Scientific e-mail marketing tips and thoughts


Dan Zarrella is a well-known social media marketing 'scientist' who looks at data and runs tests to provide marketers insights about the best ways to use Twitter, etc. Recently Zarrella, who is mainly specialized in inbound marketing, posted a presentation called "The Science of E-mail Marketing", based on a mix of e-mail data and conclusions from focus groups and surveys.

Here are some key takeaways and some comments. Most of the takeaways are not revelations. They come up again and again at keynotes and webinars. But human nature being what it is, we need to be reminded more than once before it sinks in.

Mobile e-mail marketing and reference data

Mobile optimization for e-mail is another one that keeps coming up. With up to 80% of recipients stating in surveys that they access e-mail via mobile, it's time to get mobile with our campaigns as you can read in this blog post. Reference data in e-mail is an interesting point and a good one. People will refer back to e-mail which contains useful data. A good reason to make sure your e-mails have "searchable" content.

The best time to send an e-mail

Send times are a favourite topic for discussion and this presentation is no different. According to the data, Saturday and Sunday have a noticeably higher click-through rate (CTR).  While Tuesdays seem to be the peak day for unsubscribes. The debate on the best time to send e-mails is an ongoing one with traditional wisdom saying Tuesday and Thursday are best. However, in a way the debate is irrelevant. The best day to send an e-mail depends from various aspects, the main one being your subscribers. Testing is still the way to go.

Furthermore, when you see e-mail marketing in a cross-channel marketing perspective, with the customer at the centre of your marketing universe, as we explain in our white paper on the Copernican revolution and an integrated interactive marketing approach, sending an e-mail is done based on customer interactions. While we're on the subject of send times, Zarrella advises sending your e-mails early (around 6-7am local time) to see if you get a performance boost.

Labels and click-through

Labels and serialization can also increase CTRs according to the presentation. Using such terms as "this week's" or even the word "newsletter" can help. In other words, deliver your subscribers a newsletter (as in dialogue and information) and not a sales flyer. Show your subscribers some love by giving them exclusive access, offers and inviting them to be a part of focus groups.

More links equals better click-through rates

Zarrella also remembers us that having lots of links in your e-mails is very important. He contends there is a strong correlation between the number of links and CTRs (we suggest you invest effort in making those links very relevant).

The e-mail marketing volume and frequency

Send more mail. Sounds counterintuitive, but some e-mail marketers have made this point over and over. Sending only one or two e-mails a month may result in higher unsubscribes. This is partially true but one must not forget that in times of media fragmentation, shortening attention spans and cross-channel behaviour, a right mix of interactions is key to avoid marketing fatigue as explained in this white paper. So instead of sending more e-mail, it would be wiser to send more relevant e-mail.

Segmentation and new subscribers

New subscribers are engaged and more likely to click through. Something to think about when segmenting your list.

Not every one of these takeaways will work for you, but considering that they keep coming up again and again, e-mail marketers would be wise to review them and consider each carefully.The Science of Email Marketng

View more presentations from HubSpot Internet Marketing.

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