When’s the last time an email got you excited enough to not only read it all the way through but actually click on the link to the offer?

Few marketers and entrepreneurs see stellar email conversion rates -- because they focus too much on the offer itself, and not enough on what the reader wants. Though conversion rates vary based on industry, and a number of other factors including the offer and where a customer is in the sales funnel. If you’ve found your email conversion rates aren’t quite where you want them to be, fear not. With a bit of effort, you can make changes to your strategy that will boost your email conversion rate without negatively affecting your company’s bottom line.  These tips will get readers clicking through in no time.

Segment and Target

The perhaps not-so-shocking reality is that over half of the email we receive every day is promotional. It’s no wonder so many people get overwhelmed at the idea of reading one more email and either ignore the marketing message or delete it.

Creating targeted and segmented lists mean you’ll be sending your message to a smaller group of people, but that group of people is more interested in what you have to say, and therefore more likely to open your message.

Data shows segmenting and targeting your audience with email marketing performs much better across major metrics on a global scale. When compared to non-segmented campaigns:

Opens are 13.07 percent higher.

Unique opens 9.68 percent higher.

Clicks are 51.92 percent higher.

Bounces are 1.7 percent lower.

Abuse reports are 8.67 percent lower.

Unsubscribes are 8.28 percent lower.

Learn more about how to slice and dice your email list into proper segments for targeting with this guide from Zapier.

Pay Close Attention to That Subject Line

The email subject line is often what people use to judge whether or not to open your email marketing message. So make that opening count.

Headlines of eight words do 21 percent better.

Using either a hyphen or a colon can add 9 percent to your click through rate.

Ending your headline in with a question mark has been shown to perform better.

Data from Hubspot shows using the recipient’s first name in the subject line is better than not using it at all, as this has been shown to increase click-through rate. The same can be said for using the recipient’s company name in the subject line for B2B marketers. “Posts” and “Jobs”  are the most clicked subject line words, and “secrets” is the most clicked lead nurturing subject line word.

Remember Mobile

A 2014 ComScore study showed Americans are now spending the majority of their digital media consumption using mobile applications rather than desktop devices. As such, building responsive design into everything – not just your website – is critical for usability.

Research indicates mobile now accounts for 45 percent of all email clicks, so using responsive email design plays a definite role in your conversion rate. If that’s not enough to convince you, 42 percent of users will delete emails that don’t display correctly on their devices.

Want to make sure your emails are ideal for mobile devices? Take a look at these best practices.

Offer Value

At this point, you've gotten them to open the email, but that’s not enough to convert them. You’ll need to offer something of value to entice them to click through the email to your website. Once they arrive at your website, you’ll need to continue that value offer with informative, engaging content that keeps them interested.

What are some of the ways you can offer value? You can:

●            Provide answers to common questions about your products and services.

●            Include videos that show product demonstrations.

●            Provide exclusive access to a helpful resource unavailable elsewhere.

●            Offer a discount code.

To foster a relationship with your subscriber, you need to keep them coming back, and the only way you can do that is to create content with value. While you can (and should) use email marketing for promotional purposes, constant promotion will eventually cause your emails to drown in the “noise” of the Internet.

Focus your efforts on building triggered emails into your strategy. These emails are the result of customer action – welcoming them to your email list, thanking them for an order, reminding them of an abandoned shopping cart, and sending order/shipping confirmations.

Triggered emails perform higher, because of consumer action, with open rates 151.9 percent higher than business as usual (BAU) messages. These messages all provide value to the customer,  through making them feel welcome and valued as a new member of your list, appreciated as a customer, reminding them they still need to place their order, and giving them an order status.

Use the Scarcity Principle

With the scarcity principle, the perceived value of your offer increases when the availability is limited, or decreases. We see this everywhere in marketing, from airlines that say, “Only one seat left at this price!” to infomercials that say, “Call within the next 10 minutes to receive your special, limited time discount.”

Use the scarcity principle by limiting your offer to the first 10, 25, or even 100 people to respond. Time your checkout process similar to the way Ticketmaster times theirs, to motivate users to act quickly.

