If you want your email list to reach its complete, revenue-generating potential, you have to start to consider and treat it like the valuable gold mine that it is. Yes, you heard right! Your email list has the potential to produce a whole lot of new revenue. Additionally, your email list has also the potential to create personal connections between your customers and your brand, increase customer loyalty, and reduce your operating costs. However, your email list is not going to do any of that if you don’t treat like the gold mine that it is and give it the resources and time it deserves.
What’s one of the best assets you have for your email marketing program? It’s all the data you gathered the year before, the “holiday” quarter- the last three months of the year.
It is quite possible that you might not even know all the data you have to help you identify your prospects and customers, understand what makes them browse and buy and most importantly what you can do to bring them back time after time. But, once you know how to gather and interpret your data, you can put it to good work all year long to generate more revenue.
The best part is that it’ never too late to start!
What’s an email list? Why do I want one? How do I get one?
An email list is a list of email addresses that can be used to effectively reach potential or current customers. However, if your only goal is to build that, you won’t have a valuable setup for email marketing. You need the correct email list, and that’s exactly where things begin to get just a little bit more complex, but, still affordable and easy.
The email list in which the email addresses are willingly provided is the best email list as your prospects and customers opt-in to your email list to receive your emails.
When you have successfully established that you’re only going to gather and use email addresses from people who truly want to receive emails from you, or alternatively, acquire email list only from verified and trusted data companies like Infotanks Media, there are some qualities you should look for in order to build the most effective email list possible. In order, they are;
Quality: First, you need quality because the email addresses on your email list need to be from real humans who check and open their email. That’s important, obviously.
Relevance: Next, you need relevance because the people on your email list need to care about your company. Again, obviously.
Volume: And last is volume. If you have relevant, quality addresses on your email list, try to get more and more of them. Because the more email addresses are on your email list, the more people you can reach with each email campaign. Send more emails, Get more ROI, Revenue.
Getting started: Who, what, how and why:
The following four steps will help you put those strategies to work:
- Set clear goals, assess your data, and lay the groundwork for future email campaigns.
- Use your new data to divide your audience into relevant segments
- Engage with your audience
Now, how do you put all that together?
1. Set goals, assess your data, and lay the groundwork for future campaigns:
Actually, it’s never too late to take a step back and analyze your data. Asses the data quality, clean up your data to remove old, invalid and problematic email addresses, then break your data down into segments to study it and learn, understand as much as you possibly can about your subscribers. Start with your marketing goals, which should be clearly stated with primary objectives that are measurable and are also realistic.
Know the tradeoffs:
It’s not enough to just say that you want to much better this year. Instead, concentrate on specific areas where you want to improve. Try and understand that many goals have tradeoffs that you need to include right in your planning efforts.
Let’s consider that you want to grow your email list size. Amazing! A bigger email list means now you can reach and market to more people. However, email list growth usually goes hand in hand with poor engagement rates.
And maybe you want to increase your engagement rate. You could boost your inbox placement rate by removing inactive, old and problematic email addresses, however, that action by itself may not result in increased sales.
Break down goals:
Going back to the goal of list growth, you can create three segments to study, understand, and effectively manage them:
- New customers: These are new subscribers who joined your email list recently and also purchased something during the holiday quarter. They’re quite eager to get your emails but you should ensure to check for other actions by these customers:
- Rated your solutions
- Repurchased the solution or purchased something else
- Opened or acted on your emails or even engaged in another channel like social media, forum, etc.
- Referred your company to some else
- New leads: These are the prospects. To better understand what’s going on with this segment of your subscribers, break them down further into sub-segments and then look for common characteristics like their email activity, how they joined your email list, and their conversion rates compared with other sub-segments.
- Inactive subscribers: This segment includes subscribers, customers who haven’t converted yet, additionally, out-of-date, fake email addresses. So, learn more about them and them to communicate in other channels as well. Finally, you will need to remove them from your email list to avoid any possible damage to your sender reputation.
Asses your email list quality, resolve the issues and then fill in the data blanks; these three questions can help you assess each email address on your email list:
Is the email address deliverable? It may not bounce at all, but does it show activity like opens, clicks, and conversion?
Can you fix undeliverable email addresses? Try fixing typos, using Email Change of Address to update them or alternatively by filling in the blank data fields with email or posting appending.
If you can deliver to it, should you? A deliverable email address is necessarily not always a good email address. Read the next section to understand the five types of “deliverable but problematic” email addresses.
Beware the ‘deliverable but problematic’ spam trap: Apart from the obvious bad email addresses in your email database, hard bounce or invalid email addresses, watch out for email addresses that could toxic to your email list health and sender reputation as well.
These come in the following five basic formats:
Disposables: Another email version of the one-night stand. These are deliverable one-time email addresses that people use like fake names to get something that they want from you.
Frequent complainers: Email addresses that are associated with spam complaints.
