4 Experiments to Try With Email Marketing
There is no magic formula for creating the perfect email marketing campaign. What works for one client might not have the same impact for another, and so when you’re managing email campaigns for businesses in a variety of industries, there’s bound to be a bit of trial and error when it comes to finding the right approach for each.
Here are some of the elements you can play around with when it comes to your email marketing campaigns (plus a tip on how to best facilitate all of this experimentation!). Check it out.
1. Vary Subject Line Lengths
For a long time, marketers were told that keeping email subject lines to between 40 and 50 characters was critical. Those are the number of characters that can generally be displayed in an inbox, so it was thought that allowing viewers to see the whole subject line was important to driving up open rates.
In fact, research from Marketing Sherpa now disputes that long-held belief. They found that read rates were actually highest for emails with subject lines between 61 and 70 characters. In reality, though, what works for one business might not be a success for another. Maybe your client who works in a technical industry finds greater success with detailed, descriptive subject lines, while your client who runs a small chain of flower shops finds that brief subject lines with flower emojis sprinkled in do the best.
2. Include All Types of Media
You know that marketing is about a lot more than the written word. Video has taken off in recent years as a critically important channel, and the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words exists for a reason.
Rather than relying on text-only emails, mix things up with other types of media. Create infographics to share the results of a client’s recent survey they conducted on their field of interest. Share a photo library from a networking event your client hosted the other week. Film a welcome video from the CEO of the company to send to new subscribers on the email list, thanking them for signing up and introducing a bit more about the mission of the company.
It’s all about variety as a way to capture the reader’s valuable attention in a crowded inbox. If you send text emails week after week, even the most interesting content will grow stale (same goes if you send infographic after infographic, too, by the way!). When you mix up the means of delivering the content, you keep readers engaged and excited to see what’s coming next.
3. Tweak Calls to Action
Every good marketing email ends with a compelling call to action. This messaging should be tied in with the subject line and body of the email. But what you think will catch a reader’s eye might not actually generate great interest.
Give a few different calls to action a try. Will “Get the free ebook” play better with readers than “Yes! I want the free ebook”? There’s only one way to find out. You can also experiment with the physical elements of the button: How big it is, what color to use for the button itself and the type inside, where it’s located within the email, and even something as seemingly insignificant as whether the edges are rounded or square.
Testing design elements and messaging week after week can help you refine your approach and hone in on the call to action delivery method that resonates best with subscribers.
4. Play with the Timing
Over the years, there’s been a lot of speculation about the “magic time” to send a marketing email. Some say Tuesday mornings, others swear by Thursday afternoons.
In reality, there’s no universal answer. The best time to send emails will vary from client to client, and the best way to discover the days and times with the highest open rates is through experimentation.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with starting with a hypothesis. If your client is a B2B data analytics firm, you might think that Tuesday morning seems like a sensible time to try. Everyone will have sorted through the horrors of their Monday inbox by then, and might have the bandwidth to really digest a marketing email by the time Tuesday morning rolls around.
So give it a shot! If you get results that seem promising, try for the same time the following week to see if you can replicate the results. If you can, you’re on to something. If not, the first week might have been a fluke and you can give another day and time a try. Keep testing until you find the timing that consistently generates the best open rates.
Lean on A/B Testing
What’s the best way to facilitate these scientific experiments? Through A/B testing, of course! Most email management tools will allow you to divide your mailing list at random, sending different variations of your email to different subsets of your list.
From there, you can collect the data and compare and contrast the results. This saves you from having to run tests across various email campaigns week after week, and allows you to speed up the process of collecting and analyzing the data, then making choices based on the results.
When it comes to email marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Taking the time to test different approaches, designs, and messaging for each client can help you hit upon the tactics that work best for them.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Email Marketing.