Part 10 – This is Part 10 of our free 30-day Email Marketing Training Series.
Congrats, Email Expert! You have now made it to the end of our Email Marketing Training Series. You are officially on your way to email marketing success… Woohoo!
By now, you get the gist of how to incorporate email marketing into your business, but there are still a few key topics that we didn’t touch on. These terms and topics are very important in email marketing, and are definitely some email jargon you need to know.
To wrap up our training series, I’ve included some important email lingo that you should know, or be aware of, when putting together your campaigns.
So, what is A/B testing?
Well, in short, A/B testing—sometimes called split testing—is the process of comparing two different versions of your email campaign to see which one performs better.
You would take one element in your email—the subject line, the from name, or content in the email—and you would create 2 different versions. Then, you would run the campaign to a select segment in your list—let’s say you would test it with 100 people or 10% of your list. The email that gets a higher open rate, or a higher click-through rate, is the version that wins!
Most email service providers can be set to automatically test this for you (if you choose to do so), and within an hour or so, the email that wins is the one that will get sent to the remaining portion of your list.
The reason you want to A/B test is so that you make sure you are sending out emails that are effective and that will get opened.
After all, that is the goal, right?
Now, let’s move on…
The subject line of your email may possibly be one of THE most critical components of your entire email blast. In fact, this one thing could make or break your blast, as it is the one determining factor that subscribers will use to decide whether they want to open your email or not. If you lose on the subject line, then your entire message gets lost in the mail, literally.
The goal of your subject line is to get the user to open the email. Period.
So, how can you make sure you have a great subject line? Well, there are a few key tips to live by.
The best subject lines are usually short, descriptive and provide a reason to open or read your email. Splashy, catchy or cheesy subject lines will usually get left behind and will remain unopened or trashed immediately.
Tips for Subject Lines
- Avoid Spammy Words – Start off on the right foot, and try to avoid words that will get filtered as spam. This will ensure your email at least gets delivered, whether they open it or not. If you use too many words like “free” “buy” “money” (etc.) then your message will be stopped in its tracks. Also, avoid flashy promotional text. Whether it passes the spam filter or not, your user may not want to be “sold” to, so skip the “Buy Now” promotional text.
- Add Personalization – Include your user’s first name or their city in the subject line, and your email is almost guaranteed to be opened. Personalized emails have a much, much higher open rate.
- Keep Subject Lines Short – Short, precise and to-the-point. That is how I like my subject lines, and that is how your user will like theirs too. Do not use some long, over-descriptive subject line. Most people will scan their inbox to determine what needs to be opened or not.
- Different Subject Lines – Over time, as you start sending more emails, make sure your subject line is different every time. No one wants to see the same email twice, so if they’ve seen your subject line before, then they are likely to dismiss your email. Keep each subject line unique and customized for each email.
- A/B Test – As mentioned above, split test your subject lines! This will ensure that the better subject line gets delivered.
Email Reporting Metrics
Now that you’ve gotten your hands dirty with email marketing, I want to give you the 411 on email reporting, how to track your email campaigns, and how to analyze your email campaign’s performance. Most, if not all, email marketing service providers will provide some type of reporting, and you should at least review these analytics to know if your messages are being delivered and if they’re being opened.
Email Open Rate
The easiest statistic to analyze is your email open rate, which is based upon how many people on an email list actually opened your email or viewed an email campaign. Open rates are usually expressed as a percentage and are calculated by taking the total number of emails opened and dividing that by the total number of subscribers on your list.
So, if your open rate is 30% and you have 100 people on your email list, then that means 30 people opened your email campaign.
It is important to note, that some service providers will subtract the amount of bounced emails in that equation, which could increase your open rate.
Email Click-Through Rate
So, you’ve created a killer subject line, your recipient opened the email campaign, and now what? The next goal is to get your user to click on the email and be taken to a page on your website (which is where the real magic happens).
