As marketers, we can sometimes get caught up in the bigger elements of what we do — campaign strategy or complex nurtures, for example. Sometimes, however, it is the tiniest of details where we can shine or fail.
For all the effort we put into defining our objectives, identifying the right target audience, and creating compelling content, our prospects and clients only see the final result: the email that shows up in their inbox, the landing page they arrive on, the form they fill out.
When you’re strapped for resources or time, here are a few things to look out for so you can make the most of what you’ve got:
- Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses
Maybe your team is tasked with email production, but you don’t have resources who are experts in marketing automation. Or maybe someone on your team knows how to create those emails, but QA isn’t their strong point. As a result, your emails often end up with typos, the wrong subject lines, poor segmentation, or other easily preventable mistakes.
Instead of ignoring these issues because you’re too busy with other things or because you believe your team member will improve over time, address these issues head on or enlist some expert outside help so your team can focus on its strengths.
- Put yourself in your contacts’ inbox
What are the types of emails that grab your attention from an otherwise oversaturated inbox? For me, the emails that discuss something that is relevant to me and that I’m interested in right now are the ones that get my limited attention. And even if I get an email about something that interests me, if it focuses on how it helps other job roles or industries, I probably won’t give it a second thought.
The little things, like email personalization, whether it’s “Dear First Name,” a personalized subject line, or a well targeted email, show me that a company is taking the time to know more about me and might be worth my time.
- Design for little screens vs. big screens
It’s important to keep in mind how your email or website will display on different devices. While we develop on desktops, most clients are now viewing emails on a mobile device. Many studies confirm this. A Litmus study found that mobile devices account for 54% of all email opens, and Gartner found that 74% of smartphone users check their email on their device.
A small screen displays content and imagery much differently than a large screen, so make sure your email layout, graphics, and even content are designed responsively.
- Don’t let a little gif measure your success
Many people put a lot of weight on open rates in their KPIs. Realistically, though, the open rate is probably the least helpful indicator of an email’s success because of the way it’s measured.
To record a potential open, a small, invisible image is placed in each email. If the recipient’s email client loads that image when the email is opened, the marketing automation software notes this as an open. But this technique isn’t 100% accurate. For example, a brief email preview when scrolling through your inbox could make it seem like the email was opened when it actually wasn’t. Or, if someone’s email client is set to block the automatic opening of images, the contact may open the email without the image loading.
Instead, look more closely at your CTR, or Click to Open Rate. This indicator is derived from unique clicks divided by unique opens. This statistic then returns not only who opened your email, but also who engaged with it.
- Look for the smaller trouble indicators in your data
It’s easy to gloss over your analytics in a rush to move onto the next campaign, but sometimes it’s the smaller indicators that can show something is amiss.
One of our clients produces a large number of webinars, and one email send had a very high number of unsubscribes. While their open rates and CTRs were decent, they were sending to a large percentage of their database. That, coupled with some database health issues, resulted in the large number of unsubscribes. So, while blasting an email to everyone in your database will give you a short-term spike in the number of opens, your bounces and unsubscribes will negatively spike along with it.
The better you segment your lists, the better results you’re going to have overall. In fact, in a study of 11,000 segmented campaigns, MailChimp found that opens and clicks were 14.31% and 100.95% higher, respectively, than non-segmented campaigns (and with 9.37% fewer unsubscribes).
Along the same lines, pay attention to how many emails you’re sending people on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. If you continually deluge your contacts’ inboxes, people will begin to unsubscribe even if the emails you’re sending them are relevant. Companies that are in tune with the details define how many touchpoints are the right amount for their audience.
- Pay attention to the bottom of your funnel
As marketers, we tend to spend a lot of time focused on bringing leads into the top of the funnel. Once a lead becomes a client, though, you don’t (or shouldn’t) stop engaging with them. And just like your unqualified suspects and prospects, your clients can grow weary of continuous, untargeted emails — or worse, no communication at all. Alienating your existing base of customers not only risks continued business with them, but also the loss of potential referrals. So, make sure you sweat the details for them, too.
See the forest AND the trees
The old saying goes, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Sometimes, though, we get so caught up in the forest that we can miss the trees altogether.
Despite all of the strategic marketing plans and complex nurture programs we have on tap, it’s the tiniest of details that can undermine all our hard work. By knowing what to look out for, you can be proactive and help ensure all that hard work pays off.
Kathy Gillman is a DemandGen Campaign Manager. As part of our Campaign Execution Services Team, she provides a strategic campaign framework for our clients to help them develop, implement and enforce workflow processes and execute dynamic campaigns. With a background in Web, Email Marketing Development, and Communications, she deeply cares about how campaigns resolve, measure and how they are interpreted by your potential clients.