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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Email marketing best practices to improve your campaign

Use marketing analytics to improve a marketing campaign
Effective email marketing boosts conversions
By Jessica Conars

It's true that email marketing doesn't seem worth it at the first glance. When you think about all the irrelevant mail you've received and not even bothered to open, you realize how ineffective the whole ordeal is. If you don't open it, why would anyone else, right? Even though it seems obvious, that's not really the case at all. The irrelevant emails you've received tell only part of the story – the random part where people think that they can win based on sheer numbers and send emails to everyone on their list without thinking about relevancy or opening rates. 

This practice is as common as it is ineffective. You don't want to send many emails. You want to send a few but to the right people. Think about it – you're in a bar (I'm going with the bar metaphor here because we've all been there and it's easy to imagine) and you want to meet someone. What would you prefer – walking up to random people and asking them about their names and trying to make contacts, or spending a bit more time looking for people who would actually be interested in you?

Personally, I'd go with the latter any day. Now, you might say that the metaphor is not accurate because in a bar you'd actually have to face rejection, whereas in email marketing you don't. But that's not really the case, is it? When you look at your analytics and realize how many of your emails have been left untouched and how low your conversion rate is, you learn that rejection in this sense can be just as awful. I'm here to help you fix that problem and teach you how to bet on quality instead of quantity. After all, a wise general always picks battles he's sure he can win.


As previously stated, analytics play an important role in the whole process. There are three categories you're interested in here: open rate, click-through rate and conversion rate.

Open rate is quite naturally the percentage of people who have actually bothered with your email. This is the first metric that gives you an idea of how good a job you're doing. The way to find this is to multiply the number of opened emails by 100 and then divide it to the number of emails you've sent in order to get the percentage. For example, you've sent 100 emails (for easier calculation, but in reality it will very well vary) and 10 of them have been opened. This means 10x100/100=10, or 10%.

Click-through rate is the second one. This one is a bit more important because it shows you how many people have actually followed the link you've provided in order to enter your site. We apply the same formula as before, only this time it's the number of clicks instead of opened emails. So, 5 people have clicked through. 5X100/100=5, or 5%.
Conversion rate is the most important one. You are leading people to your site for a reason. This reason may be liking something, sharing, purchasing and more. Whatever your goal is, the number of people who have actually followed through is the most important. We apply the same formula. Let's say two people have purchased a product from your site. 2X100/100=2, or 2% conversion rate. The higher this is, the better.

How to improve

Tracking your analytics is the best practice you can incorporate in the email campaign because it gives you an idea of how well you're realistically doing. But that's just the first step. The next one is to actually improve. This is where the real challenge begins. You have to focus on people who actually have the potential to be interested in your services. If you're sending the same email again and again and the person never opens it, then you're not doing a good job and you're actually spamming. Focus on people who will probably open it based on their history.

Also, if you have a bigger email list, try to break it down on segments or groups. This way you can cater the messages much better and actually provide people with something useful or relevant. Otherwise you're just wasting your time and resources.

Final words of wisdom – time your emails carefully. Do a research on the highest potential opening times of your particular target demographic and send the emails an hour earlier. Combining all these tips and carefully following your analytics will ensure that your email marketing campaign is successful.

About the author: Jessica Conars knows a lot about business and marketing. She runs http://www.perfectcleaning.org.uk/house-cleaning-kentish-town-nw5/ and has a lot of experience to share.

Image attribution: Danard Vincente, CC BY-2.0