Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There’s no question that email marketing is one of the most profitable routes to take for marketers.
For every $1 spent on email marketing, the ROI is between $45 to $32. That isn’t surprising since the majority of consumers check their email ten times a day, every day. What’s more? Of those consumers, the ones who actually buy products marketed via email spend 138% more than those who don’t receive email offers.
With this in mind, companies that want to get a leg up on the competition should turn to the following strategies for maximum success.
1. Show you care
Believe it or not, something as simple as addressing customers by name can make them more likely to engage with your emails.
When Experian Marketing Services compared generic, cookie-cutter promotional mailings to personalized ones, they found that personalized emails have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher click rates per person. What’s more, according to Harvard Business Review, personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend — and boost sales by upwards of 10%.
People don’t want to feel like nameless faces in a sea of customers; they want to be respected. If your brand isn’t willing to go the extra mile, your competition will step in to fill the gap.
2. Data is power
Remember back in 2013, when Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was gathering mountains of private, personal information on millions of people? Morality aside, the NSA saw data for what it was: a key to power. While you don’t need to go to such extremes, the principle remains the same. The more you find out about the person or business, the more knowledge you can use to your advantage to build a relationship or secure a sale.
At Outreach Chimp, we draft hyper-personalized cold emails for businesses looking for guest blog placements by studying their website analytics using SEO data providers like MOZ, Ahrefs and SerpStat. The motive is not only to pitch our services, but also to provide valuable information about their website’s shortcomings and suggestions for improvement.
This may sound like a lot of work for a cold outreach campaign, but with automation and the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), it takes minimal effort to achieve major results.
3. Write click-worthy subject lines
Every competent marketer knows the marketing mantra: “Provide value. Solve problems.” Nobody likes clickbait, and if you use it, prepare to never have your emails opened again.
Subjects such as “10 Ways To Shock Fat Off Your Body in Five Minutes!” are grounds for being labeled as spam, and although your email may actually be useful and highlight ways to eliminate fat in a short amount of time, the subject line cheapens the content within. If the title of your email reads like a headline out of the National Enquirer, People or BuzzFeed, people won’t open it — and rightfully so.
4. Be mobile-friendly
Today, everybody has a mobile phone; some people have three. In 2014, data from the U.S. Consumer Device Preference report revealed that 65% of emails were opened on phones. Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure your emails are suitable for reading on such devices.
5. Target your list
The Data & Marketing Association discovered that segmented email campaigns delivered a 76% increase in revenue for marketers.
By segmenting your subscribers, readers or buyers, you can hone in on their demographics and sort them according to criteria. For example, if 10 of your subscribers open emails about optimizing SEO keywords, you can assign them a special category. This category means they will receive only SEO-related emails, specifically tailored for them, while the other segmented subscribers receive a different set of emails.
Targeting your list with specific promos and offers related to the segment in your lists is important. Gone are the days where we could cast a wide net and know that at least 10 out of 100 people would bite the bait.
6. Test everything
Without testing your messages, subject lines or any other aspect of your emails, you won’t know what works and what doesn’t.
Studying these metrics is called A/B testing, and it’s an invaluable tool every email marketer should know. You’ll also be able to test which subject lines get your emails opened or not, which is great information to have. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s a universal fact — hence the importance of testing everything.
Analyzing the numbers for inbox rates, open rates, bounce rates, reply rates and unsubscription rates can help you make your email campaigns more effective.
7. Follow up within reason
Let’s imagine that this is a perfect world. The emails you send out have a 65% open rate (I said perfect, not unrealistic), average reply rates and an above-average subscription rate.
People are buying the products your emails are promoting. Now, let’s say you start to add an email or two every couple of days. Although the numbers dip a bit, you’re still sending emails to “get your name in front of their face” and become as relevant as Coca-Cola. In a matter of days, your emails aren’t opened at all; dozens of people quickly report them as “Spam” or send your work to the trash.
What’s the solution? Email follow-up tools, which you can use to set up reminder emails on a schedule that provides value without annoying your customers.
Related: The Art of the Follow-Up
In the old days, we gave cold emails the benefit of the doubt. We might not have known who the sender was or how they got our email, but as long as they pertained to our interest, it didn’t matter.
But that’s no longer the case. Today, hyper-personalized emails that add value are key in attracting and retaining customers.