New marketing channels are emerging thanks to the advancement of technology. But don’t drop email just yet. Keep it in your marketing plan. Email marketing remains a popular choice, standing as one of the most effective ways to engage with an audience.
Walk into the New Year with a goal in hand. Envision strong open rates and additional click stats more attainable by following best practices. Let’s take a look at three email marketing best practices to get you started on the right foot.
Why Choose Email Marketing?
The first marketing email sent dates back to the late 1970s. Gary Thuerk sent hundreds of marketing emails to market computer products from his company. Fast forward through the years, and email has changed and evolved alongside the needs of its users. It’s accessible wherever the internet is, across various platforms, and as a go-to for communicating information.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Social media sure is a hit, but email subscribers should still be a primary focus. Why? Users that subscribe on social media may or may not see your News Feeds, but those that subscribe to your emails will receive them in their inbox. The rest is up to you to make your message appealing.
Here are a few best practices you can follow into 2022.
#1: Know Your Audience, Personalizing the Experience
Do you know your audience? What motivates them or makes them behave the way they do? These questions remain at the top of the list of best practices as your target audience drives the business. In addition to knowing your audience, personalization is also a must for your marketing plan. People do not want to view content that is a waste of their time, so make it all about them and give them a reason to click through your email!
Personalization adds to an email’s subject header line, salutation, images or content, and product/service offerings. How can you do it? Here are a few tips to follow:
- Create Buyer Personas - use market research and create fictional representations of your ideal customer. Include attributes such as location, demographics, interests, product needs, professions, etc.
- Set Goals - what is the company's voice, and how do you interact with customers? Setting goals help to map out what the personalization will look like and should be built into your marketing plan.
- Collect Data - determine which type of data set you to want to use and run with it. Start with basic data as a base, then look at behaviors and trends such as how users interact with the website and what types of products or services they show interest in.
- Segment the Email List - use segmentation to send relevant offers to targeted audiences, but avoid hyper-segmentation. Focus on broad groups that share common interests, and send offers to those within a specific location or range.
- Use Dynamic Content - this can save a lot of time! Multiple versions of emails are created and customized for your audience based on their interest, experiences, and behavior.
- Automation - don’t waste time manually sending off emails. Email marketing service providers (ESP) offer automation tools and services to trigger emails based on user actions, notable dates, and more.
- Recommend Products/Services - give users informational content such as using a product or service they recently purchased and provide them with product recommendations based on their purchase history.
- Track Browser History - cookies allow you to track browser history. Tracking history helps trigger emails to customers who, for example, leave items in their shopping cart. Abandonment emails can then be sent, reminding the customer that they left something behind and encouraging them to return.
Add flair to your emails, including images and interactivity. People want to feel like they are an essential part of the company, so adding simple things such as a quick survey or poll, games, etc., into an email encourages interaction and takes them on a journey through your company’s sales funnel. Interactivity performance metrics allow you to grow marketing campaigns and boost customer commitment.
Another option is to include user-generated content, such as product images provided by customers and customer reviews. Building trust and confidence with your customers is vital, and sharing that trust expands your leads. Plus, customer reviews are no added costs, giving your products and services the social proof customers look for today.
However, you choose to personalize communication remains up to you. One important thing to note is that you’ll need to customize the information display to the different platforms. For example, mobile devices display content differently than that of a PC.
#2: Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Stepping back a moment, let’s reminisce on what the marketing process looks like. First, a company needs to identify customers based on their needs and interests. Second, after building the foundation, a company experiments with matching products and services to the customer based on their browsing history. Third, a company adds color to the communication, persuading customers to purchase the product or service.
You can do all of this manually, but why expend the cost when artificial intelligence is built for the job, adding extreme value to the process? Not only does AI save you money, but it also saves time, allowing the focus to land on more analytical tasks.
Artificial Intelligence today doesn’t look like the movies portray, but it is available and grows. It can’t write from scratch, as humans can, just yet, but it does provide optimization suggestions using algorithms and A/B tests.
