Happy_Customer_with_Laptop_repairedWe all know and appreciate just how important email campaigns can be for a small business communicating with its customers and prospects. Getting the message right, writing great subject lines and giving recipients a reason to open the email is an ongoing challenge, especially when inboxes tend to be filled on a daily basis with huge volumes of emails and some unwanted spam emails too.

Monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of an email campaign is absolutely essential if you want to ensure you are reaching your audience, and achieving a high click-through rate (CTR) is always the prize to chase. There are all kinds of tried and tested techniques to use when it comes to email marketing and I’ve mentioned many of them in previous email marketing articles, so I thought I would also share some research conducted by Constant Contact.

Latest email marketing findings

One of the leading small business email marketing systems, Constant Contact supports over 650,000 customers. Goodness knows what that means in terms of daily, weekly, monthly email campaigns but the company recently studied over 2.1 million emails sent by Constant Contact customers to really understand what type of content gives the best results for click-throughs.

The research focused on campaigns sent out to more than 100 contacts, and the findings are very specific. So here is the BIGGIE email marketing tip: Email campaigns that include approximately 20 lines of text and three or fewer images are the most successful and generate the highest percentage of click-throughs. Both elements show an incredible spike when the data is set out, so putting the two together has to be a pretty powerful combination.

This isn’t the first time I have heard this evidence – another email marketing system supplier had concluded through their own client research that emails that look more like Google search results – short paras with text and links. Food for thought!

So what does this mean for your email marketing?

It basically means be concise, keep those marketing messages short and sharp and leave your customers in no doubt about what you want them to do with the information. It means making things easy to read. It means don’t bombard your audience with load of pictures when just a few will work even better. Many business owners get obsessed with making their campaigns look ‘pretty’ and spending oodles of time and money on expensive email templates and designers. The research shows this really isn’t worth the investment!

Don’t forget, we are increasingly checking emails on the go, on our smartphones and tablets – and we are increasingly impatient. If the email takes ages to download due to the huge number of images it contains – they will DELETE IT and move on to the next email!

How do your email campaigns stack up?

Having this valuable piece of information in your marketing armoury, it would be well worth having a look back through some of your old email campaigns with a more critical eye. How do they compare on the magic balance of text and images? How do you think your click-through rates have been affected if you’ve written loads of text or not used any images? For your next campaign have a go at writing no more than 20 lines and choose three really good images to feature, and then check the results. If previous click-through rates have been disappointing, you’ll hopefully start to see a difference that will create its own little spike in terms of business upturn. It may take a bit of tweaking over the course of several campaigns (don’t forget you can always do the AB split test as well to more scientifically test two approaches) to identify what works best for your particular audience.

Happy Email Marketing!