Yup we’re still talking about email. Here’s what we’ve covered so far.

Today we’re going to talk about how we increase the conversions in our email campaigns.


What’s a good conversion?

First off what is a good conversion rate for email? According to MailChimp it can depend a bit on your industry. A good ‘rule of thumb’ for a while is somewhere between 1 – 5% of the people that get your email will actually click on something in it.

Currently my opens are around 39% and my click through rate is 10% which is high but has actually come down as I’ve built my email list more. As I’ve cast my net wider I’ve been pulling in a few more people that aren’t super fans of my content.

That’s not technically a bad thing since it’s still more people and overall more people are interacting with my sites, but it can feel a bit like a fail as your clicks and opens go down.

Another thing to remember is that all conversions aren’t the same. Is it better to have 2.5% conversions on a $.99 product or 1% on a $900 product?

You’re going to make much more with that 1% conversion. So don’t just look at the raw number figure out which type of conversion is best for you.

What’s your goal

Before you start your email, what is your goal? Is it a regular content message so you stay valuable to your readers or is it time to make a bit of a pitch to them?

If it’s a content email then maybe the tips below aren’t what you should be using for this particular email.

Watch that subject line

First off you need to hook the email reader so that they open your email and that means writing a compelling subject. Did you know that email subjects of fewer than 10 characters convert better than longer titles?

A great way to lead in is to put a question in the subject line. Maybe even make it a bit shocking/funny to intrigue them. How about “Did you know that you wake up with a zombie?” for an email about a better morning routine.

‘How to’ subject lines also work well. For our morning routine email we could use “How to wash the morning zombie out of your brain”.

There are a number of other awesome ways to write subject lines and Campaign Monitor has a great post on them all.

The takeaway is, don’t just write something and let it go. Put some thought in to your email subject lines and you’re going to get a better opening rate.

Personalize the email

Do you like talking to someone that obviously hasn’t done any research on you or someone that actually engages with you? Pretty obviously you prefer to talk to someone that has actually taken time to do some research on you and knows your name.

All the email providers have the ability to use a ‘fill in’ which is a bit of placeholder text that becomes the user’s name when the email is sent.

Make sure you use their first and last name in their email if you have them.

I regularly go through my MailChimp lists and try to find out the first/last names of the subscribers and put them in to MailChimp and when I do, opens and subscribes get higher.

Invite personal reply

What’s your biggest business problem? I’d love to hear about it at curtis@curtismchale.ca.

See that, that’s a question and when you put those in your email broadcasts your going to get replies. Yes that’s work but there is no magic bullet to building a solid email list with great fans of your brand.

Asking them a question and engaging them will increase your conversions on later emails as well because they now have a person connection with you.

Send it again

You may think that because someone didn’t open your email they aren’t interested in what you have to offer, but that’s totally not true.

Look at what Nathan Barry says about his second email for the launch of his Authority book.

…that email drove $5000 in revenue

He made around $26,000 in 24 hours on the product launch and $5000 of that came from the second email. That’s users that didn’t purchase with the first email and it’s almost 20% of the total revenue.

If you can, track the conversions on your email list right through to the site then segment out the users that already purchased your product and only send the second email to those that haven’t purchase.

If you can’t then send the email to everyone on the email list again. Remind them when the sales window is about to close and invite them to purchase again. Provide them with the coupon you gave your email list (if you gave them one).

Make it easy for them to buy from you.

Make it mobile friendly

Please oh please make your email mobile friendly. According to reports between 48% – 55% of email opens happen on a mobile device.

You know you do it to, roll over and check your email before you’ve even had breakfast. Maybe it’s just to delete the crap you don’t want in your inbox, but you at least look at them all.

Mobile users are increasingly purchasing on their mobile devices with 1/3 of all eCommerce purchases being made on a smartphone in 2013.

So right in your users hand is a device that they’ll check first thing in the morning and then use to make purchases.

One of the best resources for mobile friendly emails are the MailChimp email blueprints they put out for free.

For my email lists I use a basic MailChimp template since it’s already ready for a mobile device. They simply work and you don’t need fancy you need something that converts.

Ask them to share the email

Once the email has been opened and actions have been taken make sure you ask them to share the email with someone they think would find the content useful.

A personal recommendation from a friend goes a long way to building trust with a customer you may not have contact with.

The easiest way to approach this is to simply write it in to the initial email you send. Something like “If you know someone that will benefit from this email list please share it with them”.

In MailChimp you can also segment users to find the top openers/clickers on your list and send them a custom email thanking them for their participation in your content and encouraging them to share it with a friend that would also benefit from your content.

Which ever way you do it, make sure you ask your subscribers to tell their friends about your email list to help build it.

photo credit: wbaiv cc

Posted by Curtis McHale

Web developer specializing in membership and ecommerce sites. I like to ride my bicycle.