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Email Marketing: How to engage with your current prospects and drive more traffic to your site

Before you engage in CRO ideas that drive sales opportunities deeper into the funnel, many travel brands need to get customers from an email to their site. From our research into building a model of the customer’s mind, we’ve discovered a seemingly simple yet often overlooked email marketing tactic. (I’ve used three experiments from the travel industry as an example, but this discovery is broadly applicable to most industries).

Move your main call-to-action to the top section of your email, and make sure it’s clear and prominent

Remember, the goal isn’t to get the vacation package booking within your email — that’s the website’s job. Your goal is to get the click. As marketers, we often want to throw the kitchen sink at our prospects to spin the odds in our favor. I mean, they are bound to click on something at that point … right?

Wrong! Make sure your objective in your email is focused, and construct your calls-to-action accordingly. Too many options can overwhelm or confuse your prospects when they don’t know what to do. When your prospect doesn’t know what to do, they tend to abandon the email altogether.

340% increase in CTR by adding prominent CTA

Take an experiment we helped a river cruise company run. Its email had many “clickable” areas driving to the landing page, but it lacked a clear call-to-action (CTA) to invite the prospective traveler to take action. Without a prominently emphasized CTA, it is difficult for a reader to quickly identify a primary objective of this email communication.

By adding a yellow “See Offer Details” button near the top of the email that didn’t otherwise exist previously, we saw a 340% increase in clickthrough rate (CTR).

17% increase in CTR by moving CTA button to the top

In a similar test, a vacation brand had an email that actually did have a clear call to action, but it was hidden under a paragraph of copy mid-way through the email. By moving the button to the top and pulling out the most important value claims for the vacation, this version resulted in a 17% increase in clickthrough rate.

43% increase in CTR from reducing number of CTAs

Finally, here’s another A/B test example that we ran with another vacation provider where we saw a 43% lift in clickthrough rate. We reduced the number of CTAs and focused it on the key actions we wanted the prospect to take. We also made them much more visible to a prospect who is skimming dozens of emails. We continued to refine this tactic in two additional follow-up tests to fully optimize the email, which continued to compound the lift in clickthrough rate.

Bottom Line: Make the CTA a no-brainer

In email, we must recognize that our prospects skim dozens of emails in their inbox for flight deals, cruises, hotels and vacation packages. If you’re skilled enough to get the “open” from a compelling subject line, make the next micro-yes a no-brainer for your prospect.

There are many complex things you can do with email marketing from a technological and personalization perspective. But before you dive into those, the lowest-hanging fruit may be to simply test the clarity of the email “ask.”

Related Resources

Email Messaging on-demand certification course (from MECLABS Institute, MarketingExperiments’ parent research organization) — Take this course to capture more subscribers, craft effective email copy and convert email clicks to sales

Optimizing Email Capture: 9-point checklist to grow your email marketing list by minimizing the perceived cost of opting in

Marketing Chart: How vacation booking methods are being considered and used

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