With over 3.7 billion email users in the world, it’s clear why this form of marketing has yet to go out of style. In fact, email marketing has proven to be one of the best digital channels for delivering ROI. Nevertheless, many online merchants are still struggling to obtain average, or above average open and click-through rates in their email campaigns. What many ecommerce merchants are unaware of is that this can be primarily attributed to unoptimized emails. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of the main email optimization hurdles, and some countermeasures you can employ in your next marketing campaign.
The information age we are a part of today is inevitably powered by our access to internet, where consumers are constantly overrun with data - and email is no exception. We, as a society, have been programmed to sift through the massive amount of information presented to us through all channels and pull out what is most relevant to our needs.
Acknowledging this when creating effective subject lines will help to optimize this area of your email for your customers. Over 1/3 of recipients open their email based on the subject line alone. It is one of the few aspects of an email a customer will see before opening your message. Ensure this area is concise, relevant and addresses the customers concerns. Work on including actionable language. ‘Get’, ‘use’, ‘join’, ‘learn’, ‘register’, ‘don’t miss’ and ‘free’, among others, are all action words that attract attention. However, try to focus primarily on telling the reader what they’re getting from the situation.
Addressing the reader personally, if you can, will also increase the chance of the message being opened. In fact, personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. If you’re not personalizing the message to each reader individually, try personalizing it based on segments, and more specifically, behavioral data. Take an online shoe store for example. They may group consumer segments into what type of shoes reader’s have recently viewed on their website, and then address that in their subject line. After receiving a targeted email based on their previous shopping habits, you could double your email open rate.
Sending your emails from a no-response address isn’t going to help anyone. Personalization shouldn’t be restricted to your subject line - send your messages from an actual person. Also, add a signature at the bottom of your email to show readers that there’s a representative on the other side that’s there for them. To build further trust, consistently send your campaign emails from the same address. Not sure who to make them from? A/B test sender names.
Once your customer decides to open your email, the body copy is what’s going to keep them from bouncing back, or worse, unsubscribing. Similar to the subject line, this section should also be concise and compelling. You must focus on optimizing the language used, your tone and the layout to ensure your readers can find the information they need. To do this, you must focus on tailoring your body content for each consumer segment, and what type of email you are sending (lead gen, sales, brand awareness). To break up the copy and make it easier for the reader to digest, insert bullets or lists when applicable. This will be easier for the consumer to process than paragraphs of text. If you’re having troubles structuring your copy, take a look at the PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solve) or the BAB (Before-After-Bridge) formulas.
The language you utilize in your emails should reflect personalization, incorporating words such as “you”, “me” and “us”. By doing this, you are aiming to connect with your readers as if they were there, talking to you in person.
Most importantly, you want to make sure the body of your email is optimized for email skimmers. Can your readers understand the message you’re trying to send them in 5 seconds or less? If not, focus on condensing the copy, or breaking it up to make it more digestible.
This button is the bridge between an ‘open’ and a ‘conversion’. Even with optimized email elements such as the subject line, sender name and body copy, a weak call-to-action could be detrimental to your click through rates. The first step in optimizing your call-to-action is reducing it down to one primary action you want your readers to take. Similar to the subject line, this button should be equipped with action-oriented language that highlights what the readers will get from clicking through. Visually, you need to ensure this aspect of your email is distinctive, and stands out from the text. You can reinforce the call-to-action throughout the body as well, adding links that direct the readers to the same landing page. However, you must still have a prominent button on the page.
Bumble & bumble displayed a great example of a simple "Shop" call-to-action. The simplicity of the design allows for all the elements to fit without overcrowding the banner.
While digital marketing channels are continuing to emerge, and the growth of social media platforms have no plateau in the near future, merchants who place email marketing on the backburner are sacrificing potential revenue. Neglecting to optimize your emails could potentially be as destructive as not sending them at all. Take time to do an audit of your email campaigns, ensuring aspects like your subject line, sender name, body copy and call-to-action are relevant for your target audience. Be sure to incorporate visuals and break up the text whenever possible. For every dollar spent, email marketing has an average return on investment of $44, making this an irreplaceable marketing tool for ecommerce merchants.