Email campaigns can be some of the highest ROI marketing campaigns that organizations can run when they are done well. When email campaigns are not done well, you can alienate your customer, damage your brand, or be placed on a dreaded blacklist.
Our team uses proven strategies and tactics to make sure compelling, relevant content is being delivered to the right person at the right time. Here are some of our favorite ideas that can quickly boost the performance of your email campaigns:
Check Your Lists
Some of the most important work you can do to make your email campaigns perform well occurs before you even start. It is important to take a good look at the recipients of the campaign and ensure that the lists are clean, updated, and segmented. This can be the difference between success and failure.
Having more recipients is not necessarily better. Sending content that is not valuable, timely, or expected to your audience can ruin the trust you have worked to build your brand and hurt performance for any other campaigns in the future.
A high bounce rate will absolutely cripple your performance. Email services monitor your bounce rate and having a consistently high bounce rate will get you flagged as a spammer, meaning even less of your emails will get to the inbox. Not only that, but major ISPs will place you on blacklists, sending nearly all of your emails straight to the spam box.
If you are running campaigns for the first time from a dedicated sending IP or if it has been a couple of months since your last campaign, be sure to “warm up” your IP by scaling your sends up over the course of a few weeks, starting with your most engaged subscribers. This will help train ISPs and avoid your IP being flagged and blacklisted.
Retina-Screen Ready Your Images
At this point, almost all marketers are completely on board with ensuring emails are responsive across nearly all devices. Not all responsive emails are as mobile-friendly as others, though. One of the biggest trends in the last few years is the huge upswing in the number of ultra-high definition (UHD) screens on mobile devices (often referred to as “Retina” for Apple devices).
These UHD screens can wreak havoc on the images in your emails, making them look low quality and just all-around terrible. Some email marketing tools make this a breeze and have included this as part of their WISYWIG email builder. If you aren’t so lucky, no worries, you can still serve up gorgeous retina-ready images. The process involves updating your images and might take some very small knowledge of HTML, but this guide is a great resource that walks you through the process.
Create Subject Lines that Stand Out
Subject lines in emails are one of the hottest topics amongst email marketers. There is no one-size fits all solution to standing out in the inbox.
There are a couple of tactics that remain effective for nearly everyone, though. First, understand the personas of your recipients. What are their challenges? What are they thinking about on a day-to-day basis? What can you offer them in your subject lines that will resonate with them? If you haven’t built out and documented detailed personas, that is one of the best places to begin. Make sure to include others across the organization, and in a best-case situation, a trusted group of actual customers to help you get accurate personas.
The second tactic, once you have established personas, is to test. Use A/B/C testing to see what actually works in reality and adjust your messaging as the data shows. For example, our team wanted to test the effectiveness of emojis in the subject line for a particular list. Our personas suggested that this group would respond well and that the creative use of emojis could help with engagement. When we actually tested the idea, we found that the emoji version had a 15% higher open rate than the non-emoji version, which is great information to have for all future campaigns.
Get Wild with GIFs
In a world where our recipients are swarmed with blasé HTML emails, a creative use of gifs can create an unexpected experience and help you stand out from your competitors.
You can use a gif to make a CTA or offer to stand out, cycle through products, or even show different features of a product. Some of our favorite uses of gifs, though, have been subtle gifs that do a great job. Check out this gif from Bonobos:
Sometimes, less is more.
Adding gifs to email should be done very intentionally, however. Many email clients (looking at you, Outlook) will not play animated gifs, and instead just display the first frame. To address this, you should ensure that the first frame of your gif would make sense to a user if that were the only thing they would see. If your beautiful, perfectly-crafted animation starts with a frame that doesn’t tell enough of the story, your recipients may just end up confused, and you can end up doing more harm than good.
Any of this sound interesting to you? If we can help you improve your email campaigns, reach out.