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12 Personalized Email Examples You Can’t Help but Click

If you’re anything like most people, you can probably rattle off 100 different things you’d rather do than dig through your inbox.

It starts to feel like a chore, because what’s in there isn’t very interesting. In fact, only 21% of consumers reported that they’ve received a memorable promotional email in the past two months, according to a study by Litmus

To overcome that, many brands are using email personalization as a strategy for creating more engaging email experiences — ones that feel less like a robot, and more like a friend. Download our free guide here to learn how to personalize your own emails to  generate more opens and clicks.

The best part? Email personalization doesn’t need to be insanely complicated to resonate with recipients. To see what I mean, check out these 12 great email examples that cleverly use personalization.

12 Examples of Email Personalization in Action

1) JetBlue

Oh, JetBlue. You shouldn’t have. 

This anniversary email highlights a creative example of a brand using something as simple as a date to provide a standout experience. Much like a birthday shout out, JetBlue used my colleague’s account creation date to trigger a personalized email to celebrate the fact that they’ve been “emailing for 365 days now.”

If you’re a HubSpot customer, this is an easy email to replicate for your contacts through fixed date or property-based workflows. It allows you to base your workflow on a calendar or contact property date, so you can send anniversary emails, digital birthday cards, renewal reminders, and more. And if your business is sending a high volume of these emails, we also offer the Transactional Email Add-On.

2) Spotify 

Here’s another great personalized email example that leverages a user’s interests to provide a relevant, value-packed message.

The copy in this email is particularly effective because it frames the personalization in a way that makes the recipient feel like they’re being rewarded for their usage. Phrases like “top listener” and “be the first to get access” lend themselves to a sense of exclusivity — making the user feel important. 

The email also closes with a written call-to-action that encourages the recipient to listen to Charles Kelley’s new song  — specifically on Spotify. Again, this push helps to ensure that the user is actively using the streaming service, and therefore continuously reminded of the value. 

3) Amazon 

Last Halloween, HubSpot’s blogging team dressed as the dancing pumpkin man from this viral video. (And, in case you’re wondering, we’ll probably be dressing as a bunch of bananas this year.) But before opting to DIY our own orange masks, my colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, set out on an Amazon search to find us the real deal.

Within just a couple of days, she received this personalized email from Amazon featuring “products similar to ‘full face plastic pumpkin masks’.” (Some of them are quite scary, aren’t they?)

This email serves as a great example of how to use a contact’s search behavior to re-engage them with your company, and hopefully move them closer to a sale. 

4) LinkedIn

Once upon a time, before I worked for HubSpot — practically another lifetime, it feels like — I was about to graduate from business school and actively applying for jobs.

I often used LinkedIn for my search — a business-focused social network that was paying attention the type of listings I responded to. Each day, LinkedIn sent me a roundup jobs it thought would pique my interest.

LinkedIn

What’s interesting about this email is that LinkedIn wasn’t using it to earn my paid business. Rather, LinkedIn seemed to be keeping a close eye, algorithmically, to the locations and type of work I was seeking. While some of the listings were more applicable than others, all of them were clickable.

Did you catch that? Clickable. And even if none of these jobs piqued my interest, I had about 250 classmates who might have considered them, driving even more traffic to LinkedIn’s website.

So think about what’s going to make your content clickable, and how you can use personalized emails to drive traffic to your site. Then, set up workflows that remind subscribers how to continue taking advantage of these specially-tailored messages.

5) The Bowery Presents

I received this email back when I was living in New York address, but it still serves as a great example of how to use location information to provide a customized email experience.

In the email, The Bowery Presents pulled shows from New York venues — where I purchased tickets for many events when I lived there — for artists similar to the ones I saw live.  

The Bowery Presents

And when I finally purchased tickets to see one of these artists in Boston? It re-personalized my emails to let me know about shows here.

Bowery Boston

By making it easy for me to quickly visualize what’s headed to the area and when, The Bowery Presents is able to lower the barrier between me and the point of purchase.

This type of personalization could be extremely beneficial for a company looking to deliver more relevant messages to international leads or existing customers. (For more tips on reaching international audiences, check out this article from our VP of International Operations and Strategy, Nataly Kelly.)

6) Twitter

After following one of her favorite brunch spots on Twitter, my colleague Corey received this email from the social network with suggestions for similar accounts to follow. 

What’s more is that the suggestions were actually super relevant — turns out, a couple of them were just right around the corner from her. (Hello, new grub options.)

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When companies have as much data as Twitter does, they usually go one of two ways with personalization: They totally hit the nail on the head, or they have too much data to sift out what’s important. This is an example of accurately identifying what Corey would actually care about, and delivering it to her.

7) Hawaiian Airlines

There are few places on the planet that I love more than Hawaii. I’m constantly thinking about my next trip there, but for a while, could never quite commit to booking it.

That is, until I received this special birthday email from Hawaiian Airlines. In keeping with the Hawaiian tradition of presenting someone with a lei on his or her birthday, the airline instead chose to present me with 500 bonus miles, just for booking a trip within the next year. Aloha, indeed.

Hawaiian Airlines

There’s more than one noteworthy thing about this email. First, the only reason I received it is because I’m enrolled in the Hawaiian Airlines mileage program, and getting emails like these is just one of the “rewards” of membership. Plus, the airline understands that I joined for a reason — because at some point, I planned to visit Hawaii again.

With that in mind, Hawaiian Airlines used this personalized email to give me an incentive to finally book that trip, with a birthday greeting to boot. That’s a great way for brands to achieve customer reactivation — by using a fixed date, like a birthday or anniversary, to remind people what it was that they loved about your business in the first place. By offering something special from your brand to commemorate the occasion, you’re giving your audience the motivation to take action and making a purchase.

8) HubSpot Academy

There’s a thing about licenses and certifications. They’re valuable. They help you master knowledge and become an expert. Having them makes you look good. But they also have to be kept up-to-date, and unless you’re reminded, letting them expire can be all too easy.

If you have any HubSpot certifications, you know that doesn’t have to be the case. Our Academy team creates personalized emails to let certification-holders know which ones they currently possess, which ones need to be renewed, and which ones might be helpful to add to their credentials.

HubSpot Academy

Eric Peters, the senior growth marketing manager with HubSpot Academy, explained the technology that makes emails like these work. Each certification box in the above email is made “smart,” to show users which certifications are available to them.

“All nine certifications are available to partners. Eight are available to customers, and four to non-customers,” Peters says. “Each one of those certifications has a Smart CTA that appears as a different color, depending on whether the user is actively certified — which means they passed within the last 395 days — expired, or incomplete.” 

“In other words,” he explains, “it’s a bunch of Smart CTAs embedded in a smart rich text box. The CTAs point to the splash page describing the certification.”

(HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers: You can create Smart CTAs like these in your own emails with your HubSpot CTA tool.)

9) Netflix

Am I the only one that spends more time looking for a movie on Netflix than I do actually watching it?

Aware that its database can be overwhelming, Netflix regularly sends out these personalized emails that suggest movies for its users. (If you want to learn more about the science behind the Netflix algorithms, you can brush up on it here.)

