Over the last 10 years the use of email for marketing is a subject that has been written about extensively. A simple Google search for “email marketing advice” will find over 13,000,000 results all claiming to be the definitive source of knowledge on the subject.

In reality email marketing is a mixture of art and science, and depending on your viewpoint, you can attribute the relative percentages as your see fit.

The Basics
There are no hard and fast rules. What works for one campaign, brand, or subject matter might not work for another, and a flash email HTML might also not work any better than a plain text email.

The frequency and appropriateness of the content you write is as likely to influence your reporting metrics as having the best coded email in the world!

For the novice email marketer: is the time spent tinkering with the look or tweaking the wording in your email going to reap an uplift in response rate? If not, stop tinkering - you’re wasting your time!

Plain text emails can work. When focused on great copy and the right audience, clear calls to action can reap excellent returns.

The current trend is for a hybrid between a simple text based email with some simple design styling. This a notable shift away from in-your-face picture-heavy, feature-rich, discount-laden spam messages of old. It’s what you might call a more sophisticated form of email marketing.

Choosing a Platform
Now, you have to choose a system. If you’re intending to use Outlook - stop. There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t use your day-to-day email to bulk send but the short version is this: you’re likely to harm your sender reputation. This means all emails you send will go into spam folders.

Choose a platform that is suited to the type of data you will be sending to.

If sending to a subscription-based or customer list, 95% of the email broadcast platform market will be open to you. The choice should be centred around which has the best value for money, ease of use, and the features you need.

When sending to purchased data, a lot of platforms will prohibit the use of purchased lists. Ensure your platform is compatible with the type of data you are sending to. Not all email marketing platforms are the same - ask your CANDDi Consultant for more advice.

When to Send
Any time or any day can both be a good and a bad time to send.

As a general rule of thumb, B2B campaigns tend to be most responsive Monday - Friday during normal working hours. Research suggests most soft bounces (95% being out of office replies) are sent on a Wednesday.

Friday afternoons have a lower open and click rate (recipients possibly getting ready for the weekend) and Mondays tend to have the highest total email volume.

This would therefore suggest Tuesday and Thursday as optimum days.

When sending a B2B campaign studies show that Friday (post 5pm) and Sunday afternoons are ‘email checking times’. Although this will depend on content, as Friday evenings are weekend-planning times and Sunday afternoons are week-planning times.

Take all of the above with a pinch of salt. Consider seasonal fluctuations (e.g. the Christmas break or the middle of a heatwave). Consider a follow-up broadcast making only minor changes - this can double your overall campaign stats.

When sending to numbers above 3000, records ensure you can set your system up to (or that it automatically) ‘Throttles’ the send. This sends the total volume over a period of time to ensure the campaign delivers as well as it can and also allows you to abort the campaign should something go wrong.

Friendly From
This is often overlooked, but is second only to the subject line in influencing your open rate. The ‘friendly from’ is how the email will appear in your recipient's inbox.

Avoid ‘[bob@CompanyABC.com](mailto:bob@CompanyABC.com)’, would you open an email from a domain you don’t recognise?

Consider ‘Bob Hinkley’ which looks like it’s from a known company or ‘Bob from Company ABC’ which is more honest about it being a marketing email… it might just provoke curiosity.

Subject Line
When an email lands in an inbox, you have two factors in your immediate control that can influence the open or delete. The first is the Friendly From, discussed above. Second is the subject line.

While important in getting your email opened, a misleading subject line can lead to high unsubscribe rates and even breaches of Direct Marketing Legislation.

The subject line should entice the open but be reflective of the content. It should avoid ‘spammy’ words such as ‘free’, ‘save’, ‘CAPITALS’, ‘emojis’ etc. These not only look like spam emails to your recipients, but they’re also more likely to get caught in junk filters.

Consider subject line split-testing. Create 2 subject lines for the same campaign and run both to 10% of your data (5% each) over a period of 2 hours. The winner should then be sent to the remaining 90% (most systems will allow you to do this automatically).

Recent trends have seen an uplift when using ‘unusual’ numbers in emails… 6 or 23 instead of 5 and 25 e.g. “6 good reasons” rather than “Top 10 tips”.

Don’t make it too long or too short: If it wouldn’t fit without an “...” in an inbox, it’s too long.

This is the ‘meat’ of your email. Be informative about your subject matter but always driving towards a desired outcome.

Think, is this email worth reading? You’ve done the hard work by getting the email opened now it needs to be worth it. If the email isn’t worthy you shouldn’t send it. Sending sub-par content devalues past and future campaigns and can cause reputational damage.

The content should be an appropriate length and not invade on the reader's day. Drive the reader towards a ‘Call to action’ or desired outcome - otherwise why are you sending it? The tone should match your brand. Are you informative? Are you their friendly expert? Or are you cheeky and fun?

P.S. Think about a p.s. This is a final thought on the email and draws the eye. It’s your last chance to make an impression.

Calls to Action
This is your opportunity to get the recipient to do what you want!

Whether the prompted action is to enquire, land on your site, purchase, request information or make a download, it should be clear and easy. The ideal would make this process as frictionless as possible for the recipient. They should be left in no doubt what the next step is.

Logistically, when designing your email, you should include multiple opportunities for this to happen, including buttons and links within the body of the email.

The very best campaigns will incentivise the action. This does not necessarily have to be through discounts or traditional incentives. Be creative -- could you offer access to resources? If offering content, it should be valuable enough for the reader to part with something in order to read - even if it’s just their contact details.

Follow Up
So now you’ve hit send, you’ve got opens and clicks… what next? Email marketing should not be the end of the process -- it’s just the start.

Telemarketing follow-ups to bulk emails see a significant uplift in conversion when compared to isolated telemarketing or isolated email marketing.

The intelligent marketer includes tracking within the email links. UTM tracking and/or CANDDi code will give you a full picture of not only where your traffic is coming from but also the recipient's activity post-click.

Deciding if you will follow-up to all of the data or a targeted segment (perhaps openers and clickers) should be done as soon as practicable post-send. Approximately 75% of opens and clicks will occur within 2 hours of hitting send, with the remaining bulk within 24 hours. When you send your first email, ensure your follow up resource is in place and ready to go.

As we said earlier, there is value in a simple resend. This can almost double your campaign statistics with a new send time, subject line or getting through to someone new on a different day.

In Summary
Email marketing is not dead. Like we said, It’s a mixture of science and art -- but the above are things you can do to make your chances of success higher.

The most important thing is to focus on ensuring consistency. The subject line, body and call to action should all be linked. If the recipient goes to your landing page, the sentiment should be echoed here.

When you’re creating a campaign, think ‘would I be happy to receive this email?’

Have more questions? Contact us at hello@canddi.com or 0161 414 1080
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