It’s been nearly half a century since Ray Tomlinson sent out the world’s first email.
Over the years, email has become the preferred form of communication for marketers and non-marketers alike.
Today, we’ll cover how to calculate conversion rates in email marketing and practices for email success.
Let’s get started!
What We’ll Cover:
- What is an Email Conversion?
- Email Marketing Conversion Rate Formula
- What is a Good Conversion Rate?
- Design Principles for Email Marketers
- Copy Best Practices
- Top Strategies to Triple Your Conversion Rates
What is an Email Conversion?
Even with the proliferation of social media, when it comes to conversions, emails outperform every other medium.
For every $1 you spend on an email marketing campaign, you can expect to see an average return of $38.
A key benefit of email marketing is that they’re effective in targeting audiences across industries, from college students to working professionals, and everyone in between.
On top of that, email is permission-based. Users have to intentionally sign up to receive your content, which means they want to get updates from you. And if you’re a smaller business with a minimal marketing budget, email campaigns are your best friend.
Email conversions are one of the most important metrics for marketers, as it serves as an indicator of return on investment. Conversions involve subscribers taking a specific action after receiving and opening your email.
In the most basic sense, the number of recipients who perform said action compared to the total number of emails sent out gives you the email conversion rate.
Depending on your company’s intended goals, the actions will vary from email to email.
For example, let’s say you have an eCommerce store. A likely action is a purchase. Likewise, for an upcoming online seminar, signing up for a webinar would be an ideal intended action.
Email Marketing Conversion Rate Formula
To calculate your email conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions by the number of delivered emails and multiply by 100. This will be represented as a percentage.
Conversion Rate = (Number of Conversions ÷ Number of Delivered Emails) x 100
For instance, if 300 people purchase something, with 10,000 emails sent out, your conversion rate will be 3%.
What is a Good Conversion Rate?
Conventional wisdom says that the best conversion rates lie somewhere between 2% and 5%. However, what’s considered high for one industry can be considered low for another.
MailChimp reports that the average open rate for all industries falls just under 22%.
When broken down further, the study also found that the average email open rate is 18.48% for the beauty and personal care industry, 16.75% for eCommerce, and 20.96% for retail.
Roughly a quarter of all accounts have an email conversion rate of less than 1%, while the top 25% see a 5.31% conversion rate, and the top 10% see an astounding 11.45% conversion rate.
Design Principles for Email Marketers
With the average person receiving 121 emails per day, the design is an aspect of the email that you can’t afford to overlook.
One of the best ways to draw subscribers in is by creating clean, engaging email designs.
Design is what guides the reader to navigate the content the way the writer intended. Plus, a well-designed email catches the reader’s eye and encourages them to continue reading once they’ve opened your email.
With these tips, you should be able to craft killer emails that generate leads and conversions in no time:
Use Email Design Grids
The inverted pyramid design allows people to focus on the most important components of your email. It starts with a strong headline that conveys your email’s key message, followed by supporting images to help build anticipation, and lastly, a call to action.
Check out this example from RunKeeper:
Another design grid to keep in mind is the zig-zag layout. Graphic designer Mary Stribley describes this method as an “angular layout is both enticing to look at as well as functional to order lots of information and imagery.
“You can create these angles through imagery or color blocking in order to guide the reader through each step of the email. This not only creates a visually pleasing layout, but it also helps to simplify each section of the email so that it is easy to read.”
Dockers nailed the zig-zag layout:
Choose the Right Color Scheme
Typically, there are two options when it comes to color schemes. You can stick to what you know and use colors that are synonymous with your branding.
Or you can select a color scheme that relates to the message your sending. If you’re going for attention-grabbing, go for bigger, bolder colors.
Since yellow is often associated with positive energy and cheerfulness, Kate Spade incorporates the color frequently in their marketing emails:
Break Up Your Content in Easy-to-Read Sections
Your emails need to convey a lot with very little space. It should be visually stimulating, while also being devoid of too many distractions.
Whenever you’re working with multiple layers of information, it’s vital that you divide the sections appropriately.
