There is no shortage of posts on the web and on our blog for email marketing tools, strategies and methods for measurement. The one thing that’s often hard to find are practical real-world examples of how to use email marketing for business. When are the best times to send emails? What sort of content should be placed in your emails? What are you trying to get your recipients to do? These are all important questions answered by the practical examples below.
Like a lot of things in the marketing world, your actions should necessarily be based on your own observations and/or data that you have gathered. For example, if you see that you get more opens when sending your emails at 9am on a Tuesday than at 5pm on a Friday, by all means, go with it.
There are some well-established stats out there though showing (in general) good times to send emails. Data compiled by Marketing Profs reveals some interesting stuff. For instance, 44% of surveyed B2B marketers say that sending emails on Tuesdays results in better open rates, 53% said Friday was the worst day to send emails and 53% had the most success sending emails between 8am and 12pm.
Then again, a report from Experian Marketing showed that mail recipients are bombarded by messaging in the 8-noon time slot making it even more unlikely that your message will be seen (or tolerated).
So what are you to do? You should choose the best available time for your target market. Start off by sending emails every Tuesday between 8 and noon and keep track of your success. Measure open rates, and then start testing to see if you can find a more relevant time frame for your market.
The Content in Your Email
When businesses start out with email marketing, it’s hard to know what to put in there. They know it has to be something about their business, but they aren’t sure what. If no one has good ideas, they typically put a bunch of things in there that confuse people or don’t accomplish a goal.
This isn’t rocket science. The content in your emails should be designed to accomplish the goals you have for your campaign. There are some basic themes you should follow in accomplishing your goals.
- Reduce distractions from the main goal of the email message
- Make it easy and obvious for people to complete the action
- Make your message consistent with the place your recipient will arrive after leaving the email (if applicable).
An example of a company that follows this concept very well is Groupon. While I get annoyed with the frequency at which I receive Groupon offers, their emails are very well designed and easy to use. Take this one that features vacation deals around the U.S. You can easily spot the goal of the email by the way it’s laid out.
They want you to purchase these coupons from their site so they have a huge image of what you get that serves as the value proposition along with some marketing text. Next there is the price and then a huge button for you to take advantage of the offer. Very simple, no distractions, I just click on the deal that I want and that’s it.
General emails with newsletters or links to blog posts are always fine, but for the most part, your email campaigns should have a specific goal. When you do have a goal in mind, cut out most everything in your messaging that does not help you achieve that goal.
Tracking Your Success
In almost all of our posts, we include something about tracking. That’s because much of what you do in marketing a business online requires testing and tweaking. If you don’t have enough data to show you where you went wrong, it will take you longer to get things right.
Try and find an email marketing provider that will give you tracking features. Many leading programs will show you open rates, bounce rates, click throughs and the number of people who unsubscribed. If you are sending traffic to a website, you should also implement tracking there. For example, Google provides link tagging and a URL builder for tracking campaigns that occur off your site but end up there.
How do you use email marketing campaigns? Let us know by leaving a comment below.