By Kristin Lisak

how_to_improve_click_through_rates_in_email_marketing

In today’s marketing environment, any successful campaign has to have an email component. The good news: it’s an inexpensive, effective way to reach an audience. The bad news: the competition is steep. The main measure of email campaign performance is the click through rate—the number of people who click on your offer out of the total number who viewed it. Here are a few ways to help improve click through rates (CTRs) for your email campaigns and stay ahead of the competition:

Become a subject line expert

There are many theories on the best formula for a subject line, but here are three things that have been shown to make a positive impact on click through rate (CTR):

  1. A/B testing:  create two versions of subject line text, then monitor open and CTRs to see which performs better. Use the more successful copy going forward. A/B testing isn’t just for subject lines - you should be applying it to the body of your emails as well. Keep in mind that testing can quickly get complicated if you try too many things at once. Make sure you are only testing one element at a time in order to see clear results. Here is a great how-to on A/B testing from HubSpot: How to Boost Email Conversion Rates With A/B Testing.

  2. Creating a sense of urgency: the more we see this strategy being used, the more we may become immune to it, but let’s be honest, who wants to miss out on a good deal? Making the recipient feel like time is limited to take you up on your offer has been shown to increase CTRs. To evoke this feeling, use time sensitive phrases and words in your subject lines—the words “alert” and “bulletin” have been shown to perform well. (Source: Adestra) Tip: Don’t be the boy (or girl) who cried wolf. You won’t be believable if every email you send is treated as urgent. Use this tactic sparingly and be honest about your offers and time frames, otherwise your CTRs will fall.

  3. Sending from a personal email address: admittedly, it won’t take your recipients long to realize that they don’t personally know the sender, but seeing a real name will definitely get their attention. Yours will also stand out from the tens (or hundreds) of other offers they get on a daily basis from generic email addresses. Impress with a marketing message sent from the Marketing Director of your organization; it’s much more convincing than being sent from a general address. Even if automated, this strategy makes the email feel more personal and recipients may be more inclined to open it and see what this “real person” has to say. Be sure to follow up by signing the email with the sender’s signature to keep that personal tone.

Make it personal

Would you click on an offer that doesn’t interest you in the least? Segmented email lists get the right message in front of the right audience. Use the information you’ve collected about your recipients to put them into groups with similar interests.  Groupings can be based on several factors including (but not limited to) location, demographics, or persona. This will help you tailor your offer to meet their needs and ultimately enhance their experience. Not segmenting your lists yet? Here is why it matters.  

Don’t forget to also use personalization in the content of your emails, both in the body of the message and the subject lines. A 2013 study from Experian Marketing showed that personalized mailings have a 29% increase in opens and a 41% increase in click rate. (Source: Marketing Land) Include your recipient’s first name or company name to give it a personal touch, but use good judgement. Including too much personal information about your recipient will freak them out.

Easy does it

The most obvious way to improve CTRs might just be the one that most often gets away from us. Make it easy for your reader to take advantage of your offer. Concisely state what the offer is, what the recipient will get from it, and how to access it (an awesome CTA should do the trick). Don't clutter the the body with text, images, or any other unnecessary items that take away from the intent of the email. It’s hard enough to manage the barrage of information that regularly comes our way—do yourself and your recipients a favor by making it as simple as possible to convert on your offers.

What tactics have you found effective for increasing email click through rates?

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Kristin Lisak

About the author

Kristin Lisak is a Senior Consultant at SmartBug Media. She has experience as an in-house B2B marketer, focusing on inbound marketing strategy and implementation. Kristin has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Read more articles by Kristin Lisak.

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