A study by ExactTarget in 2012 showed that 77% of consumers prefer to receive marketing messages via email. In fact, Econsultancy reports that email marketing is the channel offering the strongest ROI for marketers, second only to search engine optimisation (SEO). But are you making the most of email marketing? This blog provides our top tips to create an email strategy that delivers.

Effective email marketing is integrated with your brand strategy, your digital strategy, your offline efforts and the overarching business objectives. When executed well, email marketing can be a highly effective means of reaching new audiences, retargeting existing customers/users, generating leads, and ultimately helping you to:

  • Promote brand awareness;
  • Enhance engagement and brand loyalty;
  • Drive sales;
  • Boost repeat custom;
  • Increase average order value;
  • And, result in an overall decrease in marketing spend.

It’s a Goal

Every successful marketing campaign begins with a set of solid, relevant and achievable objectives, upon which performance can be monitored. The email channel is entirely measurable and accountable, allowing you to analyse the success of your campaigns based on a number of metrics that are specific to your organisation, which may include:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Unsubscribe rate

As with any marketing activity performance should be consistently measured and campaigns adapted to suit. This allows for you to ascertain the most effective means of communication, tone, content and schedule, to ensure you reach the audiences you want when you want to, and consequently achieve your goals.

Know Your Audience

An effective email marketing campaign relies on a well managed, segmented database of customer information. In fact, Econsultancy reported that in 2012 the “quality of the email database” was the biggest barrier to successful email marketing.

In order to achieve a high quality customer database you need to implement efficient data capture tools and some form of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A good CRM will allow you to gather and organise consumer data from names, to birthdays, to purchase behaviour and so much more, informing intelligent email strategies that deliver results.

The next stage in making the most of this aggregated data is the segmentation process - dividing your database into groups based on shared characteristics, so that you can create and send targeted, personalised communications designed to capture individual audiences’ interests.

People Change

We all change over time, and customers are no different. Buying behaviour and patterns shift in line with maturing tastes, life changes, new influences and environments, etc. As marketers we must recognise the customer lifecycle and understand that even if an individual is a ‘low value’ customer today, it doesn’t mean they won’t spend more in the future.

So, be flexible with your segmentation, and mindful of consumer buying patterns over time. Just like your email campaign itself you should constantly be feeding back into your customer database to ensure it stays up-to-date and relevant.

Right on Time

Timing and frequency are two highly influential factors on the success of your email marketing campaign, massively impacting upon open rate. Sending emails too regularly can irritate your audiences and increase unsubscribe rates, whilst not sending communications enough risks missing opportunities and decreasing engagement. A critical element of your email strategy will be scheduling, meaning frequency and timing are adjusted based on key performance metrics.

Considerable research has been conducted into the best time to send email marketing messages, with many results suggesting that open and click-through rates are highest in the early hours of the day. However, the best way for you to discover when your audiences are most receptive to your communications is through continuous monitoring and adaptation.

Content is Everything

From the email subject line, which must be descriptive and enticing, to the text, images and links within the body of your email and the landing pages your email directs readers to, your content will make or break your email campaign.

Key content considerations:

  • Your email’s subject line will be the first impression the recipient get’s of your communications, therefore it must be descriptive, compelling and relevant.
  • Include key calls to action in your email, which clearly tell your audience what you expect them to do and how it benefits them.
  • Be relevant to your audience - use data gathered in your CRM to tailor messages.
  • Maintain a consistent brand image, by adhering to brand guidelines and using a consistent tone of voice across all marketing channels.
  • Balance text and imagery to best communicate your message without diluting it.
  • Landing pages are those pages your email directs users to and they should be optimised, informative, and consistent with the tone and message of the email. Make sure visitors can easily find the information they require and key calls to action and data is above the fold.

Monitor, Measure & Make Changes

Based on your original email marketing objectives you can measure and monitor the success and ROI of each email campaign, analysing activity based on tracking links, opens and conversion rates. This information should then be used to inform the creation of future campaigns.

We recommend testing email campaigns to identify what works for you. You can use split testing to compare two campaigns simultaneously, by varying one element (such as subject line, call to action, scheduling, etc) at a time to see what impact it has upon success metrics. However, this requires an investment of time and resource to sufficiently analyse results and integrate learnings into your ongoing email strategy.

Got the Message?

Effective email marketing is not easy, but when done right it can deliver fantastic results for your organisation. Make sure your audiences get the message by following our top tips in this blog.

If you want our support to find the perfect CRM system for you (we can provide a detailed comparison report complete with recommendations) or to hear more on how we can help you to create profitable email campaigns using our considerable experience of the channel and digital marketing know-how please contact us today.