Email marketing techniques you need to know

Last week the BH&P team attended HubSpot’s virtual INBOUND 2020 conference to gain further insights into the wonderful world of marketing.

As marketeers, we love a good email campaign, but how can you make your emails really stand out from the rest and result in a healthy open rate? A session which piqued our interest was Jay Schwedelson from WorldData’s ‘Critical email techniques to crush competition’. Here’s what we learned.

 

Email marketing during a global pandemic

We may think our lives have drastically changed over the last 6 months, but so has email performance.  

Data from WorldData indicates that email open rates have been higher during the lockdown period, with a 10% rise in open rates compared to January this year for B2B, and a 7% rise for B2C.

We already know that B2B and B2C marketing target people in different ways. It’s marketing ABC. But what about during the pandemic? Here’s how B2B and B2C email subject lines differed:

B2B: No sugar-coating of the situation. Instead, driving responses by discussing the topic directly

  • “8 considerations for a COVID-19 travel policy”
  • “NEW WEBINAR: 5 tips for marketing during a recession

B2C: Recognising the pandemic, but in a subtle way and driving responses by discussing the topic indirectly.

  • “New school-ready styles for whatever your day one looks like”
  • “You deserve an extra special”

Whether addressing the current situation directly or indirectly both B2B and B2C saw increased performance, with B2B open rates up 34% and B2C up 48%.

 

Test, test and test again

With so much change going on around us both in business and behaviour, now is a great time to test your marketing emails and find out which best suits your audience right now.

Subject line graph

  1. A/B test your subject lines, play around with capital letters and emotive language, try different lengths of subject lines*, include offers and buzzwords. *subject lines with less than 20 characters resulted in an open rate increase of 27% B2C and 28% B2B in the last 30 days.
  2. Test the time and date you send out your emails (this will of course vary with B2B and B2C) to find out when people are most engaged and likely to open your email.
  3. Create an email nurture flow – your target audience may not always see or even click on your email. If that’s the case, send them the same email with a different subject line or an email of a different topic.

Be brave...

Emojis are cool, so is exaggeration and so are animated GIFs (and no not just for B2C emails!) According to WorldData, over the last 30 days:

Click-through increase (%)
  B2C B2B
Animated gifs in copy 32% 27%
Exaggeration in subject line 18% 14%
Emojis in subject line 17% 14%

Just because lockdown is boring, really doesn’t mean your emails have to be. People are being bombarded with emails constantly as businesses try to sell their products and services. Being brave and thinking out of the box will be a sure way to stand out amongst the noise.

 

...But not annoying!

Spending time on making sure your emails stand out is great. But it’s still as important as ever before to check everything and pay attention to the details. Here’s a few tips:

  • Ensure your attachments aren’t too large
  • Label attachments simply and correctly
  • Look out for typos / incorrect spelling
  • If personalising, ensure your automation works
  • Check your plain text version matches the html
  • Don’t use images that are too large – they’ll just make the email slow
  • Set links to your images! Otherwise they’ll need to be downloaded*

*When primary images are set for download default overall click-through rates drop by 22%

download image issue

Final thought

Be human. Times are tough. Many people have faced job losses, pay cuts and change in environment as a result of COVID-19. Make sure you bear this in mind, and have it reflected in your email comms too. The whole world is in this together.