Optimising email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is one of the quickest, cheapest and most effective ways to reach your potential clients and customers. Each day, billions of emails are sent all across the globe and it is the most widely used internet-based means of communication, far outdoing social media platforms.

 

Not bad, for something that has been around for over half a century! Many people wrongly think that email marketing is dead; it is very much alive and thriving just as much today as it has ever been.

 

Email marketing is one of your best tools. Sending emails is a brilliant way to communicate with your subscribers and generate conversions.

 

Although optimising your email marketing campaigns isn’t rocket science, there are a few key things which you need to do and/or keep in mind. Here, I will teach you some of the basics of email marketing optimisation – anybody can do it, even if you do not have a background in marketing.

 

Feel free to reach out to me at any point – either whilst or after reading this – if you would like more information, something clarifying or for me and my team to help you out with optimising your email marketing campaigns!

Email Marketing is a Serious Business

 

I’ll bet you have an email account and that you don’t just use it for sending emails, but receiving emails from certain brands and companies you have transacted with or subscribed to, and I also bet that when given the option, you opt to receive contact via email over SMS or other means.

 

Today, marketing professionals recognise email as the most effective marketing method due to its lead generation potential, however, you don’t need to be a marketing professional to take advantage of it.

 

By making a few simple changes to your emails – some of which I am going to discuss below – your opens, clicks and your customer engagement rates can be dramatically improved. It all boils down to having a structured plan to get the ensure you get maximum amount of improvement in the shortest time possible.

 

You may be thinking “why bother?” – well, it’s simple. Improving your email marketing is a very easy way to make more money without having to increase your overall spend. By making your emails work harder and properly engaging your audience, you can covert more leads into sales. The better your emails convert, the more sales you can expect to make.

 

By optimising your email marketing campaigns, you are effectively getting a higher amount of sales for a relatively small amount of effort on your part. Plus, it makes your customers happier and you are providing them with a better more customer centric emails. Everyone is a winner.

 

How I Can Help

 

It does not matter at which point your email marketing campaigns are, whether you need a little guidance or your whole email marketing campaigns taken care of, me and my team are here to help you get the most from your email marketing campaigns.

 

I have put together lots of resources and guides which will teach you how to build a successful email marketing campaigns, not just tell you how to. If you follow my guides and advice, you are guaranteed to see results.

 

About Me

 

My name is Murray Dare and I have been working professionally in digital marketing for over ten years. Throughout this time, I have helped thousands of people get the most out of their marketing campaigns, develop their websites, and improve their websites’ search engine optimisation and pay-per-click marketing

 

I have built websites from scratch, led teams of web developers and managed projects for large clients, which have included large-scale redesign and migration projects.

 

I do hope that this guide will give you an idea of what goes into optimising an email campaign and that my other email-related resources on the site help you build email marketing campaigns which work for you.

 

The key difference between myself and other email marketing professionals is that I do not merely explain the ins and outs of email marketing, I help to teach you them.

 

If you ever feel lost with any part of the process or would simply like some guidance, feel free to fire me over an email – I am here to help you achieve better results from your email marketing campaigns.

 

For now, though, let’s get to business.

 

Before We Look at Optimisation…

 

When you are looking at how you can optimise your email marketing campaigns, there are three major things to look at beforehand –

 

  • Whether your email marketing campaigns follow the email marketing best practices;
  • Whether your email marketing list is segmented; and
  • Whether you are testing the various elements of your email marketing campaigns.

 

These are the very first things which you need to look at before you delve into the specifics of optimising certain parts of your email marketing campaigns.

 

If you are not following email marketing best practices, segmenting your email subscribers and actually testing out your email marketing campaigns, any optimisation you make to your campaign will not be as effective.

 

These are the very basics of email marketing and you need to nail them before moving on to the specifics of optimisation. For instance, by not following certain best practices, your emails can end up going straight into the spam filter, making any optimisation attempts pointless!

 

We are going to consider each of these three in-turn before we move onto other things you can do to improve optimisation.

 

1) Email Marketing Best Practices

 

The best practices for email marketing are huge and constantly changing. Put simply, email marketing best practices is a rough ‘how-to’ for email marketing which dictates what you should be doing to get the best results. They are the basics of email marketing which you need to nail before you look at optimising your emails.

