How to Increase Email Conversion Rates

email conversion

cash-register by kareszzz on pixabay, public domain

Have you ever noticed that some emails get more sales than others? Sometimes you get high open rates, and lots of clicks. Other emails seem to fall flat. What’s the difference? Is there anything you can do to increase email conversion rates?

Can you “train” people to buy more? Yes, you can. Well, not train exactly, but check, test, and measure what you’re sending the people on your list. Then adjust your marketing tactics accordingly.

How good is your email list?

The first thing to check is the quality of your list. Are you getting lots of bounces (undeliverable emails)? Check with your email service provider to see why.   The best email providers  have high deliverability rates.  The more emails get through, the better your chances of getting a conversion (or a sale).

Where did the names come from?  Did you buy a list from somebody? Exchange lists?  Is it a rented list?  Or a list you built yourself?  Your own subscribers should be more receptive to your offers, and the data should be “cleaner” (meaning fewer bad addresses, fewer bounces, and better deliverability).

Check your message for spam triggers

Run your messages through a spam checker before you send them.  You probably know that certain words can trip filters, but so can too many images.  People can’t respond to your email if they don’t get it.

Is the email helpful to your audience?

Is the email (and the offers in it) relevant to your subscribers?  Are they still interested in what you have to say?  If a large portion of your list is ignoring you, send everyone an email asking them to confirm that they still want to get your messages.  Cutting your list can be scary, but a smaller, responsive list will earn more (and have a better ROI) than a larger, unfocused one.

Work on your subject lines

Subject lines are like headlines, they’ve got to grab attention.  If they’re not interesting, they won’t get opened.  The best way to find out is to test them against each other.  The best subject lines will get more opens, more clicks, and more conversions (sales or opt-ins).

Check the frequency of your emails

How often do you send emails?  Is it more (or less) often than promised?  A barrage of email can turn people off (unless it’s extremely relevant).  Sending fewer emails may get better results.

Change the wording of your offers

If it’s a sales email, the wording of the offer can change how people respond.  Test different ways of saying the same thing. Do you get a better response to your deal of the day if it’s 50% off a $200 product? Or if it’s $100 less?  The final cost is the same in both examples, but readers will respond to them differently.

Use multiple links

Spread the links you want readers to click on throughout the email. Some readers are ready to commit right away, but others will need more details and information before pushing the button. When you get the results back from your campaign, see which email link had the most clicks.

Do You Have These Common Email Marketing Questions?

email questions

Image via Wikipedia

Email marketing can seem a bit daunting when you first start out. You probably have lots of questions about how well you’re doing, where to get lists (especially if you don’t already have one), and what exactly a split test is.

Here are some common questions and answers, plus some useful links for more information.

Q: Where can I find an accurate report on email open rates?

A: Mailermailer publishes an email marketing metrics report each year. You can get the latest email open rate report here.

Q: Where can I find a reliable email list broker or seller?

A: There are plenty of list brokers – and places to buy email lists. I would recommend sticking with newsletters or (either a co-op arrangement or an ad), rather than trying to buy a list. You know how I feel about buying email lists.

Q: How big should my list be?

A: As big as it needs to be to support you. People get hung up on size. The size of your list isn’t as important as whether you’re offering relevant information, to people who asked for it, and who know, like, and trust you enough to buy from you.

Q: What response rate will I get to my emails?

A: This is one of the most frequently asked questions! The answer is: it will depend. I know, but there are a gazillion factors involved (the quality of the list, the subject line, the product, the offer, the price, even the time of day). The best way to tell is to a) keep track of what you did before (which should give you a general idea what to expect) and b) run split-tests

Q: What’s a split test?

A: A split test (sometimes called an A/B split) is a way to see which of two versions of something works better. You can do this with email, a web page, or mail. The answers can help you write better copy without writing a word

Q: How often should I email?

A: Another depends question. Spell out in advance (before people sign up). If you change the frequency, announce it. Daily Candy mails daily; HARO mails three times a day. The important thing is to pick a schedule and stick with it.  If you change it, let your readers know in advance.

Email Marketing Response Rates and Car Mileage

A plug-in, flex-fuel hybrid car. It has a 40-m...

Image via Wikipedia

Nearly every week, I get asked, or I see someone ask, “What email marketing response rate can I expect to get?” Or, “How many clickthroughs should I see in my email campaigns?.”

It’s perfectly OK to want to know how you measure up, or whether your rates are “good” or “bad.” The truth is, it depends.

Your mileage may vary

The mileage you get on your car will vary based on what sort of car you have, how fast you drive, the condition of your brakes, whether you drive in the city or on the highway, and many other factors.

Something similar happens with email marketing. Each campaign, and each offer, is different. Some campaigns get better results during the work week, or even on a particular day or time of day.  Others perform better over the weekend when visitors have more leisure time.

One company’s campaigns might do well with a conversion rate of 4%.  Another business might boast conversion rates of 10%.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that the second business is earning more money.  The first one might be selling a more expensive product.  The second could be measuring based on open rates, rather than an actual sale.

Why conversion rates differ

Conversion rates can go up or down based on a hundred different variables.  For example, a Star Wars Halloween mask, will sell more readily (and quickly) than an industrial pump. The mask is cheap, simple, and doesn’t require a drawn-out research, bidding, or procurement process.  The pump probably does.

A free offer will get more responses than an offer that costs money. There’s no obligation and no monetary risk involved.

Responses can also differ based on the copy, the benefits of the product, the format, the quality of your offer, how will it fits your audience’s needs, and a hundred other factors.

It can even vary based on how you count conversions. Is a conversion an open? a click? an inquiry? or a sale?

