One discussion that I have every week with clients is the increasingly frustrating means of building and sustaining a successful email marketing program. Simply put, as your email marketing list grows, so do your deliverability headaches. It seems that internet service providers have abandoned any hope of rewarding best practices and just have dumb algorithms that continue to punish good senders.
Case in point, one of my colleagues in the industry found Yahoo! blocking 100% of his email – despite his platform adhering to every industry standard and best practice listed by the Yahoo! postmaster. As a test, he moved his mail transfers to a new IP address and his emails began going through without an issue. Same content, same subscribers, just a different IP address. Sometimes I think ISPs just randomly block IP addresses to see if the company responds. At least Yahoo! rejected the emails, though… many other ISPs just route them to the junk folder unbeknownst to the sender.
Of course, there are email marketing mistakes that you can avoid while creating your list and content. As well, there are a number of means of optimizing your email. This infographic, Email Marketing Optimization Hacks & Case Studies, from 99Firms details many of the optimization methods. I'm not a huge fan of the term hack… I find that all of these methods are worthy of testing with your email program.
Email Optimization Methods Include
- Subject Line Optimization – Algorithms and subscriber behavior have made the subject line the most critical aspect of getting an email hidden or clicked through on. Many companies are incorporating emojis as well.
- Preheader Text – When we replaced our static newsletter preheader text with dynamic text built from our newsletter content, we saw an immediate increase in inbox placement and open rates. People read the previews – take advantage of that!
- Sender Name – 68% of Americans open their email based on the “From Name” they see. Does your From Name represent your company well? Does it match your email address?
- Segmentation – Segmenting your email marketing list and targeting content drives amazing results but is often overlooked because of the complexity involved. It's worth the effort and most email marketing platforms support it.
- Personalization – Go beyond [Insert First Name] and provide details in your email campaign that are specific to your subscriber's information and purchase history. Email senders have seen a 92% increase in revenue and twice the conversion rate when emails are personalized.
- Automation and Triggering – Timing is everything, so receiving an email based on your prospect or customer's behavior is essential to advance the relationship forward.
- Buttons and Calls-To-Action – If you pictured your email as a landing page, is there a call-to-action to drive the subscriber to the next step in engaging with your brand? If not, you're missing a huge opportunity to optimize your email.
- Images – Inboxes are busy, so expecting a subscriber to read every carefully crafted word you've put in your email isn't likely to happen. Increase engagement and click-throughs by providing compelling imagery to attract the subscriber to read and click. Add animated GIFs to add some flair!
- Video – While many email platforms don't fully support video, you can at least provide a screenshot of your video with a play button. When the subscriber clicks the play button, bring them to a page that auto starts the video for them!
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – creating a sense of urgency around your emails can drive open rates and conversion rates significantly. I love incorporating countdown animations to drive home the factor that there's an expiration associated with the offer.
- Timing – Forget the best time to send nonsense. Test different send times for your email and then send it when it makes the biggest difference. You may even wish to segment and stagger sends based on time zones.
- Mobile Responsiveness – 42% of all email opens occur on a mobile device. Have you checked your email to see how it looks on a mobile device? You might be surprised, or horrified, at the impact of a poorly designed mobile email.
- Email Content – The level of readership and length of copy can have an impact on your click-through and conversion rates.
- Email Formatting – Ever try to send just a text email rather than an HTML email to see what the response difference is? While HTML emails can be beautiful, they may not get the attention that a text email does!
Here's the full infographic, along with some fun facts and statistics throughout!