Email marketing

How to Get People to Open and Read Your Emails

Although email marketing isn’t dead, it certainly isn’t the same thing it once was. It wasn’t that long ago that people actually looked forward to getting a new message in their inbox.

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Today, it’s a much different story.

As Source Digit reported, more than 182 billion emails were sent daily by the end of 2013. By the end of 2017, that number is expected to climb to more than 206 billion.

In this sea of marketing and other emails, here are a few ways to make your messages stand out from the rest:

Introduce the Subject

The subject line of an email is your one chance to get people to open your message — or not. Fortunately, a fair amount of research has been done to determine what length of subject line and what type of subject make people most likely to open an email.

Over at Inc.com, Jessica Stillman cites a study that found that emails with subject lines between six and 10 words had an open rate of 21 percent. That might not seem like a very high rate, but emails with subjects that contained five words or fewer had just a 16 percent open rate. Emails with longer subject lines, more than 11 words, were the most common, but the least likely to be opened.

The takeaway:  Using a subject line that’s between six and 10 words lets you clearly and succinctly introduce what the message is about. People will get bored trying to read a longer subject, and a shorter subject won’t be able to fully convey what the email is about.

Keep It Short

Once you’ve gotten someone open your email, don’t incent them to instantly click delete without reading what’s inside. Keeping the content of the message short and sweet will allow you to get your point across without turning off your reader.

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Get right to the point in the body of the email. Clearly tell the reader what the message is about and explain what the next steps are for your reader.

For example, if you’re introducing a new product, include a link to it and encourage the reader to check it out or to call you for more details.  Don’t leave the reader hanging, unsure of what to do next. That’s just as bad as having him or her not read your email in the first place.

Add a Personal Touch

A bit of personalization, such as using someone’s name in the introduction, can go a long way to getting people to engage with an email message.

But it helps to go beyond simply using a person’s name.  Consider targeting your message to specific groups of customers. Odds are that your customers have different goals and needs, and that a one-size-fits-all email marketing approach won’t appeal to everyone.

Get the Timing Right

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How often you send messages matters as much as when you send them.

Limit your messages to about two a week at most. One of the fastest ways to get your email relegated to the dreaded spam filter is to send one every day or even multiple times a day.

Think about when people are going to be the most receptive to a message. Many companies sent out emails in the early morning, so that people wake up to an inbox full of new messages – most of which get deleted.

But if you wait until later in the day to email, either around lunchtime or near the end of the working day, around 3:30 pm or so, you are more likely to find a more receptive audience. By that point in the day, many people are bored and looking for something to entertain themselves. If you hit it right, your message might be what a person turns to when he or she needs a distraction.

Remember, your emails are only effective if people actually read them.  Keeping things short, personalizing your message and waiting for the right time to email will go a long way towards increasing the chance that customers will engage with your content.

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Marketing Trends to Keep Your Eye on in 2016

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At the start of a new year, three things are common. People like to set goals or resolutions for themselves to improve some aspect of their personal and/or professional life in the coming year. They also like to look back and reflect on what happened over the previous 12 months. And, they like to look forward, predicting what’s to come or what will be trending in the new year.

Predicting trends also can help companies plan for the year ahead, by giving them a sense of what will be worth investing in and what won’t be as popular. Several marketing trends are predicted to be a big deal in 2016.

Say Goodbye to Guessing and Hello to Data

In the past, a certain amount of guesswork was involved in marketing to potential customers. You could place an ad on television or in a newspaper and hope that the right people would see it, based on the audience for that medium.

Lately, actual data has become an increasingly useful tool for marketers, and it’s expected to become even more important in the coming year. In part, that is because there is more data than ever. According to Campaign Monitor, 90% of the data in the world was created over the past 12 months. Marketers in 2016 can expect to be able to sift through data to compare response rates when one message is used versus another or to see which call to action generates the greatest response from customers.

Think Mobile First

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 In 2014, the number of people using a mobile device surpassed the number of people using a desktop for the first time; and in 2015, the number of mobile-only users exceeded the number of desktop-only users for the first time, according to comScore. Instead of thinking desktop first and mobile second (or worse, ignoring mobile) marketers in 2016 should think mobile first. That means making sure everything your company puts online should be optimized for a mobile device, from your business’ website to the emails you send.

Video Will Be Big

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Hubspot dubbed 2015 the “year of video marketing.” But, it’s likely that video will continue to be as big, if not bigger, in 2016. Video made up about 57% of online traffic last year and that number is expected to climb to 69% by 2017. Watching online videos made up about 50% of all mobile online traffic in 2015.

