Our inboxes are flooded with brand communication daily. Informing updates, last minute deals, flash sales, daily digests, reminders – but how often are these emails actually opened? How many of them land in spam? How many are landing in inactive inboxes? The whole point of email marketing is to entice the recipient(s) to open, engage and ultimately click-through following a call to action, to increase traffic, sell products or experiences, enter competitions, or maybe just to share your content.

Email marketing is such a valuable marketing resource and should really be a key element of your digital marketing plan. Sending content for the sake of it isn’t a clever, smart or effective so here are eight tips to help you get better success on email marketing, making it worth your while.

Incentivise Sign-Ups

Why should people sign up? Really think about this, what makes your company, brand or personality and content so worth having in someones inbox, however often it will appear? In order for email marketing to be successful you need a database. In order to grow a database, simply saying “sign up” is not enough –– offer a discount, a free trial, exclusive content; offer something worth signing up for, and you’ll see your audience increase.

Try Double Opt-In

With data collection, protection and GDPR at the forefront of all digital exercises, having a double opt-in system for those who want to receive your emails helps ensure that your pool of interested parties is more targeted and these are more likely to open and engage with your content rather than people signing up who don’t actually want your content or have any desire to open your mails in the first place.

Focus on Open Rate

How can any action be undertaken, and subsequently measured, if the email isn’t opened in the first place. No matter how large your database or pool is to begin with, manage expectations by significantly cutting the desired percentage of eyes on your content. Industry averages change depending on who you hear it from, but roughly open rate is around 20% – that’s one out of every five inboxes your email newsletter is sent to. If you have a database of 1,000 people, that’s only 200 who actually open your direct communication.

Optimise for Mobile

How often do you check your inbox on a desktop or laptop computer? Now, think about how many times you glance your inbox a day via a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet? Optimising email marketing for mobile is essential, so make your design responsive.

Timing

Timing is a tricky (but important) aspect because depending on your industry or your target market, different times of the day may suit better, success-wise. If you’re targeting those who commute to work before 9am, you may want to schedule for then, but also be aware that so many companies are sending emails to databases first thing in the morning and you’re vying for attention with the big guys. It’s been suggested emails are more opened and read if sent after midday. Also, be aware, like a tweet, the life span of an email newsletter is very minimal –– most are opened within the hour of its delivery to an inbox; by 24 hours later the chances of it being opened are less than 1%!

Personalise

This means not only personalising the email to the recipient where possible, but also sending it ‘from’ an actual person, rather than an automation from a generic email address at your company. People connect with people, and people also trust other people, so a little bit of a human touch can work wonders with getting your subscribers on side and engaged in your email content. Think about it –– are you more likely to open an email from ‘Jane Bloggs’ rather than her generic company name in the ‘from’ field?

Live or Die by the Subject, then the opening line

This is no real secret, but it’s one of the most essential pieces of advice when crafting email newsletters and email marketing –– the subject line is crucial. It’s your shop window, it’s the enticing line-up of cakes on a cafe’s bar, it’s the back cover of a great book. Your subject hints at what’s within, enticing the recipient to open and read further and also gives both personality and a valid reason to engage with the content. Bold, ‘power’ words may be useful here, like ‘alert’ if you want some success. Then, the snippet - the opening line within the mail that may be shown in an inbox, depending on a user’s settings - will also further emphasise the subject line whilst offering a further opportunity to tempt the recipient to open. These are all tools available to you to make sure your open rate is as high as possible.

Consistency is Key

If your audience haven’t heard from you in a while, then hear from you three times in one week it can be both confusing and annoying. What’s with the inconsistency? Having consistency in your communication can build brand loyalty and increase engagement as your subscriber pool begin to realise that your communication via email is frequent and consistent to a day or time. Formulate a structure and strategy that you’ll send an email every week or month say for six months, keep to a schedule and at the end of the time, revise your strategy and see what worked and what didn't.

There are hundreds of other email marketing tips on how to analyse data, how to design your layout, how to use leading language to encourage action, but these are just eight basic steps to help get your email open in the first place. Once you get off to a good start, then keep pushing on and being creative to make your communication stand out in a sea of emails.