Inbox Zero is good news for marketers. It’s hard to believe isn’t it? But think about it like this - all emails now have their own sections. Marketing emails will no longer fade into insignificance. These types of emails will now have their own space, which people can go to at their own time. Not only that, recipients will be less likely to unsubscribe from emails because they are no longer in their primary inbox but kept neat and tidy in another section of their inbox.
It also helps if you know what kind of emails to send. So how can email marketers win at inbox zero?
The subject line. Research from Emailcenter’s latest whitepaper The Journey of Email Marketing found that from 2011 to 2014, open rates for emails with subject line lengths from 2-9 words saw a consistent year on year improvement. So what this tells us is, rather than the length of the subject being the all important make or break factor, the subject length isn’t really the make or break factor. What matters more is that the subject line is clear and succinct. Subject lines need to be specific for your industry and your audience and need careful consideration. You don’t have to worry about being too clever here, simply state what it is in the email in a clear concise way to encourage those who are interested in your offering to open.
The use of 'buzzwords'. Mailchimp recently conducted a study looking at the effectiveness of subject lines and found that there are four words that marketers need to try and avoid in their subject lines. The following words should be avoided as they have a negative effect on open rates as it screams “spam” to your recipient!
- Percent off
The length. Edit your emails rigorously. Long emails can destroy your recipients interest. It’s extremely easy to overcomplicate an email and make it longer than it needs to be but don’t waste your time when you don’t need to. It might seem like we are stating the obvious, but compelling and relevant content is essential for your email strategy. If your content isn’t relevant, your subscribers are more than likely to lose interest in your emails and begin to ignore or unsubscribe to them.
Behaviour based emails. Automated behaviour based emails have been known to produce open rates as high as 70%, almost four times the general open rates seen in 2014. For email marketers to succeed in the world of Inbox Zero, they need to send more individualised emails based on customer’s interests, as well as individually timed and triggered emails. Triggered emails are not only segmented but they are also sent in a timely manner, which ensures they are relevant to the subscriber, so everyone’s a winner!
It’s also important to remember that one size does NOT fit all! You need to build relationships with your subscribers, which will in turn allow you to personalise content to meet their individual interests and needs. Personalisation is the hot topic in the email world nowadays. Consumers no longer tolerate a generic relationship with their brand. They want content that is relevant to them.
The From Name. Add a first name into the from name field. This often has more influence for open rates than the subject line, so it’s definitely worth doing as it can add much more value to your email. At Emailcenter, we recommend using a ‘First name - company name’ combination which generally gets 20-25% more opens. Not only that, keeping a consistent From address will keep consistency in the recipient’s inbox, which helps avoid your email being placed in the dreaded junk mail folder.
Mobile friendly. It’s more important than ever that you are aware of how your email is displayed on smartphones and tablets and you need to make sure it’s optimised for these devices. Mobile device usage is growing every single year and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. In fact, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016 so it’s absolutely essential that emails are responsive and optimised for small screen sizes. To do this you can use a single column template, have one call-to-action, use larger text and overall just be as succinct as possible.
Text to image ratio. Aim for a text to image ratio of 60/40. Even though it may not affect your deliverability, the 60/40 rule is a good balance to aim for. Yes, it’s crucial that your email is nicely formatted and eye-catching but sadly you can’t just ditch the text and send image only emails. There needs to be sufficient text in the email to grab the attention of the recipient and explain what the email is about.
Test before you send. As an email marketer, you should test all elements of your campaign to ensure your emails are delivered error free and render correctly in the inbox. There are lots of different performance related tests to help you get the most out of your campaigns, such as multivariate testing and split (A:B) testing, but if you're not sure where to start, try testing the following:
- Subject line
- From name
We are not the first to say it, but Inbox Zero really is like the holy grail of the digital world. You may think inbox zero has been introduced to prevent your email campaigns from reaching recipients inboxes, but the truth is, Inbox zero is ultimately there to help block the billions of spam messages that are sent daily. Inbox Zero is not going anywhere. As email marketers, we just need to learn to win at it. As long as you follow the guidelines above, you should still enjoy high deliverability rates and a great return from your email marketing efforts - inbox zero or no inbox zero.
Are you in need of an email marketing platform in order to engage with your subscribers via automated, relevant and highly targeted email campaigns? Then click here to learn more about Emailcenter and our email marketing services.