Eight Ways to Elevate Your Email Marketing
Written by Nicole Merrett
Successful email marketing campaigns are typically defined as such because of their higher open and response rates and ultimately, revenue generation. Small businesses busy with everyday tasks often need a little help – a blueprint leading them to results they’d define as “successful.” Here are several suggestions to help you craft more effective email campaigns.
1. Subject Line is Key
Everyone has heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, there is a reason—because it’s a natural instinct. First impressions are critical in any form of communication. When people receive an email, the first thing they see is the subject line, which has the potential to either gain or lose their interest. Subject lines that include your company’s name as a reference and provide specifics supporting your email topic will typically gain higher open rates.
2. Pay Attention to Who It’s “From”
To understand how important this is, think about your own inbox. Would you be more likely to open an email sent from [email protected] or [email protected]? People don’t want to feel like they are receiving an automated email. If readers don’t see you putting time into personalizing the “from” address, they won’t spend time considering what you have to say.
3. Mail Merge
People love seeing their own name. It makes them feel the email was written to them personally and not sent to recipient #432. Online services have simple options to directly insert names from your contact database using a template editor.
Sending an email can be one of the most effective ways to grab readers’ attention. However, if you abuse the efficiencies email marketing provides, readers will stop showing interest in your emails. Consistency is essential with any marketing campaign, yet variety is equally important.
How often do you send out newsletters, event invites, and updates that aren’t just soliciting a purchase? Are you getting an active response from recipients? If not, try something new. Be conscious about how many emails you send out each week or month. How are individuals interacting with your emails? Are you following up accordingly? How are you engaging the people that seem uninterested? Some email services include click-through analytics that monitor which readers spend time with your emails or forward them along to colleagues.
Chalaran Direct Marketing represents tourism services and entertainment providers in Barbados and uses an E-Marketing tool from Sage to view open rates of its emails to hotels. Employees call recipients who spent the most time within an email and are thus more likely to be interested in its services. Chalaran likewise adjusts messages for recipients who do not spend much time in a particular email.
5. Quality Over Quantity
It’s far more important to send out content-rich emails than it is to send out long or multiple emails. When you provide your contacts with quality content, they’re more inclined to read your emails and even forward them to friends. Gain the trust of your contacts by emphasizing quality of communication over quantity. One option is providing information they can use immediately. A seller of gardening supplies might offer a series of horticulture tips; and when a prospect is in need of planting materials, is likely to think of the insightful supply marketer first.
6. Content Suggestions
How can you personalize your message content? Listen to your readers—the people who take time to contact you are most likely to become customers. Study their emails, questions, likes, and dislikes. Build or improve products with your customers’ input and they will notice you appreciate them and remain loyal. Social media monitoring is one easy way to listen to and engage your readers. Pay attention to what customers are saying online about your services and your industry. Use these insights to create valuable email content.
7. Test Everything
Test the way your email appears, not only through your own email service provider, but several providers. Test all links in your message to make sure they work. Test your graphics. Pictures are a great way to grab someone’s attention; but remember, pictures don’t always show up in email messages, so test the effectiveness of your email by viewing them with images turned off and making sure your message remains easy to understand and the call-to-action clear.
Finally, test your email with a spam check tool before sending. Spam check services review email content to see what might get caught in spam filters.
8. And Test Some More with A/B Testing
Your email has passed all the tests of looking good, having working web links, properly placed images, a call to action, and has made it through the spam check, but is not getting the open rates you expected. How come? There are many reasons including time of day, day of week, frequency, message, etc.
So why not test it?
Test one change at a time. For example, explore what days your recipients are more likely to open your email. Split up your list and send each set the same email on different days. Does the open rate stand out more on one day than another? A next step could be to determine the time of a particular day people are more willing to open and interact with your email. Again split your list up and send out the same email at different times of the day. A good starting point is the start of the day and middle of the afternoon. Studies have shown these are the best times of day to send emails. See if your tests concur.
When you have a specific day and time recipients are most responsive examine your content. What sort of subject line gains the highest response? Do your recipients react more to graphics or text? Consider the placement of your call to action. Is one position more effective than another? Do your recipients appreciate lengthy, informational emails or do they prefer a quick read? Test each element one at a time.
With email marketing you never need to settle for one formula because you will often have the flexibility to make improvements as you go. So make taking advantage of trends and technology the ‘constants’ in your digital marketing programs. They will help you achieve more tangible results with your campaigns.
About the Author: Nicole Merrett is vice president of CRM marketing for Sage North America, a supplier of business management software and services for small and mid-sized businesses.
Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.