How To Meet Your 2013 Marketing Resolutions: Part 3

Perhaps you’re good with at managing your time and getting emails out to subscribers. Maybe you’re even happy with the number of new subscribers coming in. If that’s true, your 2013 email marketing goals might focus more on making your emails more effective.

(If that’s not true, learn how to manage your time and emails better here and how to attract more subscribers here.)

Effective emails bring results you want, such as more sales. In order to determine if an email is effective or not, look at your reports. We’ll discuss what you can learn from these reports and how you can improve them to make 2013 your best year yet.

Why Reports Matter

Most email marketing service providers keep detailed reports on how your messages perform. You can see how many people opened your message and clicked on links, and whether those clicks brought you traffic, sales, downloads or unsubscribes.

Your open rate is important; it lets you know how many people opened your message out of the total you sent it to. In order for the subscriber to click a link to purchase your product or visit your website, they first have to open the email.

Once a subscriber has opened your message, you’ll want them to read and take action. Whether it’s a product your selling, an article you posted or a download you’re sharing, you’ll need them to click on something. Click-through rates can tell you what happened after a subscriber opened your message.

Some email service providers let you set up advanced analytics to track where subscribers go on your website, and what they purchase or download. If you have specific goals for your email campaign (more sales, more traffic), make sure you set this up so it’s easier for you to track progress throughout the year.

And last but not least, you should be able to see how many people clicked to unsubscribe from your emails. Keeping track of this can tell you what content people appreciate and what turns them away.

If you have the time, you should think about calculating another stat: the click-through rate on the number of people who opened your message. This can be done by dividing the number of people who clicked by the number of people who opened your message. This will give you a more accurate idea on how your messages are performing.

So What Do I Have To Do?

Here’s what you need to work on in order to get the results you want:

    A good way to think about it is this: can you summarize the benefits of your email in one short sentence? That’s your subject line.
  • The subject line – most likely the direct reason whether or not someone will open your message. The subject needs to catch your subscribers’ attention while also communicating what’s in the message. Some businesses accomplish this by asking a question, offering a solution to a common problem or offering to teach something.

    You should test your subject lines to find what works best for your audience. Sometimes the results may surprise you.

  • Who the emails are from – this will also get noticed immediately. The key is to stay consistent. If that means having the email come from a business name instead of an individual’s name, that’s better than switching the from name frequently.

    You should also consider the length of your from line. Email clients have different display lengths, so keep that in mind when you’re picking the name to display.

  • Remember to continue to test everything throughout the year and build on what you learn from each test.
  • Time the email goes out – this is a tricky one, as different businesses often report different results with regards to when readers open emails. For instance, this article reports that people are more likely to engage with emails between 8 and 10 in the morning and 3 to 4 in the afternoon. As for AWeber, we’ve found our own campaigns are best sent between 2 and 3 in the afternoon instead of 9 and 10 in the morning.
  • User experience – what’s the initial reaction when opening your message? Is the email visually appealing? Do subscribers know what you want them to do? These are all questions you need to ask about your email.

    How you present your content is just as important as the content itself – if subscribers get a headache just looking at your email, it won’t matter how good the information is.

  • Images vs. text – and speaking of visually appealing, should you include images or stick to just text? More than half of people surveyed said they will turn on images in their inbox, so people seem to appreciate a break in the plain text monotony.

    Not sure how to use images effectively? Get some inspiration from other businesses.

  • The link, button or whatever it is you want clicked – it’s not as simple as sticking a link in an email. You have to draw attention to your links (or buttons and other images). Often times this requires some crafty copywriting. You don’t have to be a professional copywriter in order to write good calls to action, but it might take practice and some expert tips.

A word on expectations: Subject lines, from lines, send times and your email design certainly have an impact on your opens, but meeting subscribers’ expectations will also have an impact. Make sure you’re sending subscribers the content you promised at sign-up.

No Excuses This Year

Now that you have a plan, you’ll be on your way to making 2013 a successful year for your email marketing efforts.

If you have other suggestions for keeping marketing resolutions on track, please share them below.