Around 150 billion emails are sent a day, so getting your email marketing campaigns to pay off is a difficult task. A good way of measuring a campaigns success is via click through rate (CTR). Composing a successful email isn’t straightforward due to the number of factors that need to be considered e.g. audience type, content and internal testing. To help you on your way, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 tips – from basic to advanced, for maximizing your CTR.
1. Invest in headlines
The importance of headlines is underlined by the fact that they’re the one section of an email everyone reads. A good headline defines what you have to say and what you can offer the reader. The right headline will grab hold of your reader’s attention and encourage them to read further. The wrong headline will send your email to the trash bin within seconds.
Keep headlines simple and to the point rather than reaching for something you believe is abstract and deep, because, believe me, it’s usually just abstract and confusing.
Which headline below tells you more about the subject?
A) SimilarWeb PRO lets you scout your rivals’ keywords
B) Unlock your rivals’ secrets by becoming them
Headline A clearly demonstrates what is on offer whereas headline B does nothing but throw up further questions such as who, what, why, when and where?!
The right headline, therefore, is the best place to start to convert readers to that elusive click.
2. Carry out an A/B test
An A/B test is an excellent method to optimize your emails and enhance CTR. It involves creating two emails which are variations of the same campaign – you can use almost anything in the email as a variable e.g. time email is sent, subject line, content etc. We at SimilarWeb, for instance, like to place with the days of the week and time of day we send our emails. Trackmaven recently published an interesting case study that shed some light on important aspects of picking out the time of sending out emails.
3. Use animated GIFs
Videos are very effective at conveying information about your product, but they’re too bulky for emails. A slimline option is the Graphics Interchange Format – or GIF – which is an animated image format that can engage readers and promote your call to action. A good example is from the clothes manufacturer Boden (see below) who showcased their colour range through an email GIF. Everything is conveyed visually and encourages you to click.
4. Check the upload size
In this gadget packed world, almost 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices. There’s not always a wireless connection to hand, so download time and allocation varies. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you monitor the upload size of your emails. We’ve all experienced the horrors of an email packed full of high res images – slow loading times which make you reach for the close button. Bear in mind that Gmail, with its 425 million users, only allow users to receive and upload emails shorter than 25mb. Reducing email size is, therefore, important in making sure your emails reach the intended audience and their potential clicks.
5. Carry out thorough internal tests
Building long lasting relationships with your contacts isn’t easy, so the last thing you want to do is alienate them and have them scrambling for that unsubscribe button. This isn’t going to do your CTR any good, so testing the email before it’s released into the digital realm is paramount. You want it arriving in recipients inbox’s as you intended it to look, so test, test and test again!
6. Use Litmus.com
We’re living in a world of multiple digital devices and numerous operating systems, so how sure can you be that your lovingly crafted email is going to look good everywhere? Worse still, links may not even work properly and the loser in all of this is your CTR rate. Luckily, help is at hand from Litmus – a powerful tool for testing how your email campaigns will operate across more than 30 devices and email clients. The beauty of this is that you’re able to optimize your consistency across the many platforms and don’t miss out on large CTR demographics.
7. Avoid long text paragraphs
You may think that your product is wonderful and that people want to read and read and read about it, but when it comes to emails they don’t! Emails thrive due to their quick nature where a few words are preferred over a few pages. You want the email to be the beginning of a journey, so tempt the reader with snippets of information rather than bombarding them with endless text – it screams “OVERLOAD!”. If you still have a lot to cram in to your email, break up the text to make it more visually appealing.
8. Make it personal
A marketeer worth their salt will have carried out extensive research when compiling contact lists, so put it to good use by personalizing emails. Start off by addressing the email to the contacts first name e.g. “Dear Ben” as it shows you’ve done your homework rather than a generic “Dear Customer”. Investing time in the recipient builds a good relationship and increases the time your reader spends on the email and, consequently, the likelihood of their conversion to click.
9. Diversify sending times
Peak times for CTR vary depending on industry, time of year and even sports events. Carrying out ongoing email analysis helps establish the optimum times for certain emails. You don’t, however, want to rely on just one specific day/time. If your emails are sent out at 1pm every Friday then it begins to feel like a mass-marketing campaign rather than some sudden wisdom you just had to share with your customers. Then, of course, there are time zones to consider – sending emails to US customers and Japanese customers at the same time is pointless as the information may be redundant to either group by the time they read it.
10. Use a real persona
An email that appears to have been sent from a real person e.g email@example.com is much more effective in upping your CTR than an email sent from a vague business address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. Appearing to come from a real person engenders a certain amount of trust in the recipient. Keep this persona accessible to the reader by including social network links e.g. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This is a key to making the recipient feel as though they’re being talked to human to human rather than bot to human. Readers will soon start to look forward to seeing emails from you and be more likely to engage with your content.
Get readers clicking
Emails may seem simple, bite-sized affairs, but we’ve shown them to be complex little beasts. Our tips should make the task of increasing your CTR that little bit easier, but you have to concentrate on making emails more personable, more succinct and thorough tested before hitting the send button.