It’s time to get down to brass tacks. You may know why you should be focusing on email as a marketing channel, and even a bit about how re-engage various members of your digital audience through email, but if you aren’t writing emails that get opened and drive traffic to your website, you’re losing the war even if you’re winning the subscriber lists battle.
Email marketing and SEO compete for the top spot on best return on investment in annual digital marketing rankings reports such as the one issued by Adestra. In 2014, 68% of companies ranked email marketing as excellent or good for ROI. SEO was displaced from its top spot as digital marketers begin to fully understand the importance of targeted campaigns with personalised content; 33% of companies using advanced segmentation techniques ranked their email ROI as excellent as opposed to the 13% who are not. The greatest stumbling block to implementing more advanced campaigns, these marketers report, is the quality of their databases. 69% of marketers say their databases are not sophisticated or user-friendly enough to effectively target, segment and automate emails.
So what to do when email is a clear win in your marketing strategy, although it certainly may not come easy? Here are five steps you can take today to improve your best digital marketing ally, the email.
1. Work on your database
Most email marketers are not using their subscriber databases to their fullest potential. At the lowest level, you have a list of email addresses. If you don’t have much more information than this, start to build out your database using a two-pronged approach: ask upfront for more information from new subscribers and use analytics to build information on the subscribers you already have. When you use next generation analytics on your website your emails will naturally become more targeted.
When you use next generation analytics on your website your emails will naturally become more targeted.
2. Important data sets you may want to consider
- Core demographics – this includes, at minimum, age, location and gender, but can be expanded to include birthday (birthday emails with discounts can be great), family status and more.
- Behavioural data – what is the subscriber browsing on your website? What are their secondary interests? What is the likelihood of a certain segment making a purchase? With the right analytics you can find out all this information about your subscribers and more.
- Purchase frequency – how often has this subscriber purchased from you, and, if from email, what calls to action or value propositions led to the purchase?
- Product preferences – advanced analytics can you tell you what your customers are viewing in real-time and include those or similar products within your existing emails.
3. Don’t conflate attention and relevance
One trap many email marketers dangerously fall into is confusing attention with relevance. For instance, subject lines that promote sales will probably have a higher open rate, but if the click through is low, that simply means you caught someone’s attention, not that the email was actually relevant and therefore actionable. Attracting attention is key: getting that open is critical. However, the buck doesn’t stop there. You need to make sure that the content within that email motivates subscribers enough to click through to the website. Sometimes, attention-grabbing is sufficient, but more often, its relevant content that you create and build from your database that’ll do the trick and get the click through.
4. Target your content
As we just mentioned, emails with relevant content will get a much higher-click through rate than generic emails that try to entice large portions of your subscriber list. To make sure your emails are targeted to specific subscribers, use the data you have to create emails that answer questions or propose solutions to issues on demographic or psychographic lines. For example, if you have data on gender, segment your emails by providing content relevant to male and female subscribers. The more data you have, the more you can target your content. If you have past browsing data, you can send emails with information or products previously viewed, or, if you track past purchasing history, items similar to those previously purchased. Performance email targeting services such as that offered by Mojn helps email marketers take advantage of the information they have on their subscribers and send targeted emails that get high response rates. The sky is the limit when it comes to how you position relevant content, the only limit is your data pool.
5. Test your content
Evolve your email strategy by continually tracking how your emails are performing so you can spot room for growth. For example, do emails with products previously viewed perform better than emails that include similar items to those previously purchased? In our experience emails that include some targeted content always perform better.
In our experience emails that include some targeted content always perform better
Do emails with images perform better than more text-heavy emails? Keep track and refine as you learn more about what various segments of your audience prefer – and remember, just because one segment prefers something doesn’t mean other segments do, as well. Keep it relevant as you test!