Think that email is dead? Think again. Email marketing is the best-kept business secret, and we’ve got the tricks to upping your open rate...
Email marketing is one of the most underrated platforms out there, especially when it comes to growth hacking. We’re not sure why businesses aren’t making the most of their email marketing potential, but we’re about to explain why it’s so important to engage with your audience via their inbox…
So many marketers and business owners focus on Instagram and Facebook only, but email marketing is where it’s at for two reasons. Firstly, you literally own the relationship between you and your audience, and no one can start charging you for the privilege of speaking to your followers (unlike many social media platforms).
Secondly, your followers actually see your emails. Often on social media platforms, your followers don’t get to see your content because it’s been filtered or hidden. In fact, it’s said that Facebook only delivers your post to around 10% of your following. That’s a lot of missed opportunities!
Sure, you’re not going to get 100% engagement from your email marketing, but the trick is to hit a 30% open rate (or more!). And the best bit? When your audience opens your email, they’re actively engaging with your message, not just scrolling past it. That kind of marketing power is priceless!
So, to help you increase your open rate and hit that 30% magic number, here are our 15 go-to tips for email marketing, and how to talk directly to your database through their precious inbox.
HOW TO WIN WITH EMAIL MARKETING
1. Get really good at subject lines
Keep it short and sweet, and write an interesting subject line that either shows the value inside the email (e.g. ‘here is the downloadable you wanted’) or intrigues them. One tip is, save emails that you receive that have great subject lines, and go back to them later to use as inspiration.
2. Split test your subject lines
Great subject lines are crucial for high open rates, so we recommend doing an A/B split test. This involves sending two different subject lines to a selection of your database and see which one gets the better response. This way you learn what kind of subject line your audience responds best to, and you can then send out the winning subject line to the majority of your database.
3. Get a great open rate on your first email
Email filters are less likely to put you in the ‘junk’ folder if your subscribers open the first email you send. This means you want to make your first email a goodie. The best way to do this? Try offering a freebie or a downloadable bonus. And let them know in the subject line what’s inside!
4. Use a good sender name
Don’t use a ‘no-reply’ sender name – people want emails from real people, not automatically generated robots.
5. Segment your lists
Over-emailing your list is one way to get lower open rates, so segment your lists based on the preferences or demographics of your database. It is one of the reasons that we started HoneyKids as the sister of Honeycombers, because who wants content about kids if you don’t actually have kids, right?
6. Don’t make false promises
If you disappoint people, they aren’t going to open your next email. It’s that simple.
7. Time your email right
Think about your list and make sure you send your emails at the right time for your audience. Think about their typical day, and when you think they’ll either be on their phone (like during the work commute) or at their computer. Mailchimp has a great email send-time optimisation tool which is handy too!
8. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR FORMATTING
Don’t use all caps (see how annoying that heading was?), don’t go crazy on the images, don’t overuse exclamation marks!!! Or too many question marks, ok??? Remember that simple is good. Less is more. Same goes for ‘free’ or ‘sale’ or bold text. Ease up.
9. Use an emoji 👖👗
So this is one thing we think works very well. Why? Because visual content draws the eye. Obviously emojis don’t always work in every brand language, but they sure do for us at Honeycombers.
10. Only ask them to do one thing
Be careful not to ask too much of your audience. Again, keep it simple and focus on giving value rather than asking for things. Just like a boxer, you want to jab, jab, jab, and then right hook – that is give, give, give, then ask for them to take action. You don’t want to just knock them out in the first round!
11. Be consistent – show up at the same time, same place.
At Honeycombers Singapore, we have consistently delivered two emails a week for about 12 years now. We have changed the days (originally it was Tuesday and Thursday), but I always recall people saying to me how they would look forward to getting our end-of-week emails with our ‘Weekend Inspiration’. People love consistency.
12. Keep an eye on unsubscribes & churn
It’s important not to get obsessed with unsubscribes. People change their habits, move countries or they might just be getting your content on a different platform. But just keep an eye on it. If you see a large drop, you might need to re-think your frequency or your strategy.
13. Be smart with your segments
We’ve already talked about the importance of segments, so now it’s time to use them wisely. For example, if some of your audience attended one of your events or downloaded something from your website, you can segment them based on this activity. You can then email with purpose and offer more value through your expertise and personalisation. It’s so simple, but so darn effective.
14. Find the right email platform
We love Active Campaign, but we have also used MailChimp for many years. Both can do the same job, but Active Campaign is a more sophisticated platform with an inbuilt CRM, for about the same price.
15. Clean up your database
While you might think that the larger database you have, the better, you’re wrong. A small clean list will always have better results than a large ‘dirty’ one! You see, if you keep your list squeaky clean, it minimises your chance of ending up in the junk, because spam filters will pick up on your dirty database and block your emails from even arriving in an inbox. So, you want an active and engaged database with high open rates. If someone hasn’t opened an email for 12 months – delete them from your list. This keeps your reputation clean and it reduces your platform costs too. It means that if someone wants to drop off and then later re-subscribe, they can, whereas if it gets marked as spam, they can’t easily rejoin.
Would you like help with your email content? Drop us a line, we’d love to help you craft, create and automate your email conversations so you hit your magic open rate.