Every business owner (or marketer) knows that email marketing is one of the best marketing channels today when it comes to ROI (an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent).
Knowing this, you’ve probably already started your own email list and have worked to grow it. You know the best times to send an email, and have played around with different email marketing ideas to effectively reach your subscribers.
According to Jeff Bullas, not all emails are created the same. Top performing marketing departments have 2.5x more ROI than the average. What makes those emails different from the average? It’s a mix of a few factors—such as engagement and personalization—that marketers put a lot of work into getting right. In 2015, increasing subscriber engagement was the top initiative for marketers when it came to email marketing, while for 2017, personalization was a top concern.
Even if you are getting good results from your current email marketing campaigns, there are certainly things that you can try to do even better. Let’s take a look at some top email marketing examples to draw inspiration from.
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As a business that is well-known for their success in reaching users with personalized content, you can learn a lot about email marketing from Spotify. Every year, Spotify creates an end-of-year playlist for each of their subscribers and sends an email informing them about it.
The email contains user-specific data showing the their most-played songs, top artists/genres, the total time they've spent listening to music on the platform, as well as the days they are most active during the week.
The email finishes off with a link to the playlist Spotify made for them. Needless to say, users love this end-of-year wrap up and demonstrate their giddiness by sharing their results with friends, online.
What You Can Learn From Spotify:
The power of personalized content. Something as basic as a personalized subject line can increase email opens by 26%. Furthermore, personalized emails can deliver 6x higher transaction rates and 74% of marketers report that personalized emails increase engagement.
4 Ways Make Your Emails More Personalized
With Spotify as your guide, here are some tips to create more personalized emails:
- Automate emails to take action after triggers. According to Campaign Monitor, automated customer journeys are about sending the right information at the right time. Doing so shows the customer that you are paying attention—a resource that is otherwise in short supply! By immediately taking action right after a customer interacts with your website, you are helping them to reconnect and remember you.
- Leverage dynamic content. Some email marketing software providers offer a dynamic content feature, which allows you to determine which users get to see a specific block of content. Adidas did this during a campaign for their Originals series. Male subscribers were shown the menswear collection, and the women were shown the womenswear collection. By doing this, subscribers were exposed to products of the most relevance to them.
Here's another version for women:
- Integrate with other sources of data, such as your Facebook Insights data, CRM, or ecommerce platform. This allows you to create richer customer profiles that include things such as behavioral data and purchase history—not just demographics.
- Segment your email list. Personalization isn't just about delivering personalized content. It’s also about determining what content is most apt for a certain group (also known as targeting or segmentation). Targeted emails result in a 14.32% higher open rate and 100% higher click rate than non-targeted emails. Marketers have noted that segmented campaigns have brought in 760% more revenue than non-segmented campaigns. Segmented emails also increase customer retention, and lead to more engagement and sales.
How to Segment Your List
There are several ways to segment your email list; do what makes most sense for your business.
For ecommerce shops, here are some ways to segment your email list:
- New customers
- Repeat customers
- Inactive customers (haven't purchased or interacted with the business in a long time)
- Product interest (by gender category or type of product frequently purchased)
- Demographics (gender, age, income)
- Website behavior. Research from Mailchimp shows that segmenting according to online behavior increased email clicks by almost 16%
- Lead magnet used to sign up
Uber often sends emails to alert subscribers of promotions, deals, and news. Whatever the message, their emails are always consistent with their minimalist branding. Part of Uber’s success lies in their strong brand consistency.
For one, their emails are designed simply. There aren't too many busy elements that will distract the reader from the email’s main goal. Having a lot of white space in an email campaign gives the reader a visual break and allows them to focus or zoom into where you want them to be paying attention.
Uber’s content is straightforward for the people that skim emails, but they also have a longer version available for those that want to know more about what they're sharing. The short content complements a clear call-to-action (CTA).
What You Can Learn from Uber:
Keep your email design simple and stay true to your branding. A simple design won’t distract from your CTA. Keep the CTA short and straightforward so that those that receive your emails will immediately take action.
8 Ways to Optimize your CTA
- Use verbs or action-oriented text, and make sure it is interesting. Don't use boring, generic words like “submit”, “enter” or “click here”.
- Be specific about the actions you want customers to take, such as “download the free ebook here!” versus just saying “download”.
- Make your CTA short. No one wants to read a long line of text. Campaign Monitor says 2-3 words are good—try to keep it under 5 or 6.
- Ensure your CTA is seen. A simple and clean design will help highlight the CTA but you still have to ensure that it is seen. Make it large enough to get noticed but not too large that it would appear obnoxious. Try using a contrasting color to really make it pop.
