How to Optimize Email Marketing Campaigns in 2020
Natalie Ediger, March 11, 2020· Communication
Electronic letters have been circulating around the world since 1971 – what a groundbreaking invention! A total of 2.9 billion e-mails were sent last year. And as that number continues to grow, so does the number of junk mail and disinterested subscribers. Therefore it is becoming an ever greater challenge to assert oneself in this mass. Nevertheless, e-mail marketing remains the most important means of communication and, with the right strategy, can increase the ROI by an incredible 4200%. And to make sure you succeed, we explain how you can establish an effective e-mail marketing communication in 2020.
Inrease the email marketing campaign effectiveness
High opening rates, breathtaking click through rates and enormous commitment – that is the dream of every marketing manager. Most of us, however, spend our time facing the cruel reality of the unsubscribe rate and putting our email marketing hopes on hold. Of course it should not be like that.
2020 is the year when the goldfish generation enters a new round. This means that no one has time, everything has to be done quickly and the human capacity to focus on one thing for a longer period of time hits the point “zero”. Yes, we are dealing with a very promising generation… but we should learn to speak with goldfish. So, how can we restructure our email marketing campaign so that it is understood by goldfish and delivers the desired added value?
Using professional email marketing tools
To get started, let’s start with one of the absolute basics in e-mail marketing: In this day and age, even with a relatively small list of recipients, you should not do without a professional e-mail marketing tool.
E-mail marketing tools guarantee an automated delivery and at the same time prevent careless typing errors. There is a wide range of free and paid CRM tools that, in addition to automation, also offer many other functions for lead generation and customer management. Frequently used tools include Mailchimp, Rapidmail and Getresponse.
Improve e-mail delivery
If you want to the email to reach the subscriber, the email must first …well…reach the subscriber. Often an e-mail is classified as spam and does not arrive at the recipient at all. This can have the following reasons:
“no-reply@…” sender address, etc.
Again, we emphasize the use of professional email marketing tools, because the servers of professional email marketing software are listed on the most important whitelists and are therefore considered trustworthy and not automatically categorized as spam. It is also worth setting up a “welcome email” for subscribers; for example, if someone enters an incorrect email, it will show a high bounce rate and allow the address to be unsubscribed for future campaigns.
3. Optimize subject and preview
First impressions count as well as known – this applies to your e-mail as well. The subject significantly influences the opening rate of the e-mail. The mail inbox of all of us is full of newsletters. So if you don’t get creative here, you’ll quickly end up in the trash.
Analyze the target group carefully to set the right tone. For a certain target audience, a provocative question can be a guarantee for success, for others an emoji or an emotional address. Either way, arousing curiosity is an absolute must. If you use standardized 0815 e-mail phrases with keywords like ” for free”, “discount”, “sale” or ” try for free” you will probably not only be lost among thousands of e-mails, but also classified as junk mail. Depending on the e-mail provider, the subject line should be a maximum of 60 characters, in many cases even only between 20-40 characters. If a small section of the first line is displayed, the so-called “preview”, it should of course be optimized to attract interest and attention.
Do you know how I approach impersonal content?… Without batting an eyelid, without any interest, without any second of attention and without being opened, the e-mail ends up in trash. Because I believe that at least a personal greeting is not too much to ask for. And a number of other consumers think the same way: 77% of them explicitly want personal content. Mass e-mails from the assembly line no longer work. And especially today, there are enough automated tools to help you personalize your email.
At this point it is essential to know and analyze the customer and his or her preferences. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes: What does he or she want to read? What added value have you promised? It is best to segment your subscribers according to so-called buyer personas in order to precisely adapt the e-mail campaign to their interests and wishes.
Those who do not tell stories in marketing today have lost. And that doesn’t matter whether it’s a pitch deck, an advertising campaign or even a newsletter. Information should be packed into a story and appeal to the customer emotionally. The emotional bond not only arouses interest and thus increases the click-through rate, but also enables the customer to identify better with the brand.
