How to Supercharge Your Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is one of the most effective avenues for bringing in new customers and encouraging repeat business. Yet, many small to mid-size business owners don’t take the time to give it a try, quite often because they have no time to spare. If you’re starting to wonder if your advertising strategies could do more for your business, it may be time to give email marketing another look. Consider partnering with a marketing agency that can supercharge your email campaigns along with your other marketing strategies.
The Effectiveness of Email Marketing Campaigns
Since many people toss junk snail mail in the trash without bothering to open it, some business owners understandably wonder if email marketing is even worth the effort. Rest assured, incorporating an email marketing strategy into your overall approach can indeed be highly effective.
Consider this: For 2023 alone, the revenue for email marketing has been projected at over $10 billion. There’s a very good chance that a significant portion of your customer base—if not all of them—uses email. In 2023, there are more than 4.3 billion email users worldwide. Plus, email marketing delivers an exceptionally high return on investment. The average ROI is $40 in revenue for every $1 spent on email marketing.
For comparison, the average ROI for PPC ads is $17 for every $1 spent. It’s no wonder why 81% of SMBs use email marketing as their primary method of customer acquisition (or why about 80% use it as their primary method of customer retention).
Convinced yet? Whether you haven’t yet dipped a toe into the email marketing waters or you’ve only tried it half-heartedly, it’s time to take a closer look at this powerful marketing strategy. Do note that as effective as email marketing can be, it’s important to do it correctly.
Unless you’re a marketer by trade as well as a business owner, it’s best to turn to a marketing team with experience in optimizing email campaigns. Highly effective email marketing campaigns embrace strategies such as the following.
The Importance of Personalization
Thanks to technology, you can easily personalize marketing emails by addressing each to the contact’s name, rather than simply saying, “Dear Valued Customer.” (And there’s no need to do it all manually.) Unfortunately, many email campaigns stop there. A personalized salutation is only the first step in delivering a highly personalized sales email.
Let’s take a look at a few more steps to improve personalization.
- Segment your email list. Segmentation is often the first step toward better personalization. When you segment your contact list, you separate your customers and leads by certain attributes, such as location, gender, and even their role within an organization if you’re sending a B2B marketing email. When you send a marketing email, you can set it up to send only to the segment of your list that it’s most relevant for.
- Set up triggered emails. You can use email automation features to set up triggered emails for your customers. A triggered email is automatically sent (and personalized) for customers based on specific actions that they take. For example, if someone signs up for a membership, you can have a welcome email automatically sent to them. Many brands use cart abandonment emails to remind customers that they haven’t completed the purchase process yet. You can even send a triggered email when someone exits the purchase process after reviewing the shipping costs (e.g. offer free shipping on that order).
- Celebrate special dates. Email automation can also be used to celebrate special dates. For instance, if you have a membership-based service, you can send a celebratory email and a discount offer to customers who reach their one-year anniversary of membership. Special dates can also include holidays, of course, as well as local events.
- Capitalize on browsing history. Thanks to cookies, you can gather customers’ and leads’ browsing data and send them highly personalized emails based on items they reviewed on your website. Let’s say you specialize in selling strollers. Customer Gerald views a jogging stroller, and then navigates away from your website. You could send a reminder email along the vein of: “Still thinking about that jogging stroller? Here’s a 10% discount code to use on your purchase! And here are some similar strollers you might be interested in.”
- Don’t forget the “from.” When personalizing an email marketing campaign, people often focus so much on the customer that they forget about the sender. It’s often more effective to humanize your brand. Instead of simply signing off as, “XYZ Brand,” choose a person for your “from” field. For instance, if you own a tea company, you could sign your marketing emails as follows: “Yours in good health, Dave, Tea Sommelier and Master Barista.”
- Consider using a postscript. Even when customers scan marketing emails, rather than reading each word, the postscript can be an effective way to catch their eye. It can also help you personalize the “from” better. For instance, Dave the Tea Sommelier might add a postscript as follows: “P.S. My fave blend is the Echinacea Lemon Sunrise Burst!”
Why is it so important to deliver hyper-personalized emails? Well, about 71% of customers expect personalization from companies and 76% aren’t happy when they don’t receive it. Furthermore, personalized emails are far more effective.
Personalizing your email campaign can increase your open rates by 26% and your email-derived revenue by as much as 760%. No, that’s not a typo. That’s a 760% revenue increase. In other words, if you’re interested in making your business more successful, you’ll have to get personal.
The Attractiveness of Interactive Emails
Clearly, there are many ways to personalize a marketing email, but that isn’t the only way to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. It’s also helpful to include interactive elements in your emails whenever possible. The foundational technology is already there, but it’s expected to get even better. At some point, marketers may be able to send marketing emails that look and function much like mini websites.
