It’s no secret that marketers have it tougher today than ever before. A saturated market place, overwhelming amounts of brand messages and shorter consumer attention spans are just a few of the challenges we face. Reaching your customers at the right time, on the right channel, with the right message, in less than 30 seconds isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Email remains one of the most powerful marketing tools at our disposal. When used correctly, it can have a huge impact on your ROI and drive sales. According to a 2014 digital marketing strategy survey by Ascend2 and Research Partners, email is the most effective digital marketing tool and the least difficult to execute. However, given today’s challenges, marketers need to be smarter about executing email campaigns. Here’s what you need to do to elevate your email game:
1. Build your strategy around the right key performance indicators. Many marketers like to boast about strong email open rates. But open rates don’t provide us with important insights into what is resonating or working with customers; they tell us that images have been downloaded but don’t track behavior beyond that. On the other hand, click-through rates should be the industry benchmark we all consider while mining for data insights that will drive email strategy and results. This key metric tells us the consumer read the email and was intrigued enough to take action. Focusing on click-through rates may significantly decrease the volume of data you have to work with, but it also increases the quality of data you can leverage by providing you with actionable results. Click-through data can also help improve unsubscribe rates and create more personalized, relevant content.
2. Don’t underestimate a healthy database. A database with proper and current email addresses and contact information is of utmost importance for an email campaign. Why? Because it helps you segment lists and send hyper-targeted messaging to an audience that wants to be communicated to. The result? Higher-click-through rates, better data quality and insights that will drive your strategy for future communications.
3. Remember that content is king. Gone are the days of blanket emails to your entire database. Nothing will make your customers click “Unsubscribe” faster than generic, irrelevant content that’s been sent to 50,000 plus consumers. Use your database to your advantage and figure out what content is resonating with what segments and then target accordingly. Don’t be afraid to use relevant third-party content. White papers, blog posts and news articles can be leveraged in your email outreach to have a great impact on your program.
4. Make A/B testing mandatory. A/B testing, often referred to as split testing, determines which of two campaign options is the most effective based on open- or click-through-rates. You can simply distribute two variations of one campaign and send them to a small percentage of your total recipients. This provides insights into email elements—like subject lines, color, layout and link placement.
Email marketing truly is a science and, when done properly, it can drive sales, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Healthy and effective email campaigns will produce more relevant, personalized interactions with your customers. Taking the steps outlined here can make your brand more effective and maximize your marketing dollars.