Email marketing can be extremely effective. However, the success of your email marketing is closely linked to how well you understand and utilize the tool itself.
In this post, we will focus on MailChimp, the email marketing automation tool of choice for many small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Note: while we are focusing on MailChimp in this post, most if not all of these features are available on other email marketing automation tools like Constant Contact, GetResponse, Drip, ConvertKit, and so on.
Now that we got that out of the way, here are 4 ways to improve your email marketing with MailChimp.
1. Use Timewarp
Timing is critical in email marketing, and changing the time of your email can make all the difference. For example, we worked on an email marketing campaign targeting high performing Realtors. After our research, we identified 12:30 pm as the ideal time to get the highest conversion.
With Timewarp our email was delivered at 12:30 pm across the US, irrespective of the time zone. If we didn't use Timewarp, Realtors on the east coast would have received our email at 3:30 pm, 3 hours after our target time.
As we mentioned above, the timing of your email is critical, so if you already invested the time to find the optimal timeslot, give your email the best chance of success by ensuring it's delivered at the right time.
NOTE: If your email list doesn't have enough subscribers with location data, the Timewarp feature will not be available.
2. Pre-Built Segments
Too many businesses send a generic email to everyone in their email list. In other words, they don't segment their email list/subscribers. This passive approach always returns mediocre results, because an email has to be relevant to be successful, and it's impossible to create a relevant email campaign if you only have one segment (group).
At a minimum try to split your email subscribers into a few segments (using Personas). The next best things and certainly better than no-segmentation at all is to use MailChimp's pre-built segmentation feature.
Pre-built segmentation can automatically segment your subscriber list by engagement, behavior, or demographics. For example:
- Engagement - Active Subscriber vs. Inactive Subscriber
- Behavior - Potential Customer vs. First-Time Customer vs. Repeat Customer
- Demographics - Male vs. Female
If you currently use one large email list, the Pre-Built Segments feature can certainly improve your open and click-through rates, because it will make your emails more relevant. For example, you can give a special offer to "inactive subscribers" only - to get them to re-engage with your brand/business.
NOTE: some of these segmentation options are only available if you have MailChimp integrated with your website or e-commerce solution.
3. A/B Testing
If you are not familiar with the term, A/B testing is a randomized experiment using two (or more) different versions to see which performs better.
In the context of email marketing, we can set different images, text, or call-to-actions to see which version results in a better conversion rate. For example, we can A/B test the following email elements:
- Headline (short and snappy vs. descriptive)
- Image (e.g. Image of the product itself vs. image of the desired outcome)
- Testimonials (e.g. using an image vs. plain text)
- Call-to-Action text or buttons (e.g. 20% discount vs. $5 off)
- Links (e.g. trying different font styles or colors)
Why is A/B testing important?
With A/B Testing you are using real data and not intuition to improve the conversion rate. For example, in one of our client's email campaigns, we A/B tested three different subject lines:
- Version 1 - "20% Off..."
- Version 2 - "Save 20%..."
- Version 3 - "$10 Off...".
All three variations look very similar, but they performed very differently. Before we started the A/B test, we predicted that "Save 20%" would perform best, but after a sample test, we found that "20% Off" outperformed the next best version ("Save 20%") by 4%.
This may not seem like a significant difference, but when you take into account that our subscriber list was 47,000, this small change resulted in +1,880 (4%) additional people opening our email. In this specific example, we continued A/B testing different email elements, improving the overall campaign performance by 34%.
4. Use Conditional Merge Tag Blocks To Make Your Email Personal
MailChimp's conditional merge tag blocks let you insert dynamic content into your email campaign - saving you time and improving the conversion rate.
For example, let's assume we are selling handbags, and that our target customers are between 18-32 years old. Naturally, an 18-year-old will have very different taste to a 32-year-old; therefore, let's assume that our email list is segmented by age.
With conditional merge tag blocks, we can create one email campaign that can dynamically update email content (products) according to our segments (age); hence, our 18 years-old customers will receive product recommendations and offers that are specific to them, and our older demographic will receive products and offers that are better suited to their taste - all this can be done in a single email, without having to create multiple email campaigns.
Conditional merge tag blocks can be intimidating at first, but they are very effective, so we highly recommend that you use them. They will certainly save you time and make your content more relevant.
If used to their full potential, email marketing tools like MailChimp will undoubtedly improve your conversion rate and help you increase sales. That being said, you have to commit to learning the tool, and more importantly, continue to optimize every aspect of your email marketing campaign.
The fact that you are reading this post shows the desire to improve and make your email marketing better, so now take the next step and implement some of these MailChimp features.