Businesses continue to bet heavily on email marketing for nurturing and converting their leads. According to a June 2020 survey by Ugam, 51% of marketers at major US and UK brands said that their email marketing spending increased, and just 16% of respondents reported a decrease. The only channels which saw higher response rates were chat features (56%) and mobile app functionality (55%).
While marketers are doubling down on email marketing, not all campaigns yield the desired ROI. In fact, there is a lot that goes into designing an efficient and effective email marketing program and there are myriads of ways companies can fail in their efforts to do it right.
What follows are six steps that companies should take in order to be successful at email marketing.
Flows that you “set and forget” are triggered by a recipient’s action and can be set up to go hand in hand with every step of the customer journey. Flows can make for a personalized approach to email marketing which customers greatly appreciate. The advantage for businesses is that flows are less of a lift over time — once they are set, they run automatically, unlike campaigns that are iterative in nature.
Flows can be initiated through a wide range of triggers, including abandon browse, abandon cart, not having bought anything in some number of days, being a new client, and viewing a certain product or category.
It seems obvious that referral programs are an efficient way to generate new leads, but many businesses sadly still do not have them in place. It is hurting their email marketing ROI.
Through a referral program, you will incentivize your current subscribers to help expand your distribution list. Subscribers can be incentivized through discount codes, gift cards, or points earned, depending on how your referral program is set up. A recommended approach is to give a reward to both current and new subscribers. Needless to say, there is ample room for automating any flows that pertain to the referral program.
3Review collection program
Customers will often leave positive reviews on Google, your website, or other places on the internet. By scanning these reviews and embedding them into your email content, you will, through social proof, manage to persuade subscribers to test or buy your product.
A review collection program can also enhance your SEO when people are invited to click through to reviews on your own website, as website traffic is an important ranking factor.
4Sync audiences with FB targeting
A cross-channel campaign is ideal for flanking and reinforcing your email marketing efforts. Often, cross-channel campaigns take the form of lead-generation campaigns on Facebook where Facebook will target new users with an incentive via a Facebook ad. The consumer puts in their first-party data (email or phone number) and is then immediately put into an email flow and added to the email distribution list for future targeting.
5Segmentation of subscriber list
Without the risk of going too granular in your segmentation, it is possible to target users in a way that allows you to employ just the right cadence of emails for every group. This is most often done through segmentation based on user behavior. Examples are targeting recipients that have engaged with your emails or purchased your product within a certain number of days. The window of time you use will depend on the product’s purchase frequency. When you are selling toothbrushes, it might make sense to remind someone every three months to buy another brush, but when you are in the business of selling refrigerators, those time intervals between mailings need to become considerably longer, lest you annoy your subscribers with irrelevant content.
Next to behavioral segmentation, segmentation on location might make sense when you are wanting to target users who live near a brick-and-mortar store close to an upcoming promotional event. For example, this area could be a venue where a new line of refrigerators will be on sale and ready for pick up.
6Strong campaign send cadence
A strong email program has automated flow and an equally strong campaign send strategy and schedule. These two must go hand in hand.
Brands should be sending out emails at least once a week. Depending on the typical brand’s customer buying behavior, there could be at least three or more emails sent out every week. Unlike well-designed flows, setting the frequency of distribution at the onset of a non-automated email campaign is no “set and forget” action. It needs close, continuous monitoring of unsubscribe and engagement rates, which enables you to tune frequency and cadence appropriately.
To be clear, not every piece of content needs to be sent to everyone on the distribution list. That is why you decided to segment in the first place, to be able to cater to recipients with the content that adds value for them.
A solid email marketing campaign consists of mailings that combine middle-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel content. Sometimes you will send recipients a coupon or other sales promotion that is meant to nudge them towards a transaction. At other times, you will send them a story on the brand, information on the benefits or usefulness of the product, or any other content that is helpful in nurturing your customers or leads.
Designing An Effective Email Marketing Campaign
Creating and executing an efficient email marketing campaign is not easy. Above, we listed six steps you can take to maximize your email marketing ROI: having automated flows in place, running referral programs, starting a review collection program, syncing audiences with Facebook targeting, segmenting your audience in relevant ways, and setting a strong campaign send cadence.
If you follow these steps, your emails will be more effective, and your business will reap the rewards by way of improved ROI on both your email marketing campaigns and your other online marketing efforts.