Five email marketing and CRM experts share their practical knowledge, offering useful tips and advice on how companies should structure their email content and effectively distribute their campaigns.
Long gone are the days when a retailer had to only press the ‘send’ button in order to spread their message around. Today the average office worker receives 121 emails every day, meaning they only select the ones they intend to read, instead of going through one by one. With this number rising constantly, email marketing is becoming more and more complex. In order to grab customers’ attention, retailers now have to distribute personalised messages and content relevant to their consumer.
A thorough email marketing strategy needs to address a series of key elements, from segmentation and timing, to subject lines and the content itself, be it standard or dynamic. These topics, among others, were discussed during the Figaro Digital Email Marketing & CRM Seminar, where five email marketing experts offered practical advice, answered questions and shared interesting insights.
Mobile is important; seventy per cent of ecommerce transactions will be made through mobile devices this year. While this should be enough for companies to invest on responsive email content, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Marketers should use their data to treat their customers better through personalised communication, argued Gavin Laugenie, Digital Strategist, dotmailer. There is huge money to be made in trigger marketing through opportunities such as welcome and abandon basket emails; especially regarding the latter. About 60 per cent of companies in dotmailer’s Hitting The Mark report don’t take any action for abandoned baskets, resulting in significant losses of both customers and sales. Retailers should focus on perfecting their segmentation, timing and message, as this is what separates the champions of email marketing from the rest.
Expert tip: Have a clear ‘Unsubscribe’ button. There’s no point continuing a relationship with a consumer who isn’t interested in your product, but you can part on amicable terms. You can even try directing customers to a feedback page, to try and understand what their motivations are for leaving.
Phrasee’s CEO underlined the importance of taking advantage of every bit of information obtained from testing. “Most people test but don’t learn”, explained Malm. Marketers tend to decide based on their own experience and pre-existing standards, when they should instead focus on their audiences. This is where machine learning comes in: AI can test various subject lines, understand the reasons for their success or failure and based on the proper information, choose the ones that are most likely to achieve a higher open rate. Malm challenged the audience to choose from ten email subject lines and identify the one that was written by humans and not by machine. The winning subject line, which was written by AI, saw an uplift of open rates by 36 per cent, proving that AI is packed with potential for livening up the consumer’s inbox.
Expert tip: Take advantage of AI in order to perform proper split testing and come up with accurate conclusions.
Email, as a means of delivering information, has become a laggard in terms of creativity, suggests Ben Thomlinson, Product Marketing and Partnerships manager, Communicator. The reasons behind this? The rise of mobile, webmail client changes and the innovative workarounds that have become established. Modern inboxes on mobile devices and revamped editions of the webmail clients allow more freedom for creativity, while at the same time offering better coding standards. Personalisation tools offer messages a more unique touch, with the capacity to adjust the content based on data such as the device used, the recipient and the location. Animated gifs can draw the consumer’s attention, provided they’re used sparsely and not irritating, while embedded video can prove to be a clincher for successfully convincing your audience.
Expert tip: Time, weather, location, and device can be used to personalise your messages. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
First-person marketing enables companies to speak directly to the consumer, building a more direct relationship and tailoring the experience they offer. Adestra’s Head of Digital Marketing and Partnerships, Liz Smith, argued that retailers should structure their strategies based not on their own standards, but on their customers’ preferences. Consumers tend to unsubscribe when they receive too many emails or irrelevant content. Companies should enable prediction, testing and refining to boost efficiency and ultimately improve performance. The most important motivations for a customer to open an email are relevance and trust. Companies should find the way to obtain and use the highest quality data, while still looking at the bigger picture; a solid relationship with their customers that doesn’t just end with the purchase.
Expert tip: Find out what the key influences in your metrics are and set up a strategy that will allow you to test only what you need.
Robert Simons, Group Head of CRM, Treatwell, explained how an email-focused strategy combined with transactional and behavioural data can lead to growth, even with a limited budget. The general rule is that companies should reduce their email sending costs; one effective tactic is to experiment with suppressing recipients who aren’t engaged or transacting. Previous email behaviour should be used as a signal of user intent; proper A/B testing can maximise incremental transactions within the CPA target. Marketers should be interested in incremental gain, and not be disheartened by slower climbing results. There are opportunities for optimisation along the whole funnel: deliverability, open rate, click-to-open and conversion rates can all be addressed and tweaked to improve CPA across the marketing strategy. With the correct actions, the efficiency of a campaign can be significantly enhanced.
Expert’s tip: Keep testing! As long as you’re confident about your plan, don’t stop testing throughout the whole email marketing funnel.