Even after all these years, savvy businesses continue to reach out to consumers through old-fashioned email.
Why? Because it works. Even as communication channels for consumers multiply – and even with the advent of supposed email-killing technology – email remains a critical component in any smart marketing strategy.
As recently as 2016, a survey by Marketing Sherpa found that 70 percent of consumers ranked email as their favorite way to receive offers from businesses. Salesforce, commenting on that survey, noted that “it is a big stretch to say that email has lost that favor so quickly.”
Challenges in Email Marketing
A 2017 study from Dotmailer Email Marketing found email continues to provide a 30 percent return on investment on average. The same study also found that 95 percent of business leaders rated email as “very important” or “important” to their overall strategy.
But there are issues. In the same study, business leaders admitted the biggest challenge in using email is lack of a proper strategy, followed by lack of data, data being siloed, limited internal resources and lack of content.
The following focuses on the biggest issue, strategy. These tactics can help improve open and click-through rates, as well as customer retention, conversion and brand promotion.
Rather than send out general emails that cast a wide net, savvy organizations tailor messages in emails to specific demographic groups based on data, such as promoting specific products based on a customer’s purchasing history. Email can be further personalized based on a customer’s location, the time of day, the type of device they are using or the weather. For example, a travel company might send information on the weather in Miami to someone currently enjoying snow and 2-degree weather in Buffalo.
Using “kinetic email” is a fancy way of saying, “include something that moves.” Major email services such as Gmail allow insertion of video, gifs and animation that can lead to better engagement with customers.
DO THIS NOW: Go to https://wistia.com/soapbox and download the SoapBox Google Chrome extension. In a couple of minutes, you can create an introduction video for yourself (and other videos) that you can embed in emails to prospects.
Too many email campaigns start with a smart idea and end up with an email that’s a bit of mess. It’s wise to think in terms of clean design, simple messages and clear calls to action with email campaigns. People today have less time than ever to dilly dally with a long, involved email – they simple won’t read it. Strive to getting a CTA high in an email, in the first few seconds of reading.
Better Subject Lines
This is a subsection of content, but the most important one. A good subject line is the difference between someone opening an email or deleting it. The first hurdle to clear is to not sound like spam, the bane of all email users. Beyond that, it’s become almost an artform. Certainly, it’s a very specific skill among marketers and writers. In general, you need it to be urgent, direct and appealing to the demographic you are trying to reach in a way that peaks their curiosity.
And an important warning: Don’t try humor unless the person doing the writing has a track record of being funny.
In The Inbox
Email technology has advanced to where businesses can use integrated forms that allow customers to use information in the email itself rather than directing them to a landing page. This type of interactive email offers customers everything they need right in their inbox.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing everything else, so why not emails? Using advanced machine learning, AI can determine the best time to send emails based on open and click-through rates at specific times of day, among other variables. AI also can analyze data quickly, personalizing email campaigns based on consumer data and identifying the best targets for specific product deals.
Some of these ideas are basic, some advanced, but all are important to successful email campaigns. Remember, a strategy is the main roadblock to successful use of email (and using a partner such as Bayshore Solutions for email marketing doesn’t hurt either), so take the time to develop one and put it into action.