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May 18, 2010

9 Ways To Increase Your Email Clickthrough Rate

Like all forms of marketing, an email marketing campaign usually has a single end goal: the conversion of non-buyers into buyers. Buying decisions tend not to be made all at once, but rather in a series of small steps toward a commitment.

For an email marketer, the first step toward conversion is signing up for your mailing list. After that, it’s the click-through. With each of these actions, the subscriber makes a small behavioral commitment to the idea that you are someone who provides value to them. Below, you’ll find 9 ways to help your email subscribers click through the links in your messages.

1. Segment your lists for maximum relevance

People just don’t have time for mailings that aren’t relevant to them. If you send them a few messages that they can’t use, they’re likely to get impatient with you and either unsubscribe or click the spam button. Even if only part of your message is relevant to them, they’ll be less likely to find it and cilck through if they have to wade through parts that they have no use for. Modern email list managers such as ActiveCampaign’s Email Marketing make it easy to split your mailing list into smaller segments and customize the content based on which segment it’s being delivered to. This boost in relevancy can have a dramatic effect on your reader response.

2. Use a simple template that’s easy to scan

Yes, your messages should be attractive, but they should also be clean and simple. Use a layout that lets the reader easily find what they’re looking for without the distraction of navigation links and multiple panels.

3. Tantalize your readers with article previews

If your newsletter includes informative articles, consider moving those articles onto your main web site and simply including a teaser in the body of your message. This not only wins you the emotional benefit of the clickthrough, it also makes your email easier to scan so that readers can focus on the content that matters most to them.

4. Put your main call to action above the fold

If you’re sending a message that has a main purpose, make sure that purpose is the most prominent thing in it. At least half of your readers will only ever look at your message in their preview pane. Make sure that your main proposition and call to action are visible in that limited space.

5. Make the benefits of clicking obvious

If you don’t describe in detail what the reader has to gain by clicking on your link, they’re going to be a lot less likely to click on it. This is just plain common sense. Yet too often you’ll see email newsletters that offer up links without any clear description of what the reader has to gain by clicking them. Don’t just describe what the reader will find at the other end of your link, tell them what it will do for them.

6. Consistently deliver on your promises

An effective email campaign builds up a relationship with the subscriber. Over time, your readers should come to see you and your business as trustworthy and beneficial. You can build up that trust by simply delivering on any promises you make in your messages. Don’t promise a benefit unless you’re sure you can deliver it.

7. Set limitations to spur action

People naturally respond to scarcity and competition. You can put that to good use by limiting the offers you make to your subscribers. For example, you might make a special offer that is only valid for a day or two after your message goes out. You can also offer a special gift or a chance to win for the first 100 subscribers that respond.

8. Add a link in a P.S.

If someone makes it all the way through your message, they’re probably very interested in your work! But they may also have forgotten about an important call to action that occurred earlier in your message. It’s a good idea to add a “P.S.” after your signature line to remind your readers what you want them to do and why.

9. Split test!

Some tactics will work better than others depending on your industry and target demographics. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a mind-reader to figure out which work best. Simply write up a few different versions of your message, taking a different approach to inducing action in each version.

David Godot works for ActiveCampaign, makers of the industry-leading Email Marketing software package. Their software allows you to automatically test multiple versions of your mailings based on the actions you want readers to take. Once it has determined which version of your message is the most effective, the software will automatically send that version to the rest of your list. Also check out ActiveCampaign’s Survey Software package.