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5 Email Tips for Increasing Conversions

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
16 January 2013

There are many elements that go into a high-performing email message – everything from ensuring the message is delivered at the right time to the copy containing relevant content and enticing offers. Goals for marketers vary widely, but this post will zero in on some key areas to focus on to help you drive the most conversions possible, regardless of your business. Check out these five universal email marketing best practices that you should be paying attention to:

  • “From” name. Are you using a “From” name that will instill trust and drive increased engagement and conversion? Your recipients are more time-pressed than ever and are likely checking their email on a smartphone or tablet, so avoid generic and vague “From” names. Using an instantly recognizable “From” name makes your message more likely to be opened.
  • Subject lines. Is your subject line approach one that’s designed and optimized to maximize conversions, or is it just crafted for high open rates? The two don’t always correlate, as subject lines with flashy symbols and catchy-but-misleading wording may boost the latter without upping the former. Make sure the subject line is clear about what your message offers and is aligned with the goals of the email – and don’t forget to run an A/B test to see which subject lines or approach perform best.
  • Multiscreen approach. According to a September 2012 report from Litmus, mobile email opens are now at 38 percent, followed by desktop (33 percent) and Webmail (29 percent). Accordingly, the most common discussion among email marketers today is mobile optimization – how should design, layout and code be optimized so messages will render well regardless of the device being used? In my recent post Beyond Mobile-First: Think “Multiscreen,” I discuss taking a multiscreen approach to email design and the importance of mobile context.  Bottom line: Marketers should embrace all the environments where their customers view email, and they should recognize the unique conditions that can interfere with email interactions across both smartphones and tablets and integrate them into their approach to subject lines, pre-headers, layout and navigation. Remember your audience – they are leading hectic lives, and your email is just one of many in their inboxes
  • Behavioral Data/Technology integrations. Leverage Web tracking information and third-party data such as ecommerce systems and product review and recommendations software to build highly dynamic, personalized emails. Use your recipients’ past actions to deliver what they want to hear – a positive review on a product they’ve shown interest in could push them to make a purchase.
  • Triggered message series. Your customers expect relevant and targeted emails. If your messages are triggered by actions they’ve taken, such as abandoning a cart, downloading a product guide or viewing a Web page, they are more likely to be engaged and make a purchase. Still, sometimes they need a reminder, an extra nudge to get them to take the desired action. Consider using individual behaviors to trigger follow-up emails based on specific or lack of specific actions by recipients. You may be surprised at the additional ROI you’ll see when you add a second or third email to a triggered message series.

Obviously there are many other elements that can impact conversion rates, but optimizing the above five will help you take a strong step toward engaging more customers and prospects and encouraging them to take the desired action.

For more tips and observations from Loren, connect with him on Google+.

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: "Secrets of Successful 'From' Names and Subject Lines"
2) Blog: "Behavioral Marketing: What It Is and Why It's So Exciting"
3) Video: "Moving from Single Emails to Behavior-Driven Series or Tracks"

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