Email Marketing Optimization
Email marketing optimization involves a plan of continuous improvement for four components of the campaign: subject line, email content, landing page and process. Let's take a closer look at email campaign optimization in each of these four areas.
1. Subject Line Optimization
The subject line makes or breaks open rates. It is a small snippet of content, but one with enormous power, and as such, must be a key focus of email campaign optimization. Improvement in subject lines can come from any number of changes. Important variables to test include:
- Long versus brief
- A question versus a statement
- Adding urgency
- Informational versus sales-oriented
- Intellectual versus emotional
- Personalized versus non-personalized
- Inserting company name versus leaving it out
- Offer A versus Offer B
- Adding numbers or symbols
With subject lines, email marketing pros see optimization as an effort to hit a lot of singles, slowly and methodically. Nevertheless, subject line testing occasionally leads to a home run: Turning a question mark into a period has been known to produce double-digit increases in open rates.
2. Email Content Optimization
The content and design of the email influence clickthrough rates. Here, many more components can be optimized than exist for subject lines. Important variables to test include:
- Content: long form versus short form, formal versus informal style, casual versus aggressive, and level of personalization
- Imagery: style and placement
- Call to action: the offer, design and placement
- Design: font size, font style, color palette, typography and layout
Because split testing is limited to testing two variables at a time, optimization for email content requires a detailed strategic plan, systematic execution and patience. Slow, steady improvement in clickthrough rates is far more common than overnight transformations due to a single adjustment.
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3. Landing Page Optimization
The email campaign's landing page(s) should be optimized along the same lines as noted above for email content. In addition, the landing page will have a submission form where users can submit an inquiry or place an order. Testing submission form variables is extremely important, especially:
- The number of form fields
- The number of required form fields
- Submit button text, color and design
- Adding a safety message, such as, "Your email address will never be sold or shared."
- Form placement and design
Along with the landing page, a "Thank You" page should be emailed to the user after the submission, acknowledging receipt. This content also can be optimized by, for instance, inserting links to relevant product or service pages of the website.
4. Process Optimization
In email marketing campaigns, not only what you say, but also when you say it are important. The agency managing your email campaign should systematically test delivery timing to optimize open rates primarily, and clickthrough rates and conversion rates secondarily. By delivering emails on different days and at different times of day, the agency can discover the optimum timing for distribution. In some campaigns, timing is not a driving factor; in others, timing is everything.
When considering agencies to manage your email marketing campaign, ask to see their documented process for email campaign optimization. No matter how dazzling the initial design and content are, they most likely will not produce the best possible results your campaign is capable of producing. Methodical testing leads to improvements in even world-class designs and copy, and must be central to the campaign. Optimization is the formula for improving sales lead and revenue generation, as well as producing strong ROI for your email marketing investment.
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