Monday Catch-up: Best Practices, Customer-Centric Emails and Special Offers in Subject Lines

Happy Monday, email marketers! Let’s kick off the new week with the latest email marketing news, shall we?

Study shows email marketers still have room to increase use of best practices

“Email marketing technology vendors might rejoice to read the Email Marketing Excellence Report 2017, a joint study between GetResponse and SmartInsights.com,” writes Jess Nelson at Email Marketing Daily. “The results suggest that email marketers still have plenty of room to grow in incorporating best practices into their email regimen.”

Nelson reports that 23 percent of the email marketers polled currently do not focus on any type of metric to evaluate email success. Those that do pay attention to metrics mainly track basic engagement rates, with 74 percent of respondents simply tracking email opens and clicks.

In addition, Nelson writes that personalization is still underused by email marketers. “Only a fifth of email marketers polled by GetResponse use some form of rules-based personalization in their campaigns, such as dynamic content, while 29 percent of respondents use two to five customer data points to personalize campaigns.”

More than half of the respondents indicated they do not incorporate any type of targeting or segmentation into their email campaigns.

The study results also show that testing is another area where many email marketers are lagging – in fact, more than half of those polled reported not doing any testing at all. “27 percent of email marketers test subject lines and 20 percent test alternative offers, but only 17% of marketers asserted that they continuously test and optimize their email marketing programs,” Nelson reports.

“The results of the study suggest that email marketers might see even better performance by incorporating more data-driven strategies into their campaigns,” he concludes.

More than 2,500 email marketers participated in the research.

Put customers first to ensure B2B email marketing success

Heather R. Morgan, writing at Business 2 Community, has a warning to email marketers about narcissism, which she suggests is the primary reason for the failure of many B2B email marketing messages.

“Contrary to what you might expect, sales emails should not be all about you and your company,” she writes. “Instead, you should put your prospective customers front-and-center when you plan a new campaign: What do they care about? What are their problems, and how can you solve them? How can you add value to their business?”

Morgan advises email marketers pitching businesses to focus on what’s relevant to prospects, rather than emphasizing the wonderful features and benefits of their products.

She highlights five “crimes and misdemeanors of narcissism” that B2B marketers should take pains to avoid. They are:

1. Making your opening about your company, not your customer

“Don’t waste valuable time and space by talking about yourself. Instead, start your email by addressing your prospect’s needs.”

2. Poor use of personalization

“Using merge data from your contact list to personalize a message is a powerful technique that you can work into most of your cold emails. But you should let the message guide you, adding these touches only where it feels natural and persuasive.”

3. Failing to ask questions

“Questions are more engaging than simple statements and more likely to prompt your prospect to take action.”

4. Including long product-feature lists

“Take one feature and explain how it addresses the pain point or value addressed at the beginning of the email.”

5. Using jargon and filler words

“It’s hard to keep readers engaged when your emails are bloated with jargon. Clichés are a sign of lazy writing, and they dilute your marketing message.”

“You have to understand that business customers don’t care about your product or solution,” she writes.

“They buy because they have problems they are trying to solve, and so the best way to sell is by trying to appeal to customers’ pain points and desires.”

Research indicates it’s best not to include special offers in subject lines

Although including a special offer in a subject line may like a good idea, email marketers should think twice before taking that step, according to the results of a recent study that Ayaz Nanji reports on at Marketing Profs.

“Emails from brands with special offers in their subject lines tend to underperform those without special offers in their subject lines,” Nanji writes.

The study, which was conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, looked at more than eight billion emails sent in the last quarter of 2016 across a wide range of industries.

“The researchers examined how email subject line performance is affected by six types of offers: Buy one, get X; percent off; dollar amount off; free shipping; free gift; and loyalty incentives,” Nanji writes.

“Across all industries, emails without explicit offers in their subject lines have 28 percent higher open rates than those that include offers. Click and CTO rates are 67 percent and 34 percent higher, respectively, for messages without explicit incentives in their subject lines.”