In this digital age, the majority of companies are implementing some level of email marketing, but few seem to be doing it really well. A severe lack of strategy and misguided expectations are the main roadblocks of email marketing success. Then companies start to ask themselves, “I have this great software and a great database, but no one’s opening the email! Now what?”
There are many factors and moving parts to consider in an email marketing strategy; however there are three fundamental areas to focus on in order to achieve the open rate you’re looking for.
As simple as it sounds, when asked how to increase open rates, usually the answer is: send the right message to the right person. The method of “tricking” prospects into opening emails is not best practice these days.
You should be able to answer these questions:
- 1. How well have you clearly identified the right prospects?
- 2. Have you scored them appropriately?
- 3. Are they aligned to appropriate buyer personas?
Although this process may sound time consuming and not nearly as efficient as just buying and blasting a list; this approach truly sets the stage for email marketing success. Establishing the right buyer persona, a map of your different targets and how they prefer to be communicated to, could be the difference between an open rate of 2 and 20 percent.
Haven’t created a lead scoring program? Check out these videos research firm Software Advice created with VisionEdge Marketing President Laura Patterson that explain the process.
Example buyer persona that identifies your target customers wants, fears, attitudes and demographics
Adjust the Schedule
Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. If you’ve tackled the buyer personas and set up lead scoring, but your prospects still aren’t opening the emails, this may be a good indication that you’re sending out too many.
Next step, try a little A/B testing. For a couple of months, scale back email blasts to twice a month, then scale back to once a month. Then bump it up to once a week. Analyze and review the data after each of the intervals to determine what an ideal schedule should look like.
An example of A/B Testing a landing page that links from an email
So, you’ve established your targets and how they like to consume information – now your job is to deliver the right kind of information to them. First and foremost, stop using emails to sell–start using them to teach. People love learning and want content and information that is of value to them.
Finally, don’t give everything away in the email; draw them back to your site. Give them a small taste of the information that makes them want more, then direct them to a landing page.
Email marketing can be a powerful tool. It doesn’t have to just be something you check off a list. When done right, you’ll notice more than just a higher open rate. You’ll see higher lead acquisition and conversion rates as well.
Justin Gray is the CEO of LeadMD and a Software Advice Advisory Board Member. He founded the company in 2009 with the vision of transforming traditional “grassroots” marketing efforts through the use of cloud based marketing solutions. Gray sees grassroots marketing dollars shrinking and traditional branding efforts being strewn aside in favor of a true Conversational Marketing approach.