Yes, you can compare your rates

There are lots of general email marketing reports showing breakdowns by industry, time of day, and day of the week.  They show open rates, click-through rates, deliverability (how many messages get where they’re supposed to go), conversion rates (how many people fill out your lead generation form or buy your product or ask for a meeting – whatever the purpose of the email is). Here’s the latest email marketing metrics report from Mailer Mailer. These reports can be useful to give you a general idea of how your business compares to others in your industry.  Just apply the appropriate quantity of salt when you look at them.

Your results are what matters

It’s nice to know how other people are doing, and reports are great as a general guide.  What really matters is how you’re doing.  Compare  your campaigns against each other.

Which emails had the highest open rates?  Which ones got the most clicks?  Have you tried to write  better headlines (subject lines)? Or testing one headline against another?

Watch your deliverability statistics and your unsubscribe rates.  If you have a large number of people leaving your list, find out why people are unsubscribing from your emails.

What Email Response Rate Will You Get?

The Crystal Ball

Image via Wikipedia

If I ever write a book on email marketing and email response rates (oh, wait I did, ahem, another book) it might be called “It depends.”

What’s a good email response rate?

It depends.

How many people will click?

It depends.

How many people will open it?

It depends.

Same for pop-up conversion, signups to newsletters, direct mail, AdWords….

It depends.

There are many variables that can affect your email response rate: the list quality, the offer, the bounce rate, deliverability, copy, call to action, time of day, day of the week, how often you email, your industry, and many other factors.

Out of these, the three with the biggest impact are:

Your email marketing list

The quality of the  list you use is the single biggest factor, whether you are using email, snail mail, advertising on TV, or putting an ad in a magazine.  There are several factors to consider when choosing an outside list, or sending an email using your own in-house list.

First, how clean is it?  Have you updated the list regularly?  That means removing addresses that regularly bounce, people who have unsubscribed, or people who simply haven’t open your emails in a while (say six months  to a year).

Second, how well do the names on that list fit your ideal customer profile?  Are they the right demographic?  Does everyone on your list have an interest in this particular offer? Or, would it be better to send it to only a portion of your list?

Third, is it your own list? Or a list you rented elsewhere?  Your own list should get better results.

The offer

Is your offer any good? An offer doesn’t necessarily have to be a “sale” or a discount.  It can be a free ebook, a paid consultation, or an app.  It’s simply whatever the person responding gets in return for a response.

How well does your offer fit your target audience? Does it solve a big problem that they have?

Is the offer free free? Or is it paid?  How expensive is it?  Free offers will generally get a higher response rate, than something that costs money.  And, the more expensive, the lower the response rate (but possibly the higher the revenue).

Is the offer exclusive or new?  Or is it something that is common everywhere?  New, limited edition, or exclusive products will attract more people, more interest, and get higher response rates.

The creative

By creative, I mean everything the person reading your email sees.  That includes the words, the typeface, the layout, the subject line, any photos or illustrations, buttons, button text, and the call to action.  Changing the colors, altering the text on the buttons, testing subject lines, or from lines, and switching your calls to action can all have an effect on your response rates.  Which will work best will also depend on your audience and your particular products and industries.

A few general rules for improving the response rate from your creative:

  • Make the call to action buttons a different color than the rest of the website.  This will help them stand out.
  • Use ‘you” and “your” more frequently than “me”, “my” or “our”
  • The “from” line should come from a real person
  • Send any questions or replies to a monitored email box (and answer them)

Every time you send an email, track it, monitor the results, and analyze what happened.  Did emails sent on Tuesday do better than those sent on Monday?  Did you get more replies when you changed your offer to $5 off instead of 10% off? How many bounces did you get?  If your audience is big enough, test your copy and offers on a small portion of your list to see which does better. Once you have results, send the winning option to the rest of your list.


5 Ways to Turbo Charge Your Email Marketing

improve email response ratesEmail is quick, easy, and fairly cheap. Done right, it’s a great way to get more leads and more sales. Done wrong, you can annoy your customers or get labeled a spammer.

Here are five ways to get improve your email response rates.

1. Tweak your landing page

If you don’t have one, build one.  You want a dedicated page built specifically to match your offer.  The headline, colors, layout, and typeface should all be consistent with your email’s look and feel.

Then, change the colors of the headlines, the type, or the buttons. Move the buttons around and experiment with the number of fields in your forms. Test different button text to see which gets the highest response.

2. Change the price

This doesn’t just mean the actual amount, but how you present it.  The way you state the cost can make a big difference in how people react (and how much they buy). Test different versions such as $500 upfront in a single payment, or two payments of $250 each.  Or, try offering a $20 savings against 10% off.  Even if it works out to the same final price, the response rate is likely to be different.

Percentages are generally harder to figure out. Try a dollars-off offer instead. Or, test them against each other to see which performs better.

3. Pre-sell the offer

Use the text of your email to describe exactly why you’re sending your email. Tell your readers what they’ll get, and why they will want to have it.  Make them eager to learn more, even before they click through to the landing page.

4. Make it urgent

Explain why your readers should click right now, rather than waiting, to get your offer.  You can do this by explaining that you can only take X number of customers or that the early-bird price ends soon.  Just make the reason legitimate, such as a limited print edition or the physical size of a room.  Nobody runs out of e-books.

5. Write better bullets

Make them short, compelling, and easy to scan.  Put the benefit at the beginning, and use strong words with built-in benefits.  Words such as “get”, “best”, “worst” (yes worst), or numerals. Or ask a question that your readers will want to answer “yes” to.  Marketing to people who want to lose weight?  Tell them they can “get fit in 20 minutes a day.” If you’re selling a guide for urban gardeners, point out the list of “local garden centers that deliver.”