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Make A Customer Act: A Guide To Improving Email Conversion Rates

Want to get real results from your email marketing? Learn how to increase your email conversion rates to improve your overall ROI with this article from Jarrang.

June 21 - 2024

Email Marketing Strategy 5 min read

Selling online

Turning your readers into customers

One of the first steps towards improving your email marketing performance is to examine your click-through and conversion rates. These measurements will not only show you what’s working, but they will also help you determine the main areas for improvement. By putting your results into context, you can better understand what you need to do to achieve growth.

You already know that email comes with huge potential, but it also brings significant competition. Email inboxes are jam-packed with brand communications every single day. As a marketer, you need to send emails that people want to open, engage with, and, most importantly, encourage them to take action. Easier said than done, right? 

In this guide, we’ll explore both click-throughs and conversions, including the differences between the two, as well as tips for increasing your conversions from email. Most importantly, we will cover how these two metrics work together to indicate key areas of growth for all brands using email marketing.

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started. 

What is a conversion?

A conversion can be defined in different ways depending on your objectives – but it’s usually an action taken on your website or app, such as completing a product purchase or contact form. 

Tracking total conversions is useful, but you must dig slightly deeper to analyse conversion rates to make the measurement more relevant to email campaign success. 

Your conversion rate, or CV, is a measurement that looks at the percentage of users who have successfully converted from your email campaigns. To specifically measure conversions from emails, you need to set up campaign URLS, or UTM links– this will tell Google Analytics where your audience has come from, and you can then use this to establish goals. 

To work out your email conversion rate, you can use the following formula: 

Email conversion rate = (total conversions/total delivered emails) x 100

Why is tracking email conversion rate a challenge?

Tracking, reporting on and improving your email conversion rate is fundamental to driving growth from your campaigns – but it’s also a topic that comes with unique issues compared to other email metrics. 

Common email marketing measurements, such as open and click-through rates, directly relate to actions taken within an email campaign. You can, therefore, track them using email marketing software like Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Mapp. 

On the other hand, measuring conversion rates involves a secondary stage (usually your own website or app) where the conversion occurs – so tracking using campaign URLs is ideal for this. 

Analysing your conversion rate is just one part of the process. The real goal is to improve it. Virtually any action taken to improve overall email campaign effectiveness will have a cross-benefit to your conversion rate, but email-specific conversions do require a tailored approach to drive success.

What is a good email conversion rate?

Benchmarks are critical to email marketing strategy. By setting base-level expectations around key metrics, you can better track the results of any activity. 

When you start building email marketing campaigns, you must define a conversion rate target. To do that, many of us turn to Google to find industry averages and baselines. However, this can lead to misleading or disheartening results for conversion rates. 

Remember that conversion rate depends not just on your email content, but also on the functionality and experience of the intended conversion page. This heavily skews the measurement and reporting of email conversions and leads to disparate results. One site may report an average conversion rate of 2-5%, another claims it’s 15.22%. 

Mailchimp, one of the world’s biggest email marketing platforms, doesn’t even offer an average conversion rate figure in its industry benchmarking report. Instead, it prefers to focus on CTR because it’s a metric directly trackable and attributable to email campaigns. 

Defining a ‘good’ conversion rate really depends on your business. A 5% rate may represent good value for an established business with a large subscriber base sending multiple weekly campaigns. A smaller brand that sends less frequent, more personalised content to a loyal user base would instead see much higher conversions of 20% or more. 

Checking mobile

How to increase email conversions

Increasing your email conversion rate happens in two ‘layers’. The first is a shared benefit when you take action to improve other areas of your email marketing. Activities like those we’ve listed below will benefit primary metrics such as open rates, which will have a follow-on benefit for conversions. The second ‘layer’ involves specific actions focused entirely on conversion. 

Activities that have a shared benefit include:

  • Improving email deliverability ensures more customers successfully receive your emails and helps bring more potential ‘eyes’ to your content and intended conversion mechanic. 
  • Working with an email marketing partner such as Jarrang helps you gain access to long-term expertise and dedicated resource that can manage, report and plan email campaigns for your business. 
  • Establish accurate reporting by incorporating the appropriate tech and tools to track not only email performance, but also website activity such as page visits and bounce rates. 

