4 Ways to Win Big With Email Marketing

4 Ways to Win Big With Email Marketing

Email marketing might elicit a yawn from digital marketers focused on more bleeding-edge and trendy technologies, like social media marketing or targeted content marketing. But those folks are missing out on one of the most powerful arrows in any marketer’s quiver; a cheap solution that delivers steady, successful results.

If you’re shopping for such a tool, you’ll see companies once focused solely on email marketing expanding into more holistic digital marketing suites, which include components like varying degrees of customer relationship management (CRM), social media outreach, marketing campaign automation, and especially advanced analytics. Email marketing remains a core component of all these new, multi-tiered services because it just plain works.

That said, there are ways to improve on standard or default email marketing practices. For example, by spreading your message across other mediums—like social, live seminars, or even SMS channels—you build not only a broader campaign, but a more consistent one, too.

By contacting customers in two or more ways, you increase the likelihood of getting their attention. Because most other forms of marketing are more expensive and “glitzier” than email, preceding an email with another form of communication creates the impression that the email customers are about to receive is more valuable.

Here are four other ways email marketing can help you build a better brand and develop new and stronger relationship with important customers.


Personalization Builds Engagement

The pandemic may have negatively impacted many aspects of a typical business, but one area it’s helped is digital marketing, and that certainly applies to email. After all, the best way to get your message across is face-to-face because you can tailor the conversation precisely to the particular customer with whom you’re speaking. COVID-19 has done away with that for the most part, but if you’re careful, email marketing can be an effective substitute in the short term.

“One of the best ways to make email more effective is to personalize content. This can be as simple as using the customer’s name in the subject line. Or, even better, leveraging customer behavior to send emails that drive purchases,” says Frank Tortorici, senior strategist at Marketing Maven Public Relations. “The lowest hanging fruit is the simple abandoned cart email. These emails can easily convert between 10% and 20%, which has the potential to drive significant revenue.”

However, he also believes you need to pay attention to just how your email marketing solution addresses personalization. As more customers actually look at these emails, their expectations, especially around personalization, will naturally grow. That means you want smart, dynamic personalization features that pay attention to situations like sending a customer a discount coupon for an item they just bought at full price.

This is where it’s advantageous for your email marketing engine to talk to your other customer touch point applications, like CRM, help desk, or even your in-store or online point of sale (POS) system. But don’t just look to see if the email marketing vendor offers an integration with your particular version of those tools. Ask questions about what exactly the integration can do. How does it present cross-correlated data? Is it automatic or simply an alert that then drops implementation into your hands?

If it’s simply passive data gathering, then it might be worth exploring a custom integration that can react faster and automatically, especially with regards to what’s in an email you’re sending to a particular customer. Bottom line: The more customers think you’re talking to them directly, the more likely they are to act on the email’s message. The more general it feels, the more they’re likely to just gloss over it and move on.


Keep Things Fresh

“It’s also important to vary the content that you use in your email marketing programs. It’s easy to get into the habit of constant emails about sales or special offers. Unfortunately, too frequent emails or too many sales offers can lead to customers ignoring your emails or unsubscribing all together,” says Tortorici.

That means no more set-and-forget email campaigns. Marketers using email need to pay close attention not just to keep the general content fresh, but also to include personalized content (see above) that applies to that customer or group of customers and where they are on the customer journey. Email also shouldn’t be your only channel. When customers see consistent messaging across multiple channels, they’re more likely to engage when a touch-point moment comes along. Right now, that’s largely email.

Interaction is a great tactic here. What makes email such an effective tool is that it’s a two-way medium. Sure, you can send things as no-reply, but often that’s robbing yourself of an opportunity to engage directly with a customer. Take the opportunity to learn from your customers by using email as a tool for gathering information. Online surveys are great here, especially when there’s a gift involved for participation. Loyalty or referral programs, invitations to one-on-one consultations, and product tutorials (especially tutorials related directly to what that customer is doing with your product) are all highly effective strategies for getting digital face time with your customer using email as the facilitator.


Let it Drip

Carefully constructed automations and trigger-based responses are also very helpful in growing customer relationships when you use them in conjunction with email. They’re immediate, can often be personalized, and they can help automatically sustain sudden spikes of momentum during the life of your marketing campaign.

That’s borne out by data from market research firm, Statista, which shows that two of the most popular personalization strategies used by US marketers over the past three years continue to be triggered notifications and automatic, policy-based targeting:

Statista research showing popular personalization techniques, US, 2018-2020

“When used correctly, drip campaigns, event marketing, or trigger emails are all great channels when it comes to nurturing leads. In the sales funnel, email marketing is a great, consistent [form of] communication that reminds leads who you are, what you offer, and how to connect,” says Nick Mattar, founder and CEO of Digital Detroit, a marketing consultancy and training company.

Drip campaigns get their name because they drip feed your message based on some kind of action or trigger. The capability is included in many popular email and marketing automation suites, including Mailchimp and Salesforce Pardot, mainly because it enables a wider range of engagement. You could start, for example, with a welcome email once a customer joins one of your marketing programs. A day or two later, that customer might receive another email detailing offers or features they might not know about. Another could provide even more detailed messaging directly related to what else you know about the customer.

Detailing new content that directly relates to a customer’s particular needs or interests is one way a drip campaign can heighten personalization. And a lot of that could be done simply be building the right integrations between your email channel and your other touch point areas, especially around what they’ve purchased (POS), how they might be using that purchase (CRM), and what kinds of problems they’ve had (help desk).

Drip campaigns don’t always have to be about closing a sale. They can be bite-sized information campaigns, concise and illustrated how-to guides to get the most out of products and services, and even brief reminders leading up to an event or product release. But what they should always do is flow at a regular or at least logical cadence and move the customer along on their particular journey.


Go Beyond Simple Opt-In

Most reputable companies ask for customer buy-in when they collect email addresses. Granted, to maximize opt-ins, your website might auto-check the box that says “Contact me about promotions and offers.” But at least you’re giving customers a choice.

Opt-ins are good, but consider giving your customers a few specific options rather than one vague choice. You’ll want to keep your list of options short. After all, if you make customers think too much or take too much time, most will get bored and abandon the task. That said, we’re not recommending you include all of the ideas in the list below, but it should certainly get you thinking:

  • Receive notifications when new training materials are available.
  • Give access to gated content or events not open to unsubscribed customers.
  • Provide feedback through surveys.
  • Join a loyalty program and receive periodic member communications or discounts.
  • Detail tips about that month’s most commonly asked help desk questions.
  • Take a daily (or weekly) quiz and earn points to redeem for prizes.
  • Receive a weekly (or monthly) newsletter with new insight about your product or service.
  • Provide access to exclusive discount coupons.
  • Communicate special promotions and sale announcements.

It’s not just about finding out what your customers associate with your product or service, but also identifying what they actually want, and then engaging with them directly to help them get it. If you can manage that, the customer is much more likely to feel like they have a personal relationship with your product and company because they actually do. And that means they’ll be much more likely to open future emails, too.

The flip side? You have to be prepared and disciplined to send these emails on a regular cadence and with careful attention paid to making sure you’re including enough tangible benefit in them to keep your customer’s attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *