Email marketers know one of the best ways to keep subscribers happy is to let them choose what emails they receive. That’s why marketers implement preference centers. Sometimes giving your email audience that choice can be the difference between an engaged subscriber and an opt-out.
When it comes to preference centers, email marketers also have a choice. After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing a preference center. Audiences, brands, and email programs are all different, which means marketers must choose a preference center strategy that makes sense.
Whether with email content or sending frequency, allowing subscribers to make choices ensures that your emails are relevant. Here are a few choices email marketers have for giving their subscribers choice ways to make a choice.
Let Subscribers Choose How Often They Receive Email
Email marketers often struggle with how often to send email. Once a month? Once a week? Daily? It’s an important decision. Send too much email, and you risk fatiguing your audience. Send too little email, and you lose out on potential revenue. Instead of fretting over frequency, let subscribers set their own email cadence!
Give them a few options for how often they receive email. That way, readers are less likely to unsubscribe because you’re sending them more than they can handle. Plus, if a subscriber does attempt to unsubscribe, having an option to receive fewer emails may keep them on your list. Every subscriber is different. Whatever your subscribers prefer, get on their frequency.
Meet Subscribers When It’s Convenient for Them
Here’s another common discussion among email marketers: “What’s the best time to send an email?” Like any other aspect of your email program, this answer varies based on your audience. You could A/B test send times, but in the meantime, why not let subscribers decide when to receive your email?
For publishers, this could mean offering different versions of your news digests at different times of the day. News publishers like Politico and Axios offer morning newsletters, as well as shorter afternoon newsletters that recap the day’s events so far. People prefer to read emails at different times of the day, and offering different time options ensures the information is current, no matter when a subscriber is free to check email.
Give Subscribers the Option to Avoid Seasonal Email Blasts
You know the stats: consumers prefer email for brand communication over every other channel. In fact, 61% of consumers prefer email offers to those by any other digital method. That’s good news for email marketers, but unfortunately for consumers, some marketers take it as a cue to blast buyers with a blizzard of email offers during the holidays.
Some people love those sweet deals, but some people don’t. You don’t want to make subscribers mad—not during the holidays! If you plan on ramping up email sends to capitalize on Christmas shoppers, why not give them a choice to opt out before things get too crazy. By letting subscribers choose whether to get onboard, you reduce the risk of freezing out your less email-happy subscribers.
Offer Multiple Newsletters on Different Subjects
The more emails you send a subscriber, the more chances you have to engage them, bring them to your site, and monetize them. Still, you can’t just send email to send it. You have to make sure the content you send is relevant to the subscriber. How do you do that? One way is to separate your email sends into verticals or topics, then allow subscribers to select which newsletters they receive.
Sounds nice, but what if you don’t have the manpower to increase newsletter output? Email automation makes it easy to populate emails with relevant content and scale your email program. When subscribers can opt-in to content they choose, they’re self-personalizing their email, so you ensure they’re receiving email about things they like. That means more engagement and more revenue. In fact, not only do these emails drive site traffic, they also attract in-email advertisers who want their ads in front of interested audiences. It’s a win-win.
Let Email Subscribers Take a Break
Finally, you might be able to reduce opt-outs in your email program if your preference center strategy includes an easy way to turn off email communication for a set period of time. After the temporary break, they return to your regular email sends.
Why would people want a break from your email? Maybe they’re not in the market for your product right now. Maybe you just caught them on a bad day. At any rate, it can help you hold onto a valuable subscriber who might fall in love with your email again after a quick break. If only it was that easy to get a break from all email for a while.
Are you using preference centers in your email program? If not, maybe it’s time to make that choice. UnsubCentral can help.
UnsubCentral offers the industry's leading solution for email compliance and opt-out list management. UnsubCentral provides advertisers, agencies, and networks with the necessary tools to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act by allowing them to securely manage opt-out and customer lists across third party partners.