Videos are the absolute weapon in content marketing. E-mails with integrated videos have shown up 300% higher click through rates! Already the keyword “video” in the subject increases the opening rate by 19% and decreases the unsubscribe rate by 26%! To avoid problems with the file size, it can be useful to include a section of the video in the e-mail and then link to the actual page. You can find more stats regarding video content here.
Of course it is also important to analyse the success of the e-mail campaign. There is a multitude of common key figures in e-mail marketing: Open rate, click through rate, bounce rate, click to open rate, unsubscribe rate, delivery rate, etc… . In order to choose the right parameters, you should first define the purpose of the e-mail campaign.
Always work carefully and never underestimate this point. It will allow you to draw conclusions and analyze why one email campaign is better than the other and thus maximize content optimization for the future.
Newsletters are now preferably read on mobile devices. To be more precise, the mobile opening rate has increased by a whole 23%. It is therefore essential to optimize newsletters for smartphones and tablets as well.
At this point it also makes more and more sense to switch to “snack content”. No, we are not talking about pretzel sticks and spicy party snacks here, but extremely short, quickly consumable content. Because especially on smartphones, we all smear our screens like windscreen wipers and pay even less attention to the information than we already do. So keep away from those novels or even complicated and confusing designs. To make e-mail as mobile-friendly as possible, the following points should be ensured:
little text and a clear structure
Easily clickable “Call to Actions
Limited number of images, as these require large amounts of data and therefore take more time to load.
Consider email frequency
Regular updates to the customer: Yes. Bombard them with updates? – No. It is important to find a good balance and offer the customer exactly as much content as they would like. If we contact them too often, we risk annoyed unsubscriptions. If the newsletter is sent out only once in while, important information does not reach the customer at all or you will be forgotten. Therefore, ask directly how often the target group wishes to receive content. Who knows this better than the target group itself? Ideally, every subscriber should be able to define individual preferences.
In addition to the e-mail frequency, the time and day also play a decisive role. Two identical e-mails can thus achieve completely different engagement rates. Since opinions differ a little bit and time can vary enormously depending on the target group, it makes sense to find out the optimal timing by A/B testing. As a small reference, according to Hubspot, most consumers tend to open their emails in the morning and morning, while reading tends to slow down in the afternoon.
Although no extreme variations in specific days of the week have been reported, it is generally not recommended to send emails on weekends.
Observe new trends
Go with the Flow – That is the motto of the digital age. With increasing technology new trends are naturally also coming, which have a strong influence on marketing. And those who do not follow new trends are usually eaten by the trendsetters. Two interesting developments, which we can expect more and more in e-mails in the future, are the following:
Interactive emails: The importance of interactive content is constantly increasing. Interactive emails for example offer the possibility to buy products directly from the email, contain integrated 360 degree videos or pictures or chatbots. These elements allow you to stand out from the standardized emails and provide much higher engagement. You can read in this article which possibilities arise in the context of interactive content.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP): With the progress of technology, more and more exciting possibilities in the context of AI. For example, in the future it will be possible to create keywords that are adapted to the target group and consumer habits in order to optimize the subject line.
The Call to Action
Finally, of course, the CTA should not be missing. After all, our aim is not to bombard the customer with information alone, but ideally to motivate him to take further action and interact. The CTA button should be clearly recognizable and stand out from the rest of the mail. Pay attention to a short and concise formulation and place it in the upper part of the newsletter so that it is not overlooked.
Observe legal requirements
Commercial e-mails in particular are subject to a large number of laws. In order to avoid warnings and disputes, the legal framework conditions should therefore be taken into account:
According to the DSGVO (basic data protection regulation), recipients must have expressly approved the inclusion in the newsletter distribution list
Only necessary data may be stored, in this case name and email address
A clearly visible unsubscribe link must be included
According to TMG (Telemediengesetz) every newsletter must also have an imprint.
Conclusion: Taking the e-mail campaigns to the next level
Does e-mail marketing still work in 2020? Yes, it does. But the fast-paced digital age requires enormous restructuring of strategy, a lot of time and effort. And this should not only happen when your opening rate is lower than the calcium content of Fruchtzwerge. But if you implement all points step by step, analyze the target group and your goals, you will be able to create an effective and successful e-mail campaign even in the age of sensory overload.