If you’re a quick-fix aficionado and are looking to improve your email marketing results, you’ve come to the right place.
While it may sound a bit controversial to expect quick solutions for lasting results, these are genuinely quick strategies to implement and start seeing results from your email marketing efforts.
Before stepping in, we’d love to remind you that marketing is subjective. What could take longer to show results for one person could take less time for someone else. It’s a matter of who your audience is, the industry you’re in, and the amount of competition you have in your hands.
That little disclaimer will probably make some of you mad, but that’s alright. Our goal here is to give you the best advice without fooling anybody.
We’ll be looking at 7 quick strategies that will show you the numbers you’ve been expecting. The fixes involve:
- Subject lines
- Preheader text
- Responsive templates
- Send times
- Email addresses
- CTAs and Links
Keep reading to learn how to boost your email marketing results.
Tweak and Test Your Subject Lines
A sexy subject line that gets cursors hovering over it before clicking is the type you’re looking for. As expected, there are a few quick rules you must follow.
What’s the optimal length for a subject line, you ask?
But if you’re into specifics, 8 words. Don’t get too caught up on this number, though. The reason your subject line should be around 8 words is simple: it shouldn’t be cut off by an ellipsis.
If that happens, the most enticing part of your subject line (if there is one) could be hidden behind three dots. That’s a shame because we’re sure you crafted a killer email no one bothered to open.
Let’s get to the examples. The following subject lines come mostly from writers, but bear in mind they work wonders for any industry.
A good subject line should:
Entice curiosity. It should jump out at you. It should make you say “Wait, what? Why? How?”.
- “my underwear was out” – Marie Forleo from The Copy Cure
- “I’m pretty much f*cked” – Cole Schafer from Honey Copy
Hint to a solution (or more than one). Your prospect has a pain point that needs to be solved. They’re suffering with it. Your subject line should offer a solution–but only if they open the email. And use emojis every now and again, they’re fun.
- “NEVER burn out again *fire emoji*” – Marie Forleo from The Copy Cure
- “3 practical tips to improve your rankings! *rocket emoji*” – Yoast
Present a mouthwatering offer or discount. Who doesn’t love discounts, right? If well-written, this type of subject line will stick out like a sore thumb.
- “Today $197 – Tomorrow $497” – Rebecca Matter
- “*mind-blown emoji* 50% discount on our UX Writing Essentials course” – UX Writing Hub
Create urgency. Something needs your subscriber’s attention immediately. Make sure they notice it.
- “5 writing projects needed now” – American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI)
- “Last call to snag these 20+ courses, trainings, and guides” – Cheryl Binnie from Copy Luv
Or maybe, scarcity. If you give your subs a chance to think for a minute longer, they might lose it. Don’t be a jerk–let them know!
- “1 Spot Left – TV Series Pitch Document Writing Lab” – Amanda Toney from Stage 32
- “Few Hours Left – This Ship Is About To Sail” – The Long Tail Pro Team
Tap into a fear of loss. Fear can be one hell of a powerful emotion in the right circumstances. Sometimes, people will only value something when it’s gone. Or almost gone.
- “I’m deleting your Envira account” – Envira
- “This is goodbye” – Matt Bockenstette
You’ll probably come up with more than one subject line for a single email, and that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. How to know which one will get the highest rates?
With tools like ActiveCampaign, split testing your subject lines and choosing the winner is easy.
Of course, you can go without a tool as well. Send the same email with different subject lines to different (and small) sections of your email list. See which section showed the highest open rate, and send the winning subject line out to your entire list.
Add and Optimize Preheader Texts
A book’s title is an open door. What invites you to enter is the opening line.
An opening line must be interesting enough so folks will continue reading. it should be something like the beginning of Metamorphosis by Kafka.
The same goes to emails and preheader texts.
Preheader text, snippet, you name it. This short yet mighty description digs deeper into what the email is about. The subject line alone should do the job of making subscribers click. But in case it doesn’t, the preheader text could step in and save the day.
