Did you know that 77% of Internet users surveyed prefer email messages over any other form of communication? In fact, email has higher ROI than other channels. As a marketer, we know that email is valuable and that we should be dedicating significant resources to email marketing, but how do we ensure we are making the most of the channel?
Here are 5 tips for email marketing success:
1) Know your goals
As with any marketing campaign, knowing your goals is key to success. We all have the ability to blast our mailing lists with emails day in and day out, but in order to develop a viable strategy, we must know what were trying to accomplish. Email can be used in a number of different ways. It allows for your to stay in touch with your most loyal customers, communicate new product offerings, or share the latest tips and tricks of the trade. When you set out to craft an email campaign, consider whether youre looking to re-engage past customers, build trust with active customers, or boost short-term ROI with a promotion. Once your goals are defined, your strategy can follow suit and ensure your emails (and your messaging) stay on track.
2) Start a dialogue
Email is about more than self-promotion. It is one of the only remaining channels for marketers that lets you communicate in a format longer than 140 characters. The ability to be a bit lengthier than usual enables you to start a dialogue with your mailing list. Find out what your users want to hear, and speak to that. Your emails dont always have to have a blatant call-to-action encouraging readers to “buy now” or “purchase today.” Instead, you have an opportunity to encourage replies, comments, social sharing, or another form of participation from your mailing list. If your email is being sent from a no-reply email address, you can be sure that customers and prospects alike will not be engaged. Like all lead nurturing, building a relationship takes time. Get to know your mailing list and send value-add emails before jumping to the close.
3) Segment, segment, segment!
Weve regularly promoted the benefits of segmentation for your retargeting campaigns. The same holds true for email! When you segment your database, you are able to make your messaging increasingly relevant and timely.
For example, if someone has become a regular reader of your blog and signed up to have content delivered straight to their inbox, theyre probably not ready for product discounts and emails with more aggressive sales messaging. Instead, you can send evergreen content or a digest of the latest blog posts. Only after you are continuing to see engagement can you escalate the messaging in your emails around how your product may be of interest to that user. Similarly, when you have someones email address because they attended a webinar, your follow-up emails are an opportunity to get them more invested in what you have to offer. You can start with a recap of the webinar, followed by an eBook or whitepaper of a similar topic. Later, you can inform them of another upcoming webinar that may be of interest. Someone who comes to your site via free trial or freemium, your emails can communicate the value of becoming paid.
Your contacts are not all in the same stage of the funnel. Understanding where they lie in the process and segmenting accordingly allows you to send emails that are relevant and will resonate, so that you can nurture leads down funnel paths that make sense for them.
4) A/B test
Unless you are at 100% open rates, clickthrough rates, and conversion rates, there is always room for improvement. Simple A/B tests can provide the data you need to send emails that perform. Instead of relying on what you think will work, you can run tests for measurable and actionable results. A/B testing your emails will help you determine the optimal combination of email elements and inform your next email move. Luckily, there is no shortage of testing options. Though you should only test one variable at a time, some variables to test include copy, subject lines, calls-to-action, email length, style, tone, order, and even design! Dont be afraid to go big with testing and make drastic changes and most importantly, always make sure your sample size is statistically significant.
5) Email retargeting
There is increasing evidence that email coupled with display outperforms email on its own. Particularly at a time when people receive so much email they dont always clickthrough, email retargeting can be an incredibly effective way to stay engaged with your mailing list across the web. How it works: a snippet of code goes in the HTML of your emails, and once opened, your recipients will begin to see your ads all over the web. Any company currently engaged in email marketing will find email retargeting to be a valuable addition to their efforts, drastically improving the reach of your campaigns. Supplementing email with display keeps your brand top of mind with newer contacts, and promotes upsells by incentivizing existing customers.
Email is a channel with significant opportunity. Consider how and why youre reaching out to a particular list so that you may align your email strategy accordingly. Define goals, stay targeted, dont broadcast, measure results, and dont be afraid to try new things. There is always room to take your email marketing efforts to the next level, grow your customer database, and create lasting relationships with brand advocates.