By providing a custom recommendation, Netflix helps ensure that users are actively seeing the value of their subscription. In other words, it keeps them watching, which ultimately keeps them paying. 

This approach could be applied to a number of marketing materials — ebooks, webinars, and blog articles, to name a few. For example, if you find that someone downloaded an ebook on social media tips, you may want to set up a workflow to trigger a follow-up email that suggests they check out your social media guide on SlideShare. 

10) Pinterest

In an effort to keep my colleague Ginny pinning, Pinterest sent her this personalized email. Based off her past activity on the site, the social network provided some suggestions for other topics she may want to explore. (Butter, Lauren Conrad, and cheese — I like your style, Ginny.)

And given that, at the time, she was planning a yellow-themed wedding, I’d say the results were pretty accurate. 

What we love most about the email is its simplicity. It offers up just six topics, which is enough to interest the recipient without overwhelming her. Plus, the copy is quick, friendly, and clear. 

11) WeddingWire

In other wedding-related news, my colleague Ginny also received this email example from WeddingWire, an online marketplace for venues, cakes, dresses, and other wedding-planning items.

While the copy was clever in and of itself, what really struck us was the personalization used in the subject line. After all, your recipients aren’t going to see the content unless you persuade them to click first, right?

By using a witty, custom hashtag —  #GinnysLastHurrah — in the subject line, WeddingWire inspired her to click on the email, check out their tool for creating hashtags, and forward the email to the rest of us. 

If you want to boost the word-of-mouth influence behind your product or service, you should consider how personalization can help propel your message. 

12) Birchbox

Birchbox is a company that’s fixated on personalization in all the right ways — and all it takes is one glance at the header of this email to see why it’s effective.

Birchbox transparently admitted that they took a peek at my colleague Carly’s sample and purchase history before crafting this email. That gave her the sense that what came next would likely be relevant to her — and it was. 

These little, personalized messages always reinforce why Carly continues to subscribe to the Birchbox service — they strengthen her loyalty. 

Let’s Get Personal

With 62% of millennials feeling that online content drives their loyalty to a brand, and 46% of U.S. consumers admitting that they’re more likely to switch providers than they were 10 years ago — it’s clear that fostering loyalty through personalization should be a priority.

It may seem like a big undertaking, but by observing, understanding, and investing in the behavior of your customers, you can help to ensure that they’ll stay customers. So start getting personal — and building loyalty.

Is your company leveraging email personalization? Share your favorite tips below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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HubSpot Marketing Blog

5 Email Marketing Tips for Increased Open Rates

email marketing tips

Is your message blending in or standing out in an inbox filled with emails?

Email marketing has become an essential part of engaging and targeting prospects and clients online. In fact, eMarketer reports that 97% of small businesses use email marketing to connect with customers.   There are many aspects that make up an effective email marketing program, but today I’ll focus on how marketers can increase their campaign open rates.

Email content is essential, but getting people to actually open your email is a hurdle many marketers find hard to overcome.  A deep understanding of your customer base as well as their needs and habits for proper segmentation can be key in creating an effective email marketing strategy that produces high open rates.

As marketers we must ask ourselves: If I received this email from another company, would I open it?

#1 – Make a Good First Impression

What are the two things that email recipients see before actually opening an email?  Who the email is from, and what the subject line is.  These two items are your prime real estate for enticing your audience to view your email as opposed to simply trashing it and moving on.

The Sender: Recent studies have shown that adding a personalized feel to the email can be key in increasing open rates.  Instead of sending the email from [email protected] instead utilize the first and last name of a company employee.  Setting up an email to send out messages on behalf of a company CEO or President can have a large impact on open rates.  I would also like to note that many spammers are sending out emails with female first names (without a last name) so be aware of this spamming trend and try to avoid it.

The Subject Line:  If ever there were an opportunity to convince your audience to read this is it.  Email marketing service MailChip has provided some best practice approaches to creating subject lines which include:

  • 4 Words or Phrases to Avoid: free, help, percent off, reminder
  • Localization Helps: providing a city name can increase open rates
  • Newsletter Half Life: using the exact same subject line for each newsletter can decrease open rates
  • Subject Line Strength: keep your subject to 50 characters or less with the exception of highly targeted audiences

To see some additional tips as well as some subject line examples that have been tested as well as the open rate see the study here.

#2 – Timing Isn’t Everything, But It is Important

This is a tactic that requires some common sense as well as some experimentation.  If your emails are sent too early in the morning they can get lost in the shuffle of other emails either sent late at night or early in the morning.  If your emails are sent too late in the afternoon your customer may see it as one more thing to review before quitting time and put off reading it until the morning (which will pile it under even more emails).  It is also important to keep in mind your audience.

If you are running a B2C campaign your audience may have time to check their emails either during lunch or after work.  Try experimenting with time frames that match up with that notion.  If your campaign has a B2B focus I would recommend sending emails in the afternoon or around 7 or 8 in the morning when you know they’ll be reading.  If your email marketing system allows you can always try doing some A and B testing utilizing different time frames to test open rates.

#3 – Avoid Spam Filter Traps

Spam filters analyze a large list of criteria when determining an email’s “spam score”.  If your email campaigns total spam score is over a certain threshold then it is sent to the dreaded Spam inbox.  There are some common mistakes that are easily avoidable if you know what to look for.

  • Spammy phrases such as “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”
  • Too many !!!!!!!!!
  • ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Sloppy HTML

For additional tips to avoid being sent to the spam filter be sure to visit SpamAssassin.

#4 – Get Rid of Dead Weight

Depending on which email service you use there should be a report that allows you to determine which emails are either bouncing or which subscribers are not opening your emails on a consistent basis.  Your open rate can be dramatically increased by pulling people from your list who never open your emails.  I wouldn’t recommend deleting their emails completely.  Instead, do some digging to find where the email subscriber originally came from so that you can create a more targeted campaign to get them re-engaged.

#5 – Refine the Sign Up Process & Email Targeting

Make it easy for people to sign up to receive email correspondence from your company.  Having potential customers jump through hoops to receive your marketed material is a poor strategy.  In order to make this process effective and engaging perhaps you could provide a fulfillment piece or whitepaper during the initial sign up as a take away and then continue to market based upon their needs.

The more refined your targets within your campaigns are the more likely you are to achieve success with your email marketing campaign.  Creating separate nurture campaigns for prospects and influencers within different industries and job roles is a great way to begin tracking and improving success rates.

What is a Good Open Rate?

Now that we’ve covered 5 important tips for improving the open rate of your email marketing campaigns, I thought that providing some sort of standardization for open rates by industry might also be useful. Open rate is one of the most commonly ased questions with email marketing clients. While you make the decision to implement each of the tips above, it’s important to understand that the open rate of your email marketing campaigns can differ based upon your industry and target market.

Image Credit: Constant Contact

What are some of the tips you’ve followed to increase your email marketing open rates? What are some of the top resources you rely on for email marketing advice?


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30 Ways to Slice Your Email Database for Better Email List Segmentation

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If you’re new to the world of email marketing, you might be unfamiliar with the importance of segmenting your email lists. But it’s a big deal: According to DMA, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. 

