No, email marketing isn’t dead. Yes, social media, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) seem to be the focus for today’s digital marketing teams, and for good reason. They are consistent performers and should be part of any company’s inbound marketing strategy. However, nothing beats email marketing when it comes to generating high-quality leads. In fact, email marketing is both an inbound and outbound approach that consistently outperforms all other lead generation strategies.
Now, it would be great if all a company had to do was carpet bomb its market with random emails. However, it’s no longer a numbers game. It’s no longer about being happy with a 1% or 2% open rate. Instead, it’s about being strategic. It’s about personalizing your email campaigns so that those who receive them are more likely to act on them, and it's really about enriching the marketing data you receive so that you're always able to improve the next campaign. So, what are some of the strategies employed by the most successful digital marketing teams with respect to their email campaigns?
Segment Customer Base into Buyer Personas
A successful inbound marketing strategy is all about personalizing the journey. You know this. You know how an effective content marketing strategy focused on a specific buyer persona is more likely to produce results than generic, re-purposed content. Take that same approach with your email campaigns.
Define who your buyer personas are and map out separate journeys for each. Understand how customers engage your company online. Define the actions they take. What are they interested in? What concerns them most? What reasons do they have for buying? What do they consider to be a high-valued brand and why?
Understand what makes your buyer personas tick. Create a matrix where you clearly identify fears, concerns, likes, wants and dislikes. Occupy that matrix with bullet points and then identify how your email campaign will address each of these customer-related issues. Over time you’ll have a clearer picture of your buyer personas and be able to optimize subsequent email campaigns.
Use Email Marketing Across Your Entire Buyer’s Journey
You now have separate journeys mapped out. Next, identify specific touch-points along the journey where a well-timed email is needed. The more your company interacts with your customer, the more you’ll gather the critical customer data needed to improve your email campaigns. It’s ultimately about building a brand and keeping customers interested.
Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of only adopting a beginning-of-funnel and end-of-funnel approach. Email marketing isn’t just a lead generation strategy and it shouldn’t only be employed as a last-ditch effort to salvage a sale. Email marketing is the ultimate customer engagement tool and it’s one that keeps your company in front of your customers, constantly reminding them and keeping them abreast of all your latest offers.
Adopt a Retargeting Mindset
Having a digital marketing strategy across the entire journey is important. However, there are times when a customer has shown a keen interest in making a purchase, only to be interrupted or end the process for some unknown reason. This is where your email marketing comes in. This is where you adopt a retargeting marketing mindset.
Retargeting has long been used in digital advertising when users perform online searches. Retargeting marketing recaptures that interest by introducing ads on subsequent searches. The same strategy can be employed with email marketing. Trigger an email campaign when a customer abandons a given marketing channel. It will be a polite reminder of your offer and it might just help to re-initiate contact.
A/B Split Test Email Campaigns
The only way you’ll increase ROI is if you take the time to test your emails. Yes, you need to test individual fonts, images, icons, and test your email on different service providers to avoid it going into a spam folder. However, while it’s important to test before launching a campaign, it’s equally important to test variations of different campaigns.
A/B split testing is a simple process of adjusting or changing a single variable and seeing the impact on performance. You generate two or three campaigns that are almost identical. You have a controlled email with no changes and two separate emails with a single change in each. You then track the impact on click-through rates (CTR) and conversions for the adjusted emails. You can use A/B split testing to improve your call-to-action (CTA), image placement and various fonts. The more you test, the closer you'll be to optimizing your CTR.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, then not only are you losing ground on SEO, and taking a hit on organic search, but you’re ultimately falling behind the competition. The same is true for emails. You need to be in constant contact with customers. A mobile-friendly email campaign can only work if you have a mobile-friendly website. The importance of an effective website design and mobile-responsive email templates cannot be overstated.
Over the past several years we have seen a dramatic shift in what device emails are being received and viewed. Especially for B2C businesses, it is no longer surprising to see emails open rates by smart phones north of 60-70%. Therefore, not only should the email be mobile friendly, but think through the entire user-experience and make sure that every stage is mobile optimization.
Spruce Up Your Campaigns
Email marketing is the ultimate brand builder. Unfortunately, too many companies don’t put any effort into their campaigns. They just go through the motions. They send dull and uninteresting emails.
The best approach is to accentuate different content. Did a customer recently make a purchase? Then send them a short and concise how-to video on how to get the most from your product. Offer them discounts on complementary products. Include vivid images, colorful infographics, and links to your different social media channels. Offer them incentives, rebates, and discounts for placing repeat orders. Give them a reason to engage with you and they will respond.
Improving your email marketing ROI is simply a matter of putting in the time. Don't send emails just for the sake of sending emails. Connect with your audience and make sure your campaigns are optimized for every portion of your customer segment.
If you need help launching your next campaign or are looking to completely revamp your email strategy, then contact us. We can provide guidance that will help you enjoy email marketing success. Request an assessment today.