You may be consistently adding followers to your Twitter account, posting new content on your website blog every few days, creating new content offers with associated CTAs, and landing pages each quarter, and the weekly podcast you launched a few months ago for the company is starting to get some attention, but although traffic seems to be up as well as leads generated over time, for some reason, none of this is translating into actual customers or revenue for the company, and your boss is starting to question this whole inbound marketing thing.
Although there are many reasons why a bottom of funnel marketing program could fail, the fact is that most marketers either hand off a generated lead to sales too soon or simply don’t have a bottom of funnel program in place.
In relay track and field, during a race, there is an area on the track where one runner hands off the baton to the other. In this area, both runners are running at high intensity so that the team as a whole does not lose momentum and ultimately lose the race. In your marketing funnel if the race is your lead then this area would be the Lead Nurturing program (or Drip Campaign).
This is the program that is in place to take a generated lead and nurture them into a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), which is a lead that marketing and sales have decided collaboratively show signs that they are high value (or ready to talk to sales). Although this nurturing program can and should be done on multiple platforms, through remarketing/targeting and personalization, Email is amongst the most effective.
Think about this: according to a survey done by McKinsey & Co., email marketing is nearly 40 times more effective at gaining new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.
And According to Pardot, 20% of marketers say that their business’ primary revenue source is directly linked to email operations.
While the exact numbers might differ depending on your market, niche, customer base, and social media presence, the conclusion remains the same: email marketing is one of the most powerful channels in turning leads into actual customers.
Although there are a lot of tactics you can do in your lead nurturing program, the longer it takes for someone to open your emails the longer your sales cycle will be, and at that point, it really doesn’t matter how clever your emails are. Also, if your click through rate is really bad, you may lose your window and have to resort to a re-engagement lead nurturing program, which will inevitably extend your sales cycle even longer.
With that in mind, here are 3 tactics to getting a higher click-through-rate on your emails.
1. Delete Inactive Subscribers
Although the length of every nurturing program is different, depending on the industry and niche, if you have 800 leads that you’re nurturing and they converted in the last month or two then great, but if they were generated throughout the whole year, then not so great. This will hurt you more than help you. That’s because your click-through-rate will be very low due to the older leads not clicking through. The reason this is important is that Google and other email service providers will take your low click-through rate as a signal that your emails could be spam. On average most email lists will decay by 25% each year.
So, if a subscriber is not opening your email, either get the conversation going again, by sending them personalized email, engaging with them on social media or calling them to tell them about a new ebook that you’ll be emailing them right after you hang up the phone with them, but if none of that works, get rid of them!
2. Build an Email List of the Right Subscribers
If you’ve been doing content marketing or inbound for any amount of time, then you know that buyer personas are at the core of everything we do. If you’re building the wrong audience, you’re going to end up with an audience with a really low engagement rate, and as such your emails may end up in spam as explained above.
Here’s a scenario, your boss asks you to run a Facebook or LinkedIn promotion, your goal is to generate 250 leads from the promotion in the next three weeks. You ask users to enter their emails to win an iPad; you figure since you’ve directed the promotion at an audience that might be interested like an industry LinkedIn group, then this promotion is on point, a week goes by, and you and your boss are ecstatic that through this promotion you generated 1,500 emails! Success… right? Wrong! Sure there could be a few emails in there that could potentially be high-quality leads, but the problem is that you’ve diluted your list with people that are just interested in the iPad, and this could hurt your email open rate.
First, nail down your ideal customer profile.
The problem is that everyone wants an iPad, so the number of emails generated alone does not indicate interest into your company or product it only shows interest into that of the iPad. Instead, by understanding your buyer personas, you can offer something very specific to them like a free “insert industry term” assessment or something that makes sense for your solution. This will lead to a higher quality list and a much higher email click-through-rate.
- Demographics (who your customer is): age, gender, income, marital status, employment status, etc.
- Geography (where your customer lives and in what environment): state, county, and neighbourhood, population density (e.g., urban, suburban, rural)
- Psychographics (why your customers will buy): personality, preferences, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, values, challenges/problems, what keeps them up at night, etc.
Then, from there, every promotion, landing page or piece of content you create should be geared to them only! Don’t give away an iPad unless you sell or repair iPads.
Your landing pages and CTAs should also be as targeted as possible. If your product is unisex and can work for any age, but your buyer persona is a woman age 24-35, don’t have a picture of a senior man on your landing page, even if the landing page converts better for some reason with the picture of the senior man.