The best part about email segmentation? There are a ton of creative ways you can segment your email list to run innovative and effective campaigns that leads and customers will enjoy, from geography and industry to content format and topic. The more information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails to resonate just right. Download our complete guide to email marketing here for even more email  segmentation and optimization tips.

To get your brainstorm started, check out the comprehensive list of email list segmentation ideas below. (Then, download this email marketing planning template to keep all of your email efforts organized.)

30 Ways to Segment Your Email List for More Targeted Email Marketing

The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients. To do that, you’ll have to take the time to craft targeted campaigns that take into account not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further. (Our marketing team uses the Email App and the Lists App in the HubSpot Marketing Platform in combination with HubSpot CRM to accomplish this.)

Bear in mind that while some of these recommendations will work wonderfully on their own, many of them are at their absolute best when crossed with other segments, triggers, and lead intelligence data. 

1) Geography

Knowing where your contacts live can be seriously powerful information. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you wouldn’t want to send in-store offers to out-of-towners, right? Or let’s say you’re a national franchise — you better be segmenting by zip code to ensure you’re not infringing on someone else’s territory, or worse, marketing to a location that your organization doesn’t even service yet.

Here’s a geographically-segmented email I received from Vamoose, a bus service I’ve used frequently to travel between New York and the Washington, D.C. area. (I can’t believe it’s already time to start planning travel for Thanksgiving.)

vamoose.png

2) Age

People of all ages have access to the internet these days, which means you could be emailing a college student, a retiree, or even a little kid. You may find knowing the general age range of the people on your list helpful to remove those not in your target audience, or to adjust the messaging of your email communications.

3) Gender

Just as you’d speak to a retiree and a college student differently, you might adjust your messaging and offers based on gender, too. If you have a wide product offering that extends across genders, consider segmenting your list in this manner — and beefing up the segmentation with other demographic and psychographic details as well.

4) Persona

Speaking of demographics and psychographics, you should have buyer personas that include information of this nature, as well as more detailed explanations of what makes these folks tick and why your solution provides value for them. If you don’t have buyer personas created already, use these free templates to create your own — and then segment your list based on them. Because each persona has different needs and value propositions, they’re all going to require different email content for the best clickthrough and conversion rates.

5) Organization Type

Do you sell to other businesses? Are they franchises? Non-profit organizations? Ecommerce companies? Enterprise organizations? Small businesses? They all have different needs, and as such, their email content should be different — so segment your list accordingly.

6) Industry

If you’re selling to other businesses, you may encounter leads and contacts across many different industries. Knowing your lead’s industry will allow you to add another level of personalization to your email marketing.

7) Job Function

As a B2B marketer, your email list could contain a whole melee of different job functions — office personnel, salespeople, marketers, consultants, developers, customer service, accountants … the list goes on. Considering the breadth of job roles within any given organization, doesn’t it make sense to segment your list accordingly?

8) Education Level

You could segment your list based on how many degrees they hold, or how educated a lead or contact is regarding your brand and the subject matter you discuss. If you segment your list based on the level of understanding they have on the topics you write about, you can tailor your lead nurturing content to speak at the right level.

Here’s an email I received from Idealist, which they sent to me based on my previous indication that I had already earned a Bachelor’s degree:

idealist.png

9) Seniority Level

There are different job roles, and there are different levels of seniority. Perhaps your contact said they work in marketing, but is she the VP of marketing, or a marketing coordinator? Those two contacts will differ in years of experience, salary level, pain points, decision-making potential, and a whole host of other differences that make segmentation critical for effective email marketing campaigns.

10) Past Purchases

If a segment of your list has purchased from you before, use that information to send them emails catered to that which interests them. Then make your bottom line bigger by identifying upsell opportunities with additional services or complementary products they’d enjoy based on their past purchases.

Here’s Casper, the maker of my bed made of clouds, shooting me an email about the other products they offer:

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11) Purchase Interests

You can infer someone’s purchase proclivities from past buying behavior, or you can just ask. My colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, highlighted companies who do this in creative ways — such as with surveys — in a recent blog post about awesome email marketing campaigns to help them create better targeted emails.

12) Buying Frequency

Segment your email list based on how often someone purchases. Not only can you try to increase shopping frequency for some, but you can also reward frequent shoppers with an invitation to your loyalty program to make your brand even stickier. (Download this free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure customer loyalty programs for your business.)

Here’s a customer loyalty email I received from my mobile provider, AT&T, about early ticket access to a concert they’re hosting. (Do you think they somehow know I attended a Panic! At the Disco concert when I was in middle school? This is embarrassing, readers.)

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13) Purchase Cycle

Do certain customers come to you on a weekly, monthly, yearly, or quarterly basis? Or perhaps they only need you at a certain time of year — a pool cleaner might see upticks in spring and fall, for example. Segment your list based on customers’ purchase cycle so you can be there right at their point of need.

14) Content Topic

Here at HubSpot, we’ve noticed that some of our leads and contacts are far more interested in certain content topics than others. There’s one segment that’s extremely interested in sales and marketing alignment, while another is far more interested in Snapchat for business. So it only makes sense that we segment our list based on the topics our contacts have showed interest in. Take a look at what content gets people clicking, and segment your list based on that.

Here an example of an email I received from Twitter featuring suggestions for who to follow next (and it worked):

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15) Content Format

You may find that specific content formats are more appealing to certain segments of your database — some like blogs, others prefer ebooks, and some may only show up when you put on a webinar. For example, in a recent HubSpot Research survey, 43% of respondents wanted to see more video content in the future. If you know how certain segments of your list prefer to consume content, you can deliver the offer content in your emails via their preferred format.

16) Interest Level

Just because someone converts on a content offer, doesn’t mean they actually liked it. Segment your list based on how interested leads are in your content. For example, we might email a segment of webinar attendees that stayed engaged for 45 minutes or more with a middle-of-the-funnel offer to help move them along in the sales cycle, while those that dropped off before 10 minutes might receive another top-of-the-funnel offer — or even a feedback survey to gauge what specifically lost their interest.

17) Change in Content Engagement Level

Have you noticed an increase or decrease in the amount of time leads are spending with your content? This is an indication of their interest in your company, and should be used to either reawaken waning interest, or move leads along through the sales cycle while they’re at their height of engagement with your content.

Here’s an example from Udemy, who segmented their email list to try to re-engage inactive users (I still highly recommend Udemy’s online classes):

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18) Change in Buying Behavior

Similar to a change in content engagement, a change in buying behavior can indicate a lead is becoming more or less interested in your company. Leads that decrease purchasing frequency, for example, might need a little extra love — and thus, a dedicated lead nurturing campaign.

I typically buy glasses and contact lenses at Lenscrafters once yearly with my vision insurance benefit, but I haven’t yet this year, so they wisely sent me this nurturing email with a gentle reminder to purchase from them:

lenscrafters.png

19) Stage in the Sales Cycle

I’ve mentioned it a little bit here and there, but the stage a lead is at in the sales cycle should determine which email segment they fall in. At the very least, set up separate lead nurturing tracks for those at the top of your sales funnel, in the middle of your sales funnel, and at the bottom of the sales funnel.

