Squeeze More Opens And Clicks From Your Broadcast Emails
Don't just send a huge email blast to your entire list, says columnist Daniel Faggella. Here are a few ways novices can dip their toes into segmentation without making a huge investment.
If you run an online business, odds are you utilize broadcast emails as a marketing tool. And, while just shooting out a one-size-fits-all email can be an effective weapon in your marketing arsenal (occasionally), it’s important that you also aim properly and use the right ammo to hit your target audience.
The simplest ways to get more engagement (opens and clicks) from your message is to segment your email list into different groups and tailor the emails you send specifically to those groups. Relevance wins.
Segmentation 101: Buyers Vs. Prospects
Although there are countless segmentation strategies that a business might adopt, most everyone can make the distinction on their email list between “buyers” and “prospects.” Though the distinction may seem arbitrary, it isn’t — and you can tailor your message to address these different groups and yield a higher ROI on your emails than you could if you just sent out one blanket message.
As an example, an email to previous buyers can acknowledge and thank them for their previous purchase, update them on new products, and sell them on the benefits of some of the other products you offer. For an email to prospects, simply remind them of the benefits of your product that generated their original opt-in, and perhaps offer some incentive to help convert them from “prospect” to “buyer.”
You might even send the same message to prospects and buyers, and merely make minor adjustments, like those you see below:
The small above “tweak” to the same email offer to the buyer and prospect segments of your list takes very little time or copywriting skill (as you can see above). Seems like too “lazy” of a change to really modify the response rate of your recipients, doesn’t it? Think again.
Often we’ll see that small segmentation changes with small “boosts” in response rate produce big results. Here’s an example of what might happen to your sales by sending out such a segmented message:
Would you prefer 48 sales or 82 sales? Now, it goes without saying that no email yield is guaranteed, but results of this kind are not uncommon in e-commerce. But most marketers decide to “blast” their list with the same message anyway.
I’ve written at length about startup companies tending to completely neglect this kind of back-end email marketing and segmentation — but needless to say, it has its payoffs. The results can multiply with our next strategy:
An even more effective method of email marketing is to segment your lead list further.
While this type of additional segmentation will be different for every business, know that how you segment your email list is an important, strategic decision, and it’s vitally important that you get it right. To do that, think about what your customers need and want and develop segments that will allow your business to make the most money from your leads.
This is where you might apply what I call a “front-end fork.” Just as you might use your dinner fork to keep your meat, potatoes, vegetable and salad separate on a plate, use a front-end fork to separate your leads into specific segments of your marketing plate.
To illustrate, let’s say I’m running an online business offering premium teas. Immediately, I can break my previous buyer’s segment down between those who buy assortments, sampler buyers, those who only buy a single blend, leaf buyers, bag buyers, those who’ve purchased gift sets for friends and family and even by lead source.
From there, you can segment within segments based on ordering frequency and history, organic tea buyers, organic and fair trade buyers, and many more.
While your product line may not be as diverse as my theoretical tea business, the key is to develop at least two to four segments that will allow you to tailor your email message more specifically to the needs of the customers in each segment.
This “core” strategic segmentation criterion will be one of your most important bits of knowledge when it comes to your email list. Here are a few examples:
- A B2B software company might want to segment by company size (1-10 employees, 11-50 employees, 50 or more employees);
- A martial arts academy might want to segment by program of interest (women’s kickboxing, kids martial arts, general adult martial arts);
- A marketing consulting agency might segment its prospects by its main desired goal (more leads, more e-commerce sales, or more phone sales/in-person sales);
Make sure the segments and sub-segments you develop will give you the best opportunity to sell to that prospect. Once you’re confident in those segments, whether you have two, three or even eight, craft messages that directly address their needs. Remember to ensure that your message resonates with what your customer cares about.
Using Different Promotional/Engagement Approaches For Different Segments
So, now that you have your aiming strategy down, let’s look at the ammunition you might need. That is, the methodology of your broadcast email.
First off, remember that different segments require different ammunition, and no matter how many segments you have, ultimately, the goal of any broadcast email is sales. Knowing that, your email message is effectively limited to straight sales or a combination of content with a sales offer somewhere. In my Entrepreneur on Fire interview about email marketing tactics, I bring up a few unique strategies that I’ve used in my own businesses, but here let’s explore some potential promotional changes you might make.
Straight sales emails are just that: emails with promotional codes, new products, or bundle offers. You don’t have to be a seller all the time, but you definitely want to always leave the door open to make a sale.
Hence, while the bulk of a pure content message can be a blog about new products or happenings in your industry, make sure to always include a sales offer somewhere in the email. That can take the form of a discount code on the side or bottom of the page or even a link within the copy. Your content message may not be a hard sell, but remember to give your customers the opportunity to buy.
Next up, think about the frequency of your email broadcasts. The key here is to develop a marketing schedule that will have you broadcasting at least twice a week. For my theoretical tea company, Tuesday and Thursday might be the preferred days to broadcast. Maybe I send out sales messages on Tuesday and a content message on Thursday. Or maybe my tea company emails to my buyer segments on Tuesday and my prospect segments on Thursday.
Remember to differentiate the message to recognize the segment. And, since your business is a completely different cup of tea, it’s important to develop a marketing schedule that’s best for your niche.
Once you develop that schedule, remember that it’s not etched in stone. Watch your response rates, and get a sense of how your customers respond to both your sales and content messages. If your sales messages significantly outperform your content emails, recalibrate your messages and your schedule.
Look for trends that you can leverage to make the most of each and every email broadcast. Once you see those trends, toggle your schedule and your messages as needed to maximize the effectiveness of every email broadcast. And as you toggle, remember, always find a way to segment!
Think of your email list as a bull’s-eye. A huge email blast to your entire list will likely hit some of that outer circle, but a segmented broadcast message will allow you to hit those rings closer to the center.
Look at your response rates; adjust your aim; find the right messages, broadcast days and frequency that are right for your online business. Then, once you hit the center of that bull’s-eye, keep firing!