A new year means new opportunities to attract leads to your company, increase your brand reach, and discover new avenues for sales. Year after year, as new trends come and go in the marketing landscape, email marketing continues to deliver results.
Email generates an average of $38 for every $1 you spend – making it an obvious addition to any advertising campaign. However, if you want to make sure that you’re leveraging the best return on investment from every marketing effort, you’ll need to keep your strategies up-to-date.
Updating your email strategy doesn’t always mean following the latest trends or style strategies. Instead, it’s all about listening to your audience and paying attention to the industry. If you’re ready to brush off the cobwebs and start updating your efforts for 2021 and beyond, here are a few places you can get started.
1. Update Your Schedule
First things first, you want your emails to be at the very top of the inbox, grabbing the most attention from your target audience. To boost your chances of high open rates, you’ll need to figure out when the best time to send your emails is.
The biggest problem? There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for getting your timing just right. Unless you have AI-enhanced tools in your email marketing software that can predict the best sending times for your needs, your options are limited. The best thing you can do is examine your own email statistics. Look at your back-end analytics in your email marketing software, and find out when your customers are most likely to open your emails, and when they’re inclined to take action.
Once you find out when you should be sending your emails, think about how often you need to send them too. The right strategy for your company will depend on a lot of things. However, most experts find that a single newsletter a week is the best way to generate high open rates.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many messages but consider experimenting with different frequencies to see how your customers respond. If all else fails, just ask your subscribers to update their preferences with how often they’d like to receive emails.
2. Spruce up Your Subject Lines
Subject lines are some of the most crucial components of your email marketing strategy. When you decide to update your email campaigns for 2020, it’s worth looking at whether your subject lines are really making an impact. After all, if you’re not having the right impression on your audience with your subject lines, they won’t even open your emails.
When your message arrives in your customer’s inbox, all they’ll see is your sender name, your subject line and occasionally your preheader. This means that you need to adjust your subject lines to stand out in the inbox. What’s going to make your customers really take notice?
A/B test different strategies to see what works for your audience, including:
- Using power words and phrases: Using action words in your subject lines can attract more customers. Even questions like “What’s New?” spark interest and curiosity.
- Showing off your personality: Your subject lines should showcase your brand personality. Use the tone of voice that appeals most to customers.
- Emojis: Emojis are becoming particularly common in subject lines, particularly for younger audiences. Look at how much these subject lines stand out from the crowd:
Remember, both personalization and emojis are scientifically proven to have a positive impact on open rates. If it’s been a while since you spruced up your subject lines, get started now!
3. Clean your Subscriber list
It’s still common for business owners to believe that the quantity of subscribers on their email list is the most important factor. However, it’s not the number of people getting your emails that impacts your bottom line. It’s the quality of the people you reach, and how likely they are to click on your offers, read your messages and buy things.
With that in mind, it’s time to get rid of all the people who don’t want to be in your list. Go through your current subscriber list and remove anyone who hasn’t responded to or engaged with your emails for several months. You can try sending a reengagement email first, just in case, but if that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to let go.
A good way to reduce the amount of spring cleaning you’ll need to do year after year, is make sure that your audience wants to hear from you in the first place. Ask your audience to double opt-in to your email list. Yes, there’s a chance that you’ll lose some uncertain subscribers that way, but you’ll also ensure that the people you’re reaching are really engaged by your content.
4. Experiment with Engaging Content
Good content will always be at the heart of any successful email campaign. However, what that means can change from one year to the next. The professional-looking templates and eye-catching content that you used to send out last year might not cut it in 2021.
So, how do you ensure that you’re really reaching your audience in the best way possible? First of all, look at your analytics from the last year. Examine what kind of content your customers engage with best and make a schedule that involves all of the things your audience most wants to hear about.
Next, ask yourself how you can upgrade your content with new features. Some studies indicate that adding videos to an email increases click-through rates by up to 8%. Additionally, emails with images usually perform better than those without.
This is your chance to get creative and experiment with new experiences. If you haven’t considered this already, animated gifts, interactive content, and slideshows are all becoming increasingly valuable choices. Check out this interactive example from Email Uplers here:
5. Test More Often
There’s just no excuse for a sub-par email these days. With the right email marketing software, you can easily examine each message before you send it out to your audience. This means that you have no reason to have any grammatical mistakes or errors in your content.
You can even use your email marketing tools to test that everything works exactly as it should in your content. Just send the message to yourself before you roll it out to your email list. You can check that everything looks great, and even test whether links lead exactly where they should.
While you’re testing the performance of your emails, think about accessibility too. Remember, you have a diverse audience, and around 2.2 billioon people currently live with a visual impairment, according to WHO. Make sure that you can effectively reach everyone with your content.
- Adding ALT text to images so that people with a screen reader get more context
- At a period after the image text to ensure the screen reader pauses
- Improve your use of contrasting colors in email templates to make messages easy to read
- Allow customers to switch their email format from rich text to simple
6. Learn from Every Campaign
You don’t have to wait until a new year to start improving your email campaigns. Every message you send out gives you more opportunities to learn. However, you need to have the right plan in place. Start by setting goals for each email effort.
Ask yourself whether you want more click-through rates, or whether you’re trying to improve brand awareness with your emails. Do you want to encourage people to sign up to your loyalty campaign and refer more customers your way? Knowing your goals will help you to determine which metrics to track. Remember, if you’re not getting the engagement that you need from your emails, this could be a sign that it’s time to shake things up.
Why not add a video to your message to encourage people to check out your latest products, like Casper mattress does here:
If you want to convince your audience that your loyalty campaign is a good idea, maybe you could include some testimonials for existing customers in your message? As you experiment with each strategy, keep a close eye on your metrics, and use what you learn to make this year of email better than ever.
Get Ready to Update Your Email Efforts
Decades have passed since the rise of email, yet it’s still one of the most powerful tools any company can access when searching for better audience engagement. The key to staying ahead of the curve is paying attention to not only the latest industry trends, but also the information you gather about your target audience each year.
Remember, every customer is different. The more information you can collect about your subscribers, the easier it will be to tailor your messages so that they speak the right language. Take this new year as an opportunity to refresh your campaigns and take your email marketing strategy to the next level. You’ll be thanking yourself by the time December rolls around.