Email marketing has come a long way over the past decade. What started as a “spray and pray” medium, where brands mass-blasted messages to large email lists, has evolved into one of the most nuanced forms of digital marketing. Brands can keep in-depth files on each customer and track what messages they respond well to or need to receive. Consequently, brands are sending fewer emails than ever but are driving serious results through this channel. According to the 2023 State of Marketing Trends by HubSpot, brands get back $36 for every $1 spent on email promotions. It is a great example of working smarter, not harder.
If your company views email marketing as outdated or ineffective, you might not be using this channel as effectively as you could. Look at the latest technology and trends that make it easier to run email campaigns that resonate with your customers.
Auto Segmentation Means Fewer, More Effective Messages
Segmentation was a game changer in the world of email marketing. Brands could sort customers into different groups and send them targeted messages based on their interests or needs.
If a customer buys a new car from your dealership, they don’t need emails inviting them to buy another car from you a month later. That goes against normal customer behavior. However, that buyer might appreciate messages asking for feedback or emails reminding them about oil changes and cold weather planning.
Look at your email software and make sure it can meet your segmentation needs. Advanced AI systems can automatically segment audiences and send relevant messages that you have already developed and saved.
For example, you can create one birthday email template and save it within your software. Your email system should then automatically segment customers into 365 groups based on the birthdays they provide. This often means that companies send fewer emails as a whole. If you have an email list of 10,000 customers, only 27 or so will receive a happy birthday email on any given day. However, these emails become more effective because of their relevant targeting.
With AI segmentation tools, customer actions trigger admission to specific segments. Your team doesn’t have to handle this messaging manually but instead can create templates that auto-send depending on the customer journey. As a result, your business can enjoy a steady stream of engagement and movement into the sales funnel with a minimal amount of work.
Dynamic Content Increases the Relevance of Your Messages
The 2023 State of Marketing Trends report already highlighted how valuable email marketing can be, but dynamic content can significantly improve your results over time. Dynamic content involves using the same customer data that segmented your audiences to create tailored messages based on user behavior. Segmentation allows you to reach the right group of people, while dynamic content enables you to share relevant messaging with that audience.
In the world of car dealerships, segmentation might involve sending updates about specific vehicles that customers were interested in when they were browsing your website or highlighting similar models that might appeal to them. You also might use dynamic content to highlight specific services customers need when they hit relevant milestones, like six months of ownership or 100,000 miles on the road.
According to HubSpot, brands that use dynamic content report a 42:1 ROI. This is a significant increase from a 21:1 ROI for brands that use static content in their email designs.
Dynamic content also doesn’t have to be time-consuming for your email marketing team. It simply involves creating a few standard messages and open templates, then assigning rules for when each piece of content should be shared. Your team can start with a few basic options and then create more advanced campaigns as they grow more confident.
Advanced Systems Prevent Fatigue by Tracking Engagement
One of the biggest challenges of email marketing is hitting the sweet spot between sending enough emails to maximize engagement without creating burnout with your customers. Email fatigue is when audiences stop paying attention to your messaging because they are tired of receiving your emails. More than half (51%) of customers say they unsubscribe from email lists because they received too many messages.
Talk to your email software provider and see how their systems address this. For example, if a customer stops opening emails, the service might adjust their segment so they only receive one or two weekly emails. The goal of this reduction is to send a few highly valuable emails that resonate with customers instead of constantly sending them messages in hopes of a few clicks.
It can be hard to think about sending fewer emails to customers. The total number of emails sent is usually a vanity metric that brands rely on to showcase the power of their email messages. They can brag about sending a million emails each week by blasting messages to their whole email list daily. However, by sending fewer emails, you will ideally increase engagement and conversions in the long run. You need to look deeper into the customer journey and focus on more valuable results.
In the short run, ignoring email fatigue will cause your email metrics to stagnate. In the long run, you could lose recipients who eventually block or unsubscribe from your messaging entirely.
Identify Actionable Metrics to Evaluate Performance
Look at your email marketing reports and identify any vanity metrics you need to eliminate and new actionable insights that you should track. Analytics reporting doesn’t just mean printing off reports generated by your software system. Instead, it means approaching your marketing efforts with concrete questions and using data to find answers. Here are a few questions you can ask, along with metrics to answer them.
- What topics do customers care about the most? Look at your open rate for different subject lines and the click-thru rate on various pieces of content.
- Which subjects are the most profitable? Look at your conversion rates and the calls to action that drive them.
- When are emails most effective? See if there are noticeable trends in the dates and times that people open your email messages.
- Who is reading these email messages? Look beyond demographics and evaluate customer behavior and their place in the sales funnel.
- How do audiences read our emails? Test different templates and content placements to see how they change user behavior.
Some brands use heat map software to evaluate how users read their emails. This tells them whether a banner is effective at driving traffic or if a call to action is accidentally buried underneath a less relevant subhead.
By taking a question-based approach to your reporting, you can troubleshoot issues and look for ways to improve your marketing efforts. This can also save time when a problem arises because you know your analytical insights will be meaningful, not just auto-generated vanity reports.
Use Email to Support Other Channels
Today’s digital marketers know that their content efforts don’t exist in a vacuum. You might create a video to share on YouTube that also gets posted on other social channels and eventually ranks highly in search results. If one of your challenges is creating unique content to support your email efforts, consider working with your other departments to cross-post and boost their efforts.
For example, review the blog content you have published on your website over the past six months. Identify posts that are underperforming, which means there is high-quality content, but the clicks aren’t there. By sharing these posts in your email updates, you can give them a new life and drive readers to engage with the content. This could be a valuable boost to your traffic levels and improve the SEO rankings and traffic levels of those posts.
Working with your other departments reduces the amount of original email content you need to create, thus lowering the time commitment of developing email messaging. It also supports the ROI of other sections of your marketing spread, making everyone more successful in their promotional efforts.
Collect Feedback From Your Customers
If you are still trying to determine what your customers want from your email messaging or need to hear, ask them. Solicit feedback from your buyers to learn how often they want to hear from you and the types of content they are interested in. You can send email surveys to learn from customers or ask people on social media.
After you solicit feedback, show that you listened and applied what your audience said. People love feeling heard and that their input matters. When your customers feel listened to, they are more likely to offer their insight again in the future. This could be as simple as sending an email update announcing changes to your content or layout based on user response.
Feedback collection also isn’t a one-time thing. Your audience will change, and so will their behavior. Your email efforts will also change as your campaigns grow more strategic and advanced. Try to collect customer feedback at least annually for an in-depth review or set up ongoing ways for users to submit their thoughts and opinions.
Your marketing efforts are meant to be conversational. The best digital marketers have back-and-forth communication with their audiences. Rather than constantly sending messages to customers, talk to them about their goals and make sure your email efforts are meeting their needs.
Make Email One of Your Most Strategic Marketing Tools
Email marketing predates paid search, SEO, and social media. While your team can absolutely embrace the latest TikTok trends in your video content or develop creative display campaigns, you shouldn’t overlook this reliable and powerful channel. Email marketing allows you to collect a significant amount of data on your customers and segment the messaging in lucrative ways. The ROI doesn’t lie.
If you need to bring your email messaging into the modern era, reach out to the team at J&L Marketing. We can help you elevate your email segments, content, and schedules to maximize effectiveness. It’s about time you out-smarted, not out-spent your competitors. We can be the partner you need.