You don’t want to be all things to all people, not just because it makes better business sense to target but because from an email perspective, your message will be much more personalize and resonate much better, and as such your email will get a better open rate, which will lead to a much more effective lead nurturing program and ultimately shorter sales cycle.
3. Segment your Email List According to the Purpose of Your Email Campaign
Your visitors are telling you a story through their actions, as marketers it’s our job to interpret that story and give the user what they want when they want it.
This one takes a bit of software to accomplish, the further down in the funnel the user is the more manual this could be, but what I’m talking about here is high-level top of the funnel. At the very least you’ll need some sort of analytics software which is tied to a CRM, or mailing list.
Here’s a scenario, let’s say your company offers three solutions and all of the content on your website that a visitor is viewing is around one of those solutions, does it make sense to email that user information on the other solutions that they did not show any interest in? Nope!
The second factor is lifecycle stage. That same visitor in the scenario above has just converted on your website, but converted by downloading a top of funnel “how to” guide, does it make sense to send them emails about case studies when they don’t even know who you are or what you do? Nope!
A less complicated strategy and at the very least you should be segmenting into leads, customers and advocates/ promoters, in these lifecycle stages your business can use email marketing to:
- Promote awareness about specific products or services
- Drive traffic to a landing page
- Convert leads into customers
- YKeep in touch with previous customers
- Promote repeat business or referrals
Determining the purpose of each campaign will guide the tone, style, and direction of your content… as well as who ends up receiving the emails.
You wouldn’t send the same messages to a new lead that you’re trying to land a meeting with as you would to a returning patient who has been with your company for a year. That would only alienate the readers who feel that your emails aren’t relevant to them.
Therefore, every time you start a new campaign, first determine your purpose. Then, segment your email list by demographic, psychographic, geography, and position in the sales cycle so you are only sending to appropriate groups of people.
4. Test Your Subject Line, Then Follow Through With Your Body
Your subject line is the single most important part of your email, and it has one purpose, to get the click!
One study by the Direct Marketing Association found that more than 50% of all revenue generated by the surveyed marketers arose from segmented and targeted emails. That’s the power of developing engaging content that is highly relevant to recipients, starting with an appealing subject line.
Of all the content included in an email, the subject line is among the most important. The Radicati Group, Inc. estimates that the average adult sent and received 123 emails per day in 2016. That’s a lot of inbox clutter, making it incredibly difficult to stand out without a very eye-catching subject line.
But what makes one subject line more appealing than another? Take a look at just a few of the best and worst performing subject lines, as compiled by MailChimp.
You may notice a trend—the worst subject lines sound salesy and intrusive. The best, on the other hand, may not be flashy but they do describe exactly what recipients will find once they click to open. The bottom line (according to MailChimp):
“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines ‘tell’ what’s inside, and the worst subject lines ‘sell’ what’s inside.”
That’s it. And once recipients bite on a delicious subject line, wowing them with your body copy helps you close the deal.
You not only want to overdeliver on what was promised in the subject line in order to keep readers happy, but you also need to ensure that your click-through rate is just as strong as your open rate. This will promote engagement with your brand and accomplish your email marketing goals, such as funneling traffic to a landing page.
The more concise, the better… that’s the rule when it comes to crafting great body copy that promotes recipients to continue reading and then engage. Keep it friendly and conversational, of course, but don’t make readers work to uncover the value of your email. Take this email from Neil Patel of Quick Sprout:
In just a few sentences, readers understand why Neil is emailing them—to share step-by-step Pinterest marketing strategies in order to drive more sales for their businesses. Short, direct, informative.
Neil later goes on to feature a call to action—a hyperlink labelled “Go here to listen to the latest episode of Marketing School.” Nothing fancy, but you can bet that readers will be streaming to that landing page because he…
- Targeted this email to a specific segment of his list
- Provided upfront value using concise language
- Prompted readers to act and capitalize on the offer
It’s a formula for success that will have you seeing high click-through rates for your email campaigns, too.
Email Marketing: A Top Priority for Successful Businesses
While you have a lot of options when it comes to inbound marketing, from social media marketing to blogging, email marketing is a must-do for greater sales. But we get it—maybe you’re too busy to follow the three steps above. At Frozen Lemon Media, we offer comprehensive marketing and brand development services, so you can focus less on marketing and more on serving the customers that make your business great.