Shortly before GDPR rolled out in May 2018, our inboxes were overwhelmed with emails and requests from retailers hoping to keep us locked into their mailing lists.
Despite the threat of a GDPR apocalypse and businesses culling entire mailing lists, email marketing still remains as one of the most effective means of engaging customers.
This means that retailers need to be more canny with their approach to email marketing and avoid the ‘batch and blast’ approach that may have worked in the past.
Customers are bombarded with marketing messaging through so many different channels these days that it takes something special to make your offers stand out.
Sometimes even the most simple changes can harvest huge results, so here are 9 quick email hacks that you can experiment with to improve your response rates.
1 – Optimise for mobile
More of us than ever before are accessing our inboxes on the go rather than on desktops, even though the overall experience isn’t always that great.
Around 50% of all email opens come from mobile so if your mail-shots are not mobile-optimised then that’s a huge chunk of your audience that you’re missing out on.
Start by making sure you’re taking advantage of responsive design on your template and then use a range of devices to test elements such as images, video and text to ensure they all fit on screen.
2 – Test different sender names
Trust is a huge factor when it comes to email marketing and ensuring that recipients are clear on who exactly is appearing in their inbox can make all the difference when it comes to open and click rates.
If your sender name and address doesn’t match up with the rest of the email or is unrecognisable then you run the risk of your email being deleted straight away or, in a worse case scenario, flagged for spam.
Real estate in the inbox is at a premium so make every character count. It could be that emails being sent from a person have a higher open rate and click through rate when compared with those sent from a company name.
3 – Overhaul your subject line
Arguably the most important element of your send, the subject line should make it irresistible for users to open your email and there is no shortage of hacks you can test to improve your response rates.
The optimum length of a subject line is around 50 characters, but bear in mind that mobile and tablet email clients might cut off subject lines at around 25 characters.
With such a rationed character limit you might avoid using personalisation but as click through rates can benefit from an uplift of around 17% when using your customers’ first name it’s not a tactic to dismiss.
Whilst traditionalists might scoff, using emoji in your subject lines really works. The key is to keep it relevant to the context of your email, don’t use them on every email send and only use one or two at a time.
Good to know: Over 50% of senders who used an emoji in their subject lines reported higher open rates than those who did not.
4 – Tweak your preview text
The preview text is a snippet of copy that appears in most email clients following the sender name and subject line. It’s a really good opportunity to capture users’ attention, particularly on mobile or tablet, but most senders aren’t taking advantage of it.
If you fail to add in relevant preview text, most email clients will lift content directly from the body of the email, resulting in errant code, image file names or alt tags to be used instead.
The best preview texts compliment the subject line, capture interest with a compelling message and encourage clicks to open the email by standing out in the inbox.
Depending on device and email client of choice, not every user will see your preview text so make sure you take this into account by adding in copy around 50-100 characters.
5 – Segment carefully
With technology such as DotDigital and Mailchimp making it incredibly easy to split out your mail contacts into targeted segments there really is no excuse for batch and blast.
Good to know: Segmented campaigns can improve revenue by over 700%
While it’s important you don’t go too granular with your segmentation, splitting out sends by customer interests, last interaction dates or lifetime customer spend can improve your response rates straight away.
6 – Improve your CTA
The vast majority of email sends exist to help encourage users to complete an activity. Whether it’s pushing customers towards a purchase, starting a software trial or downloading an eBook, your email should convince your reader to take action.
Including a call to action (CTA) button within your email body is an eye-catching and attractive way of ushering users towards your website.
Make your button large and readable, experiment with colours and try different methods of overlay text to really hook in your customers.
If you’re focused towards a sale or a specific transaction, include only one prominent CTA button and optimise this as best you can to avoid drop outs.
7 – Optimise your images
An eye-catching design can make or break your click through rates and whilst it’s important that your emails stand out you don’t want to promote style over substance.
Images can be the cause of all sorts of spam or deliverability issues so whenever you use them within your email body ensure that they are not too large and compress wherever possible.
Whilst it might be tempting to use solely images rather than text, there are many users and email clients which will, by default, not load images straight away.
That means that providing a text version of your emails, using ALT tags on your images and creating compelling copy should still be on your to-do list.
8 – Timing your sends
Despite hundreds of blog posts that might beg to differ, there really isn’t a “best” time to send out emails.
Traditionally, open rates can drop off at the weekend whilst Tuesdays and Thursday may see an increase in open rates. Everything else is completely dependent on your industry, your product and your audience.
To find a schedule that works for you, experiment across various days and times to see what drives the best open rates, click through rates and, ultimately sales.