We’re sharing new data to help you drive marketing email response.

I had the recent opportunity to attend Inbound 2020, a marketing conference that joined the many others in going virtual.  I was excited to see that Jay Schwedelson, founder of Worldata, had returned to speak. Worldata is responsible for sending and tracking the effectiveness of 40,000 email campaigns and over 6 billion individual emails every year. For much of this year, Worldata has been tracking the email marketing trends as they’ve changed during COVID. Read on for some of their latest data-driven tactics that you can implement today to improve your marketing email results.

No. 1: Try new things.

The most important rule in marketing is to be open to trying new things. Times have changed and so have consumer perspectives. In the past, marketing emails sent at the end of the week performed better, but in recent months, by the time Friday gets here, consumers are done reading emails. Consider sending some offer emails on Monday and Tuesday, when people are back at their inbox, and see what kind of responses you get. Dream, test, review, and repeat should be the name of the marketing game these days.

No 2: Test your subject lines.

As you’re trying new techniques, it’s a good idea to test your subject lines before sending your emails. Free sites like Worldata’s subjectline.com can give you insight into whether your message is likely to get opened. Tools like this are great because they offer tips and advice on what to include and what to leave out. Worldata research has found that words like “today, tomorrow, now, hurry, last chance, and expire” encourage your buyer to act now. Create a sense of urgency so buyers know they’ll miss out if they don’t act. In fact, emails that expire have a “67% higher overall response rate B2C, and 51% higher B2B,” according to Jay.

Consider the subject line: “hurry before November 1st.” Near the end of each month, referencing the upcoming month has caused huge spikes in open rates. It’s likely because right now many of us would love to fast forward and land in some future time – next week, month, or even next year. Consciously or unconsciously, your buyers are more likely to engage with emails you send at the end of this month if you hint at the turning of the calendar.

Other impactful words like “deserve, available, free, and exclusive” evoke emotional responses that, when paired with the right offer, could highly engage your audience. Consider how “you deserve tonight off” or “exclusive new membership just for you” or even “free guacamole” might drive someone to learn more about what you have to say. *Note: If “free” gives you anxiety, Jay encouraged marketers not to fear the word “free”. He says “free” is not going to get you filtered. Go to your inbox right now. Every major marketer is using free successfully.

No 3: Stand out from the crowd.

Exaggerated words, emojis, and even the length of your subject line have the potential to visually draw the eye to your email. For example, a subject line much shorter than the average can increase open rates by as much as 27% B2B and 29% B2C, according to Worldata’s research. Even emails with subject lines longer than 65 characters increased open rate – why? Because they stand out.

No. 4: Address the current situation.

You might be inclined to steer away from all that’s going on, but the data suggests that it’s important to recognize current events. Consumers want transparency and won’t engage with brands that seem out of touch. For FEC marketers early on during the crisis, this may have been delivered directly with subject lines that mentioned health and safety processes. Now, it may be a good idea to refer the situation more indirectly, such as tapping into desires for escapism or the impact of (small, safe) family or friend gatherings.

No. 5: Keep it functional.

Nothing irritates me as a buyer more than clicking on an image in an email to buy something and have it go nowhere. Any image in your email should head back to your offer. In general, call to action buttons and links should be in multiple places on an email (and your website!). In short, “all roads lead back to your offer.” Try this once and track click-through rates of the links within your email and you will be amazed at the different paths consumers take to get to your offer. If you’re using an email template with a logo header, you could also link that header back to your main website as well.

No. 6: Be strategic.

Email and social media should be planned as key components of your overall marketing strategy. But don’t forget that the messages themselves can be linked in a campaign of their own. Consider a group event or birthday party offer. You might send an offer 60 days in advance, another one at 30, and then another one at 15. Are you adjusting the language to create more urgency closer to the deadline? Do people that opened your first email but don’t purchase get the same second email as those who never engaged? They probably shouldn’t. Consider each offer that you send, and how you want to engage with the different audiences you’re addressing.

No. 7: Don’t spray them with a fire hose.

The last piece of advice is that these tactics won’t be as effective if you use them all the time or all at once. You can’t have a last chance offer that never expires and you risk desensitizing your audience – or worse – coming off as disingenuous. Mix and match ideas and continue to learn from each email. Keep true to your brand and your voice, and have a little fun with it. This is the fun business after all.

Remember, what works today may not work tomorrow. The good news is that I just learned that Worldata is hosting more frequent webinars where they share new email insights from a smaller time period. I highly recommend following Worldata on Instagram for new information as it becomes available.

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