Email marketing strategies have changed over the years. What worked five years ago is no longer working now. But email marketing is still a key player in any marketing strategy. In fact, for the best online marketers, email marketing is their preferred marketing channel.
Do you wonder why?
It’s because it gets results and offers the best return on your marketing investment.
5 tactics for a better email marketing strategy
If you follow these five strategies for email marketing, it will also become your preferred channel.
1. Personalize your messages
When it comes to personalizing emails, we don’t mean that you send an individual email to each subscriber. Personalization means that you use customer data to create a personalized message.
A great example of a company that does personalization well is Amazon. All Amazon emails are personalized. It is not “Dear customer”, but “Dear Miguel.” It is not, “You may like these items… (randomly generated)”, but rather, “You may like these items (based on buyer history).” For Amazon, email marketing is not just another marketing channel. It is the key to the overall customer experience.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon is an email genius. Jeff Bezos understands the value of emails. Over 35% of all product sales are known to come from recommendations (both via email and on screen). And it’s not just Amazon that has seen these kinds of results through personalization. An Experian study found that personalized emails offer 6 times the success rates.
Ask for the correct information in advance:
Email customization starts long before hitting the ‘send’ button. It all starts with the registration form. Without details like name, company and location, your personalized communication will be very limited. However, remember that you should only ask for the information you need.
Please use a real mail at the email address:
You want your readers to engage and respond to your campaigns. Using a real reply address will improve credibility and appear more personal. By using firstname.lastname@example.org, you remove the authenticity of the message
Use your real email signature:
Just like you use a real email so they can reply to the email address, it is good to use real contact information within the email and the best way to do this is to include your contact details in the email signature. Giving your readers the opportunity to contact you or connect with you is a great way to be personal and build a relationship with them.
2. Segment your subscribers.
Marketers who use email marketing place a lot of importance on segmentation because when you segment your database, your email campaigns become more targeted to your audience.
Let’s see an example:
If you are hosting a networking event for small business owners located within a 20 km radius. How do you think you will get the best result for your event?
The best way to get small business owners to come to your event would be to create a segment of people who are small business owners who live within 12 miles of your event and then send them an email invitation. The segmentation part is straightforward and can be easily done through CRM software. Compare this way of acting with sending an email to your entire database with subscribers spread throughout the country.
How annoying is it to receive an email that invites you to an event that is on the other side of the world?
If you segment your lists, you will get better open rates, income, leads, visits to your website and more customers.
But does it really work?
Here is an example from our own email marketing campaigns:
We have recently sent two email marketing campaigns. Both campaigns had the same thematic line and the same content. The first campaign was sent to our non-segmented email list, while the second was sent to our segmented list (segmented by interest). The first non-segmented email had an impressive 42% open rate and 4.5% click-through rate. However, the targeted email campaign earned a 94% open rate and a 38% click-through rate!
Segmenting seems pretty important, doesn’t it?
Yes, and that’s why marketers are segmenting their emails, right?
9 out of 10 marketers using email ‘don’t segment their database. Here are some examples to get you started segmenting:
Segment by sector:
Do you offer services and products to companies or consumers? Knowing the industry of your subscribers is a great way to segment your email campaigns. For example,
If you send an auto product email campaign, a company that sells auto parts will have much more interest in your offer than if you send it to a software company.
Segment by company size:
Segmenting email campaigns by company size or annual revenue is a great way to increase response rates. A small business that employs 5 people is probably not ready to attend the biggest industry conference of the year, while a business that employs 750 people might be a better fit.
Segment by sales cycle:
Early stage buyers won’t be ready for an aggressive sales pitch or personalized demo. These folks will most appreciate receiving an industry research technical report. At the other end of the cycle, buyers who are ready to buy will respond well to product webinars or free trial offers.
3. Send friendly mobile emails
In 2012, 27% of all marketing emails were opened on a mobile device.
By 2014, that number rose to 42%.
Now up to 54%!
They are huge numbers!
And what do you do when you wake up in the morning?
If you’re like me, I guess you have your phone next to your bed and the first thing you do every morning is check your phone for calls, messages and yes, you guessed it, emails… Don’t worry, you are not the only one. 62% of us do this.
When you send an email to a subscriber who reads their emails on their mobile device, but the email is not optimized for that device, what do you think they do with it?
In most cases, they will cancel or delete it.
So why is it that almost half of emails are still not mobile friendly?
However, at the opposite end of the scale, and when email campaigns are optimized for mobile, they generate a great deal of revenue! Average revenue per mobile email is € 0.40, which is almost 4 times that of a desktop email click, according to Yesmail. And 55% of smartphone users have made at least one purchase after receiving a mobile promotional email.
Additionally, a study by Flexmail revealed that 36% of B2B companies that have optimized their email campaigns for mobile devices noticed an overall improvement in email performance.
Implement Responsive Email Design (RED):
Creating a responsive email design means that the user experience is optimized regardless of the device or screen you use. Most email service providers (ESPs) offer this solution within their email functionality.
Keep the subject line and previous heading short:
The subject line is crucial. Keep it short so that the reader knows exactly what the email is about. And the text before the header (also known as clipping text), don’t waste it using “To view this email in your browser …”. Instead, summarize the email or include a call to action (ie use “FREEDOM” for free shipping).
