a performance metric that has little to do with ROI? Even a 100% open rate is useless if there’s no action taken—whether that’s watching a video, sharing the email, clicking on a link, taking a poll, or signing up for a seminar.
To truly analyze your email marketing success, you’ll need to identify and use the right key performance indicators. Consider these KPIs to know if your messages are getting through and resonating and if not, where to make adjustments.
This is the percentage of emails that were actually delivered. Calculate this by subtracting the number of bounces from the number of email sends, divided by the email sends.
This is the percentage of messages rejected. Calculate this by dividing the number of bounces by the total number of emails sent. Be sure to differentiate between the types of bounces (e.g., full inbox, invalid email address, server error, etc) to take action to clean up your email list.
Churn happens, and it’s not always due to poor messaging. Some email recipients will simply have outgrown your product, found an alternative, or cut back on unnecessary purchases due to financial hardship.
Calculate this by dividing unique clicks by the total number of delivered emails. Be sure to track clicks per individual link to better understand what’s grabbing your recipients’ attention.
Web traffic and conversions
Use UTM codes to provide exact data about traffic sources and conversion. By adding these bits of text to a link, your analytics tool will be able to track not only where your traffic is coming from, but also from whom (e.g., tagged personas) and why (e.g., leads from webinar campaign).
Comparing the click-through or engagement rate of one email in your campaign compared to the entire campaign can tell you which messaging worked best to help you improve performance in the future.
Do you know who your most loyal customers are? Recognizing high engagement with an email or campaign may allow you to target them with a VIP offer or loyalty membership down the road. Can you identify your least engaged subscribers? Doing so may give you the opportunity to clean up your email list or retarget them with different messaging in the future.
If your calls to action are effective or your emails are appealing enough for your recipients to share them with friends, you’ll get a better understanding of the type of content and offers that are growing your business.
Get a holistic view of the data
Your email database only provides one point of view in terms of your customers’ journeys. With savvy marketers leaning into omnichannel campaigns and multiple touchpoints providing crucial information about your buyers and potential customers, data integration is key.
Now is the time to invest in systems that will house multiple data sources—within marketing and across other departments. Doing so will provide valuable insights into customer behavior, pain points, upsells, returns, reviews, complaints, loyalty, and more.
By coordinating your data across the buyer stages, you’ll be better informed about each customer, which is likely to increase engagement and, eventually, conversion.
Improve email deliverability
Measuring an email’s success is a moot point if you can’t get it into the recipient’s inbox. Knowing why bounces occur can help improve your deliverability. While some undeliverables will be beyond your control, others might be avoided.
Emails with huge attachments or megabyte-heavy images might bounce due to a filter. Avoid attachments whenever possible and reduce the size of your images.
“Spammy” words like “FREE” might get filtered out by ISPs. Change the language to avoid words and phrases that are likely to incorrectly trigger filters.
Layoffs and job changes can also kick back work-linked email addresses. Consider accepting personal email addresses, even if you’re doing B2B marketing.
If spam filters continue to catch your emails, consider using an authentication program to clean up your list and use segmentation to “train” spam filters to recognize that your emails create strong engagement.
Use these email marketing tips, combined with an investment in effective marketing technology tools, to increase engagement, improve your ROI, and seamlessly integrate data to earn your customers’ trust, loyalty, and money.