Social media marketing has sucked all of the oxygen out of the air the last 3-5 years, generating more buzz than the season ending episode of Breaking Bad.
Email marketing has been kicked to the curb for many brands for no good reason. It should be part of your marketing budget moving forward. Ignore at your peril.
Email Usage Patterns
- Average user has 3.1 email accounts, gets 147 emails per day and spends 2.5 hours responding to emails.
- Most users delete about 75 of all emails in about five minutes and 91% check email daily.
- About 12 messages per day require 90 minutes to deal with.
- 30% of email is opened via Smartphone, with Apple IOS being the dominant operating system (46% iPhone and 27% Android).
- Expect 2% of your recipients to unsubscribe.
- Approximately 24% of your emails will get opened.
- 88% of emails (on average) reach the recipients.
- Highest mobile engagement is from 10-12 PM and 4-6 PM.
- 23% of all emails will be opened first hour, with 9.5% second hour and then open rates trail off significantly.
Our Top Ten Plus Best Practices for Email Marketing
- Spend quality time on your strategy at the outset.
- Be personable in your message: the email should be from a “human being” not a corp entity.
- Treat email recipients as potential customers not as nameless generic identities.
- Keep your subject line to under 50 characters.
- Include one call to action in your message at outset (“above the fold“) within first paragraph and one at bottom section of email message.
- Keep your content under 350-450 words (your recipients are all distracted).
- Use minimal design elements: just enough to convey branding. Remember 30-50% of your recipients are using smartphones or tablets to open the email.
- Test your messaging, time of day and day sent, offers, calls to action, graphics, subject line, length.
- Reams of data have been written about what day to send on: we block out Mondays and Fridays and test on the week-ends.
- Provide value in your content and build value over time: don’t start selling in the first email, unless it’s done gently “can we help you….”.
- Subject lines are an art form in themselves; some times weird and wacky may trump staid and boring: #becreative.
- Savvy marketers integrate “landing pages” with Newsletters once/if you have bona fide call to action.
- Include embedded links in your emails to your social media accounts.
- Content curation (text, images, length) is as relevant for email marketing as any content marketing initiative.
Top Tier Email Platform Vendors (all have similar pricing and TOS as a result of market consolidation and competitiveness):
MailChimp: good overall services, but challenging importing any list from another platform into their system; customer service is “FAQ driven” and not very responsive
Vertical Response: great platform, templates are not as easy to work with (1-3 hours of setup time on average), integrated social media features are not terribly robust (but that’s true of all of these vendors), good customer service
GetResponse: we use this platform and like working with the company, templates are functional but not terribly robust, social media integration not as full featured as Vertical Response, best vendor for list importing via other sources
Emma: great platform for small businesses, customer service is stellar, templates are much easier to work worth vs. some of the other top tier vendors
Constant Contact: probably most established email marketing platform vendor, full suite of services, templates are beautiful but can take 3-5 hours to create in some cases and hard to update once created
Where the rubber meets the road on vendors and platforms: Marketo, Infusionsoft, SalesForce and other top tier vendors are all integrating email list management with their services and platforms.
The bottom line challenge for many businesses is moving your list from one vendor to another, it’s typically hard to do and fraught with peril. So, test the platform (vendor) thoroughly prior to embracing and think about downstream CRM integration needs.
Every element and recommendation in this blog post is based on years of experience. But, having said that, your mantra should be test and retest as many of the core elements as you can: subject, time of day, the actual day, length of email, call(s) to action, graphics, etc.