I’m busy creating content right now for a free 75-minute webinar on best practices for email marketing in 2015 — for all you entrepreneurs and artists who are interested in learning more about how to write, format, and send emails that will drive more engagement and sales this year.
I’m so excited to share this stuff with you!
As I’ve been reading through the latest research, I’ve come across some interesting facts about what’s working — and what’s not — in email marketing these days.
Some might surprise you. (I know a few surprised me!)
Here are eight of the biggest eye-openers…
1. People love words more than images
Even when they say they don’t. Most people, when surveyed, will say they prefer image-based emails — yet their behavior suggests otherwise. Marketing studies continue to prove that text-based emails still generate the most clicks and engagement.
In fact, a recent study conducted by Hubspot showed that the number of clicks an email generated was inversely proportional to the number of images it included. In other words, more images = fewer clicks. [Source: Hubspot]
2. Most people don’t even SEE your images
Here’s another reason to cut down on using images in your emails – the majority of your email subscribers probably don’t even see them. Most email services block images from new senders by default – and less than half of all email users bother to change the settings. [Source: Hubspot]
However, remember that if the images are turned off, readers will see the “alt text” you attach to your images. This is a great opportunity to write a bit of compelling copy that keeps your readers attention focused on your message.
3. More than half of all emails are now opened in mobile
In the fourth quarter of 2014, a whopping 53% of emails were opened in mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. And the number is expected to climb higher this year. [Source: Experian]
So if you haven’t optimized your emails to look great on smartphone and tablet screens yet, this is the year to do so.
4. Emails sent on SATURDAY & SUNDAY get higher open rates
Huh. Who woulda thunk? Back when I was writing emails for a company that had a list of 650,000+ subscribers, our highest open days were always Wednesdays – which was the industry standard at the time.
Looks like standards have changed, because a recent study conducted by Hubspot showed the highest open rates consistently happen on Saturdays and Sundays. [Source: Hubspot]
5. … Or do they?
Another study by MailerMailer found that open rates actually peaked on Mondays (although they found click-through rates to be highest on Sundays). [Source: MailerMailer] Why the contradictory findings? It’s possible the businesses that use Hubspot versus MailerMailer cater to different markets that are more active on different days of the week. Or maybe they ran their tests at different times of the year, and that made a difference somehow.
At any rate, it highlights the importance of doing your own testing to see when your particular group of subscribers are most likely to read your emails – and even more importantly – act on them.
6. Length: shorter is better
Short emails get better click-through rates than longer ones do. According Hubspot, the emails that got the highest click-through rates were only 300-500 characters long. [Source: Hubspot]
Here’s what 353 characters looks like:
How do I love you? Let me count the ways… I love your awesome hummus and the black, bitter coffee you always have ready when I stumble downstairs yawning on weekend mornings. I love your silly jokes and endless patience and delicious Japanese curry served over rice. But most of all, I love your eager willingness to fetch me a beer on a Friday night.
… So we’re not just talking short – we’re talking SHORT. You need to get to the point and introduce your call to action using as few words as possible.
7. Font size: bigger is better
With so many people reading your emails on their smartphones or tablets, it’s more important than ever to make sure your emails are easily readable on all screen sizes.
One proven way to improve readability is to increase your font size. Email marketing software provider Litmus says its clients get the best results when they use a minimum body copy of 16 pixels, with 22-pixel headlines. [Source: Litmus]
8. Those infamous “spam trigger” words don’t matter as much as you think they do
You’ve probably heard that there are certain words that will trigger spam alarms and cause your emails to get shunted into your recipients’ junk folders. Turns out, not so much – at least not any longer.
According to Hubspot, using “free,” the word most often labeled as a spam trigger, had basically zero effect on an email’s deliverability rates. Ditto for using other suspected triggers, such as dollar signs or exclamation points.
(However, using the word “free” DID have a negative impact on the emails open rate, showing that human readers might find it spammy even if the email service providers don’t.) [Source: Hubspot]
The biggest takeaway?
If you usually send out image-heavy emails or newsletters, you might want to shake things up this year and try sending out a few simple, text-based messages to see if they generate more reader engagement.
You might also experiment with shorter emails and a bigger font. I know I’m going to!
(So if you’re on my email list and notice that I suddenly start sending out REALLY SHORT emails without any images in them, you’ll know why… 😉
Anything else you’d like to know?
If you have any questions about email marketing, let me know in the comments or send me a message at er**@ma***************.net and I’ll answer your question in my upcoming webinar!