It may seem old-fashioned in the era of social media, but email marketing works. When it comes to acquiring new customers, keeping subscribers engaged, and generating return on investment, email is still one of the most effective marketing channels businesses have at their disposal.
But while it is highly effective when used well, email requires thoughtful attention to detail
in order to drive sales. After speaking with dozens of marketers about their email marketing performance, we’ve pinpointed five reasons why emails don’t convert and come up with solutions you can implement today:
1. The sender is easy to ignore
The identity of the sender is one of the first things your customers see when an email hits their inbox. If you use a company name only, your customers may not open the email because it feels impersonal. On the other hand, if you use a person’s name as your sender, customers may ignore it because they don’t immediately know who it’s from.
Solution: Set your next email up for success by changing your sender details to follow this format: [First Name] [Last Name], [Company].
Make it work for you: Try testing the names of several employees at your company to see which generate more opens. Do female names have higher open rates than male names? How about names with two syllables vs. names with one? Get creative, and make a note of your observations.
2. Your subject lines aren’t compelling
On average, email users receive 94 business emails each day. It’s easy for a customer to miss a message—especially if the subject line doesn’t grab their attention. Subject lines should entice your recipients and give them a preview of what to expect.
Solution: Get specific. Avoid generic subject lines and, instead, use what you know about your subscribers to craft one that will excite your unique customer base. Try creating a sense of urgency or appealing to your subscribers’ curiosity to make sure they don’t skip past your message without clicking.
Make it work for you: Try using a tool like Touchstone to experiment with different subject lines.
3. Your copy is not concrete
Janet Choi, from email automation provider Customer.io, has found that concrete language makes you appear more credible and helps readers make better decisions more easily. Abstract language, on the other hand, confuses readers and discourages them from acting. Concrete sentences are also quicker to read, cutting the time it takes for your customers to get to your call to action (CTA).
Solution: Email copy should be concise. Think of what you’re trying to say, and how you can say it in as few words as possible, before hitting send. Once you’ve written your copy, scan it for examples of abstract language and see if you can replace them with more concrete phrasing.
Make it work for you: This article explains the difference between abstract and concrete language and shows you how to write more clearly. If you want help condensing your copy, download the Hemingway App. Just paste in your copy, and the text editor will highlight sentences that are too long or confusing.
4. Your CTA doesn’t set expectations
If you get a promotional email and find yourself totally confused about what you’re supposed to do with it, it’s likely that the CTA is not clear. The CTA is the reason you’re sending your email. It should tell your readers explicitly which step to take next and give them a heads-up as to where they’ll be directed. If you’re an event marketer, for example, and you’re creating an email campaign to bring attendees back to your site to finish purchasing tickets, a weak CTA would read “Buy tickets.” A stronger CTA would say “Finish where I left off.”
Solution: Avoid using vague CTAs (e.g., “Check it out” instead of “Browse new arrivals”) and CTAs that include multiple options (e.g., “You can read more about it in our whitepaper here, or start a free trial”). Keep your CTAs simple, clear, and specific.
Make it work for you: Improve click-through rates by using buttons instead of hyperlinks. If you can, keep CTAs above the fold so recipients don’t have to scroll.
5. Your images are distracting
Adding the right images can dramatically improve your click rates. Images can also boost email deliverability, which means your email is less likely to go straight to the spam folder. But if your images take too long to load, have nothing to do with your message, or take up too much space in the email, they can work against you.
Solution: Use images that support your email message by providing a visual counterpart to the text or a preview of what the reader will experience after clicking the CTA. Keep image files small, compressed, and high-resolution to ensure that your email can load quickly. Share important messages and CTAs in text as well, in case the images don’t load. And be sure that images don’t make up more than 30% of an email—otherwise, your message may land in the spam folder. For more great tips like these, check out these best practices for email images from Kevin Gao, founder of the email marketing and live chat service Comm100.
Make it work for you: To make sure your images are working, take a look at Constant Contact’s comprehensive guide to the ideal file types and sizes for various image and email layouts.
Once you’ve taken advantage of these solutions to improve your conversion rates, get ready to supercharge your email marketing strategy with AdRoll’s email marketing guide.
About the Author
Anahid Basmajian // Head of Brand Marketing EMEA // AdRollFollow on Twitter More Content by Anahid Basmajian