Email marketing is here to stay— and it’s still considered one of the most effective ways of communication. Businesses have long utilised it to nurture leads, attract new customers, and retain existing ones. But the key is taking advantage of it properly.
While email marketing is an opportunity that every business can use, it’s often ignored, neglected, or run ineffectually. Often businesses put very little real thought or planning into their email marketing strategy. This leads to potential customers often ignoring the emails without giving them a second thought. These are the emails that become irrelevant.
As the digital landscape changes drastically, online behaviours of customers change as well. What might have been a total attention-grabbing headline a decade ago will go straight to the spam folder today.
Customers expect emails that appeal more personally to them, so generic email blasts don’t have a place in today’s digital marketing. And with hundreds of emails coming through their inboxes on a daily basis, you need to make sure your emails are still wanted. Your emails should still be relevant.
A relevant email strategy with well-crafted content will always outperform those who flood inboxes with irrelevant messages.
Here are some fresh ideas to keep your emails relevant:
Give your customers control
Customers are engaged if they remain in control of what comes into their inbox. Relevant email marketing strategies consider what subscribers want to see and when. And it should be your subscribers who decide. Putting them in control provides an understanding of their preferences instead of inundating their inbox with emails they won’t open.
Always give them the option to opt out of particular emails that don’t resonate with them. You need to include unsubscribe options in your footer regardless, so put the preferences option in there, too. On your preferences page, let people opt in and out of different types of emails. Someone might not want product news, but be interested in special offers, so have options to allow people to create the experience they want.
By giving them control over what they receive, your chance for spam complaints will dramatically reduce. Plus, it lets you connect on more relevant matters as opposed to including them in your email campaigns.
Send content subscribers ask for
Content for your email marketing should be driven based on customer data. Leverage your customers' feedback by providing them with content they asked for. Delivering content based on their choices keeps emails remain relevant, resulting to an increased open rate and better response rate.
Use purchase history, browsing patterns, subscription preferences, and previous interactions to segment your email database – then deliver targeted content to each segment based on what they’re interested in.
Once you’ve included your subscribers in your email campaigns dedicated to their particular segment, include dynamic CTAs for content options. This gives readers the option to choose between several pieces of content to see in your subsequent emails. Once you’ve gathered this data, include them in a different list that delivers targeted content based on their choices.
When you understand your customers, you know what sort of content in your emails is most valuable to them. Do they want news or discount codes? Is it expert guidance that you’re offering? Whatever you provide, it needs to be something they want, not necessarily what you think you want to share.
Remember their preferences
It’s not enough to just gather data based on your subscribers’ wants and needs, you also need to incorporate that data in your email marketing strategy. There are immense benefits you can get by understanding your customers’ preferences, such as email frequency and location.
Subscribers differ in how frequent they would want to receive your email. Be it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, these preferences should be kept in mind. Depending on your subscriber, the volume of emails you send will drastically lower your engagement levels. Pattern your email frequency based on metrics such as open rates and click rates of past emails.
If you send multiple emails in quick succession and you see your engagement rates drop with each new message, it’s likely that you’re sending too often. Scale back your frequency and see what the impact is.
A/B Test your emails
Split testing, or A/B testing, your emails is done by sending variations of your campaigns to different sets of your subscribers. This allows you to work out which of those variation garners the best results. A/B testing is a great way to improve your email marketing performance by understanding what works and what doesn’t. Experimenting with your email campaigns enables you to compare varying elements in your email that have the most impact for your subscribers. It’s an effective way to increase your click through and open rates once you’ve crafted the perfect email for the right set of subscribers.
Test out several elements of your emails and see which performs best. Send emails with variations in your email content such as the subject lines, content length, visuals, tone of writing, CTAs and personalisation tokens. Other areas you could also split tests include variations of different times and days to send them.
Don’t try and test too many variables at once – you need each version of the email to go to a large enough number of people to get any useful insights. If you have a database segment of 500 subscribers, test two versions. If you have thousands, you can test a couple more.
Reevaluate your email list
Every so often, evaluate your subscribers list to maintain a healthy email strategy. Not everyone in your contact list is interested in your emails and this could negatively impact the way you look at your metrics. Purging your email list of your unengaged and inactive subscribers helps avoid your emails being marked as spam, and tidies up your analytics.
Validate your list by sending a reengagement campaign to see if your cold subscribers still react positively. If not, it’s time to clear them off and focus on warmer leads and individuals who still want to hear from you. In tools like HubSpot, you can generate lists of disengaged subscribers – in fact, you can choose whether or not to send your campaign to unengaged contacts at the point of sending the email, so even if you don’t want to purge your database at that stage, you can still eliminate those sends.
Once you’re only connecting with interested subscribers, you’ll see an improvement in your open rates, click rates, and conversion rates. Do be wary of open rates, however, as some email clients won’t register opens – this should never be the only metric you focus on.
Use direct and enticing subject lines
It takes only a few seconds for your subscribers to decide if they’ll open your email or junk it completely. Thus, your subject lines are the most important element of your emails. It should quickly grab the reader’s attention to entice them to open and read more.
Subject lines should immediately communicate the benefit in a clear and understandable manner – but the benefit we’re focusing on at this stage is the benefit of opening the email, not necessarily the overall benefit you’re offering.
Words that evoke emotions are more likely to drive readers to open your email. Many content marketers find the use of numbers improves open rates – but it will usually depend on your audience (which is why A/B testing is so useful).
Lastly, write with clarity. Avoid the fluff and be clear, to keep your emails relevant. In some industries, use of emojis can increase open rates, while in others it would do the opposite. Understanding your customer personas will help you craft an email subject line that resonates with your specific target audience.
Feedback from your customers is important as these indicate whether you’re providing the value they expect. After all, your business should aim to keep them happy to return again. Surveys delivered via email are generally considered as one of the most effective ways to get responses. As opposed to surveys on your social media accounts or website, those in their emails stay in the recipient’s inbox. Until/unless they delete the email, there’s a constant reminder to take the survey when it’s convenient for them.
Ask things about their topics of interests, frequency in which they’d like to receive emails, or improvements for your products or service. You can then use this data to complement your email marketing efforts. Listening to your subscribers keeps your emails relevant by refining them based on customer feedback.
Email marketing gives you the opportunity to build customer relationships that matter.
In order to start, you need to get your message delivered and opened. Being relevant in the emails you send ensures that your subscribers are still engaged and that they are still interested in what you have to offer.
Email is a key part of any content marketing strategy.