Hard to believe, but email as a means of communication has been around for well over 20 years now.
Since the mid-1990s, people have been communicating with each other via cyberspace. In fact, a whole generation has grown up accustomed to this method of communication, as opposed to sending letters and messages in a physical format.
Oh yeah, there were growing pains!
Internet service providers came and went, various email providers came and went, but eventually electronic communications became the norm, overtaking the “old” traditional way of interacting.
And as marketing online became more and more accepted, email became a preferred way to reach out to prospects and clients.
In the early days of email marketing, it was kind of like the old West. Anyone with an email address was open to receiving unsolicited emails from any number of businesses. But as this method of advertising services and products became more and more common, boundaries and rules had to be established. Anti-spam legislation is now in place in most countries, and a new kind of business has evolved – the email service provider.
As businesses have turned more and more to email marketing, inboxes have become repositories of unwanted and unsolicited emails, not unlike “junk mail” of past times. Most of us in business are used to receiving dozens, if not hundreds, of emails each day. The big question is, how do you ensure that your email is not lost among these emails, and how do you improve your open rates?
So, to optimize your email marketing, ask yourself the following five questions:
- Why are users opening some of your emails more than others? Do you find that some of your emails are being opened more than others? Most email service providers provide the opportunity to do A/B split testing for your email campaigns. What subject lines in treat more people to open? Is there a day of the week, or a time of the day that your recipients are more likely to open emails? Reviewing these types of questions can dramatically improve your open rate.
- Will your target market understand and engage with your next email campaign? When planning your email campaigns, make sure that you are providing something that is relevant to your target audience. Sometimes we can get caught up in what we want to tell our prospects and clients, rather than responding to their needs and desires. Make sure that when you are planning out your next email campaign that you are delivering something of value to the recipients. If necessary, split out your email list, based on specific messages relevant to subsets of your target market. The closer you get to solving a prospect or client’s problem, the more likely your email is to be opened and engaged with by your target audience.
- What would users change about your emails if they could? Are your prospects and clients satisfied with the emails that you are sending? Consider asking your email recipients to respond to a quick poll. Ask them if they like the content they are receiving, the format in which it is delivered, or the frequency with which they are receiving it. The key here is to give your recipients what they want.
- Do your users receive emails from other companies in your industry? It is highly likely that your clients and prospects are also being targeted by your competitors. Do your research. See what your competitors are sending and make sure that your emails are more engaging.
- What do the users like and dislike about those emails? Just like question 3, find out what your email recipients like and dislike about the emails that they are receiving from your competitors. If your competitors are successful at sending emails that are engaging a larger percentage of your list, you need to find out what they are doing. Discover their strategies for email marketing and see what you can implement to improve your own open and engagement rate.
Until next time…
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