Here’s a mobile example from a welcome email sent by BeardBrand.
“A kickass offer just for you.”
A kickass offer? Just for me? I’m in.
Here’s another one from Matt Bockenstette.
“Our free gift to you.”
To keep the subject line short and sweet, the preheader does the job of letting us know there’s a free gift inside. Enough said.
If code freaks you out, you can add preheader text to your emails using your email marketing software. Note that not all of them will let you do this, but if you’re looking for an option, ActiveCampaign is a good one.
Make Responsive Templates a Rule
If a subscriber has opened your email, don’t ruin your conversion chances by presenting a confusing template.
It’s worth reinforcing that most email opens are done on mobile devices. 81% of emails, to be exact. With that in mind, making your templates responsive isn’t something you should be negotiating at this point.
Do you wear Crocs?
Interestingly, Crocs ran a split-test to measure the results of their newly created responsive email templates. Note that this was back in 2013. Responsive design was just starting to gain momentum, and marketers were testing it out like cavemen discovering fire.
Here’s what they did:
They sent the same email to two different groups of people: Group A and Group B.
Only, Group A received a responsive email design, which looked like this:
And Group B received a static desktop version, which looked like this:
The result? A 7.66% increase in the click-to-open rate (CTOR), which measures the number of unique clicks your email gets divided by how many unique opens it gets. In short, it’s an elite metric that calculates how effectively your email performed.
Mind you, this was 8 years ago. If you still haven’t implemented responsive templates to your emails, you’re almost a decade late. Your template design must work together with the rest of your email marketing strategies to guarantee the best results.
Personalize Your Emails
According to 74% of marketers, targeted personalization can increase customer engagement rates.
It’s all fun and games until someone starts their emails with a subscriber’s first name and calls it a day. Anyone can call you by your first name.
Including someone’s first name on a subject line or body text is a facet of personalization, but it’s far from the whole picture.
Just as a side note, companies may accidentally send something like this:
Although it’s clearly a glitch, it’s…kinda hurtful. While the recipient knows they’re not the only one who gets a personalized subject line, this just reminds them they’re part of an automated process. So be careful.
Lesson learned: personalization goes beyond a first name greeting. It’s about sending content that warms your recipient’s heart because that email looks like it was created just for them. And it was.
Do you know why brands like Function of Beauty are famous? Because they personalize your shampoo and conditioner. It’s yours, no one else’s. Your name or nickname on the bottle is just an additional flamboyance. Not any less cool, though.
Do you know why we love doing those BuzzFeed tests? Because we’re going to get a personalized answer based on our previous choices. And no matter how stupid some of them may seem, they still get us hooked.
How to do the same for your emails?
A great first step is to survey potential leads who enter your website. A question as simple as “what brings you here?” can help you deliver targeted content in case they go through your lead magnet.
What’s more, keep tabs on their browsing activity. Users love to be offered products that match their previous purchases and personal taste. This works well when sent as a trigger email for an abandoned cart, like Asics did here:
Another cool thing to do is sending trigger emails on important dates, like a subscriber’s birthday or anniversary with your brand.
Also, be nice and slide a coupon in there. They deserve it. Venus here did it right:
Know Your Best Email Send Times
The folks at GetResponse went ahead and analyzed over 2 million emails in 2020 to find the answer to “what’s the best time to send emails for high open rates?”.
It’s a behemoth of a guide, you should check it out.
And the answer is…drum rolls…
There’s no correct answer.
The good news is, there are margins you can follow. First, your open rates will depend on:
- Your audience’s habits
- Your industry
- Your audience’s location
- Your location
- Any seasonal changes
Since you’re looking for the go-to answer for the best global send times, here you go.
“A rule of thumb suggests that aiming your emails to go out between 8 am and 5 pm is a safe bet”, Michal Leszczynski wrote.
Also according to their findings, email open rates are generally lower on weekends. And the winner days to send emails are Friday for higher open rates, and Thursday for higher click-through rates.
