It's not that email open rate isn't important. It is! No one can redeem your email offers if they don't open the email first, right? But with the prevalence of preview panes and the emergence of tools like Priority Inbox, the metric that gets email marketers salivating most is email click-through rate (CTR). A high one, specifically.
If you've been running your email marketing campaign for even a few months, you're probably able to anticipate the click-through rate of each campaign. And hey, good for you for having a handle on your inbound marketing analytics. But it's a new year, and now's the time to dream big. Let's start improving that email click-through rate to really give your CMO something to smile about. If you're not sure how to go about improving your email CTR, here are 11 sure-fire ways to do it. And remember that email marketing provides a prime opportunity for A/B testing; you should employ it in all of your email marketing campaigns to ensure you're always improving upon emails to get the most ROI possible (which means more bragging rights for you).
11 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Email Click-Through Rate
1.) Test your subject lines. Click-through rate is often used in email marketing to refer specifically to the click-through rate of an offer in the body of your email. But you first need to get recipients to click into the email. Once you've nailed email deliverability, start A/B testing the subject lines you're using. We've also written a guide to help you master the craft of writing click-worthy email subject lines.
2.) Less is more with copy. Write shorter emails to increase the likelihood that email recipients will encounter your offer before getting bored and deleting it. You can also help combat this by frontloading your best copy.
3.) Include social sharing options. Econsultancy published results finding that emails that include just one social sharing option generated 30% higher click-through rates than emails without any social sharing links. That CTR jumped to 55% higher with 3 or more social sharing options. Even if your readers don't want to redeem your email's offer, they might know a friend who does. Give them that opportunity by including social sharing buttons, and watch your click-through rate soar.
4.) Segment your email lists. If you wonder why we harp on email segmentation so much, this is one of the primary reasons. Aside from preventing you from annoying email recipients with irrelevant offers, list segmentation lets you provide a more targeted offer, increasing the likelihood your reader will click through. In fact, research shows that marketers who segment their lists enjoy 18% more transactions, 24% more sales leads, and 24% greater revenue.
5.) Offer targeted content. This is why you segment your list! Now that you know to whom you're sending your email, consider what content they want, and use that for your offer. If your offer speaks to your recipient's needs, it's a no-brainer that you'll receive more clicks to redeem that offer.
6.) Personalize your emails. You can further target your list and the content in your email by including elements of personalization. Part of effective lead nurturing is knowing about your prospects' and customers' purchase history, download history, satisfaction score, and website activity. This will allow you to provide the most relevant offers that will receive more click-throughs due to the targeted nature of your email.
7.) Remove distractions from the email. Just like when you're building landing pages, it's important to remove distractions from your email template. Resist the urge to include a header that includes your website navigation, or include multiple offers with the hopes that at least something in the email will compel readers to click. This is a signal that your email doesn't have a specific enough goal. Step back, and consider the objective of the email. What one thing do you want the reader to do? If your goal is to get more Facebook fans with this email, then that's what you should write copy around, and that's the call-to-action you should highlight in your email. Don't give readers the opportunity to get distracted by your blog posts, product pages, or any other part of your site.
8.) Slap your reader across the face with your call-to-action. Ensure your call-to-action is above the fold, bright, bold, and impossible to miss. It's not that your reader is stupid. It's that your reader receives unprecedented amounts of email every day and has very little time to read it all. If you make your reader think -- by forcing them to scroll down, hunt for your call-to-action, or question what they're supposed to do -- you won't receive a click-through. Instead, you'll get sent straight into the trash bin.
9.) Include a P.S. The P.S. is a great tactic to reiterate an offer, or to attract the attention of email scanners (let's face it, that's most of us). The eye is drawn to the visual call out of the P.S. and is a great opportunity to A/B test whether your offers receive greater or fewer click-throughs with its inclusion.
10.) Create a sense of urgency. A tactic that works particularly well for product marketers is putting limits on your offers. This forces readers to redeem them quickly, increasing your click-through rate. But don't feel bad. If your email marketing is well segmented, you're providing them with a product that is well suited to their needs!
11.) Make sure your emails are mobile optimized. Research shows that of the 70 million US consumers who access email through their mobile device, 43% check their email on it 4 or more times a day. If you're not optimizing your emails for mobile, you're completely missing out on a huge opportunity for these mobile readers to click your calls-to-action. If you haven't already started to optimize your emails for mobile, 2012 is the perfect time to begin and take advantage of this huge segment of the population that's growing like gangbusters.
What have you done to successfully increase the click-through rate of your email marketing campaigns? What one tactic has worked the best for you?
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