Over the last four decades, email has evolved into a staple of every good marketing strategy. Modern technology means the benefits of email go far beyond the fresh 90’s joy of not having to lick a stamp. In fact, 80% of marketers say that email is core to their business.
Nowadays, email tech is so up to speed we barely even need to send it manually anymore. Clever bits of software allow you to automate your email marketing strategy. That’s right: automate.
If you’re not already leveraging email marketing tools in your business, we’re going to show you how you can turn your email marketing strategy up to 11 with a few basic tips and tricks.
Let’s get cracking, shall we?
Define your goals before attempting to define your strategy
Before we begin talking about your campaign – it’s important you know why you’re sending emails in the first place. It’s hard to hit a bullseye if you can’t see what you’re shooting at.
Ask yourself: What do you want this campaign to achieve? For example:
- Do you want to boost client engagement?
- Do you want to boost your website traffic?
- Do you want to sell more stock?
- Do you want to position yourself as an industry authority?
- Do you want to encourage existing clients to upgrade their subscription?
- Do you want to learn more about your target market?
The list goes on.
Properly define your goals – and be sure to include any desired timeframes – before choosing a system or strategy to achieve it. Email marketing platforms each have their separate strengths – and you want to be sure you pick the right one for the job. And remember, automating emails just for the sake of automating them is more likely to result in unsubscribes than sales.
Find your ‘Goldilocks’ frequency
Once you know what emails you want to send, you need to decide on how often to send them. Certain goals will only require a single email to be sent out. Some will require campaigns that last months or years.
Too few emails, and you’ll miss out on valuable opportunities to engage your clients and leads. Too many, and you’ll run the risk of annoying them. You need to find the ‘just right’ frequency to contact your client base.
There’s no general rule for this. It’s something businesses need to discover themselves over time. Thankfully, new technologies make this pretty simple.
Most email marketing platforms will provide you with metrics on your campaigns. They’ll track things like how many people open your email, click any links you provide, or unsubscribe. You can use this information to deduce an ideal frequency of emails for achieving the highest open rate and engagement. What’s more, you can even drill down to find the best time of day to send your email.
Create triggers and flows for true personalisation and automation
Okay – this is where things start to get really cool. Now it’s time to automate your campaign. It’ll be sent to the right contact, at the right time, every time, without you needing to lift a finger.
Depending on your platform, you should be able to set certain emails to ‘trigger’ after specific actions are taken on your website or within your sales funnel.
Here are a few of our favourites:
- Activation emails: If a new customer signs up for an account, or subscribes to your mailing list, but then they don’t use your service or purchase a product within the first week – you might like to prompt them with a friendly reminder of the benefits of your product or service.
- Win-back emails: Old or existing customers that seem to have dropped off your radar can be sent a ‘win-back’ campaign. Try offering a discount coupon or special promotion to get them back on the scene.
- Loyalty or reward emails: Even if everything is running smoothly, it never hurts to boost customer loyalty by rewarding your best customers with something free every now and again. It might cost you at first, but rewarding loyal customers is an investment in retention, which equates to dollars in the long run.
- Abandoned cart: Someone’s abandoned their shopping cart without purchasing anything? Try setting up a reminder email a few days later with a 10% off code. Hey presto – you just brought a sale back to life.
- Replenishment: If you’re selling products that need to be restocked every now and again (tyres, office supplies, bulk pet food, etc) why not send out a reminder email around the time they’re likely to run out?
If you’re thinking triggered emails sound like a great idea, let’s go one step better. Why not automate entire customer journeys? Automated emails don’t have to just ping out on an ad-hoc basis. It’s easy to create email flows that nurture fresh leads into paying customers over weeks, months or even years.
Let’s say you’ve set up a 3-month win-back email that hasn’t been performing like you’d hoped. It’s getting sales, but not as many as you’d like. In addition to your 3-month touchpoint, try setting up 6-month and 12-month emails as well. You might like to offer increasing incentives with each phase, as someone who hasn’t bought from you in a year will likely need more of a push than someone who has only been inactive for 3 months.
If you really want to excel with your email marketing, putting intelligent software to use is a must. As Salesforce said in their 2016 State of Marketing Report: “Top teams are 4.2x more likely than underperformers to leverage predictive intelligence or data science to create personalized emails. Forty-nine percent of marketers say email is directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source.”
It’s best to trust the experts on this one. Email automation rocks.
Never stop tweaking your strategy
Always remember, your strategies will never be perfect. Even if your campaigns are achieving the goals you set out to achieve in the beginning, go back and set yourself an even greater challenge. There are always opportunities to fine-tune your strategy further.
Remember: email marketing generates some extremely valuable data for your business. As well as figuring out the best time and frequency to send emails, you can also see what sort of content or deals people are interested in. If you view your email program as marketing and research, you’ll be able to polish your strategy until it shines like the front teeth of one of those pretend dentists they put in toothpaste commercials.
If your open rate is suffering, maybe you need a more catchy subject line. No-one’s responding to your weekly newsletters? Try sending a free monthly resource instead.
On the other side of the coin, a sudden influx of sales might mean readers resonated with the copy. Perfect! Keep that writing style going in your next campaign.
If you’re a real data-driven marketing guru, you’ll probably want to try A/B testing certain components of your emails too. A/B Testing (or split testing) can have fantastic results for your business. Let’s say you can’t decide which call-to-action will drive the highest click-through rate. Why not try both and see for yourself? Most modern email platforms will automate this process for you, sending each version to a small audience, and picking the winning campaign based on performance.
A/B testing is obviously far more effective than picking components at random – and you can use it for everything. Try testing buttons, copy, subject lines, design layouts, products and offers – whatever you can dream up. It’s entirely up to you.
If you’ve liked the sound of anything in this article, but need help discovering how to use your email software to make it happen, get in touch with us today and we’ll happily run you through it.