Fake names: Somebody made up a name to just get something from you, like a download or an incentive, but they aren’t actually interested in a long-term relationship with your company.
Role accounts: The email addresses like “team@”, “info@,” “support@”, “sales@” or “abuse@” are legitimate email addresses, but they’re tied to jobs, not individual people and either pose a spam-complaint risk or drive no value.
Spam traps: These email addresses are set up by industry policing groups like the ISPs and the blacklist providers to identify email senders who use potentially criminal or lax email sending practices, like not removing dead or invalid email addresses or sending to illegally obtained addresses.
An up-to-date and refreshed email list is the foundation of your email marketing program. And once you have established that foundation through analysis and hygiene, you’re all set for success.
Start by looking at the features and capabilities your email service provider (ESP) offers like real-time updates, dynamic content, or several versions of an email.
2. Use your New Data to make your Messages more Personal and Relevant:
A systematic approach allows you to create a more efficient, organized email marketing program that clearly recognizes as individuals and also manages cadence and frequency for a better email experience.
Your subscribers expect the emails they receive from you to clearly reflect their behavior and preferences as well. While broadcast email campaign can’t do that, segmented, personalized, and customized email can:
Segmentation: Break your database into relevant segments using common characteristics like job title, industry, role, geography, company size, etc., and send emails that are targeted to each segment.
Personalization: Use demographics, preferences, and behavior data to communicate directly to the individual person in your emails.
Customization: It is not the same as personalization. Customization allows you to modify a broad email campaign using data that fit a specific customer’s preferences like products purchased or browsed on the website.
Wondering where to begin? Start with the customer data you already have for your subscriber’s gender, age, product history, preference and interests and begin at a basic level before working your way up as you acquire more and more data about your subscribers.
Start simple: when you build an email, simply ask yourself if it works for everyone on the email list who will receive it, or whether you have segments in your email list that wouldn’t respond better to your email.
Use analytics and testing: to clearly see how your subscriber segments engage with your emails. Some of the segments should be a priority in your email campaign as they are at more risk than others or have more ROI. A risky subscriber segment could be of prospects and customers, who are on the verge of lapsing. And if you don’t have much data on prospects and customers in this segment, look at their frequency and recency.
Create a content calendar: this can help you a lot in keeping track of which segments or customers are getting emails so that everyone receives at least one email from time to time but you aren’t burning out your most valuable segments.
3. Engage with your audience:
At this point, you have clear goals, refreshed your email list and identified an audience.
Now, following are the next steps;
Decide what you need to learn about your customers: this will help you better understand what will persuade them to stay with your company or to convert.
How can you convert your leads to make that very valuable first conversion like creating an account, making a purchase or moving from free to paid services?
You need data to understand what drives your prospects to convert. Is it the solution selection or performance? Discounts or other incentives? Pricing?
Figure out how to collect that data: either by using behavior like browsing and buying or by asking them directly. Additionally, incorporate behavior on both your website and email messages to see what your customers are doing, and not just what they want or choose to tell you.
Preference center, email surveys, few pop-up questions on your website, all of these can provide you with insights into what your customers are thinking and most importantly what’s important to them. Use this information to inform your email design and choices, so that your emails can effectively help your customers successfully achieve their goals.
Work to retain them: New customers are the most enthusiastic ones, so work to keep them actively engaged even when they aren’t actively looking in the market to buy. Also, this is another effective approach to learn more about your customers and get data you can use to further polish your email messaging.
Ask them to rate and review the customer experience or your products/services.
Use up-selling and cross-selling to show customers the full breadth of what you offer that matches their interests and behavior.
Invite them to join your loyalty programs, user communities, or VIP customer panels.
Invite customers to refer family members, friends and, using incentives or gamification to reward prolific referrers.
Most important of all, use the information customers provide you. And then explain why you are asking for this information, how you will use it, and how you will store and protect it.
If data-driven marketing has a golden rule, this is it. Data mishandling and breaches have made people more concerned about revealing too much personal information online. So, ensure that your email messages clearly reflect the data they have entrusted to you.
Send a variety of emails to welcome your customers, thank them for their business, encourage customers to buy again and recognize `them as individual humans, not just numbers.
Study your newly acquired customers, who came back to buy after a while or just browse, and use different email methods for converters versus non-converters:
- Welcome series
- Thank you email
- Preference center invitation
- Purchase/opt-in anniversary
- Information request/progressive profiling
- Personalized Surveys (for converters versus non-converters)
- Birthday greeting
- Replenishment reminders
- Win-back campaigns (for non-converters)
In the current marketing landscape, you can easily find industry benchmarks to accurately measure your email marketing program results and compare yourself to your competitors and even peers, but keep one thing in mind, every organization speaks to a different audience, which has different goals and requirements, and may react very differently to your approaches.
Develop a detailed testing plan using a portion of your audience as a test group and the rest of the audience portion as you control to prove out your concepts and then look for incremental growth and patterns.