This can be achieved by utilizing geometric shapes, adding horizontal borders between chunks of content, and including interactive maps.
Take a look at how RAMA Works pulled this off:
Copy Best Practices
With emails, we can’t stress enough the importance of choosing your words carefully.
There is a format that works for most businesses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your copy.
We’ve compiled a short list of pointers to keep you on track during the email copywriting process:
Spend Time Perfecting Your Subject Line
As mentioned before, with so many emails to go through in an average day, users will often scan the subject line before proceeding to open them. Otherwise, it will end up in the junk folder.
Above all else, you want to deliver value. Your subject line should be short, sweet, and straightforward.
Consider targeting the recipient’s pain points, as it will give them a sense of urgency.
There’s nothing worse than an impersonal copy. You don’t want to come across as “salesy” or “pushy.” Today’s users know how to spot insincerity from a mile away.
Adversely, it’s a good idea to connect with your customers on an emotional level. What challenges are you helping them to overcome?
You can only convert subscribers into customers when you build a relationship rooted in trust and credibility.
Focus on Benefits over Features
Feature-focused copy makes for a dull email because chances are, plenty of other organizations offer the same (or similar) features as you.
It only tells the customers what they would be buying, not why they should buy it.
Will it make their life easier? Will it free up some of their time? Does it streamline a process they’re struggling with?
Be a Storyteller
Storytelling is all the rage these days. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t just used in films and novels, but to share information, learn, and grow.
Storytelling is compelling because it shows that you’re really trying to get to know your audience.
Try including a personal anecdote or customer testimonial to paint a clearer picture.
Include a Bulletproof Call to Action
In addition to your subject line, the call to action is an essential part of your email.
You could have an email chock-full of persuasive copy and eye-catching images, but if the reader scrolls all the way down to the bottom with no next steps highlighted, how will they know what to do next?
You could ask them to start a free trial, sign up for a newsletter, or re-visit the items left behind in their online shopping cart.
Top Strategies to Triple Your Conversion Rates
Below are some additional tactics you can use to keep your costs low and your email conversion rates high:
Avoid Spam Filters
You don’t want precious marketing dollars to go to waste because your emails are never seen.
To avoid this, make sure that all recipients have opted-in to getting your emails.
Your emails also need to be sent from a good IP address, particularly from someone who hasn’t already sent them to spam in the past.
Segment Your Lists
If you’re sending all of your emails to everyone on your list, it may be time to rethink your approach.
Everyone is not interested in everything you’re selling. If you want them to click and eventually convert, send your audience relevant information.
This entails properly segmenting your email list by demographics, psychographics, browsing activity, and more.
According to Chris Van Dusen, CEO of Parcon Media, “You should be sending out different messaging and discount offers to your site visitors depending on the actions they have taken on your site. First-time visitors, repeat visitors with no orders/one order/multiple orders/cart abandoners, etc.”
Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Subscribers understand that they are just one of hundreds or possibly thousands of subscribers. But, they don’t want to feel like it.
That’s where personalization comes in. The best way to personalize an email is by using their name.
In fact, by addressing your customers by name in the email, you can increase your open rate by roughly 42%.
Optimize for Mobile Viewing
66% of emails today are read on a mobile device. And 70% of email recipients will immediately delete an email if it’s not mobile-friendly.
The user experience needs to be just as seamless as it would be on a desktop.
For superior mobile responsiveness, try using a single column layout, reducing image sizes to speed up load times, and creating a subject line that’s no more than 35 characters long.
Get the Timing Right
Timing can have a major impact on whether or not your subscribers click on your emails, so think critically about what day and time you plan to send them out.
Performing some A/B tests will help you determine which time frames do the best.
Generally speaking, Tuesdays tend to have the highest open rates, while Saturdays are prime days for conversion.
No matter what the ultimate goal is, you want to do everything in your power to get customers to click on and engage with your email.
With these handy tips, you are all set up to optimize your email marketing campaigns for maximum conversions.
It’s time to get the ball rolling and start creating emails that convert faster and deliver an incredible user experience your users can’t find anywhere else.