Email marketing is more than a mysterious channel that magically churns heaps of ROI. While it may seem that way from the distance of other channels, for those in the email trenches, getting noticed in the inbox, let alone transforming an email into conversion, is not alchemy. It takes solid strategies and an understanding of current best practices to guide customers down the path of conversion.
Email experts BlueHornet and Shaw + Scott have spelled out some of the keys to standing tall in the inbox; ideas to help both beginners and email veterans alike. Read on to discover our recommendations for attracting the right subscribers, turning them into brand loyalists, and kicking your program into hyper-drive. (For a more comprehensive read, check out our Email Best Practices: Make an Impact in the Inbox whitepaper.)
List Growth (Bigger Isn’t Always Better)
You’ve got to start somewhere, and in email that means getting folks to sign up. Of course we don’t want “any old subscribers”. We want juicy, qualified and engaged customers. So how to get them, how to get to know them, and how to keep them? … Not just on our list, but clicking and converting?
First, prepare the path. Use all points of capture to solicit would-be subscribers, then ensure your sign-up process is easy and inviting. Collect only the basics at first, and then leverage future communications to gather all those data points you will use to personalize later.
People Are People: Get Personal & Build Those Profiles
Okay. Time to start courting—because, at its heart, email marketing is simply relationship-building. And when it comes to scoring ROI, long-term relationships are the sweetest.
So, get personal. Learn about your subscribers by watching their trackable online behavior. Encourage them to “update their preferences.” Collect their open and click behavior. Then make sure all those goodies you’ve collected have their day in the sun by matching relevant offers and content with your audience. After some solid progressive profiling, (well-run) testing will help you decide which data points are the most worthwhile, how granular you want to get, and how often to send.
In It for the Long Haul: Lifecycle Relationships Are the Best
Since you’re already in a relationship, your subscribers want to hear from you, assuming you’re talking to them as individuals. All that adds up to the chance to talk directly to customers at each stage of their lifecycle. And because we’re testing, we know how best to talk to them.
Email marketing was made for lifecycle relationships. By using well-timed, informed, relevant, and triggered messaging we can literally tailor content and offers to inspire customers to take the next lifecycle step—or should we have to, reengage them before they disappear into the digital ether.
A Match Made in Email (More than Just ROI)
Of course, every relationship is different. To keep our relationships at their best, we should talk to our customers like they’re real humans. Turns out, it’s okay to send an email not meant to (directly) drive revenue or transaction, we don’t always have to ask for money from our subscribers, and we shouldn’t always send response-focused email.
We need to balance these types of emails with “relationship emails.” Relationship campaigns are meant to round out customer interactions and become a critical part of the customer lifecycle. Their focus should be on improving the reader’s knowledge of the brand, its products and services. These emails should be concise and confined to the subject, and as always, improve brand loyalty.
Learn More & Dive Deeper
Email marketing can be as complicated or as simple as we make it. And when it comes right down to it, we reap what we (informatively) sow. To learn more how to improve your email program, read more about these top five Best Practices and get the return you’re looking for.