Are your email marketing efforts hitting the mark, or killing your chances of conversion? Many marketers delve head first into their marketing strategies, without stopping to consider whether every single action is truly worthwhile. Although your strategy may get you more followers, and ultimately, more sales, it may be having the complete opposite effect instead.
How do you know whether your email marketing is more hit than miss? For starters, you can keep reading to find out which strategies are having the worst impact on your conversion rates.
When Email Marketing Kills Conversion
Some of the email marketing practices that may be ruining your conversion include the following:
1. You are sending too many emails
Depending on who you ask, emails should be sent monthly, weekly or fortnightly. As frustrating as it is, there is no magic formula that determines how often you should be sending emails. While you may assume that the more emails you send, the higher chance there is of making a sale, this is often not true at all. In fact, a large number of people prefer getting fewer emails. Obviously, that does not mean you should send too few emails, either.
How do you hit that all-important sweet spot? You start by split testing carefully. The best send rate is the one that is best for your specific industry, audience and goals. You could also consider emailing different segments at optimal times for each audience, and test opens and clicks from there. Some things to consider before sending that email:
- Email content should offer genuine value
- Emails should be sent according to subscriber preferences
- Response rates should be tested against previous emails sent to different segments
- Subscribers can also be asked to choose the frequency that suits them best
Whether you send monthly, weekly or twice weekly, the thing that is most important is to follow best practices so that you can be sure that you are providing real value rather than spam. Most people would be happy to receive regular emails if they offered useful information.
2. You are using clickbait subject lines
That brings us to our next point. In today's era of permission-based marketing, spammy subject lines have no place. The right email subject line can make all the difference in open rates. Even if you have the best email content and design ever, boring subject lines will result in your email going straight to your recipient's trash folder. While subject lines should be interesting, catchy and creative, they should never be spammy. How can you avoid spammy subject lines?
One way is to avoid clickbait style subjects that attempt to trick people into opening your emails. Examples of these include the following:
“You won’t believe this shocking secret…”
“You'll never believe what happened next!”
“You will be shocked at what she found out”
“This secret is too good to be true!”
“She couldn't believe what she heard”
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to avoid trigger words that can get your emails sent to spam. A 2015 Return Path study found that the words “secret of” resulted in an 8.69% decrease in read rates, while the word “shocking” resulted in a 1.22% decrease in read rates. Other phrases that reduced read rates included discount, save, sales and clearance.
Catchy subject lines help to get attention, ultimately increasing open, read and click rates. Sneaky clickbait subjects on the other hand only work if you are able to deliver on your promise. Nothing kills conversion faster than false promises. To be on the safe side, it is best to not take this risk at all.
3. You treat every subscriber the same way
If you see every subscriber the same way, you will soon find that your conversion rates are stagnating. There is simply no excuse to not be segmenting your lists and personalising your emails. Countless studies show that email personalisation even by gender can increase conversion dramatically. You should not only be using demographics, but also behaviour and even subscriber preferences.
When you send the exact same message to everyone, you are diluting your chance of success. As the saying goes, when you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one instead. Stay clear of generic emails, which can increase your unsubscribe rate very quickly.
4. You over-segment your lists
While it is essential to segment your lists, another mistake you need to avoid is over-segmenting. Too much segmentation can end up ruining your conversion, much like too little can also kill conversion. Essentially, you need to focus on optimising your value proposition. If you can focus your market segmentation efforts on a few groups that share similarities rather than differences, you will get far better results. The benefits of focusing on larger groups include the following:
- The ability to optimise. When you have loads of tiny segments, it will quickly become far harder to test and improve. Ultimately, this limits your ability to optimise and improve your email marketing campaigns. Larger segments however, are far easier to test and improve.
- Reduction of costs. If you are having to create multiple landing pages and emails for every single one of your segments, it will quickly add up in maintenance costs. A smaller number of bigger segments is most cost-effective, allowing you to use your budget for the things that matter.
- Cleaner insights. The more you customise and segment, the more likely you are to rely on random data that is no longer relevant. The result is more distraction and less focus. The simpler the segments, the clearer the message.
- Less creepiness. It is also worth noting that the more you know about your audience, the more likely they are to feel creeped out. Using your name and location is one thing – including the last place you ate or used your card is another thing.
5. You don't give subscribers what they wanted
Finally, it is also worth noting that the entire point of email marketing is to give your audience what they want. This is the basic rule of conversion. Subscribers join your mailing list because you have offered them something that they want. This could be a free download, a discount or exclusive content. If you start off by giving them what they have come to see, only to try and offer them something else entirely, they are not likely to want to stick around.
There are a number of reasons for a high unsubscribe rate. The biggest of all of these are expectations that have not been met. Make sure that you honour the promise you have made to your audience, and keep your content focused on what you have promised. Do this, and you will not only reduce your unsubscribe rates but also build trust and increase conversion.