The key to successful email marketing is analyzing each campaign to see how messages perform, and how they can be optimized to perform better. It’s an important but time-consuming task that often gets put on the back burner. Luckily, two leading marketing companies have crunched the numbers so you don’t have to.
MailChimp and Hubspot have analyzed 9.5 billion emails, providing an in-depth look at how people read email and what’s working in email marketing today. MailChimp’s Email Genome Project scans the messages its 600,000 users send, looking for ways to improve its service and curb spam. The results provide some surprising insights, as well as some actionable takeaways.
Here’s a rundown of the most interesting points:
- Format your emails for mobile. 81% of users reported reading email on mobile devices.
- Personalize your emails. Personalized emails using the recipient’s first name perform better than those that don’t. The same held true for using company names.
- Make emails visually appealing. 88% percent of people prefer HTML emails to plain text. And 65% preferred emails that contained mostly images.
- Don’t be afraid of links. More links in an email can slightly increase click-through rates (CTRs), as well as decrease unsubscribes.
- Segment your lists. No surprise here, but clickthrough rates improve when email lists are segmented to provide more relevant content to the right people at the right time.
- Know what day to send. What day is the best day to send your email? It turns out more recipients click-through an email on Saturdays and Sundays than any other day of the week (9-10% CTR). Fridays were second-best (5%), while emails sent on Tuesdays performed the worst (4%). Monday and Tuesday are also the biggest day for unsubscribes.
- Know what hour to send, too. What about the time of day? It may surprise you to learn that emails sent around 6 a.m. do better. Not surprisingly, 4 p.m. is the worst time to bother busy people with email.
- Send as many as it takes to get the job done. While it sounds counterintuitive, the more emails sent in a month, the less likely people are to unsubscribe. One email a month produced an unsubscribe rate of .7%, while 30 generated just .1%. But make sure your content is relevant to your audience, and offers are ones they really want.
- Content converts. Emails offering webinars, white papers, reports or downloads consistently outperformed those that don’t. Tell them it’s FREE and it works even better, by about 1.5%.
- Your button text matters. A simple “Click Here” beat out all other text in earning clicks. The next best was “Go,” followed by “Submit,” “Download” and “Register.”
While the huge number of emails studied makes this data compelling, it’s important to look at your own results, too. What works for the average email may not generate the same response with your lists or your industry.
But then again it might. The next time you’re preparing an email campaign, test some of the variables above, and you could see your click-throughs and conversions jump through the roof.
Some other blog posts on email marketing you may find interesting: