Email marketing success often comes down to small, incremental changes that really add up. Optimizing the small levers in your program can act like force multipliers, with each improvement snowballing into the next. With time and testing, the combination of improvements will ultimately yield dividends much larger than your time or money investment.
We always recommend addressing these factors first:
1. Email Opt-In Form: Is your site’s email opt-in form converting to its potential? When looking at your form, consider the placement on the site, form fields, and by all means offer an incentive for opt-in (however small) when possible. A recent Fluency Media redesign of one client’s email opt-in form has increased email subscriptions by nearly 1,200% (more than the previous 11 months combined).
2. Welcome (“New Best Friend”) Email Series: Many companies still do not engage their new subscribers within the first 24 hours. This is a key window of opportunity, when subscribers are fresh and excited about your brand. The recent introduction of a 2-part welcome email series for one client has increased visits from the entire email channel by over 80% and conversions by over 70%.
3. Delivery: How good are your in-house servers or current ESP at getting emails through to the Inbox? There are several potential points of failure, including:
· IP or domain level: many server IP addresses or domains are already blocked by major ISPs. How would you even know if you’re being blocked? Fluency maintains and monitors the excellent standing of its sending IP addresses with the major ISPs (including Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail and AOL), and we consistently have delivery rates of 98% or more. For one client, moving to Fluency’s sending servers alone resulted in a 20% delivery boost as compared to their in-house server.
· ISP queues: Some ISPs will ‘grey-list,’ or defer your messages from getting through. Unless your system attempts to re-send those messages, they’ll eventually be lost in a delivery black hole. Fluency’s email system will attempt to re-send queued messages for up to 48 hours before ending in a soft bounce. We estimate that this saves up to 5% of messages from being lost.
· Content issues: a single word in your subject line or copy can send an otherwise fine email message into the Spam / Junk folder. We test and re-test messages to ensure delivery to the Inbox for all major ISPs and Outlook.
4. Subject Lines: A targeted subject line is your best opportunity to get an email message opened. Testing on personalization, length and content can boost open rates by 5% or more.
5. Layout: Once the email is opened, how will it be viewed? Is it readable if the recipient hasn’t “turned on images?” What if it’s viewed on a mobile device? Fluency has tested hundreds of iterations of email layouts to ensure that what is most important in your messaging is viewed first, and that it looks great in all of the leading email clients.
6. Offer: Are you testing your offers? How aggressive do you need to be in order to move the conversion needle? Try sending A/B (and C, D, E if necessary) tests of your offer out to a small percentage of your database. This will allow you to find the offer sweet spot before rolling out to the larger database.
7. Call-to-Action Placement: What will make them click? It’s important to find the right wording, design and placement for your call-to-action to maximize click rate. A/B tests make finding the right combination quick and inexpensive.
8. Landing Page: Where will they arrive when they click? Does the messaging and branding of the landing page match the email creative and continue the promise delivered in the email message? Is it easy for the visitor to do what you want them to do? A recent Fluency redesign of a client landing page resulted in a 33% conversion rate boost.
9. On-Site Sales Flow (Conversion) Optimization: What about the subsequent steps needed to purchase or perform whatever desired tasks on your site? It’s critical to identify and remove the bottlenecks to conversion. On-site A/B tests can help identify the winner of several variations of a checkout page, sales meeting request form, etc.
10. Send Frequency: Most companies are scared to contact their database more than once a month (or even less). But your contacts may wish to hear from you much more often – perhaps even twice a week. That is just money left on the table. One client’s frequency testing program yielded a 20% revenue growth from the email channel in a relatively short period just by testing their assumption that once a month was the “right” frequency.
Optimizing any one of these factors can dramatically improve your program. Added up, your email marketing results can be spectacular – challenging even the sexy, offline advertising channels for conversion numbers.