Let me set the scene, I’m stood in front of a bunch of businesses who are sending 100s of 1000s of emails to their databases on a daily basis – probably millions between them. I’m running an open discussion around how they can improve their email marketing strategies at scale. We’re talking tech, everything from automation to AI. We’re talking about the sexy-cool stuff that is the new and next when it comes to email marketing – the stuff only I geek out over. We’re talking deliverability, re-engagement, activation and… well, let’s just say I was in my happy place!
Then I get asked (because we had covered so much) “What are your top three takeaways when it comes to email marketing?”
Crap… how do I only pick three?
Then it dawned on me… You see, my immediate response was ‘panic stations’ because I was trying to choose between the super-sexy-shiny stuff… however, that’s not where the success really is email marketing-wise. You see, you can invest in the tech, and implement complex campaigns; however, if you don’t get the following three things right your email marketing campaigns will likely fail.
Content – Don’t Send Email Marketing Content That Has Zero Value!
There must be a purpose, a use, or a value in every single email campaign you send, for the recipient more so than you. Nobody wants to receive pointless emails – they’re annoying and uninspiring. And that’s the last thing you want your audience thinking about you and your brand!
When I say the value should be for the recipient and not you, yes, the content you send should add a next logical step; a thing that takes that recipient a step further through your marketing funnel towards your ultimate objective – but make sure what you’re sending is something they’ll feel is the most important, the most worthwhile email they will have read that day.
I wrote an article somewhere way back that had a title along the lines of ‘Everything is Content’. From an email marketing perspective, that includes your subject line and preview text! I see a huge amount of work going into what will be seen once an email has been opened and far less on what’s going to make someone open it!
Don’t Blast your list – Spray and pray email campaigns are just not cool!
You need to understand your avatars; as your email list grows, you can segment your data. Most businesses have more than one avatar and so it makes sense to divide the database up by the features you’ve identified. It could be demographic information you hold, or it could be more related to the behaviours and interests that have been shown through their interaction with your previous email campaigns. Perhaps even something around where they are in their journey to becoming your best-ever client or customer! Segmenting your data gives you the power to send the right emails to the right people, increasing their engagement which in turn increases your ability to actually land in someone’s inbox vs their junk folder vs not making it through firewalls at all!
Essentially, I’m talking about your ability to ensure the communication you send is personalised. Perhaps the message of your email needs to be positioned for the more mature lady; perhaps it’s only relevant to people who have shown a preference for a certain product or service. Sending irrelevant information to your subscribers will only serve to make them feel that they’re just another entry in your database. They won’t feel that you care, and so they won’t feel connected to your brand… that isn’t something that’s going to drive your ROI, that’s for sure!
Email Marketing Reports – Don’t just look at them, READ them!
Alright, so we’ve come up with what we believe to be the best content and put it in the hands of the right people. Job done, right? Duh… NO! We need to see what happens next. Who opens, who doesn’t, who clicks, when, what they did next… there are a bunch of different ways to measure success when it comes to email marketing. Looking at the numbers and patting yourself on the back for maintaining that open rate percentage is merely scratching the surface. We need to understand the trends. Does the open rate dip when the subject line makes it obvious the content relates to a YouTube Video? Does it increase or decrease when your subject lines are longer or shorter, if they use emojis or don’t, if they use merge tags or not… Reading the data and translating it into clear observations and actions that then get implemented – that’s what’s essential for success.
Because that data will drive your decision when it comes to creating your email marketing content. And it will also help you understand your database so you can send more personalised emails. See how these three things together can make or break your email marketing success.