When it comes to introducing something new, email can be considered one of the most important drivers. When we launch new client initiatives, emails are often an important part of the marketing mix (in some cases, the only driver).
The importance of this is that the email sets the first impression for all subsequent next steps; therefore, it must be as relevant and engaging. When a customer receives an email, there are 2 key barriers:
·the open (on average 70-80% do not even get this far)*
·the click-through (on average 80-90% do not complete this action)
*Note: To combat low open rates due to nonopeners, an industry best practice is to isolate the audience that did not open the first email and send the same email again (with a different subject line); in some cases, audience that received the email twice outperforms the first email!
What should the subject line be?
The subject line affects all email metrics; even marginal changes in the open rates of emails can potentially impact the performance of a program. Therefore, it is imperative that subject lines be:
·clear and direct
·short (less than 50 characters, including spaces)
·inform the customer of what is new or in some cases what is ending
At the same time, it is important to stay away from:
·ambiguous subject lines
·burying the call to action
·being too long (many emails clients will cut off)
·using all capital letters (eSCREAMING)
What should be in the email?
Because emails initiate the online experience and funnel customers to the next experience, emails should:
·be consistent with the brand
·set the tone for the experience ahead
·include a clear, visible call-to-action
When do we send?
Marketers often ask: what is the best time both during the day and of the week to send an email? The answer is always: it depends. Overall metrics are different across the board, but this variable can easily be learned through testing.
Testing Performance and Success
We like emails because they contain so many valuable metrics and they can be tested with little cost. Through testing and metrics, we can determine the best subject lines, imagery, time of day/day of week, and frequency of emails, and use this information to best optimize our client's return on investment.
Overall, the most important factor in an email's performance is relevance to the recipient, but when you combine relevance + clear call-to-action + tested learnings you are on the right path to success.