Email is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there. By now, it is known that email marketing is an essential part of a company’s marketing efforts. But sending quality emails is only a small part of impacting the bottom line.
Increasing profits require mastering the process. Increasing the open rate is just the first step. According to IBM’s 2016 Email Marketing Benchmark Report the average open rate is 21.8% across all industries. This is considerably low when taking into account the fact that most businesses send hundreds of emails every day. But even if they manage to increase the open rate by 30-50%, the real challenge is increasing the click-through rate or CTR.
Why is Click-Through Rate (CTR) Important?
The click-through rate determines how many consumers are visiting links shared through email campaigns. It is an crucial metric to monitor and improve. In general, the CTR is an important metric in many areas of online marketing strategy.
- For social media, it helps define the amount of visibility a post will get in the future.
- For banner ads, it indicates whether (or not) ads are resonating with the intended audience.
- For organic search results, it is a determinant whether a site is providing the content consumers are seeking.
In regards to email marketing, the CTR indicates if an email is capturing the attention of the audience, and inspiring them to take action. The higher the CTR, the higher the chance of converting a customer.
In turn, these conversions affect the bottom line. If a company has a 0% CTR despite a high open rate, the email campaign would still be considered a failure, because no one acted upon the content presented. IBM also reported an average CTR across all industries is 3.3%, which woulb be a good benchmark to measure against.
Here’s how to go about increasing profits by increasing click-through rates.
How to Improve Click-Through Rate
There are many factors that affect the click-through rate. From design, link placement, and overall email construction. Here are key ways to increase email click-through rates.
1) Better Subject Lines
For emails, the first thing one sees is the subject line. Capturing the reader’s attention is the first step to improve the CTR. Getting someone to open the email is the first step in the process.
Brevity is the name of the game to appeal to people opening emails on a mobile device. Mobile devices provide limited screen space, and their users have dramatically shortened attention spans.
Make sure to convey value to the reader in the subject line. Readers need to know how their life will benefit if they open the email.
Finally, personalization is the way to go. A case study in email marketing on MarketingSherpa found that in 7 different situations where personalized subject lines were tested against non-personal subject lines, open and clickthrough rates were an average of 17.36% higher for personalized subject lines in every test.
2) User-friendly Layouts
It’s important to design emails to appeal to how people naturally consume content on this medium. According to The Next Web, in web design, creators design content to follow an F shape for best readability. Make it easy on the reader’s eyes to follow along, with a layout that is visually appealing. When consumers use the least amount of energy to get the information they need, they’re more likely they are to act. Keep in mind the KISS method (i.e. Keep It Simple Stupid).
Make email sends easy to scan through. Most of the time, readers won’t read emails word for word but they’ll scan the email to find anything significant to them. As necessary, use bullet points, bold fonts, lists, visuals, and shorter paragraphs to format. Don’t forget to highlight important phrases and key points.
3) Responsive Design
Impact Branding and Design shares that over 36% of mobile subscribers use iPhones or iPads to read email. And Email Monday reported that, email opened on mobile devices has grown by 180% in the last three years. Having a mobile-responsive design increases open rates, and ultimately click-through rates. Luckily for you, Sendpulse offers great functionality for responsive email design.
4) Define Call-to-Action
No matter how short the email, there should always be at least one clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether that is to buy something, visit a certain webpage, donate money, or register for an event, the reader needs a clear indication of their next step.
User Testing Blog says that images (such as buttons) naturally lead to more clicks. The key is be simple yet persuasive. Text links can be used when there’s a need for a secondary CTA. But it is important to highlight the primary CTA, based on the purpose of the email – especially if there are multiple CTAs.
It is most ideal to focus on only one CTA. A recent Whirlpool case study showed how the company managed to increase their click-through rate by 42%, simply by reducing the total number of CTAs in email.
5) Consider the Construction of Email (Text or HTML)
The purpose of the email will help determine if it should be constructed as text or HTML. Text emails are primarily used as more personal way to send follow ups to customers. HTML emails are best for promotional emails or campaigns.According to Smart Insights, most marketers, especially from bigger companies tend to prefer HTML emails. If you are not familiar with HTML email templates, Sendpulse offers a library of free email templates.
It should be noted that many email providers do not display images by default. This will affect whether a CTA button would be displayed or not. If the recipient can’t see the CTA buttons, no matter how persuasive they are, the email will most likely go unread and deleted.
Increasing the bottom line is possible by leveraging one of the most effective marketing tools, email marketing. By writing better subject lines, crafting user-friendly layouts, utilizing responsive designs and providing clear calls-to-action, companies can improve their open rate and thus click-through rate.
Have you been increasing profits by increasing click-through rates? We’d love to hear about your successes! Tweet us at @SendPulseCom, and we’ll share our favorite ideas.