Email Campaigns Can Produce Dramatic Results If You’re Smart About The Campaign Specifics
We all have examples of bad email marketing campaigns. I just had one this morning. No links, no compelling messaging, no personalization, no list segmentation — just spray and pray.
I understand that for some people the ability to click a button and send out 100,000 emails is too attractive to think through logically. The cost is low, the conversion rate is lower and the amount of people you’ll piss off, turn off and annoy is huge.
People are going to do it anyway because it’s easy. But it’s not right. It’s not the best way to handle email. Today, you have so many better ways to use email to drive revenue.
Let’s look at some of those upgrade options.
We’re going to get to personalization, but a lot of people don’t realize that you can’t personalize unless you segment first.
Typical segmentation includes industry, role and maybe even size of the prospect or customer. Some companies look at products or service lines and do their segmentation that way. I’m not sure if either is enough to deliver the right segmentation needed to drive results up and to the right dramatically.
Instead, consider more psychographic segmentation, so that emails can be tailored by issue, challenge or opportunity.
This really just means creating more detailed prospect project records in your CRM or creating more specific and narrow lists in your CRM. Both of these tasks should be very easy to do.
Instead of having three or four lists, you might have 15 or 16 lists. Or you might have more defined and specific fields in the prospect/customer contact records that allow you to filter for some of these more advance segmentation concepts.
Once you have your segmentation strategy and you’re sure your database is clean and compliant, remember that CASL and GDPR mean you can’t simply email anyone you want anymore. You either have to get their permission or you have to provide them the opportunity to give you that permission.
Let’s talk about how to personalize emails to improve performance.
This is much more than “Hey Mike!” This is about more than adding the company name into the body of the email or the prospect’s first name in the subject line.
We’re talking about moving from a one-to-many marketing approach to almost a one-to-one approach where nearly every email is personalized and customized much more than in the past.
Doubt that the amount of personalization improves results? Check out these stats:
- 82% of marketers reported an increase in open rates through email personalization, while 75% believe it yields higher click-through rates (Adestra / IDM State of Digital Personalization report)
- The open rate for emails with a personalized message was 18.8%, as compared to 13.1% without any personalization (Statista)
- 74% of marketers said that targeted messages and personalization of emails improves customer engagement rates (Econsultancy)
- Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transactional rates (Experian)
- Personalized email marketing generates a median ROI of 122% (eMarketer)
What kind of personalization are we talking about? Specifically, the more, the better. You can personalize the message, the visuals or images, the offer, the subject line, the signature and even the delivery time (more on that later).
Most of the email marketing tools (and all of the advanced email marketing software products) give you enhanced access to personalization tokens that make creating a highly targeted, one-to-one email with specific messages, images and offers the best way to go at email marketing.
Yes, it’s much more complicated and requires many more versions of a single email campaign, and yes, the technical setup is more complicated. But if the response rates and metrics highlighted in the stats above are true, it’s worth every penny to create these advanced campaigns managed with advanced software.
Messaging is by far the biggest weakness when it comes to email marketing. It appears as if people are not concerned about the message and simply looking for templates to use based on best practices in other companies. Big mistake.
The more disruptive, emotional and compelling the email message copy AND the more personally tailored the message is, the higher ALL of your email campaign metrics will be over time.
This is a critical, nonnegotiable component of the email marketing work we do with clients. Yes, we have to work on the message. Yes, we have to write the copy for the email. Yes, you have to invest in us to do that.
Typically, the difference between strategically crafted, well-designed messaging and the crap most of us see today in our inbox is between 2x and 10x improvements. As an example, if you’re getting a 2% click-through rate on your emails, an upgraded message could produce 4%, or twice the clicks.
But that same email could produce up to a 20% click-through improvement, or 10x the original 2% click-through rate. This is massive when you’re talking about lead generation and the creation of new sales opportunities.
Email marketing is definitely getting smarter through the application of technology. Take Seventh Sense, one of our technology partners and our preferred partner for advanced email tech and tactics.
They’re going to allow you to take your email marketing to the next level by providing tools to help you optimize the send time. By personalizing the send timing, you can send emails whenever your prospects are most likely to open them, even if that’s Saturday at 1 a.m.
They’re going to help you meter your email sends, increasing deliverability and allowing you to pause campaigns and make changes to the load on your systems, call center and sales teams, if necessary.
Seventh Sense and other email software like it help to increase the overall deliverability of your emails, because as engagement increases, your sender reputation with major email providers also improves and drives up deliverability rates.
Not everyone wants to receive emails in the same way and at the same frequency. By letting prospects and customers automatically use engagement-based segmentation, you can easily email customers at their preferred frequencies.
All of these improvements make a big impact on overall performance metrics, like increasing close rates, shortening the sales cycle and improving the quality of leads passed from marketing to sales.
We’ve been building optimization of website performance, search engine rankings, conversions and content performance for years, and now we’re including email marketing optimization efforts in all of our client engagements.
This means working each month to enhance the performance of the campaign metrics. It means using the tools and techniques we’ve discussed here in a systematic way.
We’re evaluating what’s working, seeing what’s underperforming, creating some upgrades, testing those upgrades, evaluating that new performance, comparing it to the old benchmarks and then making decisions based on those insights.
This process has to cycle month in and month out, and you should be expecting to see modest performance gains each month.
Email marketing isn’t going away, so it’s time to start getting smarter, using software to optimize it and making it much more valuable to your audience.
Here are some data points to prove our point:
- “Email is the third-most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind colleague recommendations and industry thought leaders” (WordStream)
- As of 2017, there are 3.7 billion global email users, and this number is predicted to grow to 4.1 billion users by 2021 (Statista)
- “Mobile email will account for 22% to 77% percent of email opens, depending on your target audience” (EmailMonday)
- Email list segmentation and personalized emailing were the most effective email strategies of 2017 (DMA)
- Adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300% (MarTech Advisor)
It’s time to double down on email marketing, but do it in an insightful, educated and data-driven way. Take some of the suggestions above and start applying those to your email marketing campaigns, and watch the click-through rates, open rates and sales opportunities move up and to the right.
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