The original genius of email was that the sender could launch her missive at a time convenient for her. The recipient could read it at a time convenient for him. Both parties could compose their thoughts without the immediate time pressure that being on the phone requires.
So much for that.
Thanks to smartphones in our pockets, email is always with us. When it comes to email response times, “The expectation has gotten worse because of this availability at your fingertips,” says Aye Moah, chief of product and co-founder of Boomerang, which makes email productivity software. When people can respond immediately, it raises the question of exactly how long it’s okay to wait to respond to an email.
The bad news from analyses of millions of emails is that people do expect swifter responses. The good news, however, is that you can manage this expectation, and buy yourself time if you need to.
“Fifty percent of responses are sent within two hours, and according to one study, the most common email response time is two minutes.”
Doing Your Job Means Disappointing Someone
This starts to become difficult to achieve. You can easily be driving somewhere for an hour during the day, or presenting in a meeting and hence unable to respond. Even if you are available, responding to more complicated requests might take several minutes, which means you could not respond to too many of these within an hour. Simply doing your job means you will be disappointing someone.
The good news, however, is that this realization is liberating. You simply cannot please everyone, and hence you don’t have to try to please everyone. In an era of immediate responses, “It’s harder for us to hold back and say, ‘I will respond when it is appropriate for me and when I have time,’” says Moah, but “I think there is a movement to hold back the tide.”
“In an era of immediate responses, it’s harder for us to say, ‘I will respond when it is appropriate for me and when I have time.’”
The most cost effective way of reaching your audience in future would be EMAIL MARKETING. Email is a mainstay in the marketing toolbox, but marketers need to continuously evolve their email tactics to cater to a changing audience.
What Experts have to say for the future of email marketing?
- Scott Brinker Marketers will rationalize technology stacks to achieve economy of architecture and Account Based Marketing (ABM) will remain one of the hottest categories.
- Pawel Sala Increasingly lower costs unlock a work-flow of data between web tracking, social media, BI solutions, CRM or ERP systems and email marketing. Making communication more personalized and relevant.
- Krzysztof Jarecki Artificial intelligence will take over campaign execution, especially for companies with large content libraries.
- David Raab Video is the up-and-coming functionality, easy creation will be accompanied by changes that make it easier to deploy and understand video content.
- Willem Stam E-mail systems move towards the data instead of other way around, senders will need more data-points to personalize communication that will drive user engagement.
- Benoît De Nayer Machine Learning will steer adaptive campaigns for smaller Marketing Automation platforms where AI will allow to continuously adapt campaigns to the individual customer journey.
- Jordie van Rijn The definition of MarTech will change as small market, ABM and dynamic content functionality comes together
- Tink Taylor Innovation will come from an explosion of machine-learning start-ups. For top-tier industry leaders, data is often in good shape, but it’s not all held in the same place.
- Assaf Ben-Asher Integration platforms are on the rise to extend the top marketing and engagement applications and increase service reach.
- Matt Hayes Iterative development on content automation in order to solve content production problems.
Future of Email Marketing Goes Mobile
As user interactions with email become more dynamic and uninhibited by the limitations of a desktop environment, email content must become more dynamic as well. People move through their inboxes quickly, looking only for the information they need and want. Delivering relevant messages that resonate with them is fundamental–that includes live email content that adapts in real time to location, device, time of open, and behaviors.
Among the most popular and effective live content strategies, Lustberg explains, are countdown clocks. “Countdown clocks connect to your customers through immediacy,” he says. “By including a live countdown to the end of a sale or other promotion, you’re creating a sense of urgency that will inspire your customers to buy at that moment rather than later, or not at all.”
Geographic targeting is an important tool to leverage as well, especially if the brand has multiple locations. Personalizing an email based on the recipient’s location is a way to create a sense of belonging, Lustberg explains, and to build a community feel around.
Here at Stay in touch, we frequently write about the fundamentals of good email marketing. We advocate for catchy subject lines that get subscribers to open your email. We encourage you to write content that engages your audience. And we urge you to come up with compelling CTAs (call-to-action) that get readers to click-through to your website, e-store or landing page.
But what if your emails aren’t making it to the inbox in the first place? That’s where improving your email delivery with best practices is incredibly important to both your marketing efforts and your bottom line. So, if you’re suffering from high bounce rates or spam complaints, fear not! Read on for five tips and tactics to make sure your emails get delivered, opened and read.
Tip 1: Clean up that dusty old email list
If you’re experiencing an increase in bounced emails, take a closer look at your list. If you haven’t sent to that list in a while, this could by why. Most email service providers allow you to segment your list based on email activity, so you should remove bounced addresses and inactive subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in the past few months. Do this every few months to maintain a squeaky clean and healthy list of active, engaged readers.
Tip 2: Use a double opt-in for new subscribers
Whether it’s signing up for your newsletter or checking a box in your online shopping cart, single opt-in is the fast, easy, and risky way to build your contact list. It’s risky because if you opt them into your list without them realizing it, they may flag your emails as spam or use a bogus address like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com that immediately bounce.
It only takes a few spam complaints for some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to begin blocking your email. Any decent Email Service Provider (ESP) should offer this as an option, or the option, in their services. Some spam laws require proof of sign up, and the double opt-in gives you exactly that. If your ESP doesn’t offer this, you can instead send a welcome email automatically that can act as a confirmation email. Then, add everyone who clicks to confirm into a new list of verified subscribers. While you may get fewer confirmed addresses compared to using single opt-in, they will be valid and more likely to stay engaged.
Tip 3: Pick a sending schedule and stick to it
One way to build up your email reputation, and thus improve your email delivery, is by sending your emails at a consistent frequency. If you send emails at erratic times of the day, week or month, you may cause your readers to stop reading or interacting with your email. And since ISPs monitor engagement, your email delivery could drop, so stick to a regular schedule. But when to send? Early? Late? Mondays? Fridays?
Figuring out the best cadence for sending your messages can be tricky, so you should test it thoroughly. Sending too frequently can lead to higher spam complaints and unsubscribes, whereas sending too infrequently can lead to unengaged readers and eventually higher bounce rates or bad email delivery. However, a good rule of thumb is to send no more than one email per week and no fewer than one email per month.
Tip 4: Brand your “From” name
As mentioned, you can build trust with your readers’ ISPs with a consistent schedule. You can increase that trust with readers by having a recognizable “From” name. For example, an email from “stayintouch” is better than the more generic-sounding firstname.lastname@example.org.
A recent trend that I’ve noticed in my inbox is companies adding a personal name to the “From” field, such as “Lauren from Cool Company.” The idea is that it provides a more personal touch with readers so it doesn’t seem like your email is coming from a faceless entity. Some of your readers may find this approach off-putting because it’s unlikely they have a personal relationship with “Lauren.” But like many things with marketing; when in doubt, test it out!
Tip 5: Boost your open rates with automated follow-up emails
What do you do if subscribers miss your first email entirely? Maybe their inbox was full that day, or you just sent it at a bad time. When this happens, you can always resend the email a few days later to re-engage the “non-responders.”
We recently added an automatic follow-up email feature that saves you time and effort by letting you schedule a follow-up email at the same time that you send your initial message. All you do is change your follow-up email’s subject line (to avoid looking spammy) and select a wait time for your follow-up to go out (try 3 or 4 days). We’ve had great success with nonresponder follow-up emails in the past, which can boost open rates up to 50% higher than the original email alone.
If you follow the guidelines and tactics we included in this blog post, you should see a significant improvement in your email delivery rate and fewer bounces. As for automated follow-up emails, if your current email service provider doesn’t offer them, maybe it’s time to shop around