If looking at your email marketing results makes you want to chuck your computer out the window, you might need to take a look at how you’ve been doing things.
Your email marketing results let you know how your campaigns are performing, and as it turns out, knowledge really is power. Companies that use data-driven marketing are six times as likely to be profitable every year, and 75 percent of companies using it have an advantage over the competition.
So if your analytics aren’t what you want them to be, step away from the window, and see if we can’t help you fix the problem. Let’s look at six things that might be causing your email metrics to fall flat.
1 You haven’t cleaned your list in a while (or ever)
One of the best (and quickest) ways to boost your email marketing results is by cleaning your email list. Remove email addresses that hard bounce, duplicate addresses, subscribers who haven’t engaged with you after several months (after trying a re-engagement email), or use a list-cleaning service — like NeverBounce, Kickbox, or MoonMail — to get a fresh start.
You can also keep your list clean going forward by using a double opt-in for new subscribers, which involves sending them a confirmation email after their initial sign up. That helps to better qualify the subscriber and guarantee they actually want to sign up for your list. With a clean list, you’ll see an increase in everything from delivery to open rates.
2 You’re not sending test emails
Testing, testing, one, two, three. You wouldn’t buy a new car without giving it a test drive, so don’t send a campaign out without sending a test email first.
There are several components — like the links, photos, subject lines, personalized text, and responsive design — that can act up if something isn’t right. You might not notice them or realize something is off until you send yourself (and hopefully at least one other person) a test email.
A broken link or image that won’t display correctly doesn’t just hurt the reader’s experience: That will also negatively affect your email rates. Not only will it lower rates like click-through and open, but having issues with your email could also lead to an increase in unsubscribes or it ending up in spam.
Luckily, it’s an easy fix to double check your email before sending it. Click all of the links, buttons, email addresses, and calls to action (CTAs) to make sure they take you to the correct site. View the desktop and mobile versions, scroll over images to check the alt text, reread the text for typos, and look at the overall email to ensure it makes sense.
3 Using poor subject line(s)
One of the best indicators of how well you’re doing with the subject line is the open rate. If it doesn’t seem enticing, they won’t give your email a second thought — and your open rate will suffer. The subject line should clearly state what they’ll find if they open the email (for example, a coupon, new product information, company update, blog, etc.).
While you want to catch your subscriber’s attention, you don’t want the subject line to get unwanted notice from their spam filter. Avoid using common spam-trigger words, and check the possible spam level for the subject line in your email marketing platform.
4 A too-tricky opt-out
It’s never fun losing a subscriber. But when they’re ready to opt-out of your emails, don’t give them the runaround. They should be able to unsubscribe in two clicks or fewer (the first on the unsubscribe button at the top/bottom of the email and the second on a confirmation page).
If it’s more difficult than that, they may give up and simply ignore your future messages or mark them as spam to stop seeing them. Either way, they will be hurting your email rates and possibly negatively affecting your reputation with ISPs, as well.
5 Hard to find CTA(s)
Your click-through rates will only be as good as your CTA, so spend time working on the text and design. The CTA should stand out from the other body text and give a clear action you want them to take, like in this Netflix example:
For example, buttons that say “Read the Full Article,” “Try for Free,” “Sign Up Now,” or “Join” are easy to understand and follow. Don’t make subscribers scroll too far down to find them, because they most likely won’t put in the effort. Also, keep them to a few words — and test them before sending the email, or your rates will really take a hit if they have a broken link.
6 Only sending to one big list
The most successful email marketing campaigns are the ones that give subscribers just what they want, as if your email has read their mind. That’s where segmentation comes into play, and it’s what’s going to improve your engagement metrics.
By dividing your subscribers into different lists based off of their personas — like location, purchase history, interests, and any other criteria you’ve collected — you can make sure you’re giving them the type of content they want to read. A one-size-fits-all approach will turn off more people than it attracts, so give your customers the personalized content they deserve.
Look at the whole picture
When one component of your email campaign gets out of whack, it can affect all of your email marketing results. All of the different pieces — from your subject line to your content — need to work together to improve your numbers.
So while you may see a quick boost after making just one of the adjustments mentioned above, it’s important to consider all of the different elements to get the best results. Your email marketing platform might also offer suggestions or tools to help you improve your campaigns, so take advantage of all of those features.
Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer based in Birmingham, Alabama. She writes about marketing trends, best practices, local features, and the landscape industry for a variety of companies and magazines.