Email Marketing Best Practice Part 2

email 2

Welcome back to part 2 of my email marketing tips!  If you missed part one, you can still take a look at it here.

Last week we covered how to analyse the numbers, and getting your head round this should give you a good starting point of how to improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

In addition to your thinking, here are some tips for you:

When is the best time to send your emails?

The answer to this is not when you get round to doing it!  There are a number of studies available on the web which will tell you the best time to send your emails.  These are good for a starting point, but you should be able to spot a trend after sending just a few emails out – your open and click rates will be better on certain days and at certain times.  Think of where the consumer will be when they receive your email – are they likely to be open to suggestions?  The best time will differ depending on if your emails are B2B or B2C and will change depending on your product or service, so your numbers are the most powerful here.

How often should I send emails?

Again, this will depend on whether you are B2B, B2C and what you are trying to persuade the recipient to do.  Frequency should be centred upon the recipient’s behaviour.  For example, if your recipients tend to use your product twice per month, then fortnightly emails are probably going to be the right frequency.

What should I write in the emails?

Firstly, you need to look at your subject line – it needs to be enticing enough for the recipient to actually open the email.  Once they have opened it, your content will be under scrutiny.  Using pictures is visually engaging, but remember that images are often blocked by email providers for security reasons.  If they are blocked, the alternate text of the image will be shown, so make this enticing too – one of the best examples I have seen was an alternate text that read “if you click enable images, you will see our beautiful products” – superb!  Also, consider what you want the recipient to do – the call to action is crucial in email marketing and should be above the fold (i.e. don’t need to page down to see it) and very clear.

What device are people using to view my emails?

You should consider how the recipient views your email.  If they are viewing it on a mobile, you need to make the content very simple and to the point, use large images and render specifically for mobile devices.  Most email marketing providers will tell you how many recipients use mobiles to open your emails, so you should optimise for mobile once this proportion starts getting significant.

Test Test Test!

One of the joys of email marketing is that you can see what impact your emails are having.  So, feel free to push the boundaries a bit!  Test the length and content of your subject line to see what impact this has on your open rate, test different images to see the impact on clicks.

That’s it for my email marketing tips.  I really hope that you enjoyed them and if you have an email gem that I have missed, please share it – leave a comment and let me know!

Web UX

The Guide to Web UX

 The Guide to Web UX

The phrase Web UX (User Experience) seems to be one wrapped in mystery.  What exactly is it?  How does it affect my website?  How do I do it?

Well, it is simply improving the website experience for the user – and it’s not as complicated as you’d think to do.  The basics are things that most people can do themselves.  Here are the ten things to bear in mind when embarking on a web user experience project:

1) You are an internet user – so make yourself the first tester and be honest!  If something feels a little clunky to you on your own website, it will probably feel very clunky to a user, so look at changing it

2) Get a good mix of people to test your site out – make it reflective of your audience.  If you are selling heavy metal merchandise, don’t ask your granny to test it (unless she is a huge Metallica fan)

3) Keep the sample size sensible – many writers recommend no more than 5 testers.  Any more than 10 testers and the opinions will start to become conflicting, and if you are paying then the cost will start to get pretty high

4) What is my website objective – bear this in mind when you are measuring the experience.  Most sites will benefit from users spending more time on site, but not all – for example, if your site is there to provide information, having small amounts of time onsite would mean your users are finding their information quickly, not necessarily a bad thing

5) Speed is of the essence – in the digital age, people will rarely spend a lot of time looking for the answer to their question.  So make sure that you have easy navigation to enable them to find it as quickly as possible – or risk losing the user to a competitor

6) Structure the site with the user’s hierarchy – how to internet users organise your product / service in their head?  E.g. for shoes, do they think style, colour, price or brand first?  An example of an industry which consistently gets this wrong is cash and carries – they organise their depots by manufacturer (e.g. Unilever), but retailers organise by product type (e.g. household cleaner)

7) Invest in a designer – unless you are a designer, you are going to need one to optimise your site

8) Every page is a landing page – make sure that the pages look consistent, because every page on your site is a potential landing page.  For example, if you want to generate leads, have an enquiry form loaded onto every page on your website to maximise the chances of an enquiry

9) Copywriting is important – keep it punchy, to the point and unambiguous

10) Keep reviewing – user experience testing is a journey, not a destination, so keep measuring, testing and amending

What are your tips for web user experience projects?  Leave a comment and let me know!