Most email marketing content doesn’t perform well.
According to MailChimp’s stats, the average for my fellow marketers is a pretty low 17.81% open rate and a click-through rate of 1.92%.
Before you let this get you down, remember that these benchmarking stats include the good, the bad, and the really, really, really ugly. In other words, while 17.81% is the average, don’t forget that there are outliers on either side.
Let me get my brag on for a moment and tell you that Team Impressa has an average open rate of 39.5% and click-through rate of 6.6% over the last 12 months. I am not alone in results like that!
In fact, my team and I reached out to others in the marketing industry to see if they had a brag-worthy email with inspiring metrics they were brave enough to share. And did they ever!
Here are some examples (and results!) of some of the best marketing email content these marketing pros ever sent out:
You don’t have to have a big, flashy, fancy email to see increased results. The team at Quick Email Verification (another cool email tool similar to Zerobounce) used a simple text-focused email to put valuable email content into the hands of their subscribers.
They’ve created a simple, easy to follow formula for promoting their blog posts to those on their list. The text is high value, information-rich, relevant to the reader, and—best of all!—not pushy or salesy.
To give you an example, they shared an email promoting a blog post called 8 Ways to Create Powerful Subject Lines with us.
While their emails normally get decent click-through rates, they realized they’d have to take their subject lines to the next level to promote a post on that very topic. So they did. And they saw good results:
Source: Quick Email Verification[/caption]
We talked to SuperOffice, a company that produces a CRM for small- to medium-sized businesses. They gave us another awesome example of the power of a powerful subject line.
They told us:
Our most successful email ever was sent out in August last year. August is a slow month in the CRM industry as potential buyers are often away on vacation. When creating the email, expectations were low but, we promised our subscribers one email per month, and we were not going to let them down!
We usually include the title of a blog post as the subject line, but given the time of year, I decided to try something new. Rather than include "7 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience Strategy" as the subject line, instead, I used "The most exciting opportunity for companies in 2016 (and beyond)."
Prior to sending this email, our average open rate was 15% - not bad. But, this new subject line earned an impressive 45% - a 200% increase!
We made some design changes to our content newsletters in February, such as bigger text and bigger images, and broke the email’s content into more digestible chunks. We knew the design looked better, so we were hopeful that we’d get better results. But when we sent it out and compared its performance to the previous template during previous weeks/months, the uplift was amazing.
It was only the design that changed – the email went to the same segment, at the usual send time, and contained a similar style of content.
So what were the results?
Yeah, uplift like that is definitely something to be proud of!
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Of course, it’s not just one feature or one kind of email marketing content tweak that makes a winning message. Just ask MINDSCAPE.
A digital agency after my own heart, they recently sent out an email to promote their new blogging workshop. And it performed quite well:
Great results, and they attribute the success to four things:
Seriously, check out that big, bold button below. They use easily seen, actionable CTAs like this all over their site:
The team at Nectafy are inbound marketers (and folks I should get to know). They had a blog post that brilliantly broke down a HubSpot experiment they had done, and their email to promote this post is one of their best performers.
This was one of their “most successful emails ever, in terms of open rate,” thanks, in part, to the controversial subject line: “Why I’ve had enough of HubSpot.”
As the Nectafy team reminded us, “people always like a little controversy,” and given that it sounded like this group of inbound aficionados were tossing in the towel on the innovators of inbound, this was an attention-grabbing subject line for sure!
However, they also attribute the success of the message to the email being “targeted specifically for [their] recipient list, since most of the recipients know HubSpot to some extent.” The email also came directly from the founder, so the "I've had enough" message seemed like a personal one. Again, it was the cocktail of smart strategies that made this post a winner.
So, what were the results?
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There are benefits not only to being controversial, but also to being bold and direct. Instead of beating around the bush, pretending that the competition doesn’t exist, e-commerce marketing platform Conversio took a very different, direct approach to a recent marketing email. They did their research and acknowledged their competitor, then beat them on pricing!
Here’s the whole story:
We crawled our customers' sites and determined which ones were using our competitor, Yotpo. We split the emails between our Premium customers who were using Yotpo and those who weren't. We made sure to mention Yotpo in the subject line "Give Yotpo the heave-ho" to grab their attention and ensured the benefits of switching from Yotpo were clear in the first section of copy:
There definitely was no dancing around the topic here! So, how did this email perform?
Pretty dang well.
It’s like the recipients couldn’t help but open up this direct and intriguing email!
The team at Media Prowler are email marketing specialists, so it wasn’t a shock that they’ve had a lot of boast-worthy campaigns with incredible results. However, an email they sent out for UniversitySend (a platform for marketing to prospective higher education students) was one that really caught my eye.
It’s an excellent reminder that the best email marketing content inspires real action. Why?
Yep. That email lead directly to sales for their client. They credit their incredibly targeted content that presented an potentially profitable opportunity, and I tend to think they’re right.
Edward Sturm is an incredibly smart marketer who gladly shared his favorite email with us. Even better, he shared with you, in detail, why his email worked.
Get ready to learn! He said:
It's short, concise, and easy to read. It's quirky and weird, making it interesting. It's informal, to a point of familiarity, which makes it intriguing. There's no clear CTA, so readers never have red marketing flags go off in their heads.
The subject line is unusual and slightly memey, giving this email a 41.6% open rate - way above the industry average. Click through rate is 6.9%, also above the industry average (people want to know who the hell this is). Due to not changing the word, "Son," regardless of gender, this e-mail has even higher numbers with women.
No, this wasn’t your everyday email marketing content, but hot damn did it work!
Source: Edward Sturm[/caption]
If you’ve been trying to take your emails from average to awesome, hopefully these pros have provided a bit of inspiration and a few useful lessons.
But if you have had some email marketing content that knocked it out of the park when it comes top opens, click-through, and conversion...
Share it with us!
Drop into the comment section, leave some stats, and provide a link if you can. Let’s keep the inspiration rolling (and the one-upping to a minimum).
Julie Ewald thought she was going to be a poet and professor. Instead Julie is a driven digital marketer who specializes in content strategy and creation for personal brands, consultancies, and unique tech companies. She is also the digital nomad at the helm of Impressa Solutions, the all-remote marketing agency she founded in 2012.