9 Ways to Amp Up Your Email Performance
By Daniel Flamberg
Email is the Rodney Dangerfield of digital media. The day-to-day workhorse doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Ubiquitous, fast, intensely measurable and cheap, email is the go-to medium for almost every serious marketer.
Consumers embrace email because it works for them. Getting the subject line and personalization right dramatically increases engagement and yield.
Consider these tactics to enhance email performance.
List Integrity & Growth. Your list is your WMD. But at any given moment 15-20 percent of your names have either gone dormant or are dead men walking; customers who are done with you but haven’t bothered to unsubscribe. Monitor responses and opens and build business rules to gauge and preserve the health of your list. Segment the lists by the frequency of opens or clicks or the absence of the same. Start winning back lapsed customers sooner rather than later.
Be vigilant in scrubbing lists and in continuous data gathering to insure messaging is personal and relevant. Many email marketers run dedicated Google Adgroups using key words like offers, deals or weekly specials as an always-on low cost name acquisition tactic which generally works.
Transactional Messaging. These mundane messages that serve as receipts and facilitate the mechanics of transactions can be powerful follow-up vehicles. Use them to cross-sell and to grease the pipeline for the next best offer.
Triggered Abandoned-Cart Messages. Healthy numbers of shoppers abandon their carts for a variety of reasons. Email has a two-fold value in this situation. Email reminds shoppers about the abandoned merchandise and makes an offer that can save as many as 29 percent of these otherwise lost sales.
Offline Email Multiplier. Combining postal and email into a concerted campaign against an existing customer base can yield a double whammy in terms of results A retailer, mentioned in the Harvard Business Review Blog, experimented on 105, 000 loyalty card customers and found that those who received both postal and email had the highest response rates and highest average orders yielding the most dollars per name mailed. For every email sale, this retailer also got 3 in-store sales. Beyond the immediate purchase stimulus, email plays an offline branding and traffic-building role.
Mobile Email Use. More email is read on mobile devices than on PCs or laptops.
In a typical day, 84 percent of mobile users check their accounts at home. 80 percent check at miscellaneous times including standing on lines, at work, in transit and even in the bathroom. Understand where and why customers and prospects check email to create new persuasion opportunities corresponding to predictable need and purchase patterns.
Improved Targeting & Segmentation. Doing less better is a mantra for continuously improving email performance. The better you know who you are mailing to and the tighter the offer, tone and manner; the better the result. Savvy marketers have abandoned email carpet-bombing in favor of mailing smaller, discrete data-driven segments.
Social Inbox. Social media is impacting email in three ways. First, the social impetus is to immediately share interesting content or offers with your network of friends. Prepare for this opportunity. Create content and embed links, videos or images to make this easy and to prompt users to share.
Second, drive email sign ups and simultaneous data capture by using social sign-on as your engagement gateway. Encourage consumers to sign-on and sign-up using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest or other relevant social credentials. And add sharing buttons to your email to encourage one-click virility.
Third, groups of friends and co-workers are beginning to share email accounts both to create social groups and to productively accomplish tasks. Marketers should not assume one person per email account. Find ways to figure out who’s who.
Embedded Video. Video is exploding everywhere and new technologies to compress video make it easier more than ever to embed video into email. Video drives significantly higher conversion. Even the word “video” in the subject line or a key frame with an embedded link in the body copy spikes opens and click-thrus. The smart money is coding video in HTML to render optimally on all devices and to embed video in ways that enhance the email experience.
Advanced Metrics. Knowing what they clicked, where they clicked and the lag time between open and click are now possible. Using this data to understand who read and who scanned, to test new approaches or to infer customer preferences in offers or content are the bleeding edge of email creativity. Email is the most transparent medium. Customer behavior should be tracked over time and linked to a variety of CRM-relevant variables to improve the experience and the yield.
Daniel Flamberg is executive vice president, managing director digital & CRM, Publicis Kaplan Thaler. He is also a long-time email marketing veteran.