Email marketing is one of the most efficient strategies you can employ for a business. This applies whether you are a small business or a Fortune 500 company. There are countless case studies and stats that speak about the effectiveness of email marketing to prove this. But how do you actually go about experiencing that kind of success yourself?
Pursuing growth via email marketing takes a lot of trial and error for many business owners. The good news is that there are lots of growth hacks that you can employ to see your campaign conversions skyrocket. From learning the best times to send emails and sticking to a consistent schedule to mastering the art of penning emails that convert. Here are the 12 best email growth hacks that will put you on the path to success.
1. Make Email Automation a Priority
Business owners are busy individuals — that's a given. This is especially true for small business owners who don't have staff to help them with marketing. This is where email marketing automation comes in handy. Automation is perhaps the growth hack that will deliver the most visible results. A study by emailmonday showed that 75% of marketers use at least one type of marketing automation tools.
Automation is an excellent tool for saving precious time that you can spend on other tasks. And it is also essential for nurturing growing customer relationships. By automating your emails, you can create templates, personalize your messages, and send emails around the clock. Many marketers consider email marketing automation to be similar to a dedicated employee. It does an excellent job and requires very little input on your part.
2. Optimize Email Subject Lines
Subject lines are the first thing a subscriber sees, which means that they need to be compelling enough for them to click on them. It really doesn't matter if you have a beautifully crafted email body. If the subject line is not persuasive, your open rates are bound to remain on the low side. This translates to large portions of your subscriber list missing out on your emails.
So how do you know whether your mail subject lines are in immediate need of optimization? While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, you should make sure the subject line is:
- Not too long — never go over one sentence. Let's be honest, how likely are you to open an email with a subject line of two or three full sentences? Subject lines with five words tend to perform best, and Instapage has shown that they generate a 15.9% increase in open rates.
- Personalized — personalized subject lines can generate a 50% increase in open rates, according to data by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Millennials tend to be the segment that is more likely to engage with personalized emails. So really focus on this aspect if that is your target audience.
- Indicating value — the average consumer receives at least a dozen emails every day. This means that you need a subject line that communicates a clear value proposition to stand out in the subscriber's inbox. The subject line should immediately tell subscribers that there's something in it for them if they open the email.
3. Add an Element of Surprise and/or Incorporate Humor
It's a common occurrence for businesses, especially start-ups, to write their emails in a formal tone because they don't want to take unnecessary risks. But first impressions and nurturing long-lasting relationships with a reader/customer base can benefit tremendously from humor.
The use of humor helps build a solid relationship with subscribers. They are bound to open each of your emails because they expect something that's both informative and relaxing. And it can also dissolve the marketing intent. There are multiple ways to infuse humor in emails, and adding visuals is perhaps the best strategy. A GIF or a meme can uplift any email while also being the perfect ice-breaker for first-time subscribers.
4. Optimize All Your Emails for Mobile
According to OptinMonster, 58% of people start their day by checking their emails. And because most of them use their phones to go through their emails, it's vital to have your emails optimized for mobile. Badly formatted emails are likely to be dismissed by users without a second thought. So if your emails are not yet formatted for mobile, changing that needs to be on top of your priority list.
Areas to pay attention to when optimizing emails for mobile include the following:
- pre-header text
- using device detection
- considering your columns to make them suitable for small screens
- image size
Of course, it's important to consider the rest of your audience as well. Don't foget the OGs who check their emails the old-fashioned way, on a desktop computer or a laptop. You need to be sure your emails are properly formatted for all categories of users and devices.
5. Tell a Story
People love stories, not only because there's always something to learn from them, but also because they tap into their emotions. By telling a story you are likely to see more engagement and more clicks. A story doesn't have to be long, just make sure it's engaging.
Of course, not all emails can include a story, so you shouldn't force it. But whenever you can, weave a story into the beginning of the email to hook the reader. Make them read on and entice them to click on your links to finish the story.
A case study from Sleeknote shows how the company increased its engagement and click-through rate by incorporating storytelling in emails. By implementing storytelling and combining GIFs, memes, and elements of humor, Sleeknote managed to get a 139.94% increase in open rate and a 352.63% increase in click rate.
