Email definitely isn’t dead, but it is changing. We check emails across all devices, and expect relevant marketing messaging across channels. Too frequently, even the best marketers lag behind in implementing email best practices and smart tactics to keep up with consumers’ expectations. Still not sold on the importance of email? Some facts to consider:
- The number of worldwide email accounts is projected to grow from over 4.1 billion accounts in 2014 to over 5.2 billion accounts by the end of 2018. That’s almost 27% growth.
- 72% of US online adults send or receive personal emails via smartphone at least weekly
- One in five (19%) of consumers said they read every email newsletter they receive, just to see if there's relevant content for them
- A recent study concluded that email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined
- 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message.
Better Data and PersonalizationMany brands maintain an email database as part of their email strategy. Some are using personalization. But, most are not optimizing to meet the needs of their users. Here’s three steps to improve your data and personalize messages.
- Create a Better Database - Implement a data infrastructure that provides cross-channel views of customer behaviors and preferences and not just a repository of disjointed records. Having a unified view of each customer will allow more sophisticated analysis across channels.
- Enable Real Time Campaigns and Segmentation - Today’s marketing tools are built to provide highly targeted and effective campaigns. Many brands are already using purchase patterns and browsing history to segment. This can be taken further with real time news stories and relevant top-of-mind messaging.
- Invest in More Sophisticated Reporting - Analyze reports, adjust strategy and take action to maximize business outcomes. Utilize the data that is available to effectively connect with readers.
Omni Channel MarketingInstead of thinking of a “multi-channel strategy” as a portfolio of individual strategies, there should be a seamless extension of the user experience from one channel into another. Your audience will have a better experience and will be more likely to engage.
- Use Email Address for cross channel marketing - Use email address as an identifier to engage with customers on different channels. Custom Audiences in Facebook and Twitter create opportunities to send targeted ads to users based on email address or phone number. You can use a single ad for all the users on your newsletter list or target customers who purchased a product within the last 48 hours.
- Organize by Customer Segments, not Channels - Create an organizational structure that helps your company become customer focused. Focusing on the customer and how they interact across channels is much more important than focusing on the channel.
- Get Everyone on Board - Educate executives and channel managers on the importance of a multi-channel approach. Case studies and pilot programs with clear results will help. Take a step further and create segment managers instead of channel managers.
Automation and Optimization
- Run automated campaigns on specific criteria and business rules - Set up automated campaigns triggered by events like landing page visits, lead form completion or shopping cart abandonment. This not only aligns email directly with multiple channels, it saves marketers’ precious time to focus on their other responsibilities.
- Optimize Spend Across Most Profitable Channels (Automatically) - The most sophisticated tools allow email programs to optimize automatically based on performance. Set up campaigns to adjust relative volume and frequency based on results.
Engagement-Based DeliveryDeliverability is critical. Great deliverability is about sending the right emails, to the right people, the right way. Email clients are very sensitive to new email senders and sudden changes in volume.
- Develop a Deliverability Plan - Build up reputation over time by understanding the differences in each desktop/web-based email provider and executing accordingly.
- Focus on Interaction - Email clients have become smarter and are becoming more sophisticated. Interaction is the new MO! Popular email providers, such as Yahoo! and Gmail, deliver emails into the “spam” folder if the recipient hasn't engaged (opened or clicked) previously. This type of filtering limits deliverability. To ensure that emails are delivered and to increase open rates marketers need to increase relevancy.