Improve your average email conversion rate with these 10 strategies

Your email campaign is only as good as its ability to convert. If your conversion rates are less than stellar, it may be time to revisit your marketing strategy. 

Email conversion rates vary considerably based on your industry. For example, open rates for non-profits are relatively high at nearly 25%, according to a 2018 report from Marketing Insider Group. Average click-through rates for non-profits are more in the median range at 2.76%. Retail open rates are a bit lower at nearly 21%, with click-through rates of 2.50%. If you are not seeing rates this high, that might be a good indication it’s time to take another look at how you are managing your email marketing campaigns.

1. Revisit your audience segmentation

When your email lists are properly segmented, conversion rates tend to rise. Think quality over quantity when sending your emails. It’s more productive to send out 100 emails to customers that are more likely to convert than 1000 emails to customers that are not interested in your product or service.

You can segment your list by: 

  • Demographics: including age, sex, location, occupation, income level, and marital status

  • Interests: segment customers by whom they choose to follow and activities they like

  • Psychographics: divide your audiences based on their attitudes and other psychological factors

  • Buying behavior and patterns: create email lists according to what, when, and how often customers buy 

Segmentation allows you to know your subscribers a bit better and use that knowledge to your advantage. In addition to using audience segmentation to send your emails to the most interested customers, this approach also allows you to customize the content of your email to add the personal touch. Check out how the following email is personalized with the customer’s name:

Check out how the following email is personalized with the customer’s name:

Source: Campaign Monitor

2. Start with your subject line 

You may design the most breathtaking email, but if it never gets opened, all that creative genius gets lost. The best way to increase those open rates is with a spectacular subject line that grabs your customer’s attention and entices them to learn more. There are a host of tactics for creating compelling subject lines, such as: 

  • Asking a riveting question 

  • Stimulating your customer’s curiosity

  • Personalizing with the customer’s name

  • Using scarcity or urgency to create a fear of missing out

  • Showing value in what you are offering your customer 

This email uses urgency to spur customers into action, which can translate to a subject line as well: 

De Beers - Email Marketing Campaign - Offer Email

Source: Campaign Monitor

Create descriptive subject lines but keep them short and consider adding an emoji to the message. Reports state that 56% of brands that used emojis in their subject line had a higher open rate. Using the recipient’s name in the subject line increased open rates by 26%. Need more options in crafting subject lines? We’ve got some great tips that will help you increase open rates and boost your ROI. 

3. Tell a story 

Nothing engages a reader faster than a good story. Storytelling has become a buzzword in content marketing because it works. In addition to grabbing the interest of your reader, stories draw them in, so they are more likely to read your entire message. When a customer reads your full message, they are more apt to convert. 

This email tells a story that compels a reader to learn more about the victims of Cyclone Pam: 

Australian Red Cross - Email Marketing Campaign - Email Newsletter

Source: Campaign Monitor

Your story doesn’t need to pertain to your email message directly. Be creative and personal with your storytelling and then find a way to link the story and the message together. You can tell your story from your own perspective, or from the point of view of a fictitious character. Add details to your story to make it more interesting and believable. 

4. Create a lead magnet 

A lead magnet is an effective tactic to improve your email conversion rate. A lead magnet makes an irresistible offer to your customer that will solve a problem or eliminate a particular pain point. Your lead magnet must be specific and valuable to your customer to be effective. 

To create a lead magnet, begin by identifying a specific pain or problem your customer has. You will need to do some research on this point first to be sure the pain you choose is relevant. Start by listing some of the questions you frequently get from customers or the issues your customers need help with regularly. Online message boards for your industry might also provide some insight. 

This email identifies the pain point of using traditional light modes on devices, which are known to cause eyestrain and other issues. The solution—Dark mode.

This email identifies the pain point of using traditional light modes on devices, which are known to cause eyestrain and other issues. The solution—Dark mode.

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Use Dynamic Content

Dynamic content, also known as smart content, is another way to tailor your email to your recipient. You can use dynamic content to tailor your message to your customer’s location or specific interests. According to 74% of marketers surveyed, targeted personalization increases customer engagement with emails. 