When You Send Matters

It’s not necessarily just the time of day that matters, but the day of the week matters as well. Of course, this may vary depending on industry and the offer in the email message, but as a general rule:

One study revealed most inbox activity takes place on Thursday, and that day of the week has not only better open rates, but also better click through rates. However, it’s also the day of the week where the highest percentage of messages are sent.

The optimal time to send your email is when you know your customers are looking at their inboxes. To get the most of your open and click through rates, choose morning and early afternoon times. It’s important to factor timing your emails because messages can lose impact by waiting too long in the inbox. Make sure your email marketing platform is set up to manage local times, to deliver your message consistently at the right time for all of your customers.

Reach Out to Your Subscribers

One of the best ways to find out what your subscribers want from you is to reach out to them directly with a survey.

The one question survey, where you ask your subscriber to respond by replying to your email is an ideal choice for when you send your welcome email to new subscribers. Because they have just signed up, they are expecting to hear from you, and this is when they are highly motivated to act.

Questions could include:

●            What is the biggest hurdle you are dealing with right now?

●            What is the one question about your niche I could help you with?

●            What are you working on right now?

No matter what your question is, it should be open ended. This allows the conversation to get started while also giving you insight into what your subscribers want from you.

Alternatively, the in-depth survey will help you get more information from your subscribers. You can use a survey service like Survey Monkey, or something as simple as Google Forms to create a series of questions for your subscribers to answer.

Since it is more in depth, don’t expect to get a high response rate. You’ll end up with more data to work with, but you want to wait until you have developed a relationship with your readers before you ask them to complete a larger survey. They will be more likely to want to help you after a relationship has been formed.

Here, you’ll want to keep the questions open so that respondents can write their own answers instead of choosing one from a multiple-choice list. It also allows you to glean valuable insight from your audience, even if only a small number of people respond.

Choose your questions carefully, because you want to limit yourself to no more than about six questions. Too many questions and your audience will not respond because it seems too much like work.

If you want to increase your participation rate, offer something to your subscribers in return for their survey answers. It can be something as simple as a limited time discount on your products or services, early access to a new feature, or a free 15-minute consultation with you.

Make Use of Email Marketing Analytics

Most email marketing platforms offer some form of analytics to let you get a better idea of how your campaigns are performing. With it, you’ll be able to see how many people are opening your emails, as well as other valuable information such as metrics over time, social shares, and more.

Using this data, you can learn more about your specific audience and how they are responding. For instance, using metrics over time, you can find out what time of day and the day of the week is best for your subscribers to facilitate the most action.

Use the data to pinpoint issues with your email marketing campaigns so you can find the areas you need to improve upon and split test them to see what works best. Use the data to discover parts of your strategy that are working well, so you can continue to use those elements in future campaigns.


Split testing allows you to get a better idea of what your audience will respond to. To create an effective test, it’s best to choose one thing to test at a time. Testing more than one element of your email marketing at a time could skew your results. You can use split testing to learn more about your: call to action, layout, headline, subject line, the specific offer, and more.

All of these things can play a role in your conversion process. Your call to action will have a direct effect on how many people are going to click through to your landing page or purchase your product. Your subject line, however, will directly affect the number of people who open your email.

Think about your biggest email marketing challenge, and choose to split test elements related to that first. For instance, if you’re struggling with getting email opens, you’ll want to split test your subject lines before split testing calls to action.

From here, choose whether to test your entire list or just part of it. Most of the time, it’s best to test your entire list so you can get an accurate picture of how your list responds to your new campaign. However, there are some instances where testing your entire list is not a good idea.

For example, if you have a large list, and the service you’re using to split test charges by the email address, you should test the largest sample you can afford and choose the email addresses randomly to ensure accurate results.

The majority of email marketing platforms allow for split testing with built-in tools to make it easier for you.

Though it may seem random, email marketing is quite a science. Yes, it will take trial and error to determine what your audience best responds to, but once you find the secret sauce, your email marketing can become a highly profitable part of your business.

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