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What Your Small Business Needs to Know About Email Conversion

Email marketing is often cited as the most cost-effective way for small business to attract more customers. It works by driving visitors to your website, where they have an opportunity to convert.

The practice of email marketing has been around for a long time. What is new, however, is the art of personalizing each email send, tailoring a mass message to a precise target audience. Sending out a general newsletter to your subscribers is a start, but there are a few things to consider if you're looking to boost conversions for your email marketing campaigns:

Email Conversion Rate and Why it Matters

Your Email Conversion Rate (ECR) measures the rate at which you can capture new email subscribers from your website. Since email subscribers have a higher chance to become returning visitors - and eventually customers - measuring and improving your ECR is an important first step to increasing customer conversions from your email marketing efforts. To find your current ECR, divide your new email subscribers in one month by the number of unique visitors for that same month. A healthy ECR should fall between 2-12% depending on your industry.

Email Marketing Metrics You Should Know

Your ECR sets the stage for email marketing success, but there are other stats you can track, measure, and improve upon to boost the number of customers generated from your email marketing efforts:

Open Rate: Your email subject line is the only chance you have to call attention to your email in a crowded inbox. Open rate measures the percentage of recipients that opened your email, reflecting the effectiveness of your subject line.

What Your Small Business Needs to Know About Email Conversion | Social Media Today

Email opens also can indicate the level of trust consumers have in your brand, since they are more likely to open an email from a brand they recognize.

Click Through Rate: Click-through rate, or the percentage of recipients who clicked a link in your email, indicates how interested your audience is in your message. Recipients who click through an email are more engaged with your brand, and driving them back to your website increases the opportunities they have to convert to a customer.

These are 2014 statistics for these rates in the United States:

What Your Small Business Needs to Know About Email Conversion | Social Media TodayEmail Frequency: The frequency of emails that you send each month also influences email conversion rates. When you send too many emails to your audience, the open rate goes down and people are more likely to unsubscribe from your email campaigns. On the other hand, if you send too few emails, then you're missing opportunities to drive more clicks to your website. One report shows that as email marketers are understanding the value of sending relevant, timely emails, companies are emailing their contacts less per month now than in recent years, with 35% of companies send 2 to 3 emails per month to their contacts.

Website Conversion Rate: While email conversion rate measures the number of returning visitors to your site, your website conversion rate indicates how effective you are at turning those visitors into customers. Experts generally agree that 1%-3% is an average conversion for website traffic related to email campaigns. You can use a tool like Google Analytics to set up a customer conversion goal and drill down into your email market traffic to measure the conversion percentage.

Statistics by Industry: When looking at your email marketing statistics, it’s great to have benchmarks, but you should not try to compare your company to every other company in the country because each type of industry is different. Daily Deals and E-Coupons industry, for example, have an open rate of 13.87%. whereas the sports industry has an open rate of 25.25%.

Overall, ecommerce sites usually have higher email marketing stats because they send emails with products that are an easy buy. Other websites such as web building sites have services that are a one-time buy so emails are mostly meant to maintain a relationship with the customer and isn’t always about a quick buy so their click rate is usually lower.

Tips for Improving Email Conversion Rates

Now that you know which metrics to keep an eye on, you can start making adjustments to your emails and email campaigns to improve your open rates, click through rates, email conversion rate, and overall website conversions:

Segment Your Audience: Increasing engagement with your email starts with sending the right message to the right person at the right time. When you can align the person with content and proper timing, small businesses like yours can reach multitudes of prospects on a personal level. And if you can consistently reach out with a personalized touch, trust in your brand will grow exponentially. Customers and prospects will become more engaged, and you’ll become the go-to brand when it’s time to buy.

Mobile Optimization: One of the most popular tips by experts is to optimize your emails for mobile devices. With the number of people accessing email through their devices on the rise, you want to make sure that they see everything the way you want them to see it no matter what smartphone or tablet they are using. If you're struggling  to make emails mobile friendly, there are services or templates that can help.

Write a Compelling Subject Line: The subject line is deciding factor in whether or not an email will be opened - so spend plenty of time making sure you get it right. A good subject line can create a sense of urgency and indicate what to expect in the body of the email. To improve your subject lines, test different approaches, like asking a question or using your contact’s first name in the subject.

What Your Small Business Needs to Know About Email Conversion | Social Media Today

Focus on a Specific Call-to-Action: Email campaigns are meant to further your relationship with your audience. Be specific about the next step you want them to take, whether it’s to read an article, or evaluate a new product. Test your call-to-action as an image, url, or hyperlinked phrase in your email and experiment with the copy in the body of your email to systematically improve your click-through rate.

Maintain Consistent Branding: It’s important that your email communication clearly reflects your brand - not deviates from it. Producing a consistent brand experience does not mean all your communication should be identical, however, your messaging, tone, and visual elements should be on point. For instance, if your email has one color scheme, but your website has a completely different look and feel, it can confuse and discourage visitors. Likewise, if your email copy is quite snarky, but your website copy takes a straightforward, down to earth approach, your brand won’t feel as authentic.

Provide Value: For a consumer to continue to open your emails and click on your links, the consumer needs to feel like they “get something” out of reading the email. If you are always selling without adding value to consumers in your email then you may see a spike in your unsubscribe rate. One way to provide value is to include helpful information that pertains to the industry you’re targeting. Some companies have also found success offering coupons for services and products in their email.

Email marketing and email campaigns are essential to any small business online marketing strategy. To get the most benefit, create emails that put your consumer’s interests first (not necessarily your own), use conversion rate metrics to track progress, and keep testing your emails to make improvements.

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