Six data-driven tips for stronger email performance

Email marketing makes small business better. In fact, it surprises me how little emphasis a lot of business owners put on growing an email list and sending that list regular emails. I think many entrepreneurs get distracted by the attractional qualities of their website, social media and ads, and neglect to recognize the conversion power of a strong email marketing play. 

small business email marketing

Anyway, getting off my soapbox, because this blog is for the business owners who get email and want to strengthen their email marketing game. How do we make our emails more effective? We listen to what the data tells us.

Some of this will probably surprise you - data doesn’t always back up our preferences and untested opinions - so if any of these tips make you go, hmmm, really? I’d love to know why in the comments.

Here are a few ways to make your emails better:

Run your subject line through a subject line checker 

This one is easy-peasy and if you do anything differently after reading this blog, it should be this. Subject lines are critical to getting email opens and earning interest at first glance, so make sure they pass the test. I use this one but there are others you can find through a simple search. The subject line checker may not always feel human but it’ll help you compare options and learn what is preferable to a general audience. Or, it may simply give you confidence in a subject line you already know is strong.

Use emojis, first names and text-only

Okay, so this is a three-in-one tip and may not hold true for long as trends change, but the data shows emojis in subject lines get higher open rates, using someone’s first name in the greeting is gold and images at the top of the email deter readers. Yes, images may look nice in an email but audience behavior indicates it can have a negative effect. I think it’s because email is still a medium where text is expected and reigns supreme. When someone gets an email, they’re thinking; okay, just tell me what you can do for me. They’re not as likely to have patience for scrolling past a pretty picture to see what you want to tell them. This isn’t Pinterest or Instagram.

Send emails on these optimal days

Most reports I’ve found show the middle of the week being the best time to email. Some even get more specific and cite Tuesdays, but I’ve personally found Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to work just as well. In fact, I use this incredibly handy top performing email dates calendar by Worlddata.com to schedule emails at optimal times. Generally, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday beat the other days of the week, but there are factors that impact this on the regular. Holidays, seasonal events like summer vacations and back to school, audience culture, and big news days can all shift where people’s attention is and if it’s on their inbox or not. The best way for you to nail down your optimal times is to experiment with different times of the week and see what’s working best over time. 

Send emails at these optimal times

Most email marketing gurus recommend sending first thing in the morning or around lunch time which are both times that have worked well for me. Since emails are usually more content-heavy than social posts and often ask for the reader to continue exploring whatever it is they’re teasing such as a blog or website, you have to get it in front of your audience when they’re on their computer or phone and can spend a few minutes reading and following the trail you’ve set - usually during work or productivity hours. This is a different strategy than social. 

Make it mobile-friendly

This article on Hubspot says emails that display incorrectly on mobile may be deleted within three seconds. I gotta be honest, this part drives me nuts. Although digital marketing data screams at us to make everything better for mobile screens, many website and email platforms still have a ways to go. It may take a little extra time but do what you can to make your emails show up nicely on a phone. And pay attention to how much scrolling a phone user will have to do to get to any calls to action. What may seem accessible on a laptop or desktop screen is going to land in an entirely different location on a phone. 

Spend 15 minutes looking at your previous 6 email reports

Over time, your audience will tell you what works best for them. If you’re using a platform like MailChimp, Constant Contact, MailerLite, etc., to send emails, you have a goldmine of data reports to show you what’s working and what’s not for your audience. For the stronger open and click rates, take note of the strength of the subject line and the day and time you sent them. These three factors can make a world of difference once you pinpoint what is consistently performing well. 

Of course, if the content of your emails isn’t helpful or interesting to your readers, none of these tips will help. Ready for a professionally written email campaign that works? Schedule a free strategy session with me.