Electronic mail – the method of exchanging digital messages between computer users. It sounds so cold, so uninvolved. Email remains one of, if not the, best tool for digital marketers; but how can we warm the communication up a little and truly engage with customers through email?
1:1 Email Marketing Is Within Your Grasp…
We’re all under pressure to move away from batch & blast towards an ideal of 1:1 digital marketing. Although businesses are improving the way in which they respond to consumers at scale, a lot of them are still unsure about where to start, how much to commit and how to make this approach work for their business.
Danielle Woolley, customer success manager at Adestra, points out that email is still the number one tool for ROI.
“If email walked into a bar with 100 girls in it then email would walk out of that bar with three or four of those girls,” she explains. “On the other hand, Facebook would actually need to walk into 14 bars each with 100 girls in them in order to get just one girl.
“Twitter has an even worse hit rate. It would have to walk into 33 bars each with 100 girls just to get one girl. Email is the best channel for pulling our customers.”
Three quarters of marketers rate email as very good or excellent for ROI, according to Woolley, but it takes more than just great tech to achieve marketing success.
Woolley’s top 5 tips
1. Know what your internal capabilities are: technology available and team capacity and skills.
This doesn’t necessarily mean changing your ESP but it could be that there’s functionality that you’re not making the most of. Maybe you could do with some extra training or support for your ESP.
2. Set objectives.
This is super, super important. You need to make sure that your objectives for your digital marketing feed into your overall objectives as a business.
3. Think about governance.
If you’re creating a lot of lifecycle programs, a lot of trigger campaigns, it may be that you’re sending out more emails or potentially conflicting offers. What’s most common is that you may wish to stop people receiving your weekly ‘business as usual’ emails while they’re already on an email cycle journey with you.
4. Evergreen content.
If you’re automating emailed content, you don’t want to have to make changes to that all the time. So think about content that will remain relevant for a longer time.
5. Staged approach – get it live!
Start with something simple, learn from it and build from there.
Time Well Spent? How To Prioritise Your Email Planning
Jill Brittlebank, senior director, strategy & analytics, Zeta Interactive
The growing demands of consumers mean that simple copy, rendering and design tests are no longer good enough when it comes to gaining cut-through in an ever more complex and competitive environment. Marketers need to get the mix of segmentation, propositioning, creative and offers right. So how should you approach email in order to get the best bang for your buck (and your time and effort)?
Use insights to drive channel innovation, says Jill Brittlebank, senior director, Strategy & Analytics at Zeta Interactive. And don’t bite off more than you can chew.
She adds: “Start with a self-assessment, examining where your focus lies today. Who will see your emails? What will you send? Why would the recipient act on the message that you send?
“Don’t get hung up on certain elements of email at the expense of really driving significant performance improvement, and keep customer centre of planning. Are you thinking about the incentive to hook customer? Are you thinking about the creative?”
It’s important to think about who you’re talking to. What do you know about your customers, such as their unique characteristics? What’s important to them and what’s important to you? What’s your proposition to those customers?
Major success begins with better understanding customers, and advanced marketing doesn’t have to be complex. Develop strategies starting with informed segmentation. To drive performance improvements, Brittlebank recommends implementing these eight strategies now.
Lifecycle segmentation – This groups users into 11 different segments with specific marketing treatments.
Dynamic segmentation – Using a click by click approach to build the profile gradually and interactively.
Recommendation engine – A mathematical formula predicting individual tastes from the collective intelligence.
Value sourcing – Determining the best market spend to acquire prospects and customers.
Attribution reporting – This helps marketers correctly spend marketing money on converting existing customers.
Send-time optimisation – Who to recognise (shooting stars), reward (falling stars and win back (black hole).
Responsive Email Is Not Nice
Up to 70 per cent of emails are opened on mobile devices, but 80 per cent of emails opened on a mobile device will be deleted if the rendering is poor; although this will vary depending on which industry you work in and the age of your database.
“Mobile responsive design or, as we like to call it, email design shouldn’t be an afterthought,” says Mike Parry, display block CEO. “It’s something that everyone should be doing.”
And ‘everyone’ does appear to be working on responsive email and mobile responsive content now. By thinking carefully about the design process, you can create a better user experience and generate the engagement you need.
User engagement has long term benefits in deliverability, data churn and revenue models. A better user experience equates to better engagement, which equates to better engagement, which equates to better email delivery and inbox placement, less churn and greater long term revenues
So what’s the most important thing to keep in mind? “Responsive design is not about you,” explains Parry. “It’s about the end user and their engagement with you.”