20) Email Type

There’s a lot you can tell by someone’s email address. You design your emails for different email clients if you’re really into sophisticated email design, or if they’re Gmail clients, responsive email design.

21) Satisfaction Index

Many businesses use satisfaction indexes to determine how happy their customer base is — Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a very popular one. If you’re measuring satisfaction numerically, consider sending an email segmented based on your customers’ level of happiness with your organization. Those with a high NPS score, for example, might provide opportunities to gather reviews, referrals, or even upsells. Those with lower scores, however, may get emails that give them access to educational materials that will make them happier and more successful customers.

Here’s Wayfair‘s email asking me to review how a recent purchasing and delivery experience went:

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22) Customers Who Refer

Consider creating a list segment full of those customers who repeatedly refer new business your way. These are your biggest brand advocates, and should receive emails targeted towards loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts, even possibly trials for new products or services you’re releasing to get honest feedback before widespread rollouts.

23) Customers Who Haven’t Reviewed

You should always be trying to get more positive reviews of your business, so why not create a list segment that targets those customers who haven’t written a review yet? You could combine this list segment with, say, those that are also social media fans and have a high NPS score. Think about it … you know they follow you on Twitter and their NPS score indicates they love you. That’s just begging for an online review email campaign. (Check out this case study guide + template to help you successfully reach out to potential participants and engage them in the process.)

Here’s LinkedIn‘s email asking me to participate in a feedback survey:

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24) In-Store vs. Webstore Visitors

If you have both a brick-and-mortar location as well as a website, segment your list based on where your customers like to shop. You can give invites to in-store events to those customers that give you foot traffic, while those that only visit your webstore might receive offers that should only be redeemed online.

25) Shopping Cart Abandonment

After analyzing 34 online studies of ecommerce shopping cart abandonment, Bamyard Institute determined that, on average, 68% of shopping carts were abandoned prior to purchase. Yikes. If you run an ecommerce webstore, you absolutely must have an abandoned shopping cart email program, and you should be segmenting your contacts based on this behavior.

26) Form Abandonment

Not an ecommerce company? You still have abandoners on your site — form abandoners. If someone starts filling out some forms on your website and then loses interest, gets busy, has a lousy internet connection, gets eaten by a zombie … you know, whatever … segment out those leads for nurturing aimed at bringing them back to your website to complete the form. The offer was interesting enough at one point in time to pique their interest, so why not try to recover some of those form abandoners?

27) Usage

Whatever it is you offer, there are some customers who you could consider “power users.” These are the ones that totally get how to navigate your website, use every feature in your software, and make the most of their relationships with your service providers. Then there are the rest of us. Segment out the power users and the strugglers, frequent users, and infrequent users; then send email content that teaches them how to be more successful with your product or service. The more customers use your product, the more likely they are to stick around: Bluenose found that lack of use was the number one driver of software customer churn.

Here’s a use-segmented email I received from MapMyRun. I feel misleading including it because I truly can’t remember the last time I went running, but it’s still a good example of list segmentation:

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28) Event Attendance

Does your organization host book signings, conferences, or social events? Don’t miss the opportunity to reach out to leads and potential customers you’ve already made a positive connection with. Segment your email list depending on the type of event, the topic or theme of your events, or even to RSVPs who didn’t make it out. You’ll be able to keep inviting them to events while sharing relevant content offers based on what you learned about them from past events. (P.S. – Have you registered for INBOUND 2016 yet?)

29) Page Views

You can tell a lot about your contacts from their behaviors, and the web pages they’re browsing are no exception. Are there certain blogs they’re reading or questions they’re asking when they come to your website? Experiment with lead nurturing campaigns dedicated to different topics your website covers to appeal to your site visitors’ patterns.

30) Call-to-Action Clicks

A clickable call-to-action is what takes your website content to the next level because it helps you generate leads and contacts. (Download 50 customizable call-to-action templates here.) You can tell which types of language work on your contacts based on what makes them click, or not click, on your CTAs. Are they more inclined toward time sensitive offers to “act now” or “try this month,” or do they prefer more explicit offers of “free” or “discounted” products? Use their clicking habits to determine how you segment your email list, and what language you use when reaching out. 

I hope this list has given you ideas for ways to segment your own lists, and most importantly, sparked some creative email campaigns you can run as a result of this new segmentation.

So what about you — what other ways can you think of to segment your email lists? Which of these segmentation ideas could you combine with others for really epic results?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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HubSpot Marketing Blog

Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce Shares 6 Ways to Improve the Value of Your Email #CMWorld

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Today’s customers are busy, savvy and frustrated. But why? They’ve taken on too much and are looking for ways to improve their own efficiency, old email marketing tricks no longer have an impact and they’re tired of receiving pitch after pitch that doesn’t add value.

However, email marketing is just as important (and effective) now as it has ever been, especially when it’s integrated with marketing automation.

And if you’re going to learn about the intersection of email and marketing automation from anyone, Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce is the person to listen to. In his session at Content Marketing World, Mathew covered some of the top values that exist within email marketing today.

Value #1: Email is a Mobile Strategy

In 2015, mobile search took over desktop search. In fact, a recent study from Marketing Land found that 68% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. That means, email is very much a mobile strategy.

Value #2: Email Can Be Hyper Targeted

How does media affect relationships between businesses and consumers? If we can understand that, then we can make marketing best practices made for this era, for this time.

The vast majority of people looking for answers online batch their research. They’ll go online and download a lot of things at once and then read them when they have time. This is the new buyer behavior. Once marketers understand this principle, they can start to optimize for great content conversions.

According to Sweezey, the average page views on a website are 1.7. Why? Because Google has trained users to go back to Google if they don’t immediately find what they’re looking for at that moment.

If we understand what people are asking, we can implement stage-based marketing.

salesforce-stage-based-email 

Value #3: Email Can Be Quickly Created

On average it takes marketers 2-5 weeks to create a piece of content. So, if you were to create a piece of content for each segment, it would take you roughly 1.5 years to create just one piece of content.

This is not possible, or scalable.

Instead, consider that anything that includes a URL is a piece of content that you can send via email. Below is an example of a simple email that you can quickly create and send with a URL included.

effective-email-rich-text

Value #4: Increase Email Value By Writing Like A Human

These emails should be authentic in a way that builds trust with the recipient. If they expect an email to be from a person, then it needs to look like it’s from a person.

Our job isn’t to be pretty. It’s to be effective.”

According to Sweezey, believe it or not, rich text is authentic. Have you ever hand created a full HTML and CSS email and sent it to a single person? Probably not. So do you really think you’re fooling your audience with an HTML email?

Mathew and his team works with one of the largest banks in the United States and found that when they send rich text versions of emails instead of HTML, their engagement increased 4x.

Value #5: Email Can Shorten the Sales Cycle

Research has found that companies who use lead nurturing close deals over 30% faster than those who don’t.

The key to creating nurture programs is to move prospects to the next stage, by getting them to ask the next question. Secondary CTAs in email communications are a great way to get them thinking about the next thing they want to know.

