Every SMB (Small-medium business) uses email in some way to promote and to grow their business. Whether it is used for sales communication for negotiating or closing business, invoicing, delivery notifications, supplier relationships or just general business correspondence, email is a critical day to day part of every business.
At some point every business finds a need to use email as a marketing tool to promote to clients and future clients information about their offerings. How this is managed can have a significant impact on the business both in general promotion impact and also in perception by those who receive the emails.
A couple of blogs ago I talked a little about the impending impact of the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, CASL. This new act comes into effect on July 1 and if this is the first you are hearing about it take a look at the article for some quick review of the potential impact.
Enough said about what you need to do for being compliant with the law, what this article discusses is some ideas about how you can use business email as a key communication tool and how the ways you design your emails can impact success.
There are thousands of articles on emailing and how to manage email campaigns. I am not going to try to summarize them here, but do want to reference a recent guide published by Hubspot which can offer insite into some behavioral information on email readership and response.
This guide called, Science of Email 2014 compiles the results of analysis of over 1106.4 million (yes over 1 billion) emails sent in campaigns from Hubspot clients and Litmus customers as well as over 1000 email marketers responses to surveys conducted by Hubspot.
In the summary of the results as outlined in the 70 page document the following key thoughts are presented among others:
audiences read emails on multiple device types so there is a need to address formatting for all types of tools.
different segments of any population group have differing consumption profiles. You need to understand your target and how they read email.
mobile is a key factor with up to 47% of emails read on mobile devices.
email timing is more than the hour it is sent. The day of the week may have an effect and you might be surprised by when the best days are.
some common 'spam triggers' don't seem to affect deliverability.
there are key words that do affect engagement and again you may be surprised what they are.
One of the key features of the material presented was inclusion of a large volume (over 6 million) of emails that have been sent on a one to one basis rather than as part of a mass email campaign. This is the type of email activity that we all use each day as we deal with client interactions either in sales or customer support. Seeing how its reception and deliverability is affected by things like text length, key words in subject headings and sender names can help you ensure your email gets delivered and read.
Of course much of the material relates to emails sent one to many in a broadcast. There are some key insights here as well. For example. Emails with less than 400 characters are almost two and a half times more likely to be read than those with 1400 or more. If you think you can 'explain it all' in an email you may be fooling yourself.
Being able to apply the results of this type of large scale study to your individual mailing processes can be difficult but even a quick scan of the information and graphs provided will give you ideas on how you might better use this common office tool to relate.
There is always a need to better inform and provide useful information to your customers and prospects. Better understanding how they may be relating to your email as a key communication tool is one way to add clarity.
How effective is your use of email? Have you given up on it as a communication tool?
Share your thoughts.
Photo credit: Science of Email 2014 - Hubspot and Litmus