Posts Tagged engagement
In my opinion this is a lightly salted topic in the email marketing world. Seen as a must have but not taken too seriously as there will be many opportunities to make the desired impact in future.
Oh my, just how far off of the mark are we? When a prospective client consensually allows your brand or business to market email promotions and materials to them in future, many companies choose to let their first ever email communication simply trigger a text based, untraceable and most of all unprofitable email to the recipient. Many marketers see this as a time and cost saving process and choose to rather concentrate their efforts on the individually tailored marketing campaigns which the newly signed up recipient may receive in due time.
Keeping in mind that these prospective customers are now at the absolute peak of engagement levels the key components to a good welcome email or welcome series of emails is an honest representation of your brand and products as well as setting your recipients expectations of things to come from the very start of the digital relationship that they have entered into with your business. Essentially we want to drive them to a place of purchase and get them investing in your products financially, but also emotionally. An insensible text based welcome email will certainly not provoke favorable emotions.
The right mix of well designed and correctly targeted messages at the right time will give savvy marketers a hugely competitive advantage. Over the past years there have been various case studies and examples of just how essential this initial communication is as a key component of any sophisticated email marketing programme. When compiling your welcome email processes it is important to consider each acquisition source individually as this enables you to drive more relevant messaging which in turn should support recipients through the purchase process. The correct approach will not only drive the immediate wins in terms of converting to first time buyer, but will generally give you the insight to increase the lifetime value of each individual in your database. This is particularly important if you have an in-store segment which has the lowest online conversion/engagement rates as these should be contributing quite considerably to overall database growth as they sign into your digital communications.
A high-quality welcome series of emails will utilise dynamic content to provide the most personalised and relevant messaging to each acquired recipient, with a view to increasing interaction and conversion rates across the entire data asset. Testing of subject lines and content over time will create an increased understanding of the types of messages and content your users are most receptive to and most likely to engage on.
Many savvy email marketers have realised that a welcome series of emails can greatly assist with domain and sending reputation management by enabling the removal of incorrect or dormant data like hard bounced addresses before introducing the newest data to bulk mailing sends.
7 Key points to remember before creating a Welcome email or series are:
- Understand the different types of new subscribers and what they want or need from your communications
- Understand what you immediately know about your new subscriber and how this information will drive the content
- Make it clear to the user that they will be receiving further communications in the case of a welcome series.
Example: This is Part 1 of 3
- Boast about the benefits of being subscribed to your emails and deliver on the promise
- Only decide how many emails you will include in a series once you have mapped your content
- Ensure that the user is not sent your regular communications until they have moved through the welcome series.
- Use this opportunity to educate, set expectations and assist first time conversions.
The right mix of well designed and correctly targeted messages at the right time will give savvy marketers a hugely competitive advantage.
Every good email marketer appreciates that to improve their email performance they need to test! test! test!
What time of day deployment works best for your audience? Test it!
Should your friendly “from” field reference your company’s name or a recipient’s name for better open rates? Test it!
Easy right? Wrong! Too many marketers cannibalise their testing by trying to do too much at the same time and not being thorough, giving them misleading statistics and conclusions. Realistically it is the small, incremental alterations to your emails that have a surprising influence on success. The best place to start testing your emails is to run A/B subject line split tests.
Studies show that 35% of recipients will open an email purely because of the content of the subject line; so it is critical to understand what style of subject line your recipients prefer. After all, time spent on creative testing, CTA placement, incentives etc. are irrelevant if people aren’t opening your email. Divide your contact records into three pots and send two different subject line versions to two of them. The last pot should receive the email with the subject line which had the greatest open rate.
Start with a 10/10/80 split approach.
Send subject line A to 10% of your list and send subject line B to a different 10% of your list.
Based on what metrics are most important to you (unique open % as a standard) send whichever e-mail performed the best to the remaining 80%.
After tracking your results in this method you should be able to tell exactly what works and what doesn’t within your subject lines. This style of behavioural testing (measuring what people actually did) provides much better intelligence than surveying people about what they would do. The benefit here is that you can apply the results immediately and optimise your campaigns on a real-time basis. The cost of execution is minimal, especially relative to the potential results that can be achieved by better understanding what works best with your own target audience and is by far the best place to start in your testing process.
The email marketing channel will remain as vibrant and attractive to any organisations irrelevant of what their consumer and prospects databases may currently consist of. The additional offerings such as SMS/TEXT, mobile apps and of course social media will be a top priority of leading Email Service Providers in order to further the reach of these fast growing marketing channels for users and customers of their broadcasting platforms.
The introduction of Gmail and Hotmail’s priority inbox, as well as Yahoo’s view ‘email from contacts’ only in your address book will significantly change the idea of carpet bombing to a hefty list with the hopes of returning a small but valuable response rate. The Priority Inbox functionality that was introduced into these webmail applications in 2010 analyze incoming mail, giving it a ranking and sorting it into four customizable sections, what the user then deems as “Important” messages from an established contact or regularly engaged with brand will determine future deliverability to inboxes and bulk folders. This type of feature being introduced into various webmail’s will force senders into building a good reputation that includes regular customer engagement as the key to successful email marketing with a high return on investment. This may lead to reduced sending volumes but does protect the recipients and overall the future integrity of the email channel. The focus on cleaner data, the use of dynamic elements and essentially relevant content on a 1 to 1 relationship with users will become the key drivers for successful brand building and client retention in 2011.
Mobile apps will fast become a transactional point of sale for mobile smartphone users. The use of Android, Nokia (Ovi) and Apple mobile apps for customer email acquisition and customer retention will play a large part in overall marketing strategies. The mobile marketing channel has come a long way in the past three years; mainly due to the uptake in mobile smart phones. Where we once were limited to 160 character text messages with a costly ‘reply to’ call to action; we are now looking at rich content messages with clickable links and images leading to mobile friendly web pages. This opens the door for the transaction that every marketer is essentially working towards. For the first time you are able to literally get your hand into the consumers pocket. This can be a somewhat touchy relationship and a wrong message at the wrong time could mean the end of your texting relationship with the recipient. With email, you could get around to your emails at some point and filter them to your desires, with mobile, your handset bleeps in your pocket and you need to give it your immediate attention. Having said all of this; an email platform having sms/text capabilities will be a part of the decision process when choosing an Email Service Provider in 2011.
I predict a dramatic uptake in facebook.com email that may shake the very settled foundations of the industry’s best practices, the traditional Email Service Providers and the long standing loyalty of their existing webmail users. This will naturally cause a substantial increase in comparing and closely monitoring the adoption rate and response rates at Facebook.com and all existing ISP’s. Facebook email will be taken very seriously and promotion and presence on their site will be at the top of organisations priorities list which will knock on to a frenzy to get email subscribers to “like” brands and pages. I think we can all agree that 500+ million users is enough to secure the resource and financial investment in what will surely be a social presence with a future return on investment.
Merry Christmas and may 2011 be a prosperous and unforgettable year.