Following on from our recent blog post “Email Marketing Tactics: Creating the Right Message”, we continue to look at how businesses can maximise opens, clicks and conversions by reaching out to the right people.
1. Build Your Email Database.
Customer acquisition is a big part of any marketing strategy. Start by looking at where you get your data and sign-ups from. Website visitors will be your ideal market. If they are spending time browsing your site then the chances are that they will be interested in something you do or sell and probably, at that moment, the happiest to give away their email address to you. Are you capturing this interest on your website? Is the newsletter sign-up easy to find or is it hidden? A simple change to the placement, colour and copy of this capture form or box can be all you need in order to see an instant uplift in sign-ups. You must also double check that your subscriber data is being synchronised with your internal and ESP databases somehow. This can be a far more effective way of building up a database as methods such as purchasing data can increase your chances of being marked as a spammer and decrease your deliverability rates, so do all that you can to gather authentic data.
Another way to capture data from your website is to add a newsletter pop-up that prompts visitors to join your emailing lists. Whether you are creating this for the first time or reviewing an existing one, consider the copy, messaging, positioning, size of the pop-up on the page and the initial fields required. Find out what works the best for you by testing variations. Using MVT (multivariate testing) we recorded a 3,161.47% increase of sign-ups after adding the pop-up box for one of our clients recently.
As well as your website, it is also important to consider placing newsletter sign-up forms on your social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, again, these are areas that you can capture qualified and valuable traffic.
Newsletter Pop-Up example from Saturday website.
2. Get to Know Your Subscribers.
In order to engage with your customers and treat them as individuals you need to understand as much as you can about them. Some businesses may choose to ask for some basic demographics at the sign-up stage (alongside name and email address etc) however, sometimes asking for too much too soon can be a deterrent to sign-up. A good way to gather more information is to send out an automated email following the sign-up inviting them to share some further details with you – this seems to work well as not only is the customer engaged with your brand, you begin by giving them some control and showing interest in them as an individual. For B2C organisations the questions may focus on age, gender, date of birth and location etc and for B2B organisations these may be more targeted to the job role, company, company size, industry etc. As you develop your relationship with the customer, you can repeat this process and get to know even more about them bit by bit, as you would do with most other relationships in life.
An example preferences form from a Selfridges.
3. Spring Clean Your Data.
If you have an existing database, start by cleansing it and be sure to keep it clean and up to date. There’s no point sending an email to an invalid, empty or duplicate email address as it won’t reach anyone and it’s more likely that the ISPs will assume that you are a spammer because of the high bounce rates.
Say goodbye to your unengaged leads. You can do this in a number of ways but one of the most popular is to segment your inactive leads out and send them an enticing email. Suppress all the ones that still do not click. Alongside this, regularly update your lists to account for any unsubscribed contacts.
Something that businesses often neglect is their reply management settings. To help reduce your unnecessary replies, check through your settings and consider switching off the likes of ‘out of offices’ etc. Another way to keep your data clean is to ensure that, no matter what the source, all of the basic fields remain in exactly the same format for each contact so that all your imports are consistent.
Data decays at an estimated rate of over 40% per year.”
4. Targeting and Segmentation.
Today, consumers expect to see a more targeted approach and content that is highly relevant to them or their shopping behaviour. The ‘batch and blast’ (one size fits all) kind of email marketing methods are quickly being replaced by segmentation and targeting communications. By understanding your customers, you can leverage this information to segment your database into lists which will allow you to email out relevant and targeted messages to the right people. Whether your goal is a purchase, a download or a booking etc, you are more likely to achieve it if you send it to the right person. For example, if you are pushing a menswear campaign, you are more likely to achieve success if you are able to send themed content to the very portion of your subscribers that have recognised that menswear is an interest to them. Segmenting your database into known categories, user groups or preferences will increase your engagement and deliverability whilst decreasing your unsubscribe rates.
Targeted email example from Reiss for their male audience.
5. Encourage Referrals.
Extend your reach to the right people by creating a campaign that invites your existing recipients to share your emails with their network. Remember there is power in referrals and people buy from people! When someone forwards your email on to someone else you gain the power of social proof. There are different ways of doing this, you could offer a ‘refer a friend’ type scheme or exclusive offer, a ‘forward to a friend’ link or simply by using prominent social share buttons. If you get the promotion right or even just offer some really great content your users will be happy and want to share it and, likewise, people will be pleased to have been passed the information.
Invite friends example from an Achica email.
6. Be Mobile Ready.
We’ve heard it said many times over the years but evidence suggests that 2014 truly is ‘the year of mobile’, for the consumer at least. They need convenience and a solution that works for their kind of lifestyle. There is a quick way to find out whether this is true of your audience by looking at the data from your previous campaigns and identify what devices your recipients are using – be mindful of being ready for the future. For those mobile users still receiving a desktop version, consider the effect it will be having on their experience – it will likely lead to fewer opens, fewer clicks and a negative brand experience. A good email on mobile will include text that is easy to read, an enticing pre-header, functional call-to-action buttons, phone numbers that can be pressed to call and strong imagery that displays correctly. If your data suggests that your recipients are opening emails on mobile devices then this is very a very important step to ensuring your emails are reaching (and being opened by) the right people.
iPhone screenshot from an ASOS email.
These are some very simple action points to help you ensure that you are making the most from your email campaigns. We hope that you find the advice valuable no matter what stage of the email marketing journey you’re on.
If you would like to discuss any of these points in more detail please contact myself or the team on 0161 946 3851.