6. Never Forget the Call to Action
An email without a call to action lacks one of the most important elements that make people click on your links. Whether you choose to make the call to action a button or a link, make sure you have one in email. Clearly written CTAs tell readers exactly what they should expect when they click and why exactly should they take action. Examples include CTAs that encourage a purchase, CTAs to collect feedback, and CTAs that focus on results.
The key to writing compelling call to actions is keeping it simple. You don't need to use complicated words or confuse the reader in any way. Simply tell them what you want them to do and what's in it for them if they click, and that should be enough. Simply including links in emails without a call to action is not going to deliver the same click-through rate. Especially when it comes to readers who are on the fence about clicking through, and they need a bit of convincing.
7. Proofread Your Emails
This one should go without saying. However, how many times have you received an email that was littered with typos? Making grammatical and spelling errors frequently is a very quick way to ruin your business reputation.
Forgetting to proofread your emails is the kind of rookie mistake that can cost you in the long run. There are people out there who unsubscribe from lists that send emails with poor spelling. So buckle up and proofread every single email. And make sure you use a grammar tool for those instances you miss a small thing.
There are lots of grammar and spell checks out there that do a great job of catching typos and erratic punctuation. The free version of Grammarly is a good start for anybody.
8. Only Focus on One Topic
Many marketing emails lack focus, and this can be incredibly confusing for readers. The reason marketers often include lots of information in an email is that they don't want to bombard their audience with too-frequent emails. However, this often results in readers not listening to any of the things included in the email.
Emails that only have one focus are more effective. And they often result in better conversion because they are easy to absorb. The readers are never confused by what they have to do to take action. By sending focused emails with a single point and call to action, you are likely to see an increase in click-through rates and revenue.
9. Push for Referrals
It's not news that referrals are one of the most effective methods to generate new business. By building a customer referral program and telling your subscribers about it, you are likely to speed up your growth. To reach your growth goals, you can offer referral discounts, which are often enticing for subscribers who want a direct return to their referrals.
Numerous successful businesses have been built via incentive-based referral schemes (think Airbnb and Dropbox). These companies and many others like them, leveraged email marketing to ask for referrals and the result has been outstanding growth over the years.
10. Don't Make It Difficult to Unsubscribe
This is a rather unusual growth hack, and it might sound odd, but make it really easy to unsubscribe. The thing is there is always going to be someone who wants to unsubscribe. You should make it super easy for them to do so by placing an "unsubscribe" link to the bottom and top of your emails. If you do this, users who are on the fence on whether they should unsubscribe might give you a second chance. Since it is so easy to unsubscribe, they could always unsubscribe next time. Seeing the "unsubscribe" button readily available every time gives readers peace of mind, allowing them to feel in control.
11. Always Stick to a Consistent Schedule
The importance of consistency when it comes to email marketing cannot be overstated. Whether you are planning to send a daily, weekly, or monthly newsletter to your subscribers, it's essential to stick to a consistent schedule. This allows you to plan your content ahead of time, and your readers will know when to expect your next newsletter in your inbox.
Sticking to the schedule is essential, but it doesn't mean that you can't send other emails outside it. For example, you can still send out your big promotion emails, like those intended for Black Friday and Christmas. Just make sure to maintain as much consistency as possible throughout the year.
12. Segment Your Subscribers
If your website or business covers several topics, it's extremely important to segment your subscribers. Say that you have an online clothing shop, for example. It wouldn't make sense to send someone who signed up for the latest trends in women's fashion emails about baby clothing. They aren't likely to be interested, and as such, your engagement rates won't be pretty.
Instead of sending all emails to everyone who ever subscribed to your list, segment them. An easy way to segment your subscribers is by logging which section of the site they signed up. You can go even further and segment your audience by age, responsiveness to discount codes and so on. If you run an online shop, it's also a good idea to send out abandoned cart emails to those who well, uh, abandoned their cart.
If you're a business owner and you're not tapping into the potential of email marketing yet, it's high time you got started. All the email marketing growth hacks above can help you grow your list and improve your conversion rates quickly. Because email marketing doesn't work the same for every business, always analyze what works for you. Do this by testing and perfecting strategies until you build a system that will keep your subscribers engaged and your business booming.