Part 8: Email Marketing
Its the renaissance of email marketing
As a business owner, it would be difficult to ignore something that could deliver a return on investment of up to $42 for every $1 spent. EDM, or electronic direct mail, also known as email marketing, has made a glamourous comeback and has been proven to drive genuine, quality leads and incremental business, no matter the industry.
Like all forms of marketing, email marketing success comes down to understanding your customer – what they want and need. The old truly spammy and irrelevant messaging is making way for specific, targeted messaging. While others may be overinvested in social and pay per click, a good email marketing strategy could be a great way to differentiate your business from your competition.
Email’s Second Coming
- 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email
- 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention
- 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI
Sources: adestra.com; emarsys.com; myemma.com.
Choose your email platform
The days of inelegantly bcc’ing everyone in your address book are well and truly over. This is a definite do not do.
If you’re in the market for an EDM platform, there are some considerations of which you should be aware.
Some data management and CRM solutions will also manage email marketing. If you currently operate one of those, it is a great option as you already have your database set up.
If you do not yet have a system set up that will facilitate email marketing, some popular options worth reviewing include Mailchimp (likely the best D.I.Y. option), Campaign Monitor and Active Campaign.
Segment your audience
The biggest mistake many businesses make in their email marketing efforts is not segmenting their audience. A repetitive and unconsidered email blast to your entire database is easy to do – but it comes with risk.
On the other hand, segmented email campaigns:
- drive higher returns
- have higher open rates and click rates
- drive more revenue (as much as +760% according to Campaign Monitor)
- contribute to lower unsubscribe rates
Segmenting should be done based on your broader marketing plans. At its simplest, segment your audience based on their demographics and interests.
Take time to consider where in the customer lifecycle they currently sit. Long term customers are often more educated on your business and therefore require different instructions, explanations and sometimes, tone. New customers need to trust you in order to do business with you so adjust the content according to their customer journey stage.
Some practical examples:
- A pharmacy sells products for every life stage. Family planning information would not be sent to those in much older age groups, likewise, 20- and 30-somethings are unlikely to be in the market for menopausal information or related products (men in particular).
- A financial planner would have different advice on superannuation and investments depending on the career stage of his or her client.
- A travel agent’s reliable data on a client’s past travel will help determine which customers should receive cheap flight offers, verses luxury cruise offers.
All our suggested email marketing platforms offer the ability to segment your audience by tagging each contact and grouping them according to your business practices.
What should I include in my EDM?
Much of this is dependent on the type of business you operate and the customer base you have. Your articles will come from the content strategy you’ve implemented (see earlier in this guide). Identifying customer pain points, pre-empting their questions and providing value-add content is the aim here.
A simple checklist to ensure your EDMs are structured well is as follows:
- Include a personalised introductory paragraph that engages your audience and makes them excited to receive your email. Tell them why they should open and read!
- Add teaser copy from your recent blog article.
- Insert an accompanying image from this blog article.
- Include a call to action button, for example: read more, learn more or download.
- Repeat this for any additional articles or messages you wish to include.
Results and Reporting
Marketers love measuring their activities, seeing results and identifying ways to improve the message next time. So, how do we measure EDMs?
Most businesses stop after they send the email, but this is just the midpoint of the email marketing process. True results come from follow-up activities.
Be sure to regularly monitor the following metrics in your EDM activity:
- Clicks – follow up with these customers, they’re real people and highly engaged. You may implement a more sophisticated automation process to ensure you don’t miss out on capturing their attention and business.
- Opens – consider following up these people. They were interested enough to at least open your email – perhaps you could improve the exact type of information you send them? Review your reports and data for market intelligence.
- Bounces – these contacts did not receive the email. Attempt to reconnect and confirm their details. In doing so, try to understand how you can best communicate with them.
- Unsubscribes – don’t take it personally, we all unsubscribe from marketing communications on a regular basis, for many reasons. This is an opportunity however to identify any patterns in your unsubscribes, for example timing or demographic segment.
Catch up on previous articles in this series.