As a new year begins, it’s a good time to assess our tactics, routines, and strategies. Are you happy with the ROI that your email marketing generates or is it time to make some adjustments?
Sometimes, we get in a rut and need a little refresher to make sure our email marketing practices continue to engage and win subscribers. After all, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter, but it only pulls its weight if you’re using it right.
Here are 7 things you should start, stop, and keep doing this year to ensure your email marketing makes a splash.
1. Using more personalization in your email campaigns
Subscribers respond to personalization, but a lot of marketers still assume “personalization” means adding the subscriber’s first name to the subject line. Don’t get us wrong, it’s an effective tactic, as research shows emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. However, you can do much more.
This year, take personalization beyond a subscriber’s first name and send emails that suggest products based on a subscriber’s purchase history, location, or actions taken on a website.
For example, Airfarewatchdog, a search engine for inexpensive flights, sends out personalized travel deals based on a subscriber’s location and preferences for they would like to visit.
2. Sending emails that are more than just promotional
When marketers think about email marketing, they often consider how they can use it to promote their products and services.
A coupon code or a message about an upcoming VIP sale is great, but you need to be sending much more than info about your sales. If your company is a “promoholic,” it’s time to curb your addiction.
In 2018, create emails that build relationships. Send an email that encourages subscribers to read a new blog article, create a newsletter that highlights each quarter’s milestones, or thank customers for their support.
For example, Brooklinen shared an article with its subscribers, thanking them for their support along the way.
3. Creating meaningful calls to action
Every email has a call to action (CTA), but is yours meaningful? Thirty-five percent of marketers say creating a meaningful CTA is one of the most challenging aspects of email marketing, according to a recent study we conducted.
As you greet a new year, start focusing on the call to action in each email. To create a meaningful CTA, it should contain short, specific directions that guide the subscriber to make a purchase, download an eBook, or RSVP for an event.
Buttons are visually appealing and draw the eye of subscribers, especially those reading your email on a smartphone. Make the button size noticeable and use a color that makes the button pop.
We love the CTAs in this email from Flight Centre.
4. Sending to subscribers who aren’t opening your email
Most marketers are hesitant to delete subscribers from their lists. It makes sense– erasing subscribers feels like you’re eliminating potential sales. However, if subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails at all, it’s best to clean up your list and focus on the subscribers who love you.
When you send emails to subscribers who voluntarily joined your list but aren’t opening any messages, you’re sending graymail. If you continue to send graymail, it can hurt your delivery rates. Inbox providers like Gmail and Hotmail use algorithms to examine engagement rates. If yours are low, these providers can banish your constantly unread emails to the spam folder.
To keep your spam-free reputation intact, remove email contacts that haven’t engaged with your emails in 6-9 months. If you’re wondering about how to do this right, read Email List Building in The New Era of Email Marketing.
5. Being reactive
Before you send an email do you sift through metrics to manually create a new segment of customers who opened your last email?
If you’re creating emails as a reactionary response to subscribers’ actions, STOP. You can make the entire process so much easier by using automation. With automation, you set up triggers that send emails automatically based on time or behavior.
When subscribers join your list, for example, that action can serve as a trigger to send a welcome email automatically.
You can create a series of emails that are triggered by a subscriber’s interest level. Let’s say you want to introduce a new product. The first email showcases the product. Any subscriber who opens the first email receives a second email that explains its benefits with a link to learn more. The third email, which is sent only to subscribers who clicked on the link in the previous email, offers subscribers a coupon to buy.
You can also schedule emails ahead of time. Let’s say you want to send a promotion for the holiday season. You can create the email in October and schedule it to send on December 2 at 3:30pm EST.
Keep doing this…
6. Segmenting your contacts
Most marketers are grouping subscribers into specific segments. Whether you’ve split your list by sex or location, keep up the good work.
Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue, according to research from DMA. Put simply, segmentation is worth your time.
In 2018, take segmentation to the next level. Go beyond segments based on demographics and start adding buying habits to the mix for a more targeted email strategy. For example, you could split your list of female subscribers by age or buying behavior, and segment the men by past purchases or buying frequency.
7. Collecting information
To segment lists efficiently, you have to know your customers. It takes time to get to know your customers, so keep collecting information.
With each interaction, try to learn something new. For instance, when a customer checks out online, ask them to create a profile. When a subscriber downloads a whitepaper, ask for his or her job title and company name. The more info you have, the more you’ll be able to send personalized, relevant messages.
You can also encourage subscribers to share their likes and dislikes through a preference center. For example, Penguin Random House asks their subscribers to select book genres of interest using the preference center below.
With this information, Penguin Random House can send relevant book suggestions to a subscriber’s inbox.
In addition, subscribers can easily update their preferences with little reminders. Check out the email below and the reminder (next to the green arrow) that helps subscribers make changes to their book list:
This year is ripe with possibilities for engaging your audience. Email marketing can help you capitalize on these opportunities, as long as you’re using the right tactics.
Focus on getting to know your customers and create personalized emails that speak to them. Use automation to enhance the personalization process and don’t be afraid to scrub your list free of subscribers who aren’t engaged.