Although email is a great medium for reaching leads and customers, marketers still struggle with email engagement. Keeping customers and leads engaged is still the bane of email marketers both in the B2C and B2B spheres. One of the engagement metrics that keeps marketers up at night is the click-through rate.
Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of email recipients that click on any links in your email. This is essential to understand when looking at your metrics, and your overall plan to achieve marketing success. The reason email marketers place so much stock by CTR is:
- It shows the behavioral habits of their subscribers
- It measures how engaged subscribers are (through the number of clicks)
- When combined with conversion rate (CR), it helps marketers understand the sales journey of their customers.
Given its importance, a low CTR is a marketer’s nightmare. Many B2B email marketers complain about how low their CTRs are without paying attention to their industry average. An important thing to note about acceptable CTRs is that it varies by industry.
MailChimp publishes an annual email benchmark which shows open rates and click-through rates across different industries. For 2018, Restaurant and Public Relations had the lowest CTR at 1.06% and 1.63%. Hobbies had the highest CTR with 4.78% followed closely by Media and Publishing with 4.55%.
Comparing your CTR to your industry average gives a better picture of what you need to improve. If you’re a B2B email marketer in the architecture and construction industry, a CTR of 3% is higher than the industry average of 2.55%. Not that you can’t improve (you absolutely can), comparing your CTR to industry rates gives you a benchmark to never follow below. If your CTR is below your industry’s average, it’s time to get back to the drawing board and think up new ways to improve your email marketing campaigns to get more clicks. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Here are tips we recommend you implement to boost your click-through rate:
Craft better subject lines
The subject line is one of the most important aspects of an email. Apart from brand recognition, a good subject line may be the deciding factor to recipients opening your emails. When recipients open and read your email, they click links that lead them to other actions you want them to perform. The subject line thus has a direct correlation to your click-through and conversion rates.
Writing a subject line that wows the pants off your recipients seems hard. It is not. When crafting your subject line, make sure it:
- Focuses on the recipients.
- Doesn’t cause your openers to feel remorse or cheated because the subject line promises something that the email content doesn’t deliver on. Example, you can’t send an email with the subject line “Write an introductory email like a pro” and your email content contains everything but content that relates to your subject line.
- Respects their time. Again, never write a subject line that doesn’t deliver in the content. It is disrespectful to the time your recipient used in opening your email.
A subject line that isn’t too showy and delivers on its promises is doable. Just put yourself in the shoes of your recipients. Remember to use preview text to your advantage to bolster your subject line.
Refine email content
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After opening an email, what keeps a recipient interested and reading is the content. The content will lead them to your Call to Action (CTA) buttons and get you those clicks. Therefore, make sure you have to bring it with email content.
In our email content guide, we talk about everything you need to know about creating email content that converts. Here are two of our must-do for email content:
- Add visuals to your emails. Human beings respond better to visual stimuli. Emails with visuals get higher clicks. You can add images, gifs and videos to your email content. If you’re stuck thinking about how to jazz up a white paper in your email content, turn some information inside into an eye-catching infographic.
- Make sure your email content delivers information that subscribers find valuable. It is the easiest way to get your email opened on sender recognition alone.
Always ask for feedback on content as people are likely to answer short surveys or polls. Reward subscribers once in a while for sticking with you and reading your emails.
Great email formatting
Email formatting could be the culprit to your click-through rate woes. Use the following tips to get a better click-through rate:
- Optimize your emails for mobile devices. More people are using smartphones to read their emails and emails that aren’t optimized for such screens may remain unread. There may be temptation to skip this step as a B2B email marketer, don’t give into it. While your expectation may be that your leads will read your emails on their desktops, it doesn’t always happen that way. Many people have work phones they carry around when away from their desk.
- Use alt tags for images in case your recipients’ email clients blocks images.
Break up your email content into easy-to-read bits so readers can quickly decide what part they want to read.
Personalize and segment your list
Improper segmentation of your b2b email list could hurt your click rate. Everyone on your list will not like the same things or have the same interests. This is where segmentation comes in. Say your company serves two different industries, your subscribers from industry A will not click on content that is more relevant to subscribers from industry B and this will affect your click rates. Segmenting your list into Industries A and B, and sending content relevant to each industry to their respective subscribers will give you better CTRs.
Personalization is another proven tactic that boosts click-through rate. Beyond using recipient’s names in emails, another great way to personalize their experience is to use the data you have gathered on them to tailor their individual email marketing experience.
Create a better CTA
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Do you use too many CTAs in your emails? When you give human beings too many options, you risk making them indecisive. Say you use 3 links in your emails and have low click rates, it may be time to reduce these links to 1 to get better CTRs.
Apart from writing great CTAs (which we’re sure you’re doing already), placement may affect your click-through rate. In 2016, Professors Jarl Salo and Ashish Kumar published a study on “Effects of Link Placement in Email Newsletters on their Click-through rates” in the Journal of Marketing Communication. They found that placing your CTAs on the left side had more impact as the reading pattern and attention follows a U-shape. It may be time to change the placement of your CTR if you experience low rates.
Test your email sending frequency
Email fatigue is another factor that might need optimization in boosting your click rate. Are you sending emails too often? Every B2B email marketer understands that the B2B buying cycle is longer than that of B2C. There is a need to stay relevant to your leads as they proceed through that cycle. There is a big difference between staying in touch by sending relevant content and spamming them with emails.
Sending emails too frequently could fatigue your recipients and decrease your open and click-through rates. If your click rates are lower than the industry average, it is time to test your email sending frequency. Try bi-weekly emails instead of weekly to see if there is an increase in click rates.
Finally, you can also add social share buttons to your email campaigns if you haven’t already to boost your click rates. Always take the time to clean up your list and re-engage bored subscribers.
It is also important to remember that conversion ultimately matters in your email campaigns. The goal of boosting click-through rate is to get more conversions. If a better your click-through rate doesn’t get you more sales, then it is not worth it.