I’ve been writing to you lately about email marketing for colleges and universities from a really high, strategic point-of-view. Today, we’re going to dive deeply into my 7 invaluable tips on boosting your email marketing conversion rate.
1. Write effective subject lines.
In 2015, the Radicati Group estimated that around 269 billion emails are being sent every day. It’s been said that the average office employee gets 121 emails per day and 49.7% of them are spam!
With that many emails cluttering up their inbox, you’ve got to grab your recipient’s attention immediately and get them to open your email as soon as they see it.
Simply put, your email will not convert if it’s never opened.
To increase open rates, you must learn to write effective subject lines:
- Keep subject lines to around 35 characters.
- Mention specifics such as numbers, names, or locations to create curiosity.
- Promise to solve a felt problem.
- Keep email pre-headers to around 85 characters. More than that, and most email clients will cut off your words.
- Use emojis with caution. Do they fit your brand? Does your audience respond to them?
2. Trim it down to one call-to-action.
Unlike print newsletters that can have multiple ad pages calling the reader to action, email newsletters convert best when there’s one clear call-to-action.
- Link all images to the call-to-action’s landing page.
- Include at least hyperlinked text to the landing page and ask the reader to click on it.
- Call-to-action buttons can also be included for emphasis
3. Use images wisely.
First of all, images shouldn’t need an explanation. Don’t place imagery in your emails that doesn’t have a clear, distinct connection to the subject of the email.
If you place an image above the fold at the top of your email, make sure there is text like a headline in the image to draw the reader’s attention down into the body of the email rather than distracting them.
Link images to the landing page where you want your readers to go.
Try emails without imagery and test them to see if they convert better than your emails that include imagery. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a hardcore advocate for rich content—but for some audiences, images may not stimulate the response you’re looking for. And besides, sometimes plain text emails can be more authentic and garner more response because it seems like a personal note.
So… test, test, test.
4. Segment your email list.
Use segmenting features in your email service provider to divide your audience into groups based on interest, age, current spot in the enrollment cycle, program, or other criteria.
Once your list is segmented, craft content strategies that appeal to their interests and answer their unique questions.
Also, by segmenting your list, you’ll be able to test different tactics and see if they improve your conversions for each group.
5. Avoid spam filters.
This one may sound pretty obvious, but it is something you really should keep in mind as you craft your email campaign.
The spam folder/filter can seriously dampen your conversion rates, so you’ll need to follow a few rules of thumb to avoid this digital black hole.
- Send emails from a reputable email service provider (ESP) such as Aweber, MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Emma. Most of these services have a spam checker as part of the service. Use it.
- Avoid spammy subject lines using ALL CAPS or exclamation points!!!
- Make sure your emails are being sent using a valid and secure email address and that there is a reply-to address designated. More conversions happen from a real reply-to address rather than info@ or email@.
6. Send content your audience wants to read.
No trick, gimmick, or strategy will work if you’re sending content that your audience isn’t interested in consuming.
- Make sure your content answers a real question that your reader has.
- Don’t write about subjects, events, or issues that are unrelated to your brand. (Yes, we’re happy you have a cute, little Chihuahua—but we don’t want to read about her.)
- Write in a personal fashion. Don’t write as if to a massive group of people. Write as if you were writing to just one individual.
- Use effective web copywriting principles.
7. Test your emails.
One of the best ways to increase conversions in your email marketing is to test your emails. Try new ideas and see what happens!
This means you need to be reviewing your email campaign reports monthly and quarterly to see which email marketing tactics and strategies are working and which ones are not.
You can only improve what you’re monitoring.
So, continue to test different tactics and measure the results of your email campaign conversions.
To schedule an in-depth audit of your higher education email and digital marketing efforts, please give us a call or send us an email today!
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Featured image by Rob via Adobe Stock