I’m straying from my usual, gushy I-love-this-particular-thing-about-CRO– type post to dip into successful email marketing. A/B testing isn’t just for websites and landing pages.

I tuned into SEMRush Chat with Alita Harvey-Rodriguez, where she talked about uncovering the hidden opportunities in the customer life-cycle using effective email marketing. She used the hashtag #HumanMarketing.

Many consider email marketing to be a spammy way to reach out – and if filling a potential customer’s inbox with desperate pleas to take advantage of this limited (but likely to extend!) offer on a daily basis is your idea of email marketing, I’d be inclined to agree. The fact is though that remarketing via email has the highest conversion rate over any other traffic source with 66% of all cart conversions coming from email traffic, and so it makes sense to incorporate it into your overall digital marketing approach.

Hyper Personalisation

This is where the #HumanMarketing comes in. It’s important now, across email and social, to connect with your customers or potential customers at a one-to-one level, encouraging them to become not just a customer, but a brand advocate.

via Facebook emoticons

via Facebook emoticons

Alita offered an example of purchasing a Prada handbag, discovering a fault with it, reaching out to Prada using social media to raise the issue, and Prada responding by requesting your email address. By connecting your issue to your email address, they can tailor their response as well as pause any further marketing emails until the issue is resolved. Imagine splashing out on an expensive treat for yourself, finding it to be lacking in quality, but then receiving an email inviting you to go spend more with the company that sold you the dodgy product in the first place – not likely to encourage brand advocacy, is it?

ANYway, how do you cultivate that relationship and improve the open rates and click throughs in your email marketing?

1. Create an engaging subject line

Oli Gardner writes that email subject lines with 28-39 characters see the highest click rates but keep in mind you’ve only got around 25 characters to play with if that email’s being received on mobile. While the ‘from’ field will help users understand who’s contacting them, consistency across your marketing emails’ subject line will also work as an identifier. Use urgent or exciting language, and include a call to action or question to encourage engagement – don’t be afraid to test capitalisation or exclamation marks to add visual interest and help you stand out in the average inbox.

2. Format your messages for mobile devices

Firstly, understand that most emails are now opened via mobile then understand that three quarters of those emails are deleted if they aren’t optimised for mobile.  Got it? Ok. Now it’s time to start improving your email marketing with mobile in mind. If your email displays well on both desktop and mobile devices, you’ll improve open rates, and increase clicks on the links you’ve included.

3. Write to the recipient

… not at them. Personalised emails convert better. This is as simple as including the first name (but not the last name) of your recipient. No need to write hundreds of versions of your email to personalise it to every person on your list, but write the email as if you were addressing just one person. Although he doesn’t use names, Brian Dean of Backlinko’s emails feel like I’m hearing from an old friend:

an example of Brain's email intros

an example of Brain’s email intros

4. Write as yourself

Consider how you scan your inbox of a morning. My bet is that any emails from a company get flagged as advertising and ignored until you’ve got some downtime to filter through or just delete them. Think about using the ‘from’ field to extend that personalisation and write as an individual, reaching out to another individual.

oh that Peep

oh that Peep

5. Regularly check your email list

Remove inactive subscribers, correct typos or misspellings in addresses and segment your list using whatever criteria is most relevant: open rate, industry, or even a/s/l. This will improve open rates as your highly-tailored content will be going out to the right people.

Think twice before buying email lists to kick-start an email marketing campaign. These people haven’t signed-up to receive your communcations and so open rates will be low… and unsubscribe rates will be high. Far better to spend the time building the list organically with valuable content or at least a relevant incentive.

The best marketing emails use subject lines that reflect the contents of the email, and contain highly relevant information tailored to the recipient. Be friendly, be honest and be intriguing without being gimmicky. Test not just your subject lines or ‘from’ fields, but the wording or tone of your emails. Repeat until dead.