B2B and B2C businesses rely more and more on the use of email to interact, follow up and generally keep subscribers and new visitors in the nurturing funnel. Which means getting email marketing right is a critical aspect of modern marketing communications.
A recent report from Hubspot and Litmus covering the latest data, trends and best practices in this discipline should help today’s marketing communications professional hone their email marketing activities. And to make things even easier Pinnacle has compiled some of the best bits of the report below.
Multiple devices are a major feature of today’s email consumption – make sure you cater for all
- People don’t always work at their desk – they may also receive information in a variety of ways at different times – for instance while commuting, having lunch, or during internal or client meetings. Savvy email marketers, therefore, should apply a testing approach to ensure successful email delivery, opening and click-through across a variety of platforms – iPhones, Android phones, tablets, laptops must all deliver a seamless experience for the user. An e-mail that takes too long to load over a 3G connection (because of hi-res images in the body of text, for example) is likely to be deleted or ignored.
Different audiences have different consumption patterns
- The differences in demographics highlighted in this report are particularly interesting when it comes to consumption patterns between ‘old’ and ‘young’. Consider the use of spam filters and automatic segregation of emails in the younger generation. Scepticism of marketing leads 54% to use a completely different email to sign up to newsletter, competitions and other content submission forms. This trend is less prevalent for ages 35-40 and beyond. What’s more, the younger generation open as many emails on their phones as they do on a desktop or laptop.
Email marketing delivery is not all about timing
- Many believe that including a ‘Free’ in the email header, or adding a ‘!’ will lead automated spam filters to block the mail and consign it to the same virtual dungeon reserved for messages from Nigerian generals desperate to get money out of a certain country and notifications of lottery winnings that you can get hold of for a small donation. However, this is not the case according to the data collected by Litmus on behalf of Hubspot. In many cases the data actually show the same delivery rates for emails without the ‘cursed’ word. This is a interesting insight into the way spam filters work and some common misconceptions that are floating around regarding this point. The best way to refine your own methods is via a A/B testing system. Send one version to one individual, and send another version to another. You can then compare and contrast the findings.
Certain words in a subject line do perform better than others
- The data showed that certain words did increase open and click-through rates. For instance there is a correlation between open rate and saying ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you’ in the title. Consider the type of emails associated with the word thanks – it could be the response message following interaction with a company (e.g. a request for a download or an email subscriber response). By definition the respondent is likely to have an interest in the subject matter received, leading to a greater chance of opening and click-through. ‘Meeting’, on the other hand, was shown to have a negative effect on email CTR as many people regard the word as a sales term (effectively ‘let me sell you something during our meeting’). Another keyword that generated positive results was the word ‘Tomorrow’, as it portrays a sense of urgency without being too forceful (unlike ‘Urgent’ that led to a lower CTR when it was included compared to when it was not).
While this latest report provides a useful insight into behaviours and trends relating to email marketing it is, of course, no substitute for specific research into your own target market. This may take the form of a dedicated survey – that Pinnacle would be more than happy to help you with – or something more simple like creating a selection of different templates and content types and recording which ones deliver the best outcome.
Ultimately, you know your market better than most, so keep in mind what the target audiences value and the language they use throughout the creation process and you will see some great results.
You can view the whole 2014 Hubspot report – The science of email – by clicking below