Value #6: Email is the Key to Omni-Channel

In today’s world, personalization is key to marketing success. In order to achieve this, Sweezey shared that the MINIMUM connected systems to accomplish this include:

  • CRM
  • Marketing Automation
  • Website
  • Product

Top Considerations for Adding Value with Email

To be honest, the tips above only scratch the surface of Sweezey’s awesome insights into more effective email marketing. In all, brands should absorb and evaluate the following and see how their email marketing measures up:

  • Email is the center of the entire marketing life cycle
  • Email is best when human
  • HTML isn’t best in class email anymore
  • Email programs scale businesses efforts
  • Social media + email drives engagement
  • Best in class brands use email automation for both internal, external and partners.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce Shares 6 Ways to Improve the Value of Your Email #CMWorld | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Email Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

12 Clever Ways to Use Your Email Signature to Support Your Marketing Campaigns

signature-1.jpg

You know that you’re a true email marketer if every single one of your emails includes a call-to-action. And I’m not talking about email marketing blasts here. What I have in mind are the individual, personal email messages you send on an everyday basis.

Yes, your personal email signature can provide a serious marketing opportunity.

You are most likely already using your own email signature to provide information about who you are and where you work. But you can take this practice to the next level by updating your signature to reflect the marketing campaigns you are running today. Easily create your own professional email signature with our free Email  Signature Generator here.

Are you missing out on another opportunity to spread brand awareness or nurture prospective customers? Wondering what exactly you can promote through your email signature? Here are twelve awesome suggestions.

12 Professional Email Signature Ideas to Support Your Marketing Campaigns

1) Your Homepage

The least you should promote in your email signature is your company’s website. But in order for this tactic to be efficient, you have to make sure your homepage acts like a landing page.

In other words, it directs the visitor’s attention to the activity you want them to take. For instance, HubSpot’s homepage suggests that you receive a free product demo. Including your website’s homepage in an email signature also helps to expand awareness of your brand. Here’s an example (with help from our friend, Harry Potter):

harry.png2) Social Media

When it comes to the usage of social media in email signatures, you have two options. You can either include a link to your personal accounts on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc., or you can include links to your company’s accounts. Both are good options. Check out how HubSpot’s Principal Marketing Manager Pam Vaughan promotes her social channels in the example below:

pamfinal.png3) Your Blog

Your blog is one of the smartest things you can include in your email signature because it provides value to the community and gets updated on a regular basis. The fresh content on your blog is more engaging than a static homepage and will most likely retain the attention of the visitor for longer.

If you do shine light on your blog, don’t forget to include calls-to-action throughout your posts to encourage readers to take the next step and become a lead. Using our email signature tool, you can create a dynamic email signature that includes an RSS feed, which shows the title of your most recent blog article and automatically updates as new articles get published. Check out my editor, Carly Stec‘s:

carly.png

4) Book

Have you written a book? Has your manager or CEO written one? Don’t be shy about it. Share a link to the book in your email signature. That will help you build authority and credibility among the people you communicate with. Here’s our own Aja Frost promoting her ebook:

aja_sig.png

5) Conferences & Events

Is there a company trade show coming up soon? Or maybe you are speaking at a conference? Change your email signature to reflect that. While your email signature might not necessarily help you generate more registrants, it will surely spread the word about the event and gain some awareness among your target audience. Here’s an event promotion signature from my colleague, Elijah Clark Ginsberg:

elijahfinalfinal.png

(P.S. – Are you registered to hear from Alec Baldwin, Serena Williams, and other marketing and sales professionals at INBOUND 2016 yet?)

6) New Marketing Offer

Have an offer that’s doing a great job of converting traffic into leads? (You can tell by looking at their corresponding landing pages’ visitor-to-submission rates in your marketing analytics). Identify your best performing offers, and then expose them to more traffic. Use your email signature to share a link to a popular ebook or a webinar. Or if you’re currently featuring a new campaign that highlights a particular offer, use that in your signature instead. Here’s an example of my own signature promoting this ebook:

2016-09-08_1018.png

7) Industry Research

Speaking of data, don’t underestimate the impact that facts and figures can have in a marketing context. People on the web are overwhelmed with information, which encourages them to look for specifics. If you publish an industry report based on proprietary research, as Mimi An does over at HubSpot Research, consider including a link to it in your email signature:

mimi.png

8) Case Studies

Salespeople love this one. If you’re talking to potential customers, what’s better than sharing stories of successful ones?

For instance, you can mention how your product or service increased the ROI of customer XYZ, or quote a customer in your email signature to boost your company’s credibility.

hermione.png9) Free Tool

If your company happens to have a free tool, such as an ROI calculator, educational game, or blog topic generator, give it some marketing love. Free online tools have the power to engage readers and get them further interested in your product or service. Check out Eric Peters‘ signature promoting HubSpot’s free email signature generator (meta, we know):

ericfinal.png

10) Demonstration of Your Product / Free Consultation

When you are having a tough sales month, consider using an email signature that promotes a free consultation with your team or even a demonstration of your product. In that way, you’ll increase traffic to these middle-of-the-funnel marketing offers and show your sales organization that you’re taking advantage of every possible opportunity to help them out. 

dumbledore.png

11) News about Your Company

If your team or company has received recognition for exceptional work, highlight the news article or press release in your email signature. News that your company is doing exceptional work will drive traffic to your blog and promote greater brand awareness for your organization. Here’s an example from HubSpot Senior Recruiter Emily MacIntyre:

emily_sig.png

12) Promotional Videos

Has your company ever produced a promotional video? (Here’s an awesome video about HubSpot’s culture, for example.) Add a link to your company’s video so recipients can learn more about you without navigating away from the email message. You can promote a campaign, an event, or an offer in a more engaging way than a hyperlink alone. Here’s an example from our own Angela O’Dowd promoting HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program:

angelafinal.png

Ready to rework your email signature? Simplify the process using this free email signature generator.  

Have any other ideas for what your email signature can promote? Share them in the comments section below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free email signature generator

  free email sign


HubSpot Marketing Blog

Convert More Customers: Tips & Tricks For Running A/B Tests On Your Email Campaigns

Email continues to be one of the most effective online marketing tactics but many companies struggle to establish benchmarks or successfully improve performance. How many people are receiving, reading and acting on email messages? Those are all key questions to improve email marketing performance.

Email open rates can vary depending on the target industry and even the job function of the prospects.  Testing to improve email marketing performance is essential, but determining which variables have the largest impact on the overall effectiveness of an email campaign can seem overwhelming.

However, a process driven approach to identifying success factors that lead to increased conversions will set your company up for success both short term, and long term.

One way of improving your email marketing process involves testing: A/B or multivariate testing, to assess which tactics lead to the desired outcomes such as click throughs and conversions.

What is A/B & Multivariate Testing?

Put simply, A/B testing involves sending out different versions of any email campaign to segments of your existing customer or subscriber list.  Typically A/B testing includes changing only one element at a time, whereas multivariate testing includes multiple elements.  There are many variables to consider when running an email test so it is best to pick a maximum 3-4 items to test for each campaign.  If you are unsure about which variables to test please reference the list below for guidance.

