Email marketing is a goldmine of opportunity for businesses in need of consistent, easily customizable, and scalable, not to mention supremely inexpensive, means to growth. Email reaches mobile users for direct connection to your customer, no matter how far out of the office he or she may be. It’s no wonder that eMarketer reports that email marketing is now a marketing staple for customer acquisition and retention in companies of under $100 million in annual revenues. Of course, over recent years, methods of email marketing have necessarily evolved.
Companies relying on email marketing know they can’t get away with old strategies of clumsy batch email blasts. They know that that doesn’t engage today’s savvy consumer. Making customers happy has always been the key to business growth. That’s not new. But, though today’s business generation didn’t invent the fundamental commercial principle of customer satisfaction driving business growth, we have obliterated old standards of customer satisfaction.
To make the modern customer happy, just meeting expectations isn’t enough anymore; now a business must exceed them. Yes, that strange new principle bears restatement: To meet standards, you must exceed them. So, it’s not only customers’ expectations in email marketing that have evolved, their expectations of their customer experience have evolved too. They’re not happy unless their expectations are exceeded.
So, What Does It Take?
What can you do, if you hope to get your marketing email noticed, as it’s flushed along in a flood of ads swirling in the endless sea of information that is the average email inbox? Well, for one thing, clients expect to be communicated with as individuals. That means you need to be able to send them very personalized content, consistently. Humans can’t process all of the information with which we’re constantly bombarded, so nature has wired our brains to auto-filter out irrelevant experiential content.
But, How To Do It?
How can you create an email marketing platform that achieves the impact you need for it to have? And, how can you deliver a highly-personalized customer experience that is not only relevant, but that provides real value for your customers’ lives? What are the fundamentals for engaging today’s consumer and strengthening brand loyalty?
Think Quality Instead of Quantity.
You’re right to want to maximize engagement with your customers and to keep your brand fresh in their memories. But, you also should want to avoid pestering them with more emails than they can read, taxing their servers, and adding to their already big burden of cleaning out unwanted email.
At some point, too many messages from you become no more helpful than clutter to the recipient, whether or not your emails land in the clutter folder. You may risk having your customer unsubscribe to your email distribution, a dreaded punishment for overdoing it. So, where does that leave your need to squeeze every bit of use out of your email marketing?
Current indicators are that email users appear to respond more favorably to weekly or monthly emails than to daily ones. Reportedly, current survey data indicates that 86% of US Americans prefer receiving promotional emails at least monthly, in extreme contrast to indications that only 15% prefer to receive marketing emails daily.
Timing is Critical.
You have only about 3 seconds to seize your customer’s attention. Timing is a key factor in this. NewsCred Insights reports that new tech advances are reducing timing of business communications to a science. Algorithms based on customers’ past behavior yield information for so-called “send time optimization”. The process identifies optimal timeframes for email delivery by determining when recipients are most likely to view and click open their messages.
Segment Your Emailing List.
If you want to increase your email marketing effectiveness, start segmenting your customer data. The DMA National Client Report indicates that 77% of 2015 email marketing ROI was generated from emailing campaigns that were segmented, and targeted, and triggered.
Email segmentation is initially a big job; there’s no point in sugar-coating that fact. You have to collect information in ways that are not too inconvenient for customers, perhaps through surveys, giveaways, contests, etc., to acquire insights into their tastes and preferences. It seems like a daunting undertaking, yes. But, after you’ve built your base of data, you can run personalized, innovative marketing campaigns that are of real value to your customers. Useful approaches to segmenting your email lists might include:
Age — Age offers an overview of interests, as well as the most effective approach, style, and tone for your emails. For example, when targeting Millennials, a casual tone is recommended. And, linking to video and social media.
Gender — ActiveTrail points out that men are proven to have naturally stronger spatial perspective (due to the relative size of their parietal lobe). So, pictures are likely to capture men’s attention. Possibly the photo will motivate them to click through. But, women, per ActiveTrail, respond much more strongly to content that helps develop insights into a product. Customer testimonials, for example, are of relatively higher interest to women.
Geography — This information can be used to inform customers about regional sales promotions and other events coming up in their area. And, you can set your emails to send at the optimum time for their time zone.
Prior Purchases — Segmenting by previous purchases opens up your opportunity to build relationships with your existing customers, deliver on customer experience, cultivate repeat business, and develop fans for your brand.
Amount Spent — Customers who buy higher-priced items are thinking very differently about your product or service lines than those whose purchases are driven by discounts and sales. By knowing who is interested in offerings at which pricing levels, you can provide marketing communications on new items and price incentives that are in keeping with customers’ differing interests.
The key to marketing effectively via email to today’s customer is to specifically target each customer, creating personalized messaging that engages each person as an individual. Research to understand your customers’ needs and desires as thoroughly as possible.
Segment your marketing database by information such as customer age, gender, geographical location, and habits. Discover what gives them joy, what their pain points are, which ways they consume media, and so on.
Email affords you the unique opportunity to connect directly with your customer. So, you need to know who that customer is. When you do the work to make a meaningful connection with your customer, then you’ll be in a position to build a real rapport with her/him—a relationship that can cultivate repeat business and referral business across your customer base and grow your business.
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