 

Email marketing best practices is a matter for another day, but some of the most important ones are –

 

  • sending emails from a trusted source or provider;
  • ensuring your emails are personalised;
  • sending emails which are not just promotional, but relationship building;
  • using meaningful calls to action;
  • not sending emails to inactive subscribers; and
  • constantly collecting information about your subscribers.

 

2) Email List Segmentation

 

What’s the point of sending an email to a subscriber who isn’t going to be interested? (i.e. subscribers who don’t have young children are unlikely to be interested in babywear).

 

Most email marketers segment subscribers into different groups. Gender, age, interests and location are all basic segments you should have for your email list. Emails which are segmented are much more efficient reach only people who will have an interest.

 

Email segmentation isn’t hard at all, especially if you are using an email service provider! If you haven’t done this yet, you should as soon as possible – it won’t take very long, and it is a very simple process.

 

3) Email List Testing

 

A/B testing your email list, again, is a matter for another day! In more complicated terms, A/B testing is a sort of ‘controlled experiment’ where two variants – A and B – are tested and statistically analysed.

 

With email marketing, A/B testing can be used to try out and see whether new techniques, formats and content within your email marketing campaigns will be successful or not. It is an opportunity to test out the likelihood of your email marketing leading to conversion rates.

 

The best A/B testing will cover your entire email marketing list and its segments. It will give you an accurate idea of how your subscribers will respond to your email marketing efforts.

 

Why is Optimisation Important?

 

Optimising your email marketing campaigns is important for many reasons.

 

Primarily, optimising your email marketing campaigns allows you to convert a higher rate of subscribers into repeat customers. More people opening your email means more people clicking through to your website and more people making a purchase.

 

Optimisation is very easy and even the smallest of changes which seem insignificant can have a dramatic long-term impact. Over time, as you make more and more optimisations and iron out the finer details, it will have a snowball effect and your conversions will keep increasing.

 

The final goal of any marketing campaign is to convert readers and your target market into sales, and optimisation is a key way to do this.

 

It is very simple to do and does not require any sort of specialist knowledge – you can get started right away!

 

Basic Email Optimisation Techniques

 

Optimising your email marketing is something you are already capable of doing, even if you have never looked at email marketing in depth before.

 

The main goal behind email marketing optimisation is to compel your subscribers to open your email when they have 10, 20, 30 or more emails in their inbox. You need to optimise your emails and make them entice so that yours take priority over all other emails.

 

You may think that some of these techniques sound very simple… that’s because they are! Yet, many people ignore them or neglect to use them properly and lose out on conversions as a result.

 

Take your time to look at each of these techniques alongside your email marketing campaigns and decide whether you could be making any improvements.

 

The Subject Line

 

Starting at the very basics of not just email marketing but email in general, we have the subject line.

 

The subject line is possibly the most crucial aspect to any marketing email. Your subject line needs to be concise, straight to the point and grab your reader’s attention straight away. Your subscribers will see the subject line before anything else, so why would they bother to open your email if it is not enticing? It is the only piece of information which subscribers will consider when deciding whether to read your email or bin it!

 

Right off the bat, a subject line should be relevant to who you are sending it to. It should address your reader’s needs. For instance, if you have had a group of customers who have all looked at a certain product recently (such as a winter coat, for example) you may decide to go with a subject line such as –

 

  • Did you forget about that winter coat you wanted? Or
  • Ready to get ahead of your winter wardrobe?

 

Other ways to optimise a subject line are to add the recipient’s name and use actionable language which is explicit and immediately engaging.

 

General Personalisation

 

By making your emails more personalised and relevant to the people reading them, you are easily going to improve conversion rates. If a customer or client feels valued and that you have taken your time to reach out to them as an individual, they will reward you with their loyalty.

 

Demonstrate to your subscribers that you know something about them or their interests. You collect a lot of information when a person signs up to your email list or buys one of your products, so use that information to write emails which they can relate to.

 

Personalisation does not just mean using somebody’s first name! Use all the data you have on your subscribers and try and incorporate it into your email marketing (in a non-creepy way, of course!) and collect data at every possible opportunity. Track pages customers are visiting, items they have favourited and anything else you can, then leverage this to personalise your email marketing efforts. It really is as simple as this!

 

Create Opt-Ins and Re-Engagement Emails

 

What good is optimising your email campaigns if you are not growing your email list? Create avenues for opt-ins all across your website; don’t rely solely on manual sign-ups by visitors and collecting email addresses through sales.