Specific ways to improve email conversion rates

If you’ve ‘got your house in order’ with more general activities but email conversions are underperforming, it might be time to focus on improving them. To do that, you need to have a defined idea of what a conversion is for your business and how best to track it across both email activity and site analytics. 

Tactics that can most effectively improve conversion rates include:

Improve your website and mobile experience

The best email campaigns in the world won’t convert if your website is too frustrating, misleading or confusing to use. Slow page load speeds, broken pages or links, poor optimisation for mobile and a whole host of other issues can lead to users quitting your site before they take action. 

Make sure CTAs reflect user expectations

Users who commit to a click-through should be viewed as priority leads – they’re engaged with your content and have taken action. The final hurdle is to get them to complete the conversion. 

Your call to action, or CTA, should accurately represent the intended target. If a user clicks a ‘buy now’ CTA and hits a category landing page or blog, they may be frustrated and leave before navigating to your product page. Instead, the CTA should link to the product page or a bespoke landing page that is built to achieve the specific goal. 

Streamline checkouts/sign-up forms

Every conversion, no matter what it represents, requires a user to take a definitive action. Your website's layout, infrastructure, and technology must support this action in the best possible way. Buying a product, for example, relies on your site offering intuitive ‘add to cart’ functionality, a smooth checkout process, and a purchase confirmation/shipping detail page. 

Even if you don’t sell products, conversions still depend on some type of actionable mechanic, such as a contact form. You should ensure your form is simple and functions on both desktop and mobile, and have your team test it extensively. 

Implement strategic personalisation

To funnel users towards a conversion, they need to feel as though your messaging meets their needs. Personalisation allows you to tailor campaign content around specific audience data, whether that’s something simple like using a first name in your email subject line or going deeper by creating unique campaigns around certain demographics or interests.

Of course, you’ll need to collect this data first – which might mean sending out a preferences form or other survey to gather more information about users. Try offering a discount to encourage people to give you more of this valuable data. 

Establish conversion-led email flows

Conversions occur at the end of a process. In email marketing, the basic process is to acquire a customer’s email address, send campaigns and then have the user click a link, visit a page and finally, take action. 

You can’t realistically expect to send an email for the first time and convert a customer as a result. Instead, you should create email journeys based on your goals and customer needs. 

Create email flows to help nurture users along a journey before prompting them to convert. Each step in the journey is intended to improve the chances of conversion. 

As an example, you could create a flow that first thanks a user for signing up to your newsletter and introduces your business, then a product-focused informational campaign followed by a subscriber-exclusive discount code. 

Try out dynamic content

A relatively new function for email marketers is the ability to include dynamic content blocks tailored to specific user interests or behaviors. Employing dynamic content is a great way to boost personalisation and improve conversions. 

Dynamic content can be deployed at varying levels of maturity. A basic example would be to create a dynamic block based on user demographics – changing the image and product displayed to match each demographic’s preferences. 

Some brands take dynamic content even further, offering personalisations based on contextual information. Running brand Brooks, for example, has experimented with adjusting content based on the weather in a customer’s geographic location.

Experiment with FOMO

The ‘fear of missing out’, or FOMO, is not simply a buzzword – it’s a real concept you can use in marketing to improve clicks and conversions. Time-limited offers and discount codes incentivise users to convert as soon as possible in case they ‘miss out’. 

FOMO tactics can backfire, however – so it’s important to recognise whether it looks ‘cheap’ or inauthentic for your brand. Try to offer discounts or time limits in a way that feels relevant, such as during a festive period or to commemorate a day linked to your brand.

Put conversion rates back into focus with Jarrang

Improving email marketing activity as a whole tends to benefit your conversion rate – but there’s more work to be done if you want this crucial metric to keep moving in the right direction. 

Jarrang can help you improve how you track conversions and drive improvements, ultimately increasing the most important metric of all – ROI. Get in touch with our team today to learn more. 

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