The ability to easily archive and access messages at a later time influences consumer channel preferences. While smartphones and tablets replicate much of the desktop messaging experience, many consumers purposely “park” messages to take later action from their computers (which may have faster internet access, larger screens, full keyboards, etc.). Email remains a powerful channel for its ability to bridge the three-device environment of smartphone, tablet, and PC.
If you are using email as part of your marketing, great! If you’re not, start! Either way, below are some tips to make sure that you and/or your marketing staff are on track to optimum results.
1. Build an acquisition strategy.
If you’ve prioritized audience growth, begin by analyzing the places where customers are already engaging with your brand. Then, determine how to enhance those experiences and drive interactive engagement with new tools and techniques. For example, always optimize acquisition forms for mobile. If a customer is on a tablet or smartphone and can’t fill out your form quickly and easily, you’re sure to lose the opt-in.
2. Utilize lists.
The more personal (more on that next) your message can be, the better. However you divide your clients/customers into groups (i.e., in-store shoppers vs. online shoppers, or current clients vs. interested leads vs. potential clients), you should strive to develop email lists accordingly, to better tailor messages to those groups.
3. Personalize email whenever possible.
Your website visitors, email, and mobile subscribers, and those who have connected with you on social media will appreciate your messages even more if they’re personalized. Inject personalized recommendations into marketing emails for the ultimate in one-to-one communications. For example, you can create a unique email containing personalized recommendations based on each subscriber’s browsing behavior on your website. Adding personalized recommendations into marketing emails can increase sales conversion rates by 15-25%, and click-through rates by 25-35%.
4. Integrate marketing automation into your email strategy.
Think of marketing automation as setting up pre-planned (and designed) responses to certain user/customer actions, that automatically occur when those trigger actions happen. For example, on a basic level, you might set up an automated welcome message to go out to new user who registered on your site. Take it to the next level, and you might set up messages to users who abandon their shopping carts or to followup on a product they viewed but didn’t purchase.
5. Develop a content strategy.
This content strategy should align with, and of course further, your overall marketing strategy. Is your goal to promote deals – and thus sales (as for any online retail business it should be)? Or is it to establish industry credibility (and therefore hopeful new clients)? Whatever it is, make sure to tailor all email marketing efforts around this strategy. (Side note: You may have a slightly different strategy for different Lists, noted in #2 above).
6. Optimizing your content for mobile is extremely important.
For brands that do not optimize email for mobile, the penalty is stiff. Return Path points out that 63% of US consumers delete emails immediately if they are not optimized for mobile. Offer an elegant mobile experience from the start. If your initial welcome email is perfectly optimized for mobile, subscribers will know they’re in for a pleasant mobile experience for the duration of their time spent with your brand.
7. Utilize your postscript.
For B2B businesses, this would be your chance to remind users what it is you do or offer. Think of it as a brief chance to proffer your “about us” or a footer navigation redirecting to sections on your website.
8. Drive deals!
For the majority of subscribers to consumer deals, they subscribe because they expect first notice on deals or “exclusive offers.” So don’t dissapoint! Craft deals into your marketing strategy and cleverly weave them into your email content development. P.S. If you’re not making deals available via email, you are ignoring the largest, direct audience for this content. According to the 2012 Channel Preference Survey, people prefer email to Facebook for deals because it’s harder to miss deals in the inbox than it is in the waterfall of posts that is the News Feed.
9. And even better: treat your loyalists.
Email marketing is a data-driven way of marketing, the more data you’ve gathered about your subscribers – the more tailored choices you’re able to give to them. For example, out of your 1,000 subscribers, only 100 have opened, and clicked on your links in the email you sent.
Why not treat this special bunch to a special offer? It only makes sense, as giving these subscribers discounts is only going to increase their loyalty down the road.
10. Master a good subject line.
Last, but definitely not least (in fact, really, this should be Tip #1), is mastering the art of good subject lines. Entice the reader to open your email. Catch their eye amidst the 35 other emails they’re sorting through. Best bet: keep it witty, short, and to the point.
The best email subject lines are short, descriptive and provide the reader with a reason to explore your message further. Splashy or cheesy phrases more often cause your email to be ignored rather than make them stand out. Best practices: keep the subject line to 50 characters or fewer and personalize or localize whenever possible. Bonus tip: Avoid these four words/phrases – “Free,” “Help,” “Percent off,” and “Reminder.”