Emails are a useful and direct way for B2B organizations to share information with customers and prospects and can be effectively used to market products/services, share new content, announce the latest company news, promote upcoming events and much more. However, with so many businesses using email as a marketing tool, more often than not, inboxes are overloaded and emails go unopened and unseen.
Are your email marketing efforts effective? Analyzing email metrics can help your business determine how well your emails are performing. Common email performance metrics include looking at open rate, bounce rate and click-through-rate (CTR).
CTR is considered one of the best indicators for your email performance as it focuses on those that did open your email and what sparked their interest or persuaded them to find out more. Clicks on certain types or topics of content can indicate what your audience wants to know more about, better tailoring your content creating efforts.
Email Performance Metrics
First, you should always benchmark how your email performance is stacking up to with industry trends. Below are the technology industry email averages from a recent Constant Contact study:
- Open rate 10.45%
- Bounce rate 9.10%
- CTR 5.73%
- Unsubscribe 0.13%
As you can see in this example, even with an industry average open rate of almost 11%, the CTR is just over half of that. Say your email list is 500 people, by this average, 52 people will open your email, and only about 3 people will actually click on a call-to-action or link.
It is also important to note that there are many factors that can impact these rates, including industry, database health, email content and send times. Track your email performance by a per-send basis so that you can begin to create more personalized benchmarks that apply more directly to your email campaigns.
And don’t get discouraged yet! These five B2B email marketing tips and best practices can help improve your CTR and overall email performance:
1. Align your email with your brand and website
Consistency and coherence are the name of the game when your team sends out marketing emails. Your emails are a direct representation of your branding and messaging, and should clearly convey both. Brand consistency is an important aspect of gaining recognition as a reliable business and will ultimately help build trust that your emails will deliver value.
Focus the layout of your emails to include only what is necessary. Extra images and “fluff” can be distracting and draws attention away from the intended purpose of your email campaign.
Once a recipient opens your email, the goal is to get them to click on the call-to-action (CTA) included in your email. The path your audience takes from opening the email to clicking a CTA button or link to arriving at a landing page on your website should be brand aligned and consistent. The layout of your email should be a product of your website design and should emulate your brand.
Just like your website already is (or should be!), make sure your emails are also optimized for mobile viewing. Over 50% of emails are opened on a mobile device, and this is estimated to increase as technology continues to develop. Your email’s user experience should transition seamlessly to your website, where people can access more information about your business.
2. Make CTAs the focus of the email
Before you even begin writing content for your email, lay out what call-to-actions and content you plan on including. Highlight one primary CTA that you wish to emphasize in your email and give your recipient multiple opportunities to take that action.
These opportunities could be a mix of button, image or a URL link (note: do not solely rely on images for your CTA, if the images are not downloaded, the CTA would not be visible).
3. Keep copy short and to the point
Less is more with email copy, so keep the focus on what you want the recipient to do with the content you are giving them. Rather than including long paragraphs, shorten big sections of text into bullet lists and 1-2 sentence long paragraphs.
Email copy should be a high-level overview that provides a quick introduction to your content offering and the value it provides. Enough to draw in your recipient to read more, but not so much that they glance at it and decide they don’t have time to read it.
4. Develop and follow a familiar format
Your email messaging strategy should be clear, simple and easy for your recipient to identify and follow.
If you haven’t already, create an email template so that certain types of content always live in the same sections. This will give your recipients a structure to always expect in your email sends, which will help your emails become more easily digestible. People like to know what to expect, and when they see something familiar they follow along better.
5. Include a P.S. section for more information
While your primary CTA should be the focus of your email, it is always fun to give a little extra to your recipients. Adding a P.S. section can give your email a playful spin, while still staying true to your business persona and goals.
A P.S. section is a good place to include a link to social sharing options, an upcoming event or even a “bonus” article or blog. Whatever you decide to use this section for, keep it consistent with the same type of content, but change up the copy each time.
An example using social sharing options would be to automatically link your primary CTA to a pre-populated post that can be directly shared on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Share Link Generator will help you create a link to embed in your email or social buttons. This helps to keep the content of your email fresh, and the structure of your email consistent. The best of both worlds!
Make your emails work for you, even after you’ve sent them
Email marketing, while an easy way to reach out to your audience, only works when done properly. Tracking email opens and clicks will give you a big picture view of how people are receiving your message, and provide you with valuable insight into how to improve your overall performance. Notice what makes your recipients click for more, and that will give you a good indication about what content they’re seeking. Use these email best practices to help you achieve your email marketing performance goals.
P.S. For more email campaign tips and best practices, check out Do You Have the Ingredients to Whip Up a Great Email? Enjoy!