Email is still one of the best central tools of digital marketing and yet is the most underused personalization channel. It offers you direct access to your market 24/7 and at the same time help you to stay top-of-mind throughout the entire sales cycle.
Email marketing services is a must-have for staying in touch with your customers and prospects. Not only it is easy to do, but it’s quite inexpensive and brings a huge ROI. In fact, for every $1 invested to send emails, the ROI is $44.
With an average of 111 emails entering the inbox of the customers daily, it’s critical to find creative ways to stand out to your subscribers. But, how exactly do you do this, especially if you’re limited by time and budget? Many marketers rely on the data available at their hand.
While data-driven email marketing isn’t new, companies have been using it for adding names to email subject line and in email body content for a while, but with technology and the plethora of tools available now to marketers, it’s more than just a passing fad, it can be crucial to help your emails be more successful.
With the data available at your hand, you already know about your subscribers, this can be leveraged to build compelling emails having the right message for every one of your subscriber. This will elevate your email marketing to the next level. You can easily create and send personalized emails with specific information directed to each subscriber on your email list or easily create a segmented list to target specific groups of people. And it all can be executed by simply collecting or using a little bit of data.
Although, leveraging data to its full potential isn’t always straightforward. 81% of marketers say that it can be complicated to implement a data-driven strategy.
On the other hand, email marketing services can be extremely challenging with complex issues around open rates, deliverability, spam complaint, spam regulation, and many more.
Meanwhile, many email marketers fail to notice the bigger picture. Email marketing doesn’t just stop when an email is opened. And understanding exactly what happens after your email is opened is equally important for tracking the true impact of your email marketing campaigns.
While we were trying to create our email marketing strategy, we knew that we needed a data-driven strategy to our email marketing program in order to achieve success. Here’s what we learned along the way while doing it, and how you can do the same.
Our Initial Email Marketing Dilemma
When we started our email marketing campaigns at Infotanks Media, we had around 25k+ subscribers that were sourced from our social media channels, our website, AdWords, etc. And then every month, more than 4,300 marketing qualified leads (MQL) were added to our database. We use SendGrid for our email marketing campaigns.
The Importance of Good Email Marketing
Marketers from the US found that email had a median ROI of 122% that is more than four times higher than social media, paid search, and direct mail.
Market penetration and engagement are off the charts. And there’s no slowdown in sight: while other communication ways are picking up speed, every industry still sends billions of emails every day. From telecommunication to healthcare, banking to e-commerce, every business is leaning on this marketing channel to improve conversion rates.
Email marketing services has the potential to drive your revenue. But it is getting more complex every passing day.
Customers are very quick to unsubscribe, or even worse, mark your email as spam. And the younger, tech-savvy audiences are very happy to get an email that is useful or just interesting but has access to many tools that keep the unwanted email out of sight. And SPAM getting even stricter, with mail providers all trying to remove it via advanced modification.
It’s quite easy to get email marketing wrong, which is why you should invest some time to figure out how to set up everything right from the get-go.
How to Get Started with Email Marketing
The marketing team should believe in numbers and in creating processes that are very logical and are quite easy to understand. You need a defined process to optimize your email marketing efforts that you could easily test and improve quickly.
First, Check Your Reputation
Before we go into the details of email marketing, you should definitely check your “Sender Reputation” for your domain(s).
A new domain has a sender reputation score of 100. As you run email campaigns, the factors like opens, clicks, unsubscribe, time spent, marked as spam, and bounces affect your overall score. And if your score falls below 70, quite aggressive email filtering will be applied to every email message going out from your domain. In short, the likelihood that anyone on your subscriber list even receives your email is almost nil, and you’ll probably have to get a new domain for sending out emails to your subscribers.
When we asked the email marketing experts running a profitable cold email marketing business, they told us that they purchase a new domain every week to ensure high sender score that could get their emails effectively delivered to their subscriber inbox.
The Lifecycle of Email Marketing Campaign
1. Who Are You Emailing?
The next big question with email marketing is: “How did you get all these email addresses?” And in our experience, the best way to collect email addresses is organically.
Email marketing is all about communicating with people who want to receive email from your company. Meanwhile, cold email still does work, especially for sales.
Here’s how you can collect emails
You can collect email addresses from your website, social media, content syndication, AdWords, referral marketing, and the list goes on. But even more important than the source is the intent someone had while giving you their email address. Someone who provides their email address at your demo page has a completely different expectation compared to someone who provides their email address while downloading your whitepaper.
The best way to better understand and engage with your different audiences is through “segmentation”.
Start Improving Your Email Marketing with a Segmented List
List segmentation is one of the primary tactics that can be used to ensure email marketing is effective.
Here are some of the ways to easily segment your email lists:
- What funnel stage the customer is in (tracked via website visits and app interactions)
- We got the customer’s email address (at an event, through a content upgrade, from a free trial, etc.)
- What the customer will likely want to learn next about our app/ product or service (based customer app use information)
- How customer uses the app (via app interactions)
Maybe, these kinds of categories don’t apply to your business, but there are always many different ways you can employ to segment your own subscriber email list.
