If you are online every day, you won’t be able to stay away from your emails, whether that’s writing, checking or replying. Email really is still that important in running a business…there is no getting away from it. It, therefore, follows that email is still a great channel to reach out to your potential and existing clients.
There are over 4.35 billion email accounts. This figure is predicted to reach 5.59 billion by 2019 which is a growth of more than 26% – Radicati Group (2015)
Whilst social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide excellent opportunities for businesses to broadcast to their target audiences, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep on top of all the changes and offerings these platforms are making. I’m not expecting Facebook to go bust anytime soon, but if they do, you will more than likely lose everything in ways of communicating to your customers. With email you know where you are, you know whom you are communicating with…and you are in control of your own database of users.
So how can you really make the most of email marketing? What can you do to be more effective, get more opens and convert more sales?
Be more effective in your email targeting with segmentation
Don’t try and be everything to everyone. This is a sure fire way of you message being lost, ignored or forgotten. For example, if you are a travel company, knowing where your customers want to go on holiday would extremely valuable to know. If you sell shoes then gender would be absolutely vital. Goes without saying that if you sell mobility scooters, then more than likely age is going to be an important factor.
The easiest way to segment is to get this information when someone is filling out the subscriber form on your website. You could create opt-in boxes, drop-downs or other methods of capturing information.
With the help of a preference centre on your website nurturing your customer over time also means you can narrow down and focus on people’s interests and needs. Send out a simple email letting them know that they can choose what information they would like to receive, and how often they would like to receive it.
This has benefits for you and your customer: you don’t send out emails to people who are not interested, and your customer is less likely to unsubscribe.
This does not mean you can’t let you customer know about products or services they are ‘not interested’ in. As long as it’s done in a respectful and subtle way, then you should be fine.
See Kissmetrics article 10 Quick and Easy Email Marketing Segmentation Strategies to Try Today
According to Mailchimp, segmented emails have a 14.31% higher open rate than non-segmented campaigns. Segmented emails also have a whopping 100.95% higher click through rate than non-segmented campaigns.
Keeping you customer up-to-date
Once your customers are being segmented, you are in a great position to be able to target a specific group of people. Targeting them with relevant information at the right time now becomes really powerful. Sales, coupons, events and reminders are all time critical, emails can be a direct line into their daily life without them having to go and search online or check out their social media platforms. It can be kept as a reminder to act upon at a different time. Use this wisely and your customer will thank you for it, they will not be impressed if a sale or an offer goes by without them having prior knowledge.
72% of consumers sign up for emails because they want to get discounts, but only 8.2% sign up because they love the brand. (Source: BlueHornet)
Get a bigger ‘bang for your buck’
Everyone likes to save a little money, or grab a bargain once in awhile. Email, compared to any other forms of marketing, can be that bargain you have been looking for. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s easy to track ROI and quick to implement.
The Direct marketing Association reports that the average ROI of email is £38 for every £1 invested and consistently is delivering a good solid positive return – The Direct marketing Association (DMA)
Although putting the brakes on a bit, it is vital, that to get good solid conversions and email success, a good strategy with a bit of thought and planning is essential. Don’t just plough in without any thought behind what you are doing or without a specific goal. The last thing you want to do is to alienate your customers or damage your brand.
In the DMA report, nearly 1 in 5 businesses actually report an ROI of more than £70. This is down to a combination of eliminating costs, optimising programmes or driving more revenue through tactics like focusing on list growth, intensifying efforts, lead scoring and more triggered campaigns.
Get the strategy right and enjoy a higher than average ROI.
Time and timing is valuable
As a marketing tool, emails are far less intrusive than many other forms of marketing. People will happily open your emails at their time of choosing when it is most convenient to them.
Although be aware that sending too often or not often enough will have a bearing if the email gets opened or not.
The trick is to experiment and work out when the best time to send your emails for maximum impact and the frequency. This can vary dependant on your service or product offering, and whether it is B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer). It also depends on the content of your email, and whether it is time-related or not.
There are plenty of blog posts outlining the ‘best time to send emails‘ – just check out Google results. Do bear in mind that we are all different, and your specific customers may not fall into the same category as everyone else.
Review the guidelines…. But try out your experiments.
A/B testing – Is anybody out there?
A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of your email to see which one performs better. As an example, you could send out the same email with two variants of the subject line (let’s call them A and B) to similar visitors at the same time. The one that gives a better conversion rate, wins!
Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. – Campaign Monitor
A/B testing puts you in a position to conclusively prove what variation of your email works or does not work, that puts you in an enviable position to be able to focus in on your customers and send them marketing emails that are more likely to be opened and actioned on.
77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns. – DMA
There are so many benefits of email marketing and far from being pushed aside by social media, what we are currently seeing is a resurgence in reaching out to customers using email marketing. However, this is only because email marketing is being utilised in a more focused and strategy-driven approach.
With high ROI and full traceability from send to click, email marketing is still the preferred choice for companies and customers alike. It is cost effective, targeted and environmentally green. With more interactive techniques being made available within email it is a staple choice for communication in this fast-paced digital world.