Interactive emails can be amazingly effective because they engage the audience, offer compelling content, and combat short attention spans—all while making the company brand seem more appealing and personable. This can result in higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
What exactly is an interactive email? It can take many forms, but essentially, it’s any marketing email that includes some sort of interactive feature that goes beyond plain text. For instance, a recipient might be prompted to fill out a form, answer a survey, watch a video, or enjoy a humorous GIF.
Depending on the email service you use, you might even be able to add a digital scratch card. This allows customers to “scratch” off the card to reveal their discount or other special offer. (For example, if you own a coffee shop, you might offer scratch cards with free items like iced coffee to get more feet through your door.)
An image carousel can be a particularly effective option for ecommerce brands. Populate the carousel with images of some of your most popular products or products that are similar to the ones the customer just viewed. Add the products’ prices, brief descriptions, and any applicable discounts to make conversion to a sale as easy as possible for the customer.
Videos can also be highly effective, particularly if they’re either entertaining or informative. Let’s say you have an HVAC company and your customer just booked an appointment to get an estimate for a new central air conditioner. You could send a marketing email that includes a video that explains how to understand SEER ratings or why it’s important to get the right size of AC for each home.
Since this information can result in cost savings for the customer, they’re likely to find it useful. Consequently, they’ll form a more positive opinion of your company and they may be more likely to book the installation with you instead of a competitor.
The Inclusion of User-Generated Content
One of the latest trends in email marketing strategies is to include user-generated content in emails whenever appropriate. What exactly is user-generated content? As the name suggests, it’s any bit of information left behind by your customers and leads.
For example, let’s say you have a nice collection of reviews of your products. And let’s say that Shopper Jackson visited your website, added an item or two to his shopping cart, but left before completing the purchase. You could send a cart abandonment email that includes customer reviews of the products he abandoned. Of course, you should also include a link back to his shopping cart so that he can easily complete his purchase.
You can also source user-generated content even when those users didn’t actually leave reviews. Let’s say that Shopper Annie has recently been to your website and viewed the details for a few products, but left without making a purchase. You can send her a triggered email that says something along the lines of: “We noticed you checked out our Ultra-Comfy Backyard Hammock.
If you’re looking to improve your at-home relaxation experience, you might be interested in these other products that customers purchased after buying a hammock.” Then, you can add a content block for relevant products that other customers bought, such as coolers, fire pits, and so on.
The Time-Tested Value of Engaging Storytelling
When you see the word “storytelling,” what do you think of? Perhaps the last novel you read or the maybe-true explanation a child gave for not finishing last night’s homework? In marketing lingo, the word “storytelling” isn’t used to refer to a super long blog or even an actual story (although it could be).
Rather, it’s any content that is captivating, forges an emotional connection with the audience, suggests an interaction between customers and the brand, and/or humanizes your brand.
Storytelling can take the form of telling your brand’s origin story, such as why you decided to found the company, why you fell in love with your niche, and what your company’s mission is. It could also explain the values of your brand and what motivates your team to work hard for the customers.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to put your brand front and center. In fact, if you try to put the spotlight on your brand too often, you may end up with disengaged customers. You can also sprinkle your storytelling with other useful content, such as industry news, quick tips, and hacks that are relevant to your niche.
Storytelling paints your brand as an authoritative presence within the industry. In turn, this can elevate the perceived value and quality of your products and/or services. It also keeps your brand top of mind for your customers. The next time they need your products or services, they’ll think of you.
Regardless of what sort of story you decide to tell in your next sales email, you should remember the most important characteristic of successful storytelling: the lede. Every story must begin with a compelling lede (first sentence or two).
Strive to avoid ledes that sound like clickbait. For example, instead of writing this: “We put baking soda in our shoes overnight and look what happened next!” try writing this: “After training for over four years and hundreds of miles, this marathoner finally made it to the New York City Marathon! (And she did it in Brand XYZ running shoes!)” Then, go on to congratulate the customer or team member who worked hard to qualify for the marathon (and of course, mention her favorite running shoes and link back to the product page).
When you partner with Pennington Creative, we’ll ensure that your email campaigns are fully optimized to bring in more new customers and more repeat business. With decades of combined experience, we blend time-tested approaches with fresh new strategies that capitalize on emerging trends.
We offer a full suite of solutions for businesses of all sizes and in every industry, including healthcare, law, higher education, retail (and ecommerce), service businesses, and more. Contact us today to request a free discovery call and find out how we can elevate your brand.