The average email user sends and receives over 115 emails per day, according to technology research firm Radicati. Many of your targeted sales leads and customers, however, send and receive far more. Without an effective email marketing strategy in place, your emails will get buried at the bottom of their in-box, or worse, sent straight to the trash folder.
Are your email open rates low? Is your business struggling to convert qualified leads via email? Email marketing is an important component to an effective inbound marketing strategy. Here’s how to get your email marketing program back on track.
1. Segment your list to boost lead generation and prevent high opt-out rates.
Don’t saturate customers with irrelevant information. Use list segmentation software to send targeted email campaigns based on customer preferences and past interactions. Otherwise, you run the risk of unintentionally spamming your customers with a barrage of messages they not only do not want to read, but are also irrelevant to their daily lives.
One way to reduce these problems is to use a double-opt in list. Subscribers first opt-in to receive emails by providing their email address. Next, they receive a welcome message in their in-box and click on that message to confirm their interest in receiving messages. Subscribers can also select the frequency of communication (e.g., a short daily message vs. a weekly digest). This double confirmation also helps weed out email addresses with typos and ensures that your email list quality is fresh.
2. Monitor overall opt-out rates.
On a campaign-by-campaign basis, your opt-out rates may be low. When you look at a month of email blasts, however, these rates could snowball to 10%, 20% or even more. Sending more emails does not equate with better lead generation. If your opt-out rates are starting to rise, re-evaluate your email strategy, paying close attention to communication frequency and content quality. Reduce frequency of communication (e.g., a monthly newsletter rather than a weekly digest email) and ensure that each message counts.
3. Check in with your email recipients.
Don’t assume that all customers want to hear from you via email – or that your regular pattern of emails is adding value to their lives. For example, if you send a weekly or monthly enewsletter, check in with your customers every few months to be sure that the enewsletter is still relevant and welcomed. Preferences change over time; as your customer’s needs evolve, your email campaigns need to evolve with them. If your standard emails are falling short, create a special campaign to re-engage these customers.
4. Clean up your email list.
After six to 12 months, most email lists become “stale” – people switch jobs, change email addresses, or simply start using a different account. Cleaning up your list and checking in with your recipients will ensure you have the most relevant email address for each customer so they can continue receiving your emails. How do you know that your list has “gone stale”? Check your recent bounce rate. A soft bounce occurs when a message is undeliverable because the recipient is temporarily unavailable. Your recipient may have a full in box, a vacation auto responder on, or the mail server may be down and unable to send the message. Soft bounces are not the end of the world, and for most businesses, their soft bounce rate is pretty low.
A high number of hard bounces, however, is a red flag. Hard bounce occurs when an email message is returned to your mail server because the message is permanently undeliverable. Since professional email addresses change frequently, keep your B2B email list fresh to keep the bounce rate low and ensure your messages are reaching their intended recipient.
Email marketing is an excellent way to generate and nurture leads. In fact, internet marketing software company Optify found that email is the most effective internet marketing tool for lead generation. By keeping your email list fresh and providing relevant, helpful content to your readers, you will drive business results.