Email marketing is more than just hitting the send button
Looking to step up your next email campaign? Columnist Alyssa Nahatis describes some common mistakes you should avoid and how to personalize your content to drive engagement.
Email marketing continues to reign supreme atop the return-on-investment charts, beating out SEO, content marketing and paid search. When it comes to dollar-for-dollar investments, no other marketing channel beats email.
Still, brands can’t expect to hash out lackluster email campaigns, hit the send button, and then just wait for the money to roll in. Launching a successful email campaign means avoiding common pitfalls while delivering timely, relevant offers that resonate with customers.
Make sure your email personalization is done right
It’s no surprise that some email personalization efforts miss the mark — such as emails that promote events happening in geographic regions far from a customer’s reach. What are practical solutions marketers can employ right now to ensure email personalization isn’t just another catchphrase?
1. Deliver timely, relevant — NOT creepy — emails.
Geolocation technology and contextual marketing tools give marketers the ability to create email marketing campaigns that speak to customers when and where they are the most receptive. For example, marketers on a travel website can send visitors deals on airline tickets or local weather reports for destinations visitors are interested in visiting.
Being as relevant and interesting as possible at a moment in time when customers are the most engaged — while only using data in a way that curtails the risk of sounding creepy — produces the highest chance of a successful email-marketing engagement.
2. Respond to customer actions with triggered emails.
Email marketers should have campaigns set up to be automatic and triggered so emails can be delivered every time a certain action is taken. This could be an action that occurs in-store or online.
Whether it’s a post-purchase follow-up email that asks a customer for a review, or it’s an offer that follows the customer’s visit to your website, triggered email results in more effective engagement by contacting customers while your brand is fresh on their minds.
3. Send subscribers meaningful content and offers.
This is where personalization can make or break a brand. If the offers you are sending don’t coincide with the individual needs of customers, then they’ll meet those needs elsewhere. That’s why good offer management is crucial to delivering the perfect offer to each and every customer.
Does a particular subscriber have an established purchase history? Does another have a tendency to browse your website without ever making purchases? Understanding subscriber behavior, and then catering content and offers to match that behavior, adds immense value to the emails you send.
Avoid these common email-marketing mistakes
Email offers an incredible ROI when properly executed. Some practices, however, are sure to turn customers away the moment they read the subject line. What are some common email mistakes that all marketers should avoid?
1. Do not rely on A/B testing alone.
Some email marketers have a tendency to rely solely on A/B testing to make broad assumptions about their clients. While A/B testing is important, it’s not enough to see whether one offer works better than another for your entire subscriber file.
You need to make sure that what you’re delivering works best for every individual subscriber. You can do that by focusing on contextual messaging.
2. Avoid making assumptions about offer frequency.
It’s not uncommon for marketers to set all-encompassing limits on the number of emails customers receive per week. This is a mistake.
Assuming every subscriber doesn’t want to receive more than two or three messages per week neglects your highly engaged subscribers who may be waiting impatiently to receive the next offer. Avoid making blanket statements about your subscriber base and focus on drilling down on the subscriber level.
3. Ensure email subject lines are mobile-friendly.
Most of us already know how important email subject lines are. If you don’t give the reader a reason to open your email, then it’s likely headed for the trash bin. Effective email subject lines begin with attention-grabbing copy — but don’t become so caught up in the creative process that your copy runs too long for mobile devices.
Cutoff points vary between mobile inbox providers, but the rule of thumb is to keep email subject lines below 50 characters.
Determine your email marketing goals from the start
Measuring your email marketing success doesn’t begin halfway through a campaign; instead, you should always determine the desired results before you even think about sending the first message. Is your priority to drive traffic to your site, or are you more focused on product purchases?
Of course, it’s still a sound practice to measure key indicators while the campaign is taking place, such as click-through rates and open rates, but that shouldn’t take precedence over the goals established at the onset of your campaign.
Shelling out emails before knowing what you’re looking for means you’re taking shots in the dark. Know what your goals are before you click the send button.
The email marketing wrap-up
Sending irrelevant and untimely emails means losing out on market share. Luckily, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your next email campaign, try focusing on creating contextual emails that deliver timely and relevant offers to your customers.
Remember: Relevancy drives engagement; engagement leads to conversions; and conversions lead to revenue. Is your brand making sure your emails are engaging customers across this highly lucrative marketing channel?