Following are some more ways you can implement segmentation on your list:
- By job function (your email content should be very different when writing to a manager vs. a CEO)
- By geography (country, area, cities, there are endless possibilities)
- By behavior (past purchase, browsing history, buying frequency, etc.)
- By industry (particularly helpful for B2B)
- By persona (gender, age, likes/dislikes; works best for B2C)
- By net promoter score (NPS)
- By lifecycle stage (lead, MQL, SQL, customer, where exactly are they in your sales cycle)
- With event attendance (did they attend your webinar, did you meet them at some other event)
- By page views (shows their intent and activity)
You don’t need to start with anything that is too complicated. Segmenting your list should be the first step that you take when you choose to improve your email marketing. You’ll need a lot of good data to do it the right way, and you’ll want to keep gathering data as you initiate the A/B testing process.
Applying little segmentation on your subscriber list is a good way to keep the entire process easily manageable. Example, you may try to segment your subscriber list into customers and non-customers. The marketing emails you send to each of those segments should be different from each other as the goals are different: acquisition and retention require distinct marketing messages.
Or you could also segment your subscriber list based on product interest. And if you offer more than one product or service, build s couple of lists that include customers who have expressed their interest in your particular product or service.
The best method of segmentation will depend on your marketing goals, your business, and your customers.
Cleaning Your Lists
Apart from segmentation, one more important habit you need to develop is to regularly clean your subscriber list.
Example, let’s consider that you started with 45k+ contacts, but over a time period of two months, you realized that around 5k+ contacts were the one who never opened any of your emails, or are the one where your emails bounced- the factors that negatively impact the domain’s sender score.
So, you can clean out the following;
- Contacts that last opened your email more than three months ago
- All email addresses that bounced
- Leads that have lost relevance: i.e. they moved, changed email addresses, or are no longer interested in receiving your emails
- Contacts created in the last year who have not opened an email in the past 6 months
- Click farm leads from social media and AdWords
- Mailinator email IDs
- Contacts that have opted out of your emails, who are not opportunities, SQLs, or customers
This may look like a tedious task, but it promises huge worth. It’s better to be informed about the true potential of your subscriber list than settle for thousand of redundant contacts that will never convert, resulting in wasted resources and time.
2. What Are You Sending?
The success of email marketing services is sent to the right subscriber depends on two basic things: content and design. Following are some of the pointers that help in building a nearly perfect email.
Content is the King, Remember?
Your emails basically contain 3 main blocks of content: subject line, pre-header, and the body of the email. So, all the optimization needs to be done in the following three areas;
- Personalize the body of the email: if you have good and relevant data about your customers like job title, company name, purchase history, page visited on your website, etc., you could also leverage that data to your advantage to build rapport with them. In these cases, personalization tokens help a lot.
- Personalize your subject lines: email with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. When you get an email with your name in the subject line, it instantly draws attention.
- Use first-person point-of-view: when was the last time you received an email from your friend talking in the third person? Now, email providers use AI to try and filter out emails that don’t sound like they have been sent from a human being. And to avoid all these, always use the first person in your emails. It is more comfortable and feels more like a genuine conversation between two human beings.
Apart from the above-mentioned areas, you need to totally avoid using spam words in your emails.
Design for the Reader
If you want your emails to stand out among the hundreds of other senders filling your subscribers’ inbox, you’ll have to design them well. The war between plain text and HTML emails has been going on forever.
But, before you decide, either way, look at the goal of your email campaign:
- Limit the number of links in HTML emails: HTML email templates have up to 25% less open rates because of their lower deliverability. And the traditional marketing tells us that the visuals catch people’s attention- and HTML emails include lots of images and other graphics to do that. But, many organizations have had success with plain text emails that include just one or two simple images, usually the company logo or an image of the sender. And if you have to use HTML in your emails, then ensure there aren’t too many links in it.
- Create mobile-friendly emails: Up to 67% of emails are now opened and read on mobile devices. This is another reason why the formatting of your emails must be responsive on all devices.
- Call-to-action text: Every one of your emails must have a call to action (CTA), unless you have a pretty good reason to skip it. A CTA button that says “Buy Now” or a text link to “Find out more” or an encouragement to respond to the email all encourages your subscriber to take an action. Changing the text and format of that CTA button can have a significant effect on your email click-through rate (CTR). Try changing a button into text, adding an exclamation point, asking a question, or changing the color or the font of the button. You might be surprised to see the results.
And that’s a wrap for setting up your email marketing infrastructure. With all of this in one place, you can be rest assured that nothing will go wrong technically with your email marketing campaigns.
So, how data-driven email marketing will help your business grow?
Using data-driven email marketing is an effective way to keep your email subscribers engaged with your company. By launching email campaigns that speak directly to each of the subscribers on your email list, your subscribers will be more likely to open your emails, click-through your website, and finally make a purchase.
You should leverage data for your email marketing strategy but watch out and avoid those data-driven marketing mistakes: collect enough data, be patient, experiment, etc…If you’re already not leveraging data, you’ll want to start out slowly and grow gradually. Assess what you already have in your company resources and then think about what you want to actually do and how to make it work effectively. This won’t happen in a day or overnight, but you can implement changes that have a positive impact on your bottom line.