- Use the first person. A study from Unbounce showed that changing the CTA from the second person to the first person resulted in a 90% increase in click-through rate. Try changing “download your free guide” to “download my free guide”.
- Create a sense of urgency. Sales 101: People respond to scarcity and need to be told what to do next, so tell them to “get it now!”.
- Have at least two CTAs: one above the fold, and one at the bottom of the email. There will always be people that skim emails, so you want to be able to convert them, too.
- A/B test to determine which CTA practices work best for you.
Buzzfeed is a company that strives to create content that people want to share. While they are best known for their kick-ass, quirky, and punchy content, their content scope is wide enough to also include some investigative journalism pieces.
In an interview with Buzzfeed’s former director of newsletters, Dan Oshinsky, he shares that when he started out at Buzzfeed, it was difficult for readers to subscribe to Buzzfeed’s newsletter, and as a result, there weren’t many subscribers on their email list.
To change that, they’ve worked hard to shine the spotlight on the value of opting in to their newsletters, throughout their entire website. One of the ways they did this was by creating content specifically to promote newsletter signups, like the article, “19 cute ways the BuzzFeed Animals newsletter will ruin your day.” As a result, they’ve amassed over 1 million subscribers in a year.
Although their strategy for getting subscribers is commendable, what’s more commendable is how they've retained their email subscribers. They do this through the use of interesting subject lines and preview text.
This is important, as 69% of people report emails as spam based on subject lines alone. Conversely, 35% of people decide to open emails based on subject lines alone.
The aforementioned example involves a slightly weird subject line that will intrigue those who receive the email. Additionally, many of BuzzFeed’s emails are accompanied by interesting preview text related to the subject line.
Sometimes, when they use questions as a subject line, these are followed up by answers. For direct commands, like in this next example, the preview text shows the next logical statement:
What You Can Learn From Buzzfeed:
Have short but interesting subject lines, since there are people that decide to open emails based on subject lines alone. You can follow this up with equally interesting or catchy preview text.
3 Ways to Improve Your Subject Lines
- Personalize them. As mentioned previously, a personalized subject line can increase email opens by 26%.
- Keep them short. 67% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Although Mailchimp found that there is no statistical link between email opens and subject line length, it is recommended that subject lines be 50 characters or less to make it easier for your recipients to read it on their mobile phones.
- Test subject lines. Many email service providers, such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor, provide easy access to A/B testing tools. Read CoSchedule’s guide on how to write the best email subject lines for more in-depth information on how to test your email subject lines.
According to a Litmus survey, interactive emails are the top trend for email marketing in 2017.
Interactive emails allow users to take action within an email that triggers an event within the same email. These interactions can surprise and delight the customers and can take the form of:
- Quizzes, polls, or surveys
- Dropdown or navigation within an email
- A photo gallery, carousel, or video
- Shopping carts
- Real-time news updates
As for an example, Domino’s sent subscribers an interactive email to promote their new Italiano range. Making it more interactive made it more fun than just sending in a photo of all five pizzas. Additionally, it invited the users to engage with it.
What You Can Learn From Domino’s:
An interactive email is more fun than the standard fare and invites engagement from your recipients. Making an interactive email does not have to be complicated; you can start off with GIFs. Just make sure that whatever you do is tested across common email clients and is optimized for mobile!
3 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Emails
- Incorporate surveys, polls and reviews. Some travel sites (like Expedia or Booking.com) will send a post-stay survey asking you how your room was. They’ll offer a few choices for you to rate the room, and when you click on the choice, they will ask more questions or direct you to an external website where you can fill out the survey. It’s better to capture survey results from within the email because once you start redirecting to another page, the customer may give up on responding.
- Combine rewards with your interactive content to motivate customers to open these emails. Send digital scratch, peel, tear, or sliding cards connected to discounts or freebies. Companies like Zembula can help you to incorporate interactive email content. This tactic encourages customers to engage with the email before they receive a discount.
- Include video. Video is expected to comprise 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. At the same time, people are tired of the clutter that too much content brings. Video, as when used in a website, also brings increased click-through rates and ROI when used in email. “The University of Minnesota has seen as much as a 40% increase in click-through rates when they include a video in their email newsletters, and Wistia reports a staggering 55% increase!”, reports Colby Cavanaugh, SVP of Marketing for Emma.
Though each of these specific email marketing tactics can work great on their own, you might achieve even greater results by finding ways to combine them. By testing and analyzing your results, you’ll become better equipped to effectively speak to your target audience.
What are some of the best email marketing examples and tactics you’ve come across? Tweet at @CoSchedule and we’ll share our favorites!