 

Whilst this does not improve your opening and clickthrough rates in the context of optimisation, it increases and improves your lists and increases long-term clickthrough rates.

 

Over time, you will find that certain subscribers no longer engage with your emails. This is quite normal as time goes by, but you don’t have to accept that person as a lost cause. What you can do is send a re-engagement email to fire up some leads which have gone inactive. Re-engagement emails should be heavily personalised to increase the chances of getting that person back on board with your brand.

 

Ensure Content is High-Quality

 

Whilst you need to make your emails concise and straight to the point, this does not mean you need to sacrifice overall quality!

 

Great email copy concisely conveys what you are offering or have to say and does this in a compelling way which drives emotive results. When you are writing email copy, you should be using brief language which is interesting and engaging. Don’t be afraid to cut out excess bits of information – chances are your subscriber will come to visit your website and learn more anyway if you can engage them through short, high-quality email copy.

 

Generally speaking, so long as you are using bullet points, short paragraphs and emotive language, you cannot go far wrong. Avoid superfluous and irrelevant information; it will not be read and will mean future emails may go straight in the bin!

 

Incorporate Calls to Action

 

Readers are more likely to clickthrough your emails and visit your site if there is a call to action at the end. This is possibly one of the most important aspects of the email itself – the whole point of your email marketing is to compel readers to perform a certain action and this is exactly what a call to action is for.

 

Your call to action is where you turn your reader into a visitor to your site and hopefully a customer. Your call to action should be short, sweet and focussed. It should only consist of the very action you want your reader to take (such as reading a page on your site or visiting a certain product category). Use actionable language which is urgent and friendly (“join now!” or “visit us for…” are two examples).

 

The call to action should stand out from your email and be distinct. Don’t opt for a plain old blue link and instead use buttons or flashy graphics which fit in with your email’s overall look, feel and theme.

 

Whilst We’re Talking About Design…

 

Your emails should be optimised to work on all devices. Your subscribers could be using any email app to read your email and they’re not going to bother if it does not open properly, fit the page or if the text is all scrambled.

 

Responsive design is a hot topic on the internet today and it is something I use whenever I am creating a new website. Responsive designs ensure content appears consistent across all devices and it is not difficult to incorporate into an email’s theme. Although not every device will support responsive design, most modern ones do and by using it, you can create emails which appear differently depending on the device it is being viewed from.

 

To make it easier on yourself, keep your email’s layout simplified, ensure only relevant content makes its way into your final draft and don’t use font sizes which are too big or unnecessary – Comic Sans MS does not look good, no matter what device it is being viewed from!

 

Making Your Optimisation Plan

 

Before you go away and start putting some of the above techniques into action, I seriously recommend you take your time and draw up a proper email optimisation plan. You should be adopting a systematic approach to your overall marketing strategy in any case, and this includes email marketing optimisation.

 

As you begin to optimise your email marketing, test, test and test! We have already touched upon A/B testing and you need to keep carrying out the process whilst you undergo the optimisation process.

 

This is why I recommend you already have an A/B testing routine in place before looking at optimisation, because there is no point going to great lengths in optimising your email marketing if you are not going to see if it works!

 

As you work your way through your email marketing optimisation plan, keep logs and records of everything which you can refer back to at a later date. If you do not keep track of how everything is going, there is no way for you to see if you are making any sort of progress.

 

Let’s Wrap This Up

 

The above are just six of many email optimisation techniques, but they are the six ones I believe are crucial for the success of any email marketing campaign. By making sure you have the very basics of email marketing optimisation squared away from day one, you are going to be well on your way to building an engaged email list who open your emails and clickthrough them consistently.

 

When you have the basics of email marketing optimisation sorted out, you can start looking at other areas where you can improve your emails, such as using social sharing links, adding unsubscribing options and adding engaging imagery.

 

As ever, if you need any help at all – whether it is a simple question or relates to a complicated problem – me and my team are more than happy to lend a helping hand. Send us over an email and we will get right back to you!

 

With email marketing and optimisation, there is always room to improve and increase your conversion rates. I really hope that I have provided you with an insight into email marketing optimisation – if you put what I have said into action, you will begin to see measurable results.

 

It is not just optimisation which is relevant to an email marketing campaign, though. If you would like to learn about all the other ways you can improve your email marketing campaigns, you can find more information about email marketing within my blog.