This metric can be expressed as a click-through rate, or CTR for short, which measures how many subscribers clicked at least one link in your email campaign. The click-through rate is expressed as a percentage, and it can be calculated by taking the total number clicked links divided by the total number of opened emails.
Click rates tend to be much lower than open rates, as not everyone will click on your email.
Email Bounce Rate
A bounce rate is simply the number of email addresses that could not be delivered because they were either invalid, the recipient’s inbox is full, or because the recipient’s email server was down. This is a percentage that you will want to keep to a low minimum, and the percentage rate is based upon how many total emails were sent.
Usually, if an email bounces, most email marketing providers will move that email address to a bounce list or suppressed list. That way, you don’t continue to send emails to an undeliverable address.
Email Unsubscribe Rate
This is a big one for most people. As marketers, entrepreneurs or business owners, we hate to see people unsubscribe from our list(s). After all, who wouldn’t want our messages?!
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, people unsubscribe from email campaigns all the time, which is why one metric to analyze is your unsubscribe rate. The unsubscribe rate calculates how many people have unsubscribed for a particular campaign.
Similar to open rates, this is calculated by the number of people who unsubscribed divided by the total number of people who were sent a campaign.
Luckily, if you received permission, most unsubscribe rates will be as low as 2%.
And, it’s important to note, that if you start to see your unsubscribe rate going up, then you may be emailing too much. Take a step back and review your campaigns for frequency or spammy-ness. This could be the cause.
Average Metrics to Shoot For
Percentages can vary widely when it comes to email marketing. It all depends on the size of your list, the audience you’re targeting, your industry, how often you send emails, when your emails are sent, etc. (the list goes on). But, there are some industry standard figures to live by, and they are as follows:
- A good open rate will be anywhere from 20% – 40%. Anything above that is excellent, and anything below that should be worked on.
- Click-through rates tend to be much lower, and most settle around 5-6%, but some campaigns see as high as 25-27%. If you provide very clear, call-to-actions in your emails, then you will likely have a higher CTR.
- Bounce rates will usually be very low, and as I mentioned, your email provider should suppress their email as it bounces, so it removes them from your list. I would expect a bounce rate of around 5% or lower, if you send emails regularly, but this number could be a little higher if you only send emails once in a blue moon.
- Lastly, unsubscribe rates should remain low as well. If you are emailing a list who has opted in on their own accord, then your unsubscribe rate will likely be lower than 2%. If you are using a list who never opted in (which I do not advise), then you may see a very high unsubscribe rate. If they didn’t sign up on your list, then they may not want your emails.
Email list segmentation is usually reserved for a more advanced email marketing user, but if you learn how to do it, then you can actually super-charge your email marketing efforts. Segmentation is the act of breaking down your email list into different “segments” that are used to customize your subscriber’s experience with your business.
Creating segments will boost your open rates and click rates, and it can make your messages more effective. It allows you to send more focused, targeted emails to specific lists or specific segments.
Depending on your email marketing provider, you can segment your lists by as many different “groups” as you see fit for your business. For example, you could segment your list by state or location, you could segment them by interest, you could segment them by where they’re at in the buying cycle, etc.
If you can create different segments, you can hyper-focus your email messages and use that to boost sales!
Spam Filter & Authentication
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you set up your domain (your website URL, yourwebsite.com) correctly with your email marketing service provider, so that they can add the correct email sending records to your domain name or hosting provider.
This will ensure that you are an active email sender and that your domain is not being used for “phishing” or for fraud emails. This also ensures that your emails get delivered to your subscribers’ inbox and are not classified as spam.
This may be labeled as “Authentication Settings” or something similar.
Well Email Expert, that’s a wrap! This concludes our 10-part Email Marketing Training Series. Keep an eye out for other helpful articles and tips on email marketing, but for now, I hope this will get you started off on the right track.
Have questions? Comment below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as humanly possible.