What Can Be Tested?

As mentioned you don’t want to get carried away with testing too many variables at once.  Below I have included some of the tactics that your team may want to consider when running a A/B or multivarite email test.

  • Time of Day
  • Day of Week
  • Subject Lines
  • Body Copy
  • Layout
  • Calls to Action
  • Design (including images)
  • Personalization
  • Offer

Sample Email Test

Who Should A/B Email Test Be Sent To?

If you search online or talk to marketing experts you may receive a variety of answers.  Depending on your list size you will want to send out A/B tests to a large enough segment to collect enough data to make an informed decision.  I would recommend splitting your list into three parts:

  • Recipients of test A – ¼ of your list
  • Recipients of test B- ¼ of your list
  • Recipients of the “winning” email – ½ of your list

What Should Be Tracked?

  • Open Rate
  • Click Through Rate
  • UnSubscribe Rate

A Best Practice Approach For Running A/B & Multivariate Tests for Email Marketing

Data Doesn’t Lie: Base  your course of action on proven numbers, not which email you BELIEVE will perform better.

Use Tools: Services such as MailChimp provide a tool for running A/B tests.

Test Often: The way that your audience reacts to information will evolve, make sure that your process evolves as well.

While we talk a lot about search optimization, social media and content marketing here at Online Marketing Blog, make no mistake: Email Marketing is a powerful communication and conversion tool. It integrates well with other online marketing efforts to both attract and retain customers. Remember ABO: Always Be Optimizing. It applies to email marketing performance just as much as pay per click or SEO.

I’m curious to know what tests your company may have run in the past.  What were your results?  How did these results shape your process going forward?


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2012. | Convert More Customers: Tips & Tricks For Running A/B Tests On Your Email Campaigns | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Email Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

The Warrior Way: How to Improve Email Marketing Engagement, Ninja Style

NinjaStriking down opponents with your ninja online marketing skills can provide a sense of satisfaction that many marketers crave.  However, there is danger in focusing all of your efforts on the front end of the customer buying cycle.

Do you know how much it costs to acquire new customers versus retaining those that have already signed with you?  According to a recent study it costs roughly six to seven times more to gain a new customer, than to keep an existing one.  Email marketing is one of the many ways that we can communicate with customers on an ongoing basis.  If you’re tired of the same old ninja stars and nunchuks, I’ve uncovered 5 email marketing tips to add to your arsenal.

A True Ninja Understands Engagement-RFM

According to Econsultancy, Engagement-RFM is a combination of behavioral data, and RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary value).  Understanding how to craft the appropriate email touch points is key in communicating with your customers on an ongoing basis.  The chart  below details some of the different cycles within the customer lifetime that can provide guidance in creating email communication.

Engagement RFM - Econsultancy

Well-Trained Ninjas Start the Relationship Off Right

Welcoming new customers into the fold is a fantastic way to set an expectation early on that you will be communicating with them on an ongoing basis.  For example, anytime you take on a new customer it would be wise to send them a welcome email.  This email could include:

  • Key contacts within the organization
  • Showing appreciation for the fact that they selected your services over the competition
  • Links to helpful resources
  • A heads up that your team will be sending emails on an ongoing basis and ask if they would like to sign up. 

Different Targets Require Alternate Weapons

You may work with customers in a vast variety of industries, or a smaller group of defined markets.  Either way it is essential that you know what makes different customers tick.  Say you have a segment of customers within the healthcare industry.  It would make sense to flavor your email content in a way that speaks to their unique set of pain points or needs.  Alternately, retail customers should receive a different communication.

If you’re sending a monthly newsletter with interesting stories and news, it’s okay to send it to all of your customers.  However, it is very important that you also send some email communication that takes into consideration what different customers may have an interest in learning more about.  Also, it shows that you’ve taken the time and have an interest in providing assistance in a customized way.

Knowing the Perfect Time To Strike

If ninjas chose the middle of the day in an exposed area to strike, they would not be very successful.  Similarly, knowing when and how to bring up particular opportunities with your customers is key.  If you’re trying to upsell a customer with additional products or services, you should be aware of what else they may have going on that could affect purchasing decisions.

Sending a direct email communication will always be more effective, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t send an email to all of your customers sharing case studies on success you’ve had with particular programs, or new services or products that you’re rolling out that they might find of interest.

Important Contacts Shall Be Made Aware of the Mission

Most people like to feel that they knew something before the rest of the world.  Utilizing email communication to share exciting news or even ask for insight from your customers can accomplish a few things:

  • You’ve included your customers as part of the process
  • It’s clear that you care about their input
  • As a loyal customer, you’ve given them premier access to information noone else has.

Whether you’re an email marketing ninja in training, or training ninjas of your own, connecting with your current customers is key in keeping them happy.  A consistent flow of email communication as part of a larger integrated online marketing strategy will strengthen loyalty, retain business, and can even lead to your customers advocating on behalf of your brand.

What type of email communication have you found works best with your customers and what feedback have they shared with you?

Image provided via Shutterstock.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2013. | The Warrior Way: How to Improve Email Marketing Engagement, Ninja Style | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Email Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

How to Use Email Marketing to Engage & Convert Customers

Email Marketing Customer Life CycleEmail marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools for many businesses. According to a study by ExactTarget, 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.

Email Marketing is also a way to reinforce relationships through special offers or bonus content and to keep your product or service top-of-mind.

Email client service providers have worked diligently over the years to minimize spam and spam complaints by establishing best practices that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can trust because they are inundated with so much unsolicited email. Depending on your inbox provider and/or your email solution provider, your newsletter may not even make it into your customer’s inbox.

According to Mailer® Mailer, email is beginning to maintain more of a steady year-round influence. However, “most industries (77.1% of them) scored below 20% for their CTR, indicating that the offers and design of their messages, as well as their segmentation and targeting, require some attention,” they concluded in their annual Email Marketing Metrics Report.

Inbox providers trying to make the environment as pleasant as possible for their subscribers are constantly looking for new ways to determine inbox placement. As proponents of the ‘attract, engage, convert’ model, TopRank’s position is firmly planted in the email engagement camp.

Pros

  • Relevant communication. Content relevant to your subscriber is crucial. If you want your open rate to score higher than 20%, then design your message to solve the pain point or informational needs of your audience.
  • Relevant timing. If you’ve taken the time to determine the lifetime value of your customers, it makes sense to communicate in a way that’s meaningful to them. Messaging consistent with where they are in the opt-in life cycle will help drive consistency in engagement.
  • Improved performance. If the two above criteria are met, then you should see improvement in your overall conversions.

Cons

  • Seasonality. Getting subscribers to engage consistently during off-peak times can be difficult.
  • Resource allocation. Depending on the size of your business, driving engagement through relevant content may strain your internal resources with email marketing newsletter’s increasing need for content development and/or production requirements.