Still, you can only obtain accurate results by measuring your own email CTRs. For instance, if you notice your audience usually opens emails at 6 am, it’s safe to send them early in the morning. In this case, it doesn’t make sense to wait until around 8 am when a lot of other emails could be topping their notifications.
You can simplify things by making use of timing features available in email marketing softwares. Tools like GetResponse’s Perfect Timing feature will skip the guesswork and send your emails when your audience is most likely to open them and take action.
Don’t Ignore Your Subscribers
In other words, forget “noreply” email addresses. Do you have any idea of how many unsuspecting subscribers are still looking out at a rainy window, waiting for a response from your noreply address? Possibly a lot.
Here are a few ways you can fix it and make subscribers more likely to reach out to you.
Instead of sending emails by the name of your company, have a friendly-faced team member do it. A real person looks way more approachable.
At the end of every email, let subscribers know how and where to reach you. If possible, add a signature to verify that you or a team member are who you say you are.
Not trying to demand a lot from you, but make an effort to reply to all messages. That’ll show subscribers you’re committed to solving their problems, which builds trust around your brand.
If that could take a while, be open about it in advance. Tell them how many hours or days it could take for you to reply. Whatever you do, don’t leave them hanging.
Make Important Links Visible
Wanna see an overly exaggerated illustration of this point?
Mistakes were made in this email. A lot of mistakes were made. But the one worth pointing out is…
Don’t bury your CTAs. Don’t make them compete with one another. That thing above reeks of desperation–as you can see, or can’t see, there are several CTAs. Some are visible, some are not. Register, register, register!
If you need someone to click an important link, make them stand out. Multiple CTAs aren’t a problem by any means, but the person above has created a monster.
Here’s the right way to add multiple CTAs to your emails and invite people to click them instead of chasing them away.
Pay Attention to What Isn’t Working, and Ask How You Could Improve
As much as we’d love to tell you there are ready-made recipes to know what’s working for your business, the quickest and most effective way to do that is by tracking your email analytics.
Great, more work.
Not really. With a great email marketing platform by your side, you’ll be receiving personalized reports showing most of, if not all of the data you need to be tracking.
But since reinforcing your knowledge doesn’t hurt, let’s see what these metrics are:
- The click-through rate (CTR): the percentage of people who clicked on a call-to-action or link inside the email, which is a good thing. An average email CTR should be 2.5%.
- The bounce rate: refers to the percentage of email addresses that didn’t get your email because the reach was unsuccessful. An acceptable bounce rate should be lower than 2%. Use a good email verifier to keep it low.
- The conversion rate: this is the percentage of subscribers who take action from your email, such as buying a product or registering for a webinar. There’s no single “best” conversion rate to work with here, but you can find your industry below and determine your average.
- The open rate: the percentage of subscribers who opened an email campaign you sent. A good open rate should be between 15% and 25%.
- The unsubscribe rate: also known as the most hurtful metric, the unsubscribe rate is the percentage of subs who have decided to quit your email list. If your rate is below 0.5%, that means you’re good for now.
- The return on investment (ROI): your email marketing ROI refers to the profitable percentage you got out of your investment in a campaign. The average email marketing ROI is 122%, according to eMarketer.
If people aren’t engaging with your emails as you’d like them to, applying the tips from this article and measuring upcoming results is a great way to start.
Is there anything else you can do? Yep, there is.
An alternative is to survey your subscribers and ask them what they would like to see in their inbox. You could also ask for a minute of their time to gather constructive feedback about their experience.
Some of you recoil from listening to feedback and it shows. Ever thought that might be the reason why you’re unhappy with your rates? Hmmm?
Email marketing, or any type of marketing, for that matter, is all about “it depends.” It depends on the business you’re in, who your audience is, and whether you use email marketing tools. Above all else, it’s about fixing what’s wrong, and improving what’s right.
These tips are as quick as quick can possibly get. The results may come just as quickly. If they don’t, keep an eye out for your email analytics and feedback from your contacts. Test and tweak. Watch what happens.