Michelle Girasole - Optimizing Your Email Open Rates
Today, Hub Digital is proud to feature one of our favorite partners and friends, Michelle Girasole of Constant Contact, who is breaking down how to get more attention with your email marketing.
Email - Five Seconds Can Make or Break Your Next Customer Sale!
If your customer reads your next email on their mobile device, it will take them just under five seconds to decide if they will read it or delete it. That email had better be good if you want to get their attention and your next sale!
Despite this daunting fact, email is still one of the best values for your marketing dollar. Entrepreneur Magazine just published an article suggesting that email marketing is the "The One Marketing Tool Entrepreneurs Should Focus on for 2017". It is more effective than many other marketing tactics - not only for building brand awareness, but also for inviting ACTION, the lifeblood of your business. And remember, a customer sale is not the only measurable action, though this is the ultimate end goal. If customers are opening your emails, reading the content, clicking on buttons, links and graphics, asking questions and/or sharing your content on their social media channels, then congratulations! This means you have nurtured a treasure trove of highly engaged subscribers, which will soon lead to sales with consistent, relevant and valuable marketing outreach and sales effort.
If you send an email out and hear only crickets, it is time to rethink your strategy. There are three questions you need to ask in order to achieve success in email marketing:
1) Who cares? You have likely built a large list of email subscribers. Are these people all prospects for business, or just people you know? Do you segment your list and send targeted messages based on their interests, or do all subscribers get the same message? It may be time for a list review. Clean out those addresses that bounce. Segment the folks who click on emails into a "VIP" list that gets special offers or early notice of news or deals. Treat them special, because they are. On average, only 5-18% of subscribers click through, according to Constant Contact, who reviews 200 million customer emails every year. The ones who click through should get special attention, and if you don't know who they are, you need to find out.
2) What do they care about? What you say in the subject line of your next email should speak directly to the very topic that your customers care the most about. About 1/3 of email subscribers decide to open the email or hit delete, based solely on the content in the subject line! Make your subject line compelling and deliver on the promise of the subject line in the body of your email. Create content based on what they have clicked on in the past - what are their interests? What questions are they asking you at the networking meetings? What problems have you solved for customers this week? Turn those questions and problems into the storytelling that sells your services or products. 80% of your content should be informative, educational and/or entertaining. Only 20% should be sales-oriented, so if you are using your email to deliver discounts and sales offers exclusively, you are missing the point.
3) What happened last time and what do I do next? Most email marketing platforms worth their salt have automated reporting that tell you exactly what happened the last time you sent an email out. Who opened? Who didn't? Who clicked? What did they click on? What time of day did most people read it? Who came back more than once? What emails bounced back as undeliverable? All of these factors should be studied within 24 hours after you send your email, and careful consideration should be given as to what to do next. There is so much knowledge at our fingertips that can help us pack some power into the next email we send, and yet many of us just look at the open rate as the single factor of success. Read your reports and make marketing decisions based on what you find.
Email is the number one app used on smartphones today. Access to email is everywhere we go, and so we have an opportunity to reach people wherever they are. We're no longer restricted to communication during daytime working hours to people sitting at their desktops. We can reach them at the coffee shops, football fields and even in their beds. (When was the last time you checked messages one more time, before turning out the light, hmm?) This is a powerful marketing tool, and we must use this power wisely. By using email to nurture your audience, you will build credibility and trust, and invite action. And, people taking action is the only thing that will drive ever your business growth.
Michelle Girasole is an email marketing industry veteran. A marketing professional for 24 years and a Constant Contact solution partner since 2003, Michelle is the only one certified to teach Constant Contact workshops in Rhode Island. She teaches many free workshops for Rhode Island small business and non-profit organizations, many sponsored by SBA/SCORE and the area chambers of commerce. For a calendar of her upcoming workshops click here.