What the Experts Are Saying

“Consistency and best practices in messaging will go a long way in helping you stay in the [Gmail] zone. Authenticate your sending ID, keep the balance of HTML and text similar, and encourage interaction. … A good subject line is going to get the consumer to pay attention to your message. A better subject line will draw the consumer to open your email. If your content can lure the consumer to a click, you have achieved a trifecta.” Sundeep Kapur, ClickZ, in how to navigate Gmail’s new inbox.

“Marketers should think about the things they can do to make sure their email subscribers continue to look for and read their emails. Gmail tabs make it even more important that email marketers send relevant, valuable content to the people who have opted into their list – content that people will look for.” Gail Goodman, CEO, Constant Contact, MarketingLand.

Email Campaign Best Practices

We’ve outlined a handful of tactics you can use to ensure that your messages are designed not only to engage newsletter readers, but also to inspire them to take action.

1)      Identify yourself – Your email campaign will fail if you do not tell the recipient who you are and why you are contacting them. Scads of copy has been written on writing a winning subject line, but if your prospect or customer doesn’t recognize you, most email newsletters will go unopened, regardless of the offer. Most email client servers allow you to add a bit of text at the top to customize “You are receiving this because …” Take advantage of that opening because people often forget what they’ve subscribed to, and you may end up with spam complaints. You also may want to consider a double opt-in if this is a concern, but there are pros and cons to doing so.

2)      Keep it short and to the point – A precise concise subject line followed by short declarative sentences should keep your readers opening your email and moving them through the copy to your desired outcome. Not surprisingly, Mailer Mailer discovered that short subject lines (4-15 characters) had the highest average open rate (15.8%) last year.

3)      Develop trustworthiness – One simple way to achieve this is to identify on your sign-up form exactly what a subscriber can expect and the frequency of your newsletter. Then, regular communication will solidify the bond (assuming you consistently provide value.) But beware of the urge to over promote. Keep your message educational, relevant and timely and follow the 80/20 rule. Depending on your frequency, you may want to consider reducing that to 10% self- promotion. Alternatively, provide an easy way to unsubscribe to maintain an active and engaged subscriber list.

4)      Create visual appeal – We’ve all become a lot more visual and consumers’ expectations have risen accordingly. There are any number of excellent email service providers who offer both beautiful templates as well as the ability to customize the HTML to create exactly the look and feel you want. When adding images, keep the size small or you may risk having them blocked. Another consideration is to include the ‘alt text,’ which stand for alternative text that appears when images are loaded in an email. People may not have images enabled, (this is the default setting in Gmail, for example), so make sure your images have this essential component.

5)      Segment your list – Most likely, your email newsletter will serve more than one purpose. You do not want to cram in educational information with event reminders and end with a postscript inviting them to take a survey. For B2B companies, you want to differentiate between prospects and customers at a minimum because they are at a different stage in the buying cycle; one needs to be nurtured and the other represents a possible up sell. For B2C, you can do the same but you can also identify your top customers and offer loyalty incentives. This may be a little trickier for B2B. The point is to tailor your messages accordingly.

6)      Provide a clear call to action – If you’ve done all of the above, it’s a simple step to “ask for the order.” Whether it’s a simple request to click through to read a blog post, watch a video demo or share on social networks, make the desired action simple and clear. The CTA isn’t always “buy now.”

Examples of Clear Concise Email Engagement

OpenView®

Email Marketing

One way to build trust is to present a polished professional image with your landing page. OpenView Partners describes their relevance to the reader in the headline and sets expectations immediately, letting subscribers know they’ll receive a weekly email filled with operational expert insights. For added trust, they include a CEO testimonial.

They do, however, break one rule of landing pages – generally, you don’t want to include navigation links that could steer a visitor away. In this case, it could be OpenView’s show of confidence, allowing new visitors to conduct further research and only opting-in when they confirm for themselves that the value proposition is worth giving up their email address. I’d be curious to see visitor click stream and bounce rates  for this page.

HSBC

HSBC email newsletter

HSBC clearly segments their list as this template is specific to the consumer market for home insurance and takes advantage of personalization. Other templates I’ve seen were specific to small business owners, so they get that right. The newsletter boasts strong visuals but may be asking too much of the subscriber by adding Related Offers and Survey Links at the bottom. They’ll want to look at their analytics to determine if they’re getting the results they want or need to do further segmentation. But, they do get it right with their social shares icons prominently displayed.

If you use email as a primary content marketing tool, what’s been your experience with Google’s new email Promotion tabs? Have you seen a decline in open rates?

Read about 29 more content marketing tactics here.

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2013. | How to Use Email Marketing to Engage & Convert Customers | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Email Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Email Marketing Essentials: A Checklist for Writing Emails That Get Opened

Email Marketing Tips

Note from Lee: It is with great joy that I get to  introduce new TopRank Marketers to our readers here at Online Marketing Blog. Ever since Brooke Furry joined our team, she has been opening up smiles on the people around her. Turns out, she’s pretty good at getting people to open emails too.  Please welcome Brooke as a contributor to Online Marketing Blog! 

If an email arrives in Judy’s inbox and she never opens it, was it worth the send?

Email Marketing is all about the open. Digital marketers who throw their hearts and souls into creating email campaigns with real personality and value know that regular, consistent email campaigns can accomplish great things. But even if you’re sending something you think your target audience will love, who’s going to know, care, or click if you can’t get them to open it?

Unlike the latest social media tactic du jour, email marketing is nothing new.  For over 30 years when the first emails arrived in an inbox, brand emails have had to combat everything from message size limits to spam filters to the Gmail message categories of today. But it’s not time to throw a funeral for email marketing. It’s time to get out the whiteboard and start strategizing.

Marketers seek leads and conversions – and if the statistics don’t lie, the ROI on email marketing for B2B and B2C companies is one of the best. According to an Econsultancy article, half of all businesses achieve over 10% of their sales through email marketing. As Hubspot reports, 91% of people check their email every day. Email marketing may not be snazzy or new, but it works.

If email marketing is so successful, what’s the challenge? The issue is that nearly 2 billion non-spam emails being sent every day, and inboxes are cluttered. In order to reach email marketing success, marketers need to break through the noise and filters.

So what’s the secret to get those emails from cyberspace to your customers’ inboxes with high odds for an open? Here are 6 email marketing tips to make your investment worth the send.

Build a reputation for really helpful, valuable emails

It’s hard to land that one-in-a-million emotional concept that will floor your audience. Many email marketers struggle to come up with campaigns that will resonate with their customers for just that reason – they think they haven’t hit “The Big Idea” that will work yet.

But you don’t have to dangle pictures of golden retriever puppies or offers for free coffee in order to get opens. That may work for pet stores and cafes – but many brands just don’t do warm fuzzies or coupons. If you’re worried about bombarding your customer base with emails that seem too salesy, don’t be salesy! Start by delivering helpful, valuable information. You can:

  • Conduct a survey and offer to share the results
  • Share top blog posts or articles from your website
  • Give your audience a free preview of a new whitepaper or ebook

You know more than anyone else what your target audience needs to hear. If you live by this concept every time you send an email, your audience will begin to trust that you don’t want to waste their time – and that you actually have something important to say.

