We’ve been sending business and consumer email broadcasts at TDP Marketing for well over 10 years now. We thought it’s about time for an honest appraisal and performance review on this often misunderstood channel that’s become a mainstay of most businesses.
We’ve listed a few tips below that companies can use to help increase their deliver-ability, the opens, user engagement and click-throughs, not increasing investment in the channel is not perceived as the thing to do, here we argue that being smarter and more agile with your current spend is where the concentration of effort needs to happen.
Here are some tips provided by the data consultants at TDP Marketing, our combined marketing team and the developers who run our platform…
1. Business email communication is a value exchange, so what are you offering?
Never under-estimate the user. It’s 2016 as David Ogilvy once famously said “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife” Consumers are becoming much more savvy in managing their emails. the vast majority of user are like you, people have multiple email accounts to manage and ignore commercial emails. Who hasn’t got a junk Yahoo account they sign everything up to?
It’s not enough for email marketers to send emails with a simple call-to-action and hope for the best. You should treat an email as a ‘value exchange’, so every email sent should answer the customer’s unspoken question, ‘what’s in it for me?’. From special offers, exclusive content, event invites or BIN incentives with the email, they all provide this, but you know your prospect best and you’re a consumer too – so what would entice you?
2. The content has to be engaging, ask yourself before you send, would you read it?
In addition to providing value to get clicks and opens, marketers must also provide engaging content in order to be read and of course, acted on. Our platform of choice shows that on average 65% of all our emails, are opened on mobile first, that’s both B2B & B2C audiences combined, so maybe you ought to consider responsive design first over desktop based design. Because of this your email messages are not only in competition with other emails but with everything else available on mobile today, so look at the subject line again.
The golden rule with any digital message is keep your user’s short attention span in mind and make sure that the content is sharp, relevant, and to the point!
3. You need to get email data under control, grip the task with your IT department and address the inaccurate records and data decay
One pivotal way firms can improve their email marketing programmes is to look at the data a little more closely that they use to measure campaign effectiveness. With so many departments having access to email, there is often no visibility in an organisation about how many times a customer has been emailed. We had a client recently who was segmented so many times across the company CRM – he received x9 separate marketing messages across the period of one month, doesn’t sound excessive? That’s a message every three days – for a client who historically purchased once every quarter (though not any more) it has to be added. TDP Marketing were called in as a communication consultant to sift through the various disparate channels the brand was using and to ask the awkward questions about ROI that had been glossed over until the falling sales numbers attributed to over-marketing.
Most marketers have no way to gauge ’email fatigue’, one of the most common reasons for unsubs. Many organisations don’t have clarity on what click, open, and as importantly what unsubscribe rates they should aim for.
4. Split testing makes a huge campaign difference, if you’re not testing, you’re failing
A/B testing in email marketing programmes is essential, we suggest research into changing email receiver’s name, split-testing on subject lines, amount of content, changing the CTAs and of course frequency of contact.
The subject line was probably the most important are for experimentation and often there’s the biggest gains or losses can be directly shown. Emails have changed a lot in the past few years, now that many people view them on mobile email clients which support rich media, they can include HTML5 design, graphics, and even video, so not testing the initial subject line to the most responsive hook is a pretty academic way to influence the difference between success and failure of your marketing messages.
Pretty much everyone agrees that agreed great imagery and better-looking emails tend to perform better, but as ever the ability to test emails on multiple platforms has never been so important, make sure you can see and experience what your audience can, it’s your brand after all.
5. Use a professional
Your reputation is important to you right? The stakes are so high, your customers and professional reputation is at stake and anyone who has permission to broadcast a campaign should be trained in email marketing. It’s not something that ought to be delegated to most junior person in the organsiation, quite the opposite, but in reality the breaches, the f*** up’s and the clumsy comms are often put out by the least engaged. A viral re-post of your mis-spellt, mist-timed or wrongly paired email is only a click away.
At the very least the person should understand email design and copywriting for the medium, audience management, and the ICO relevant spam laws, it’s not a small job and the ramifications of getting it wrong will be with you long after you’ve sacked their arse!
Enterprise-grade email systems are expensive for a reason, if you don’t have one, then outsource it. Ours is linked with our CRM; Salesforce and can feed the stats back in from individual campaigns, segment who buys and who doesn’t, export and record user actions and intentions. Mailchimp and the like are fine for those companies who don’t send massive amounts of emails, and it’s a more pay-per-use agreement – but without being snooty, we wouldn’t class it as enterprise-grade. But like any complex cloud-rental software, if you’re not using the majority of its functionality properly, you may well be wasting more on expensive annual licenses than you sell via email.
Most companies who use email as part of their integrated marketing report they spend around 15% of their annual budget on email and this figure has stayed the same for as long as they can recall.