4 Tips for Improving Your Email Conversion Rate

Corolyn Nye
Email Marketing Manager, USAData

Sending timely and relevant communications to your email file is a necessity in driving qualified traffic to your site. Simply increasing your traffic numbers may be the first step, but it won’t mean anything until those visitors convert into buyers. Below are four tips to optimize your email program to help increase its conversion rate.

1. Emphasize Landing Pages

Landing pages may be the most critical element in converting email traffic of any kind. Whether emailing prospects for an acquisition campaign, or emailing your best customers for product offers, the flow-through from the email to the landing page is critical. Enforce the marketing message and make visitors feel like they are in the right place after clicking through. The page should give subscribers all the information they need — while quickly directing the visitor to the checkout process with as few clicks as possible.

Two easy ways to tell if your landing pages are converting well from your email campaigns are:

  • Bounce rates. Check the bounce rates of the landing page; higher than normal rates indicate a problem with the page.
  • Monitor click-through and conversion rates. Compare the click-through rates to the conversion rates. If you experience a high click-through rate but a low conversion rate, chances are your customers are getting lost after clicking from an email.

Here’s an actual example from Amazon, where an email offer and the subsequent landing page are highly correlated.

Email offer from Amazon, for the book What Makes Business Rock.
Email offer from Amazon, for the book What Makes Business Rock.


The Amazon landing page linking from the email offer — What Makes Business Rock — is clear and directly related to the offer.
The Amazon landing page linking from the email offer — What Makes Business Rock — is clear and directly related to the offer.


2. Segment Your File

Understanding the characteristics that make up your email file will allow you to develop an appropriate segmentation strategy. Sending targeted communications that speak to that customer on a more personal basis will, in most instances, improve your conversion rates versus a simple blanket message to everyone.

In the Amazon example, above, the email offer for a business related book, What Makes Business Rock, was highly segmented, as it was sent to customers based on their prior purchasing patterns.

3. Choose the Right Offer

Testing your offers can give helpful insights into what motivates your subscribers to purchase and what they value on your site. For some sites, a simple percentage or dollars off works best, while others may find a clearance or free gift to be more effective. For premium or luxury products, a discounted-price offer may actually backfire, as customers may construe it as cheapening the brand. Testing offers will quickly identify which are most effective and give you a better insight into what your subscribers will respond to.

4. View Email as a Long-term Relationship

Because email has a reputation for being effective with a good return on investment, many marketers become disappointed when they see the initial results of one email that don’t live up to expectations. Every site has a different sales cycle and simply looking at the immediate metrics of one campaign is not enough to establish the effectiveness. Sometimes it takes a few additional nudges or touch points to ultimately convert a customer. Sending a promotional email will drive traffic, but perhaps a triggered email follow-up to those who clicked through — and then abandoned the cart — or sending another type of triggered message will be the right combination to convert your visitor. Don’t be afraid to overwhelm a site visitor with more than one message. It may be that last message that works to convert the visitor.


Taking the time to ensure your email program is as efficient and effective as possible is the objective of many sites. All the work involved in crafting the email itself will be wasted if the email does not do its ultimate objective: Convert visitors into buyers.

About the Author

Carolyn Nye Email Marketing Manager, USAData width=Carolyn is Email Marketing Manager for USAData, providing businesses with consulting, data and technology solutions. Previously she was Marketing Manager for S&S Worldwide a direct marketer of arts & crafts and educational supplies for over five years. She is responsible for the planning and implementation of email marketing programs and has developed a wide variety of highly successful triggered and transactional email campaigns designed to engage customers, drive sales, improve service and overall customer satisfaction. In addition to email marketing, She is an occasional speaker and contributor at industry conferences, featured in trade articles and webinars.

Carolyn holds a BS in Marketing from Umass Dartmouth and currently pursuing an MBA in E Commerce and Global Marketing from the University of New Haven.

See Carolyn Live!

Carolyn will be presenting a session with Phillip Klien, of BTBuckets, titled “Triggers & Targeting: How Getting Personal Increases Conversions” at Conversion Conference East 2011 in New York City. See the full agenda and read more about this session.

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