Terrific copy, images and deals don’t mean a thing if your customer doesn’t open the email in the first place. Maybe that’s why marketers said that the subject line had the greatest impact when they ran email marketing tests.
According to Experian’s 2013 Email Market Study, personalizing that subject line is the real key.
For example, emails with personalized subject lines have 26 percent higher unique open rates than non-personalized emails (19.4 percent with personalization compared to 15.4 percent without). The lift from personalization, however, varies by industry. Personalized subject lines have provided the biggest boost in unique open rates for travel companies (unique open rates of 28.5 percent with personalization compared to 17.3 percent without).
Great news except that 70% of marketers aren’t sending personalized emails. They are collecting lots of information from customers including date of birth (52% up from 34% in 2012) and gender. (Don’t assume you know the gender based on the first name!)
23% also ask for a mobile number. This is up from only 13% in 2012. Still, only 28% of marketers are using text messaging to communicate with clients. This is up slightly over the prior year, but it’s definitely not a trend. What is a trend is responsive design – emails that adjust to fit the screen.
This is vitally important because more and more people are using mobile phones to read their email and shop. Think about it. A woman’s on her lunch break. She checks her email, finds your email with a new lower price on the dress she left in the cart two days ago (personalized). What does she do next? There’s a very good chance that she’ll click through and buy. It’s an instant reward for making it halfway through the work day. But if there are hiccups, such as a site that doesn’t respond well on her phone, then she’ll abandon the cart again and it’s unlikely she’ll try a third time.
So here’s the question. What does your company’s email message look like on an iPhone – on a tablet – on an Android or Windows phone. At the very least, send yourself a message and open it on whatever kind of mobile device you have in your pocket. Ideally, you need someone with each type of device who will send a screengrab to you once a month. You might be unpleasantly surprised by what you see.
Pop Goes the Sign Up Box
Another growing trend is one I understand as a marketer but despise as a consumer – the pop-up email collection box.
Experian’s study shows that 45% of marketers use a pop-up window on their website to encourage email sign-ups. This is up 107% over the prior year.
What’s funny is that a few years ago, we started moving away from annoying pop-ups. They were considered spammy but here we are charging full steam the other way. 107% increase! I believe it because I hit two or three of these a day in my web travels. You’re not getting my email address when you annoy me but I guess it’s working for everyone else.
Another trend Experian picked up on was the tendency to use social media in email messaging.
– 33 percent of clients have used “pin it” buttons in emails
— 43 percent of clients have used “like it” buttons in emails
— 21 percent have used “tweet this” buttons in emails
— 15 percent of clients allow social sharing at checkout
Pinterest and Instagram have had the highest growth rates. 39% of marketers now include Instagram photos in their emails, in 2012 there wasn’t enough response to measure.
The takeaway: we’re not doing enough with email. It’s still one of the best ways to turn a browser into a buyer but we all have to put a little more effort into sending personalized messages that resonate with our customers.
Care to share an email marketing tip? I’d like to hear about the changes that have had the biggest impact on your response rate.