Video allows marketers to reach audiences on an emotional level, which isn’t as easily accomplished with written stories or still images. A recent spec ad created for Johnny Walker, by two graduate students in Germany, left many who watched it in tears. The video ended up getting more than 3 million views in less than two weeks, and raised the profile of the brand. It was a win for Johnny Walker, even though the company didn’t create or purchase the ad, showing the importance of emotional resonance.

In 2016, using video as a marketing tool will mean more than simply creating ads and strategically distributing them, however. It’s also expected that live streaming video platforms, from Periscope to Facebook Live, will be a big deal this year. Live streaming gives marketers a way to directly connect with an audience. For example, a representative from a company can live stream their time at a conference, giving interested parties who can’t attend in person a chance to experience what’s going on. A company can also use a live stream to host a question and answer session or events taking place at their headquarters for customers or clients who can’t be present in person.

Email is Still Important

Don’t expect email to go anywhere in 2016. Although people keep predicting its death, email continues to be a strong marketing tool. Campaign Monitor noted that it has an incredibly high return on investment, generating $38 for every $1 spent. Marketers can continue to use new outlets and methods of reaching customers, such as whatever social media network is the most popular at the moment, but email isn’t going away. In 2016, and perhaps well beyond, they will continue to depend on email to reliably reach out to and connect with current and new customers.

 

 

 

Email Marketing Isn’t Dead

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Who checks email anymore? The rise of social media and short, instant communication, such as text messages, has some led some people to believe that email is dead. Plus, there’s the concern that people just instantly delete messages or are so overwhelmed by their inboxes that they never get around to opening emails.

Although there are plenty of ways to market to customers and clients these days, email marketing isn’t dead and isn’t going anywhere. There are several benefits to using it to connect to current or past customers and to try to connect to new ones.

Increase Return on Investment

One of the big reasons why email marketing isn’t going anywhere is that it’s a relatively affordable way to connect to a large audience. According to Experian, email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than using traditional marketing techniques, such as mailing out a physical newsletter or paper coupon. The Digital Marketing Association goes a step further, noting that every $1 spent on email marketing brings in $40. Finally, eMarketer found that, in 2014, email marketing was the most effective form of digital marketing when it came to retaining customers.

Email isn’t just more cost effective than traditional marketing methods. It also performs better than social marketing and click-through ads.

Target Your Audience

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Another benefit of email marketing is that it allows you to target specific members of your customer base. Unless your company is sending spam, when you use email, you are sending messages to people who have expressed interest in your business. You already have an established client base and a general idea of what that client base wants from you. With email, you can take the next step and offer your customers something they can’t turn down.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re a technology company and you have a roster of clients who are using product A. When product A.2 launches, you can send an email message to those clients, letting them know of the upgrade and how the newer product will directly benefit them or improve their business functioning.

You might not reach new customers through email marketing, but that is for the most part, OK. It’s much more cost effective to target the client base you already have than it is to chase down new customers using email or other marketing methods.

Measure Response

It can be tricky to measure customer response to many types of marketing. If you send a direct mailing, there’s really no way to know how many people tossed it in the recycling bin right away, how many pinned it to a bulletin board, but never got around to following up, or how many passed it on to a friend. With paper mailings, the only way to really gauge response is to look at how many people bring  in the coupon or flyer you’ve sent out. Although there is a way to measure likes and comments on social media, you never know for sure how many people are looking at your social pages or clicking through promotions.

Email is different. When you send out an email blast, you can easily see who opened the message, who deleted it without opening, and who asked to be unsubscribed. You can also see who clicked on specific links in the message and who ended up ordering a product or renewing a service.

How to Get People to Open Your Emails

person_checking_email_on_phone Of course, your company can send emails messages all day long and not have much of an impact, if you aren’t sending the right emails. There are a few things you can do to keep people from deleting your message before reading it:

  • Get personal. The more personal your email message is, the more likely people are to click through, read it, and to click on links inside it. Including the recipient’s first name in the subject line of the email increases the click-through rate, for example. A personalized message is also more likely to lead to a conversion than a generic one.
  • Find the right words. According to Hubspot, some words are more likely to get people to open an email than others. Including words such as “secrets,” “posts,” and “jobs” in a subject line gets people to read the message inside. (Of course, it only makes sense to use those words in the subject line if they have something to do with what your email message is actually about.)
  • Timing matters. Hubspot found that emails sent at 6 a.m. had the highest click-through rates, while emails sent on Tuesdays had the highest unsubscribe rates. Sending email on the weekend, either on a Saturday or Sunday, is also likely to increase your click-through rate. The trick is to send a message at a time when most people are unlikely to be swamped with work.

If you’ve given up on email or are focusing your marketing efforts on other areas, it’s time to give email another shot. Far from being over or dead, email is proving to still be one of the most effective ways to reach your customers.