Kerry Song is a writer and producer with a background in economics and finance. Her passion is to create meaningful content that engages and empowers the audience to become more mindful and more compassionate with themselves and with others.
Maximize your email marketing
Email marketing is arguably the most consistent, scalable means of growing your business. It’s easy to customize, it’s relatively inexpensive, it can reach mobile devices, and it’s a direct way of connecting with your customer. In fact, when it comes to customer acquisition and retention, eMarketer reports that email marketing is the go-to strategy for small and medium-sized businesses (companies with annual revenues under $100 million.) But with all that said, email marketing has evolved substantially over the past few years.
Companies can no longer send the same old “batch-and-blast” emails and expect to engage their customers. This is the era of the customer experience – where making your customers happy is key to your business’s growth. And if you want to make them happy, you can’t just meet their expectations, you must exceed them.
Clients want to be spoken to as individuals. And a core part of that means sending them highly personalized content consistently. How else will you stand out amidst the deluge of advertisements and information that inundates customers on a daily basis? The human brain simply cannot digest such massive amounts of input, so it automatically filters out content that lacks relevance.
So how do you go about creating an impactful email marketing platform? And how do you give your customers a personalized experience that is not just relevant, but provides real value to their lives? We break down the fundamentals that will not only engage your audience, but can actually help you develop a new level of brand loyalty, where customers aren’t just customers, but raving fans of your business.
CHOOSE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
How regularly do you send out emails to your clients?
On one hand, you are trying to maximize engagement and stay fresh in their minds. But on the other hand, you don’t want to inundate their inbox which can overwhelm and even annoy them. So what’s the sweet spot?
While there are a number of studies that show if you blast your customers with upwards of 30 emails a month, you’ll ultimately get a higher conversion rate, you may be doing yourself a disservice in the long run. When consumers feel like they are receiving too many emails, they often automatically delete, or worse, unsubscribe.
When it comes to consumer preferences, the signs point to weekly or at the very least, monthly emails are to be the way to go. According to a study by MarketingSherpa, 61% of 2,057 respondents surveyed said they would like to receive marketing emails “at least weekly,” while the vast majority of Americans (86%), would like to receive marketing emails at least monthly. Now compare those statistics to the mere 15% that would only enjoy getting promotional emails every single day.
Know who your customer is – what does she want and what would compel her to open an email? If you are sending out daily emails, ask yourself if it is really necessary to convey your message that often? The bottom line is that it’s quality over quantity that will be most effective at building brand loyalty. So stop focusing on a high frequency, and shift your efforts towards bringing your customers real value-add content that would engage them on a personal level.
NAIL THE TIMING
Did you know that you have just 3 seconds to capture the customer’s attention? That means you better make it count. And timing is a big part of that.
According to NewsCred Insights, advances in tech are helping businesses get the timing down to a science. How? With AI-powered machine learning algorithms based on each customer’s past behavior. Known as “send time optimization,” this process finds the optimal email delivery times by examining when customers are most likely to see and open messages.
SLICE AND DICE YOUR EMAIL LIST
Sure, it’s easy to blast the same email to your entire customer base, but that’s a lot like saying: “If I throw enough mud at the wall, some will stick.” If you want to be more effective, then start focusing on email segmentation.
MailChimp’s most recent user data shows that segmented campaigns get 14.64% more opens and 59.99% more clicks that non-segmented campaigns. And according to the DMA’s National Client Report, “77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted and triggered campaigns in 2015.” So yes, it’s important.
The challenging part of email segmentation is that it will require a lot of work. You have to collect information about each individual in a way that is both convenient for the customer and not too invasive. You can do this by creating surveys, quizzes, competitions, giveaways or other types of email engagement that will provide insight into the customers’ individual tastes and preferences. Yes, this may seem daunting, but remember, once you have that data, you will be able to run innovative, personalized campaigns that will really resonate with your customers.
Here are some creative ways of strategically segmenting your email lists:
Age can give you a high-level perspective not only of what they may be interested in, but what tone, style and approach you should take with your emails.
If you are targeting a Millennial, for example, the tone and delivery will be rather casual. You can incorporate links to social media, and video, which would also appeal to this demographic, which will for the most part, be consuming emails via mobile. Remember, Millennials also know when they are being marketed to, which is why it’s particularly important to focus on value-add content rather than presenting them with an outright sales pitch.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are the least likely to make a purchase on their smartphones. And when it comes to reading, they prefer articles that are only 300 words at the most.
Aside from the obvious, gender segmentation can help you serve your customers more efficiently. Here’s why:
- MediaPost reported that women are “42% more likely than men to make a purchase through a shopping app, and the cost of acquiring a female user is markedly lower for women than men.”
- According to Optin Revolution Pro, “females usually consider the opinions of other people before purchasing a product…this shows that the female is more cautious than men.” This means testimonials and reviews may aid in the purchasing decision.
- According to ActiveTrail, “men have sharper spatial perspective due to the size of their parietal lobe, therefore it is likely that pictures will catch their attention and hopefully lead them to click through.” While women “respond much better to content that will shed light on your product, especially customer testimonials.”
You can use this information to let your customers know about local events happening in their neck of the woods like regional promotions. You can also pay attention to their local time zone so you can send your emails out at the appropriate time.
The customer who purchases items that are higher price points is going to be very different from the customer who is more sale-driven. By learning who is interested in what, you can present new arrivals, trends and discounts accordingly.
Segmenting by past purchases will allow you to capitalize on consumers that you have already turned into active customers. For example, you can send these customers offers for items that would complement previous purchases. Or, you can send them notices for refills and let them know about specials on reorders. This is a key opportunity to turn your customers into repeat business, and build a real relationship. It’s all about the customer experience at this point, so roll out the red carpet and go above and beyond so you can turn your already existing customers into raving fans.
The key to effective email marketing is to focus on creating a specialized campaign designed at engaging each individual customer. Target them specifically. Learn who they are and understand their wants, their needs and their desires. Find out their age, their gender, their location and their habits. How do they consume media? What are their biggest pain points? What brings them joy?
Email puts you in the unique position to connect with your customer directly. So you better know exactly who you are talking to. Because when you really connect with your customer, you will be able to build a stronger relationship that can take your brand and your business to the next level.
Header image © Shutterstock / Opolja