Make the CTA big and obvious:
The mobile device varies in size. While a text link may work on a tablet or larger screen, you may be turning away your readers who have a smaller screen (or bigger hands!) If your call to action is too small. Make the call to action big, bold and clickable.
4. Proof copy, layout and buttons
Whether you test your landing page, landing pages, or email templates, testing provides us with data to make practical decisions that will improve our marketing performance. And email marketing is no different. Sure, you’ve probably tried subject lines before. It’s 2018, who hasn’t tried them?
The most common way to test subject line in email marketing marketing
Even the current President of the United States has A / B tested his email subject lines… ..
Do you think I’m joking?
Email marketing played a huge role in the success of the 2012 Obama presidential campaign.
By sending various variations made to the subject line to a small sample of subscribers, they were able to calculate the number of donations they could expect to receive based on the results.
The sample size revealed that the lowest performing subject line (“The Only Thing the Surveys Got Right …”), when sent to the entire database, generated $ 403,603 in donations.
The best performing thematic line (“I’ll spend more than expected”) was expected to generate € 2,540,866 in donations.
That is a big difference!
In fact, the top performing subject line exceeded expectations and generated a total of € 2,673,278.
That’s an additional € 2.2 million in donations raised due to a change in the subject line of emails!
But it’s not just the subject lines that you can test through email marketing. You can also test:
Address of origin:
The name that appears in the “source” field has a great impact on whether the reader opens your email. In fact, the sender’s name is the main reason people open your email. Test your source address by sending your campaigns from the name of a person, person + company or from your CEO.
Plain text campaigns vs. HTML campaigns:
Like most marketers, I’m sure you are already sending a plain text version of your email. However, have you thought about trying an email campaign that is just plain text? And when a personalization element is added, the plain text emails appear to be written just for the reader.
Long vs. brief:
You can keep your emails short and sweet or, you can create long, detailed emails. Long form emails can include a more detailed copy, while shorter emails will send the reader directly to a specific landing page. The best way to see what works best? Test it.
5. Automate email campaigns when possible.
Trigger-based emails are emails that are sent automatically based on user behavior. The most common forms of trigger email are “welcome”, “thank you” emails, and “transactional” emails such as order confirmation email and email receipts.
The data behind trigger emails shows us that they perform much better than traditional email.
For example, Epsilon found that:
Open rates for trigger emails are as high as 49% (95% higher than traditional email open rates)
The average click-through rate (CTR) for trigger emails is more than double the rate compared to traditional email click-through rates.
The best converting websites in the world, the sites that convert up to 40% of their traffic, use the email trigger. And not only that, but Forrester research has found that trigger-based email marketing campaigns can generate 4 times more revenue and 18 times more profit!
It sounds too good to be true?
We have tested it. And works!
Below is a comparison for our traditional email campaign (left) versus our activated email campaign (right):
Traditional emails vs. activated emails
Our activated emails generated 5x the open rates and 15x the click-through rates.
Only 25% of marketers currently use triggered emails and they make up a low percentage of total email volume, around 2.6%. However, they can be responsible for up to 20% of your email marketing revenue!
Trigger emails work really well because they hit the sweet spot of email marketing.
What does the sweet spot of email marketing look like, you ask?
Does it look like this:
Email marketing sweet spot
And the reason they work so well is context.
Consider the following scenario;
You visit a website, browse the product line, and add items to your shopping cart, but you start to have doubts and decide to leave before completing a purchase.
Does it sound familiar to you?
This happens to every ecommerce store, every day.
But what if, an hour later, you receive an email that includes the exact product you were purchasing?
And what if this email includes not only a quick link to your shopping cart, but also a free shipping code or a 10% discount?
Now you are more likely to complete your purchase, right?
That’s the power of trigger emails.
But setting up triggered emails is expensive and complex, right?
It need not be. You can start by using auto responders in your customer service software to replicate the automation aspect. That’s what we do for all of our activated emails and we’re happy with them.
A new user creates an account but does not use your product in the first 7 days. Create an ‘activation’ campaign that sends an automated email with your login information, steps to get started, and includes a video demo for additional assistance. You can also invite them to a one-on-one meeting to guide them through the product and answer any questions they may have.
An existing customer is nearing the end of his annual subscription. The customer hasn’t used your product in 3 months and you need a way to get it back and keep it for another year. Create a “win back” email that sends an automated email to all terminating customers with a list of new product features and a brief plan on expected releases in the next six months.
Customer loyalty is the key to success. And you can reward your loyal customers by giving them something for free every now and then. Create a “surprise” email that sends an automated email to your best customers offering a free annual license to your software for them to use, a gift card, or even a coupon code to redeem a box of muffins. It is a small cost to your business, but the payoff is enormous!
Email marketing continues to pay off.
But email marketing has evolved. It is no longer as simple as sending the same email to everyone. It’s time to update your email marketing strategy. Now, you need to send targeted messages. Personalized and optimized messages for multiple devices.
You also need to test new items. Trends change rapidly and what worked 12 months ago may not be successful today. Be open to testing. And when you understand what works, find ways to automate it through triggered emails.
If you implement these new changes in your email marketing strategy, your customers will be more receptive, your campaign performance will improve, and your business will continue to grow.