While marketers often think in terms of demographics when creating dynamic content, there are other ways to customize content as well. You can tailor your email based on the individual preferences of your customers, for example. The email below targets customers who want to be the first to see the latest styles available at Banana Republic: 

Banana Republic - Dynamic Content - Preferences

Source: Campaign Monitor

You can also create dynamic content based on your customer's email data. The emails they click on, and open may provide insight into their personal preferences and buying patterns. Simply use the data you receive from your automated email service to create this type of personalized content. 

6. Work with the customer journey 

Your sale is the destination of the customer journey. To create marketing that works with and for your customer, you need to tailor your email marketing to where your customer is in that journey. Some of the steps of the journey might include: 

  • Signing up for your subscription list: the right time to send a welcome email

  • Opening and clicking through your emails: could be the ideal time to send an email to incent a purchase

  • Making a purchase: time to send a thank you email 

  • Leaving an item in the cart: a reminder email can be effective in this situation

  • Failing to open emails or make a purchase after a time: may be appropriate to send a re-engagement email

The email below is an example of a re-engagement email: 

Misguided Reengagement email

Source: Campaign Monitor

Here are some suggestions on how failure to address the customer at the right point of the journey could impact your click-through rates

  • You are not segmenting your audience properly, so the emails are sent to customers unlikely to purchase your product

  • You are sending emails too frequently or not frequently enough

  • You could send a message with a purchase focus too early in the process 

  • You aren’t providing incentives to purchase at the right time

  • You don’t have a compelling and clear CTA

7. Create an email drip campaign 

A drip campaign is an automated system that sends emails to customers at preset times once the customer has taken action on your website. 

Drip campaigns can have different purposes: 

  • Keep your customer engaged

  • Win back a customer that has stopped visiting your site

  • Advertise promotions to incentivize purchases 

  • Provide relevant information about your product

  • Target competitors’ customers to entice them to buy your product instead

Drip campaigns work best when you segment your audience well. Customers also like to choose how often they receive your emails and the type of emails they want. It is also important to keep content for each email unique and diverse, so each message is fresh and new for your customer. 

This welcome email could be the first message of an email drip campaign designed to educate a customer about your company and products: 

Warby Parker Welcome email

Source: Campaign Monitor

8. Test, test and test some more  

A/B testing is a must for improving email conversion rates. This process compares two versions of the same email template to determine which one performs better with customers. This testing is particularly helpful for boosting conversion rates. You can use it to test any component of your email, including your subject line, CTA, content, and even your design colors. 

This email used A/B testing to determine which version got the best response. You can see from the numbers that the image on the right performed much better:

As subscribers find your emails more appealing, you are going to see a decrease in the bounce rate while also seeing an increase in open rate and click-through rate.

Source: Emma

9. Track your performance well  

Using analytics to track the performance of your email lets you know whether campaigns were successful. It also provides the data you need to tweak and adjust campaigns to make them perform better in the middle of your campaigns. 

Emma features tracking tools with our email system to help you see at a glance how your emails are doing: 

  • The Response Dashboard: Our dashboard provides precise reporting that allows you to see exactly what is working and what isn’t so you can modify emails for better performance.

  • Mailing Score: This metric provides data on your email performance you can analyze quickly, share results, and benchmark against previous campaigns.

  • Click Map: This tool offers information about exactly where customers are clicking within your email to help you pinpoint which content is performing best.  

10. Make your CTA count  

When the goal of your email is to get your customer to take the desired action, you need to make that clear within your message. Keep in mind that most people will not take action unless they are specifically told to do so. This means that in addition to sending an email showcasing your latest products, you also need to include a button your customer can click to purchase one of those products easily. 

In this email, there is a CTA for every product listed in the message. This makes it easy for your customer to make a purchase as soon as they find an item they love: 

In this email, there is a CTA for every product listed in the message. This makes it easy for your customer to make a purchase as soon as they find an item they love:

Source: Campaign Monitor

If your emails are not converting, it might be a good time to test your CTA to determine whether it is as effective as it could be. 

Wrap Up

There are numerous ways to increase your email conversion rate: 

  • Check your audience segmentation

  • Ramp up your subject lines

  • Tell a story

  • Create a lead magnet

  • Use dynamic content

  • Work with the customer’s journey

  • Create a drip campaign

  • Test your emails 

  • Track your performance

  • Beef up your CTA

If you are looking for more ways to enhance your email campaigns, check out these 12 tips on how to improve your email marketing program. 

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

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