In the past, there’s been four benchmarks that are considered by most brands and marketers as critical factors behind successful email marketing.
This is ensuring the messages/emails hit the intended recipients’ inboxes and not their spam folders. This means following best practices such as ensuring you get the recipient’s permission through a verified opt-in link; asking for the ISP email address instead of free email address (e.g. Yahoo, Hotmail); using HTML format instead of plain text, and so on.
2. Open rates
This translates to the number of recipients who actually “viewed” or “opened” the emails sent to them. The success rate for this is dependent largely on the industry to which the brand belongs. Your campaign is deemed “effective” if get past “the average open rate” in your industry.
3. Click rates/clickthrough rates (CTR)
This shows how the recipient engaged with the email campaign, whether it’s to buy a product, know more about a service, read the blog etc. If opens are linked to the quality of your subject line and the relationship you have with your subscribers, clicks are linked to email content. This means you must have a clear call-to-action, simple message, and a hard-to-resist offer.
4. Bounce rates
This tells you how many emails were not delivered after initial attempts. The “bounce” could be due to the email address being invalid, the recipient’s inbox being full, or the recipient’s mail server is rejecting the email (also known as “spam filters”). There are two types of bounces: soft bounce and hard bounce. Soft bounces usually mean the recipient is “temporarily unavailable” (e.g. full inbox). Whilst hard bounces mean an email address failed. Perhaps it no longer exists, or there’s a typo in the address.
Although these benchmarks remain crucial to email marketing, there’s another factor which in today’s setting is equally important but gets little attention. I’m talking about the “shareability” of the email campaigns.
A truly engaging email should compel the recipients to share the message with others. Shareable emails don’t only help increase your reach, they also lead to an increase in conversions, whilst satisfying your subscribers.
Want to know why some emails get shared more than others?
1. It’s a targeted or segmented message
Keep in mind, you’re not the only one vying for your subscriber’s attention. You may have avoided the spam folder but there’s no assurance yet that you are not going to be sent to the trash. Targeted emails are deemed more successful because they’re usually 90% more viral than untargeted messages. The best way to do a targeted email marketing campaign is by tailoring your messages based on behaviours and attributes of your subscriber. One way of doing this is by segmenting your entire list to target specific subscribers for certain campaigns or offers. For example, you can periodically send special offers to your loyal subscribers. If your subscribers find your emails relevant, they are more likely to share them with others.
2. It contains a personalised message
Aside from addressing your subscribers by first name, tailor your message based on their unique attributes or the data that you have (e.g. birthdays, demographics, interests based on the activities they took on your website). More creative personalisation techniques, like including the picture of the recipient with a description of recent purchase, may trigger the recipient to share it with others.
3. It’s specifically asking your recipients to share with their network
Tell your subscribers exactly what you expect them to do next by including forward-to-a-friend or social sharing links to your campaign. Make sure your calls-to-action (CTAs) are simple, clear, and actionable. All buttons or links should be working and all your subscribers have to do is click.
4. It’s naturally shareable
No amount of personalisation can hide useless content. Make it a mission to always create unique, useful, timely, and relevant content. If your campaign is about an event, make sure it has all the details like topic, time, venue, and so on. You can also include tips and high quality images that scream “forward me, quick!”
People subscribe to your mailing list because they want information from you and about you. So treat your subscribers as if they’re already your customers. Give them more than one reason to stay subscribed. Keep them in the loop and keep them interested. Experiment with an updated design, introduce something “new” quarterly, or have a special monthly deal. And don’t forget, ask your subscribers to share your email.
Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.