Email marketing is alive and well. It’s still considered to be the top marketing strategy in terms of ROI and regarded as a staple communication for all generations. There is no doubt that the strategy is here to stay.
While email marketing trends change with generational preferences and the technology that’s available to marketers, the basic steps for building an unstoppable email marketing strategy remain relatively stable. Email strategies of all kinds should begin with list building and using a list clean up tool to ensure every address is valid.
The recent changes to data collection laws in the UK should inform how subscriber acquisition is done to ensure you remain within the law. Data management, analysis for personalisation, and developing leads to move through the marketing funnel are all just as important today as they’ve ever been.
1) Get New People to Read Your Emails, and Then Keep Them
To continue building your pool of leads, you’ll need to understand where customers are already connecting with your brand. Consider how and where you can enhance your customer’s experiences to further their engagement. Also, consider why did they like you enough to sign up in the first place? Don’t sell yourself short: People want to read what you have to say! But it helps to know what interests your readers most so your emails become that much more impactful.
Let’s say I’m running a yoga studio. One of the ways I’d boost my email marketing with sign-ups is to incentivize subscribing. By offering a 15% discount on a class when people submit their email address, I can build my list at almost no cost to my business. For your own use, this incentive could be completely free: A downloadable white paper, access to locked content on your site, etc.
If you’re reaching out after an initial enquiry about your products, it can be worth highlighting complimentary items or providing additional information for goods browsed but not purchased. You probably remember times in your life where you were convinced to buy the matching pillowcases to your sheets set, or the cute accessory to complete the look of your new blouse. The key is to give relevant and personal information that will encourage a customer to deepen their connection with your brand while convincing them to move further along the conversion funnel.
Also, check in with your subscribers every so often to make sure they’re still engaged with your brand. This is also a great way to organically clean your list because those that do not respond have either an outdated email address or just aren’t interested and therefore are not worth having on your list. GDPR rules came into effect on the 25th of May, so be wary that all of your details are up to date and compliant with GDPR rules.
2) Go Mobile
According to Deloitte’s UK research, email is at the top of the most common smartphone usage activities, and rising: it was up by 4% in 2017 compared to the previous year. In fact, 41% of all emails opened in the UK are opened on a mobile device (which, considering how much we’re on our phones during the day, isn’t too surprising).
Your email content should be optimized for all devices, with particular attention to how it will appear on smaller screens. Smartphones and tablets are replacing PCs and laptops in the UK as the preferred devices for internet use. This means you should keep forms short, succinct, and easy to complete from these smaller devices.
3) Create and Send Content That Makes Sense
It may seem like I’m telling you the obvious, but it never hurts to be reminded that contact with your email subscribers should always be relevant, both in timing and content. Aim to add value to your interactions with subscribers while still moving them through the marketing funnel. Keep this in mind when choosing your target audience.
Consider, too, which questions to ask as people sign up to help your tailoring strategy. If you’re asking if the person on your list is male or female, this can be a mistake. Yes, as a woman you’re probably going to have different browsing histories and preferences than men. However, this isn’t indicated just by ticking a gender box.
Instead, consider other information that is consistent to the customer’s history of contact with your brand. Their browsing history, hobbies, and other personal preferences can provide far more powerful indicators of what matters to them than a simple male/female data point ever could.
4) Get Personal
We all appreciate messages that are tailored for our needs, and the desire for personalisation increases as the age of recipients decreases. Generation Z is far more inclined to allow your email past their 8 second filter if you can refrain from coming across as sales-y and instead provide them with personalised, engaging email experiences.
Personalisation goes far beyond using someone’s name. Recommendations based on browsing history, knowing when people are most likely to open and read emails, and your brand identity all play a part in building a lasting relationship with customers and subscribers.
When it comes to marketing, we know results matter, and the rewards of tailoring your content to the individual are tangible. Taking the time to personalise email content generates a 50% higher open rate. Also, personalised web experiences can increase sales by as much as 19%.
5) Rescue Your Customers From Shopping Cart Abandonment
Depending on the frequency and wording, abandoned cart emails can increase sales dramatically. While some shoppers never intended to make a purchase in the first place, as many as 39% want to complete the sale but were unable to because of something as simple as website difficulties.
It’s simple: Send abandoned cart emails! Neglecting to do so is like leaving found money on the table. Schedule automated abandon cart emails to be sent within the appropriate time frame for items in the basket – for example, it may take more time to complete a transaction for expensive goods than it would for smaller, more affordable products. Consider the average time it takes for your target customer to make a purchase, then time 3-4 emails at appropriate intervals.
6) Embrace the Automated Message
Automated emails should be used wherever and whenever possible. Unlike other areas where automation can hurt your business (we’re looking at you, automated customer service reps), email automation can both enhance your customer’s experience and make your own life easier. Welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, and emails encouraging customers or subscribers to re-engage with your business can all be assigned a predetermined send time.
When it comes to re-engagement emails, timing should be based on typical buyer persona behaviour. Define the time lapse between purchases (or other actions) and set your automated re-engagement emails to be sent out after an appropriate time.
Of course, emails asking subscribers to reconnect with your business should be personalised wherever possible. No one wants a boilerplate, unimaginative sales email landing in their inbox. Get creative, and highlight the existing relationship you have with your clients through tailored content. But, be wary of coming across as needy or as though you’re begging for another chance.
Just in case we needed to hammer the point home further, email is an integral part of any strong customer engagement and marketing strategy. Following the above steps and noting preferences such as device usage, generational influences, and browsing practices will enable you to build an effective strategy fit for reaching your audience today and well into the future.