Today’s customers are looking for new ways to connect, and marketing teams are reshaping their go-to-market strategies. However, email marketing is still a great way to engage with customers.
Our Trailblazer Community works hard to craft ways to improve customer engagement, and email marketing strategy is one of their focused efforts. We asked 10 of them to provide tips on designing (or redesigning) an email strategy to optimize the messages being sent to inboxes around the world.
Let’s hear from our Trailblazers!
This isn’t what they can do for you, but what can you do to serve them. When you put your customers’ needs ahead of your own, your metrics will rise, your customers will become advocates, and your joy in what you do will be unmeasurable.
I believe many marketers do not know that scrolling stinks! If a reader has to scroll down to read your emails they are working too hard. Keep emails short and to the point.
Right now, we are moving forward with empathy at the forefront of our campaigns. We have slowed down marketing campaigns to focus on helping our audience feel reassured and safe about their finances.
Many companies use a scanner to check email links to see if they have been blacklisted because they are known to be malicious. It can also check the effect of clicking on the link in a "sandbox" or an isolated virtual machine to establish whether it is malicious before allowing the email to enter the network. A preference center will prevent corporate scanners from unintentionally unsubscribing the email recipient.
Think of your typical customer purchase cycle and profile. If your product is more transactional (like clothes), multiple emails per week might make sense. For a longer purchase cycle, consider biweekly emails and keep in mind the meaningful touch points to send the right content at the right time.
People are hard-wired to digest a narrative, and successfully creating context builds a lasting connection to a brand. Tactics solely intended to drive open rates and clicks are often counterproductive to real customer engagement. Unique emails craft tales before sales.
If you're sending a follow-up email to prospects who signed up for your webinar, build a layer into your list that accounts for where they are in the buyer journey. This opens opportunities to build content that better connects with your prospects and drives higher conversions.
The messaging sent to someone whose only touch has been signing up for a webinar would be very different from a message sent to someone with an open opportunity in Salesforce. This allows you to engage in a conversation with your prospects, rather than delivering a general message that talks at everyone regardless of their existing relationship with you.
Beyond that, make sure your personalization strategy is robust enough to serve content to customers that reflects the way they interact with your brand. If it’s not relevant, you’ve lost their attention.
Customer behavior (especially now) can be unpredictable. If you see that the path is not panning out the way you want it to, adapt and change it at points where you see lack of progression.
I have learned to let people spend some time being nurtured at certain stages in their journey. People want as much information as possible before making a decision, and you need to be willing to build more brand awareness before you expect them to close. When things are more stable, they will remember the time you took and the authentic connection you made.
There can be a temptation to make big decisions and knee-jerk changes when something this monumental occurs, but a marketer’s strength is strategically thinking through evolving needs to ensure email communications remain relevant and timely.
As we work through the ongoing impacts of COVID, we’re relying more and more on our segmentation strategies to adjust our email messaging on the fly and focus on finding those communications that really speak to students and prospects.
COVID-19 is affecting customers, partners, and prospects each in their own unique way. Because of this, we have been forced to look long and hard at our existing segmentation and make major updates there.
We know our content, especially during this time, should be helpful and not opportunistic –and our email strategy should reflect that. A part of that is sending timely emails to hyper-targeted segments we can serve during this time.
Single emails, nurture campaigns and even autoresponders need to be continuously tested.
Testing implies the use of analytics, but most marketers stop at open and click rates. In more mature contexts using solid attribution models, a marketer could tie campaigns to revenue and test with ROI in mind. Here are a few tests to consider:
How detailed should my segments be?
Should the call to action be an HTML button or text hyperlink?
Should the layout have a colorful header or be blank?
What is the best length for the email? (word count, number of paragraphs)
Take a page from your high-school biology course – apply the scientific method. Test one thing at a time. Measure. Log. Repeat. Be curious, prepared to be surprised, and embrace change!
We appreciate our marketing Trailblazers for taking the time to share their wealth of knowledge on taking an empathetic approach and maintaining a personal connection with customers. We hope their experiences can help you strengthen your email marketing strategy in the months ahead.
To learn more about how to get the most out of your email marketing strategy, check out our on-demand webinar: 20 Email Best Practices To Implement From Home.