Email marketers can use AI to:
- Write subject header lines to hook the audience
- Write email content
- Write CTAs, call-to-actions
- Clean up email subscription lists
- Add personalization
- Send emails at optimized times
Machines learn user behavior and tailor information to a specific email recipient. While it’s performing its role and responsibilities and doing more of the heavy lifting, don’t worry.
Marketers can still incorporate the human touch into the message, adding content to create a personal connection versus that of the machine.
#3: Timing Means Everything
Does it matter when I send emails to target audiences? The answer is yes. Email marketers can identify when their audience is most active and engaged using performance tracking.
For example, if an email recipient often opens an email on a specific date at a particular time, you can customize your communications to be sent during that window.
To get a better handle on when to send out emails, run a sequence of tests. Here are a few suggestions from Klaviyo on getting a Smart Send TIme:
- At a minimum, select 12,000 recipients to send an exploratory message to within a 24-hour timeframe.
- In a 4-hour window, send “focused sends” during optimal send times.
- Send emails from your determined optimal send time.
The above helps determine the optimal send time, but there may be a preferred day of the week. The best time to send emails to your target audiences may differ from another industry; keep that in mind.
Gather data, look at metrics, compare it to competitors, and A/B test your email in order to learn what is best for your audience.
Data Privacy Updates
Challenges will likely continue for email marketers as data privacy rules and regulations tighten, and technology manufacturers begin administering data privacy features.
Privacy and Data Tracking
For example, earlier this year, Apple pushed a new feature known as the Mail Privacy Protection across their devices in iOS 15. The features give the users more control over their data, how companies share it, and who can access it. Thus, companies are restricted with what information they can track.
Affecting users of the Apple mail app, this feature changes the direction of how to track email metrics. Instead of emails being opened or downloaded from the sender’s email service provider, they are downloaded from Apple’s server. What does this mean to marketers? Emails may appear as if they are open, but the user never reads them. This pattern places a significant damper on performance tracking, especially since many people access emails through mobile devices.
Performance tracking is a tool marketers use to get to know their audience. When tracking performance, marketers are looking at key KPIs (key performance indicators) such as:
- Click-through Rate - the percentage of users that clicked on a link embedded in an email. This gives the marketer an idea of what people are most interested in and the level of engagement.
- Conversion Rate - the percentage of users that not only clicked on the link provided in an email but completed the action required. Conversion rate is critical when focusing on a goal to generate leads.
- Bounce Rate - the percentage of emails that “bounce back” or are returned as undeliverable due to an invalid email address or one that doesn’t exist.
- List Growth Rate - how quickly the Company’s email subscriber list expands.
- Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate - how often emails are shared with others, generating new subscribers/contacts.
- ROI - return on investment. Knowing how your email campaign is contributing to your ROI helps adjust or shift marketing strategy as needed.
- Open Rate - the percentage of users that read or open an email. An email is considered opened when all embedded images are shown.
- Unsubscribe Rate - the percentage of users that opt-out of emails, asking to unsubscribe from the list. This loss of subscribers could be due to a lack of interest, an abundance of emails, etc.
- Spam Score - measures how often emails are marked as spam, meaning users aren’t interested in the content.
The open rate may drop off the radar as new data privacy rules and regulations surface. It is becoming an unreliable engagement measurement. As the New Year approaches, email marketers will need to shift their focus on other metrics, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment.
Check your performance metrics and alter your communications as is necessary to increase the level of engagement with your audience. If you haven’t already, introduce AI into your marketing plan and reap the benefits.
Overall, email marketing drives ROI. It remains an effective marketing channel with high hopes for the future, so don’t stop using it - enhance it and strengthen your company's growth.
Use email marketing to build unique campaigns, personalize customer relationships, and grow your bottom line.
Visit QuaGrowth today for all of your marketing needs.
Metrics That Will Matter in Email Beyond 2021 | Business2Community
6 Examples of AI in Email Marketing | Marketing Insider Group
Take Your Open Rates to the Next Level with Smart Send Time | Klaviyo