A/B testing your email campaigns can take the form of testing copywriting, images, call to action prompts and more. It is a powerful way to drive conversion rate optimization that can be used to justify decision making around enhancing marketing content for your email campaigns. It can be used to test anything from completely different designs to slightly different shades of blues; A/B tests help objectively define whether any given element has an impact.Make the most of your email campaigns by testing out what works best for a particular audience and type of email. Here are some tips to get you started.Make a planTo make your A/B test the most effective, decide what you want to test before you begin. You may have the urge to test a number of things in one campaign, but resist! Only test one thing at a time to get the most accurate results. Testing one variable at a time is the only way to truly determine how effective that variable is. Variables you may consider testing:
Subject line - Example: “25% discount on Product XYZ” or “Product XYZ on Sale”
Call to action - Example: “Sign up now!” or “Learn more”
Layout of the message - Example: single column vs. double column or different placement of different elements
Images - Example: test one image against another or one image against no image
Keep in mind that depending on what you’re testing, changes will affect different parts of the conversion process. For example, if you’re concerned about open rate, testing subject lines will directly impact the performance. On the other hand, your call to action will directly affect how many people make a purchase or click through to your landing page. Think about what issue you’re trying to address or solve and test based on importance. For example, if not many people are opening your emails, then test on subject line first. Then, let the other variables follow.Statistically significant dataSo you finished your A/B test, but can you trust your results enough to make changes in your email strategy? You can if they are statistically significant. Statistical significance is a way to mathematically support that a certain statistic is a change beyond what can be attributed to chance. There are a number of accurate confidence level calculators you can find on the internet to help with this calculation. The stronger the result, the more confident you can be that the factors of the test are a reason for a change. Test and test againContinuously challenge results with new tests. Just because you did a few tests doesn’t mean you should stop. As your audience’s preferences change and markets fluctuate, you’ll need to continue to adjust and test your theories. Always try to think of new aspects to test and creative ways to do so. For example, look at your subject line. There are several variables within the subject line that can be tested - length, mention of a promotion, urgency, recipient name, among others.In conclusion, A/B testing can be very powerful. A well planned and executed A/B test can make a positive impact on your email marketing numbers. The biggest benefit is that it gives you the power to make educated decisions based on the results. Read More...
Email has come a long way. The evolution of this media channel over the past 42 years has turned email into one of the most cost-effective methods of direct marketing. However, the evolution of email still leaves people with misconceptions about this tool. Fallacy #1: Email is not as effective as social media.While social media has become the shiny new object, revenue from email traffic still outperforms “likes” from social media followers. In some instances, email is significantly more effective when it comes to reach. Over the past few years, the organic reach has declined to reach about 6% of your fan base according to a 2014 study by Social@Ogilvy. This means if you send 3,000 emails and also have 3,000 Facebook fans, only 180 Facebook fans will see your post, whereas 651 people will open your email. With the decline in organic reach through social media platforms, companies are spending more and more on paid advertising to get their content seen. Email traffic is not only more affordable, but it also offers an impressive 4400% return on investment or $44 for every $1 spent. Fallacy #2: Consumers don’t like promotional emails.It’s true that email marketing is widespread and consumers are increasingly leery of promotional emails. However, MarketingSherpa conducted a study and more than 91% reported they liked receiving promotional emails from companies they do business with. They also reported that 61% said they wanted to receive these types of emails at least once a week. Remember that your customers have given you their email address, which suggests that there is something about your business that interests them. Fallacy #3: The best day to send email is on Tuesday at noon.You may have read or somewhere that Tuesday afternoons are the best days to send emails. Or maybe it was Thursday mornings or Wednesday afternoons? Although there has been a lot of research done in this area, there is no magic day or time to send an email because it all depends upon your industry and audience. Understanding your subscribers and reacting to their preferences will help you define your best day and time along with testing and optimizing your campaigns - not by applying what best practice you heard or read about on the internet. ConclusionAs you can see, you can’t believe everything you hear or read. Every business is different and therefore, there’s no one way of doing email marketing. Base your email marketing strategy on your audience, the message you’re trying to get across and your past experience.
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