How to create a successful email marketing strategy
20 Mar 2017
With todays email campaigns focussed on attracting the very short attention that is now the same as a goldfish at a mere 9 seconds, an email marketing strategy is essential to engage with your subscribers. A strategy provides a clear and targeted plan of focus to achieve business objectives and goals. Without a strategy, you’ll be shooting into the dark where you’ll be unable to achieve your marketing goals.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as a one size fits all approach to create a successful email marketing strategy. Every business is different and so are the subscribers in what they expect to receive from that brand. However, there are three key steps to follow when creating your email strategy:
Your email strategy should always be about the customer. Without having the customer in the centre it would be difficult to fully understand their interests and how they want to hear from you. By implementing a customer centric strategy, you switch your focus from using email to just push your latest product and offer but focus more on providing value to your email recipients.
An email recipient who receives something they wanted or that is seen as useful to them will drive engagement not only with your email marketing campaigns but also your brand. Many of our clients witness positive results from creating an email strategy that mixes the various types of email campaigns such as competitions, birthday, product reviews, dormant buyers/subscribers, cross & upsell & personalised recommendations.
2. Mapping a customers journey
There isn’t a one size fits all when mapping your customers’ journey. Some recipients will engage with every email you send, even if you emailed them every single day. However, other subscribers could be switched off by this approach. This is where personalisation and adopting a customer centric strategy applies because everyone is different. Automation of email journeys is there to support this across multiple types of subscribers.
From mapping the customer journey you begin to understand all of the stages in a customers journey with your brand. This used to be a very simple process. Today with multiple channels and touch points throughout a customers journey, it’s not as simple as A to B. However, the key objective with mapping a customers typical journey enables you to identify the various touch points that email marketing can enhance in their experience with your brand.
Data remains another challenge for email marketers again in 2017 and it’s not surprising with multiple systems all collecting data, that some brands still aren’t talking to each other. This can cause a headache for marketers who want to access this data to inform their marketing strategy. If you do have a challenge with data, the best starting point is to use the data you immediately have available as a light touch approach. For example, if your email platform has access to your customers first name, you can use that to personalise content to begin with.
As you begin to integrate with more systems and potentially create a single customer view, you’ll be able to personalise journeys based on a number of factors such as:
- Buying behaviour
- Online behaviour – website, social media…
- In store behaviour
- Email engagement behaviour and so on.
Even without access to any data, there is the ability to personalise email content in real-time at the time of open. Content can be personalised by:
- Time of day
- Image personalisation
- Social media content – features from Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc
All of the above is personalised in real-time based on a number of criteria you set using GPS tracking for a smart phone and IP address location for emails opened on a desktop.
It’s important when reviewing the engagement of your email campaigns to look beyond a single campaign’s opens and clicks. These statistics provide a very quick indicative perspective, but not the entire picture. How your business determines engagement, will be different from the next and should be defined by the actions you want subscribers to take.
To measure engagement bounces and unsubscribes tracked on a monthly basis will provide the insight into engagement levels and quality of your email data. For example, if one month you start to see a dramatic increase in unsubscribes in comparison to the previous month, you can start to pin point that to across several campaign sends. If over a period of 6 months you may see that the unsubscribe rate has been steadily increasing, this would indicate that the email content you’re sending isn’t engaging your audience and may not be meeting with your subscriber’s expectations. Naturally, you want to constantly see high open and click rates, but remember not all emails will drive an immediate or an action at all. It’s like every tweet you send won’t always receive a retweet.
Sending emails of quality, relevant and targeted content, personalised to your subscribers will not only drive more revenue but will also get your brand noticed in the ever-crowded inbox.
The best way to view email marketing is that it’s not a destination, it is a journey. Engage with your recipients at a personal level, talk to them, and remind your customers why they bought your product in the first place instead of selling more to them. Remember, behind that email address is a person.