Promise something specific in the subject line – and deliver

The subject matters. Litmus reported that nearly a third of people will decide to open or not based on the subject line alone. Why are you emailing these people? Don’t mess with your email recipients. Although creativity can be appreciated, the subject line is no place to play around. Be clear about the purpose and scope of the email. Don’t risk confusing your audience with wordy titles.

In fact,  a recent study by MarketingProfs showed that 6-10 word subject lines yielded the highest open rates, despite over half of all emails containing subject lines of 11-15 words.

So be concise and clear, and, in the words of John Mayer, just “say what you need to say.”

Craft to-the-point summary pre-header text

Whether your recipients use Gmail or the mail application on their iPhone, the first line of the email will show up to preview the contents. Many marketers go with the  “Can’t see this email? View it online” text.  Don’t. As Pamella Neely at Web Marketing Today points out, you can use this scant 50-character space to give recipients one more reason to open your email. If you can get them wanting to finish just one sentence – the first! – then there’s a good chance you’ll achieve that coveted open.

Make sure it appears nice on mobile

More email is read on mobile devices than on desktops, according to Litmus. Will your email display well? If your recipients have opened your email in the past and been unimpresed, don’t expect them to try again in good faith. Deliver emails that look good no matter the device.

Test timing and wording as much as you tweak visual design

While many marketers report spending more time on design than on testing and optimization, the fact remains: nobody will care what it looks like if they don’t open it. Conduct A/B testing on your subject lines. Send emails at different times to test effectiveness.

Studies show that smartphone users are grabbing their phones immediately in the morning – will sending emails bright and early work for your audience? Mid-morning may work better for emails that people have to engage with, like a survey or questionnaire.

Try to avoid weekends. Weekdays tend to be more effective times to deliver emails.

Climb into your own inbox

What kind of subject line, intro text, and email copy do you tend to pay attention to, and what do you tend to ignore? Create the kind of emails that you would open yourself. If you wouldn’t open it, why should anyone else?

Try increasing your open rates by paying more attention to these 6 areas. Through time, effort, and testing, you can increase those open rates to attract, engage and convert your subscribers into buyers. When people actually open your emails, you have won a moment where someone is listening – and in a busy, cluttered world, that privilege is valuable, indeed!

What tactics have you used to increase your email open rates?

Photo: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2014. | Email Marketing Essentials: A Checklist for Writing Emails That Get Opened | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Email Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Silverpop’s Loren McDonald Discusses 4 Top Email Marketing Trends – #MNSummit

Loren Mcdonald“Good morning Mumbai! Wait, I’m in Minnesota.”

Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations for Silverpop has been on a worldwide tour travelling from India to London and finally here to the Midwest. Loren was not shy about admitting that he feels a bit like a fish out of water, he’s an email-marketing guy, surrounded by search marketers at MNSearch Summit.

In Loren’s compelling presentation we found out why email still rocks, the difference between smartphone and tablet users and creating actionable data. Below are some of the highlights:

Trend #1 – Email Still Rocks

According to a recent study by Marketing Sherpa, 7 in 10 consumers have made a purchase influenced by email marketing. There is no denying that email is still very much alive, and has a significant impact on purchasing decisions.

Still not convinced? McKinsey & Company found that email conversion rates are 3x higher than social media and the value of an email conversion is 17% higher than that of social media.

Trend #2 – Mobile Usability

Mobile email activity is not closing in on desktop usage; it has already surpassed desktop usage. Consumers are getting more and more used to browsing on their smartphone or iPad to find the information that they need.

Approximately 53% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. Only three years ago, that number was less than 20%.

Now in all fairness, the increasing use of Phablets (a smartphone with a screen sized between a standard smartphone and a tablet) may be slightly skewing the number of smartphone opens and interactions.

We need to eliminate the friction for our users to improve engagement. If there are too many barriers for the user, than they are never going to engage.

Trend #3 – Responsive Design

Unfortunately, many designers focus too much on the coding and design concept of responsive design for email marketing. This approach typically results in the simple restructuring of the size of images or text on the email that will be viewed different depending on if someone is using a desktop or a mobile device.

More importantly, email marketers need to be not only considering design structure, but how their consumers are using email.

A mobile user walks into a coffee shop…

There’s nothing worse than walking into your favorite coffee shop and realizing there is a line of other zombie-like individuals waiting to get their morning drip. While you’re waiting in line and trying to pass the time and ignoring your quickly approaching coffee craving hysteria, what are you going to do?

If you’re like most people, you may open some apps or games on your smartphone. Like it or not, you’re also going to check your email. While waiting in a situation like the one mentioned above, you’ll likely delete the emails that don’t catch your attention, mark some for discovering later and forward or reply to those that are relevant to you.

The likelihood that you’ll see an email advertising $ 350 Michael Kors black leather booties and pull out your credit card right then and there is highly unlikely.

A tablet user takes a break…

Unlike their smartphone counterpart, tablet users are not traditionally on the go. Let’s assume for a second that a tablet user has just kicked their feet up on the back porch with a cold adult beverage in-hand and receives the same Michael Kors black leather bootie email.

The likelihood that this user (assuming of course that they really are coveting those black booties) will make a direct purchase at that time, significantly increase.

The most important thing to understand about responsive design is that people will do things differently and act differently with different devices.

Trend #4 – Making Data Actionable

“To know a person…watch what they do, not what they say. “
– Danny Santagato

Behavior gives us a lens into our audience’s purchase intent. The major shift we are seeing is the idea that when you grab hold of a concept of focusing on an individual’s customers behavior is not what you’re trying to sell, but what each customer is looking for.

Email marketers need to begin reacting in real-time to individual’s behavior. Email marketing automation is a tool that enables companies with the scale to achieve this objective.

Sometimes, broadcast email works. However, marketing teams may not always understand the negative repercussions of over-emailing and under-targeting. There are two types of email marketing approaches:

Traditional Marketing: It’s all about “the plan”: The objective is to fill up the email-marketing calendar with X emails per week. All email communications will be created and sent based on that calendar. Unfortunately, that approach is very much “us” based, and has nothing to do with the needs of our customers.

Behavioral Marketing:This approach is all about the customer. In fact, think of yourself as acting like a great concierge to meet the needs of your customers. In addition to the calendar based programs, your team can create 40+ automated email programs that will go out 24/7 365 to whomever based on a behavior or an event.

The behavioral marketing approach requires automation to provide scale. Loren used an example of a small company they were working with that used to send birthday emails manually to each and every customer. That is the definition of manual.

Bonus: The Integration of Search & Social

There are quite a few low hanging opportunities to integrate search and social with email marketing including:

  1. Landing Pages: You can build a dynamic email based on the search terms that consumers used to get to your landing page.
  2. Lead Scoring: If marketing automation is being used, begin incorporating keywords into lead scoring. Keywords can be scaled higher or lower based on what was used to drive the consumer to your website.
  3. Keyword Driven Email Content: There is also an opportunity to incorporate the keywords used in search results to drive the content of your email campaigns.

Be sure to check out Loren McDonald’s tip in the new #CMWorld eBook – The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy

Follow @TopRank, @azeckman, @eprokop1 and @JoelECarlson for live updates from #MNSummit.


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