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August 21 2013

Email Marketing Tips for Better ROI

email marketing tips

Your Email marketing campaigns should be part of a holistic approach to educate your contacts.

Companies often list email as one of their most powerful marketing channels. To this day, the size of your email list is a demonstration of your reach and thought leadership. However, your email marketing campaigns should be part of a holistic approach to educate your contacts about your company. Your marketing emails need to be complimented by other efforts, such as search engine optimization, content creation, social media engagement and behavior-based nurturing. So when reading this blog post on email marketing, keep the big picture in mind.

Email marketing Facts

• Mobile email usage is at its lowest on Monday

• Desktop email usage is at its lowest on Sunday

• Webmail email usage is at its lowest on Wednesday

• Finance and shopping show above average webmail views compared to other industries

• Industries leading the way in mobile email views are social networking, publishing and entertainment

Email marketing is powerful but also presents many questions and difficulties. Here are 5 common email marketing challenges:

1. Integrating email data with other data systems

2. Improving deliverability

3. Growing & retaining subscribers

4. Achieving measurable ROI

5. Using email for funnel optimization

Here are some solutions you want to make sure you have in place when rolling out email marketing campaigns.

1. Make sure you invest in the right tools to connect your email marketing, landing pages lead management, and nurturing. If you need some suggestions feel free to write to us and we’ll make some recommendations.

2. Combine your marketing databases for clear segmentation and the ability to better target your customers and prospects with relevant email messages. Keep your buyer personas in mind and focus on the opportunity to target the right audience with the right message.

3. The more targeted your email campaigns, the more content you’ll need. The key to promoting relevant content in emails is to provide an offer that is connected to the initial request. What action have your contacts taken on your website? Offer them content that matches with their intent and their needs.

Improving Deliverability

Deliverability rate is the percentage of email messages delivered to your recipients’ inboxes versus the total number of messages sent. It tells you how many of the emails bounced back and if that number is high, it’s a sign of inactivity. There are soft bounces and hard bounces. The soft bounce is temporary and occurs when an email server rejects an incoming message. For instance, when your recipients’ inboxes are full. A hard bounce, on the other hand, is less benign and represents a permanent error to deliver an email. This generally occurs when the addresses you send to are bad or don’t exist.

A low deliverability rate might get you blocked by ISPs (internet service providers). If your list is loaded with inactive emails, you don’t have a sense of your true complaint rate. While many marketers just look at total complaints over total list size, ISPs are actually looking at total complaints over number of active email users. ISPs can also mark abandoned email addresses as spam traps. This means that, even if you acquired emails in a legitimate manner, the abandoned addresses may have morphed into spam traps. Aside from all the ISP problems, low deliverability rate also means you are wasting money by sending messages to nonexistent addresses.

It is important to clean your email list regularly. Remove the addresses that are no longer engaged. You can identify these addresses with metrics such as opens, clicks, or website activity. You may want to develop a stricter opt-in process or if you are buying emails question where they have originated.

Make sure your recipients have an opportunity to update their email addresses. Invite them to your preference center from every email you send. That might also help you with segmentation and achieving higher engagement overall.

To grow your email database, marketers sometimes purchase lists. This practice might get you into trouble: it might add invalid addresses to your list and thus pollute your entire database. Even if the addresses you acquired are valid, the new recipients will most likely not be interested in your content and either unsubscribe or not engage with your emails altogether. Both of these alternatives are undesirable. To retain subscribers, a lot of companies send fewer emails, thinking that the communication frequency might in some way define engagement. Rarity of emails means they are more special, right? Wrong. Frequency of emailing doesn’t necessarily negatively impact subscriber retention.

Rather then purchase email lists, try to earn your subscribers. Be clear to your target market about what they will get out of subscribing to your emails. Give them a clear description of what the value proposition is. For example, will your emails offer: (1) tips and tools on how to run their business more efficiently, (2) product updates from your company, or (3) special offers via email? Your audience will want to know “why” they should subscribe before they decide to clutter their inbox with even more emails.

Segment Lists to Match Your Priorities

Are you concerned that you are emailing your subscribers too often? Give this thought a break and instead ask yourself if you are emailing the right people the right message. In order to retain your email subscribers, you’ll need to provide them with ongoing value that is targeted to their needs. Make sure you are segmenting based on knowledge you have about your recipients.

Optimize & Test

Don’t limit your email testing to subject lines. Embrace testing of various elements in your email marketing efforts to optimize email performance. For instance, you can do A/B testing of landing pages.

Achieving measurable RO I (return on investment) is another challenge that marketing professionals face in the land of email marketing. In other words, it’s difficult for them to connect the dots between the messages they send out to prospective customers and the moment when these subscribers get further engaged and turn into customers. Interestingly enough, this problem is tightly connected to integrating email marketing with other data systems. When your marketing channels are not speaking to one another, it’s hard to identify how they affect conversions. For instance, you might see that your email blast got a 3.4% click-through rate (CTR), but can you also see if that communication contributed to generating new leads? What is more, do you see if it resulted in any new customers?

The solution to achieving measurable ROI from your email marketing campaigns is to practice closed-loop marketing. Follow a contact from the point of visiting your website through getting further engaged (viewing other web pages, downloading resources, clicking on your emails) to her/his final conversion into a customer. Implementing closed-loop marketing empowers you to track leads from their initial channel through a first conversion all the way to becoming a customer. Such intelligence, in turn, enables you to identify your most powerful marketing channels and assign clear value to each of them. In this way, you will be able to measure the ROI of your emails and of your other efforts, which might include social media and blogging.

Remember, email campaigns should be only part of your holistic marketing approach. Email cannot be your end all but it can strengthen your other initiatives. (Just like you can’t use social media in alone, or only rely on blogging, or trust that search engines optimization is enough to meet your goals.) The real power comes from achieving a strong marketing mix. This seems to be a challenge for marketers. How do you optimize your sales and marketing funnel with emails?

Most marketing professionals are accustomed to sending one-time email blasts that are not necessarily related to the actions of their email subscribers, their interests or needs. Such a practice doesn’t help push leads down the sales funnel, but can alienate them.

This is why lead nurturing is so important. You’ll want to use marketing automation, drip marketing, auto-responders, etc. You’ll need to use a system that allows you to send an automated series of emails to an early stage lead in order to pre-qualify them before handing them over to your sales team. If it typically takes your leads a month to make a purchasing decision then make sure you’re spreading out your communications to keep them engaged throughout the month. By taking this approach, you save your sales organizations time because you educate and qualify the lead overtime. Among some of the key benefits of lead nurturing is that it enables marketers to establish contact with their fresh leads fast and stay top of mind for potential. In comparison to email marketing, lead nurturing is also relatively easy to set up because it is automated and doesn’t need a ton of maintenance over time.

This subject deserves more time and I’d like to discuss the different types of email formats with different goals and advantages. If you subscribe to our blog we will continue this conversation and go into the various communications that you can send out and what advantages and disadvantages each has. You’ll also be able to learn about what will work best for your type of business and your particular prospects and customers.

It is most important is to always stay focused on your goal and be sure that you have good call to actions in place. Email marketing is one part of a powerful channel for driving business results and achieving measurable ROI. If you are interested in learning more on this topic then please give us a call at 866.366.5066 or fill out our form and someone will be happy to speak with you.

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