E-mail marketing, its not optional...

In July 2015 there were 4.1 billion e-mail accounts worldwide. It is expected that this number will increase to 4.9 billion by the end of 2017. 247 billion e-mails are sent every day. This equates to one e-mail every 0.00000035 seconds. 91% of all consumers use e-mail at least once a day.

Mobile purchasing decisions are most influenced by e-mails from companies (71%) only surpassed by the influence of friends (87%). If this is the case, can your e-commerce business afford to miss out on a piece of this marketing pie?!

4 Ways to maximise your e-mail marketing’s return on investment

So hopefully by now you are not only totally on-board with the concept that e-mail marketing is essential, but you are interested to know how to do it well??

In this blog we will look at the following:

  1. How to pick the right time of day.
  2. Why personalising your emails is essential
  3. How to persuade readers to click
  4. Why a picture paints a 1,000 words

1. Pick the right time

This will vary very much between companies and will depend entirely on your target market/audience. It is likely that only a process of trial and error will enable you to work this out. However, a few generalisations to be aware of include:

  • Almost a third of all e-mails are sent out during Q4.
  • Most of the commercial e-mails are sent out on a Tuesday.
  • Most promotional e-mail recipients engage with e-mail in the afternoons and evenings.

This may mean that you decide to go with what works for the majority of businesses and send out your e-mails on a Tuesday in Q4. Or you may decide to send yours out at a time when your customers are less likely to be bombarded with other offers. Less than half of marketers (49%) are actively testing e-mail sending time and day, so if your business was to carry out some simple testing it could radically improve your ROI

2. Personalise your e-mails.

Research has shown that personalised e-mails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. E-mails with personalised subject lines have 26% higher unique open rates than non-personalised e-mails. People generally want to feel known and connected, although starting an e-mail with their name may feel like a small thing, it may be the difference between them reading your e-mail or not. One other thing to say here is that it is very important to spell the customers name right – it is one thing that is likely to really annoy and frustrate your potential audience.

E-mail marketing, in 2015, has to be personalised and targeted if it is to guarantee success, and e-commerce businesses now need to spend time analysing behaviour and data and preparing communications that will have the highest impact.

3. Persuade

23.8% of all e-mail opens occur during the 1st hour after delivery. After 24 hours, an e-mail’s chance of being opened drops below 1%. So it’s important to get your potential customers attention quickly. This is usually achieved using a short attention grabbing title in the subject line. Research from 2013 demonstrated that short subject lines (e.g. fewer than 10 characters) have the best opening rate (58%). If you are only using a few words, make sure they are the right words. For B2B companies, subject lines that contained “money,” “revenue,” and “profit” performed the best. For e-commerce businesses words that tend to do well include “free delivery”, “sale” and “win”. Conversely, words that seem to lower open and click rates include “don’t miss”, “free”, “re” and “fw”. The low performance of these words suggests e-mail users have started to identify hype. Some of these words have become overused in spam, especially “free,” and “don’t miss.” Assuming they haven’t become too overused, benefit-oriented words do better in e-mail subject lines.

4. Pictures

When creating your e-mail marketing campaign it is important to think carefully about how you are using images. The general rule when sending out e-shots is that there should be a balance between the textual and visual; at least 60% text and 40% images. However, there are obviously times when more or less of each will be required or appropriate. Some things to bear in mind include:

  • Generally the user has to access the full content from the e-mail in order for you to be able to analyse the Open Rate. Therefore, if the e-mail is made up entirely of images, or is one big image, the recipient will be forced to download all images to see the e-mail in full. This will therefore give you more accurate metrics. However, the flip side of this argument is that if the image takes too long to download or is blocked by the users computer then they may become too impatient to download it and disregard the e-mail completely.

  • If you do decide to go for a single image and no text, the e-shot is much easier and faster to design and iPhones and Gmail download them automatically

  • Most of the other e-mail providers block images by default

  • The user may have one more interaction to see the whole e-mail

Therefore in order to have a successful campaign with a high Open Rate:

  • Analyse, through your reporting system, where the e-mails are most commonly being opened. If there are more on Outlook or on Android, it is probably best to avoid single images e-shots or a campaign that is largely made up of images. To increase the chances of opening, you must remind your recipient to unlock all images.

  • If however, the majority of e-mails are being opened on iOS or Gmail, single image e-shots or using multiple images is probably fine

  • If your client base is a mixture of all of the above operating systems then a mixture of text and a select few images works best. It is also important not include any of the calls to action, prices or offers etc as images. You do not want your customers to miss a vital piece of information simply because it has been blocked and they haven’t unlocked/downloaded it. You need to make things as quick and easy as possible for readers.

Hopefully, by now, it should be self-evident that a successful e-mail marketing campaign, done well, can have very positive results for your business. However, it is important to remember that most people spend less than a minute scanning an email while they decide whether to read it or delete it. Therefore think carefully about when, how and what you say and include to ensure that your campaign has maximum impact.