What do email marketing and a football have in common?

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for building your brand. Dollar for dollar the ROI on this digital marketing platform can’t be beat, especially considering it has more than doubled in the last 3 years. Both B2B and B2C industries are using email marketing to grow their current customer business as well as get new customers.  If you have a decent strategy in place, meaning you don’t get a ton of unsubscribes, then that’s a great start. To make it better, keep reading to see clear ways to win the email marketing game by turning those unsubscribes into engagers who take action and become your ambassadors.

With football season in full force, a good analogy can help us here: think of email marketing as the quarterback of your content marketing team. Backing up your star player are the offensive ends: relevant content, customer base segmentation and calendar execution. Ready to shout out for your team are the cheerleaders of mobile functionality, as well as sharing and forwarding. These will boost your fan base and ultimately your business revenue. After all, isn’t that the idea?

Now grab your game day snacks, sit back and let us show you the money (or at least how to get more of it).

Check your inbox. How many email marketing campaigns are waiting for you from different businesses, be it retailers, nonprofits or other types of channels? How many have you opened and why, and how many have been benched, waiting? You’re not alone. According to MailChimp, one of the leading email marketing platforms, as much as 70% of emails for email marketing go unopened, and this is across various industries. It’s important for content, analytics and progress purposes to recognize that a low unsubscribe rate does not always equate to interest and engagement. Sometimes the email simply got ignored. Following are six winning plays to get your emails off of the bench and into the game.

Play #1: Customer base segmentation

We’ve written recently about taking some time to dig deeper into knowing your audience and the importance of your social media audience.  This applies to email marketing, too.  Although you may have a large email subscriber list, further segmenting this list can help you tailor your marketing message to one segment’s particular interests and needs. A personalized email experience with rich content is very possible and will lead to higher open and engagement rates. Here are a few ways recommended to filter your audience from the subscriber sign-up stage. Ask the following questions in your site sign up form:

  • What topics are you most interested in?
  • Would you prefer to receive emails from us daily, weekly or bimonthly or monthly?
  • What kinds of content interest you the most? Text? Video? Infographics?
  • How did you hear about us?

Play #2: Relevant content

Email marketing efforts being ignored, or worse, prompting an unsubscribe is a common pitfall in this form of digital marketing. Irrelevant content is one of the top reasons for this: https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/chart/why-consumers-unsubscribe

You know your content is relevant, right? Your team spends countless hours compiling information your audience will love and find valuable, always the goal. Maybe-but if you are writing emails to an audience of 10,000 subscribers, is the content of your email marketing truly relevant? Using strategy #1, now you have a clearer picture of what certain segments want, what they need, what they can use.

With your segmentation strategy of player #1, providing content of depth for specific audiences need not be as labor intensive as it sounds. Consider that in a list of 10,000 subscribers, it will be fairly simple to subdivide by interest into five or ten segments. Mining information from the nifty qualifiers you now in your sign up form, begin with the subject line and sender details to grab your reader’s attention.  According to Content Marketing World 2016 these two areas “are the only pieces of information readers have to quickly determine if an email is worthy of their attention.” They further outline 3 stages of the buying process your recipient will likely land:

  • Stage 1: This is ground zero and the audience knows very little about you. Do not include keywords or brand names here or they will know the email is for marketing.
  • Stage 2: Readers in Stage 2 is looking for backup, social proof to support their research. Here you may use a keyword or brand name, but not both.
  • Stage 3: Stage 3 readers are likely ready to pull the trigger on a decision and want the confidence of knowing they have all the research done. Here a keyword AND a brand name is warranted.

Now you are really in the game, showing your fans you care and are committed to giving them something of value to them (not you), reliably and consistently.

Play #3: Calendar execution

Having your email marketing campaigns set to a monthly calendar is super smart! Brilliant, even. Take it a step further and drill down based on your audience exactly when you want your emails deployed which is now catered to Player #1 (we know, Marsha, Marsha, Marsha).

When email campaigns are sent is actually a very high determinant of engagement. Depending on the goal of the email, different guidelines will apply. Want your email opened? Tuesday is the best day of the week to send. Looking for a reply to your email? Saturday may be most effective. The same applies for times of day to send an email to ensure that it pulls the weight of the goal you had in mind when designing it. Later in the day during the weekday has proven to have good results for actionable emails. So with this all in mind, take some time with your email marketing super star team to get a real grip on the calendar execution.

Plays #4,5, & 6: Rah! Rah! Mobile functionality, sharing and forwarding

It’s lonely at the top…but not in the bathroom, apparently: 75% of email marketing is read on a mobile device, and many while using the restroom. Who wants to be in that lower 25%? Leading vendors of email marketing software like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp have very easy last-step systems to ensure your campaign is mobile-ready, and this is not a step you’ll want to skip.

Now you are in the top 75%. You have your specific audience in place and provide them with steady, valuable content they care about. Sharing and forwarding requests are two last strategies you’ll want to employ to let your star campaigns continue the run. Most campaigns have social share buttons embedded, but If you don’t have a “forward this email” button in every campaign, you’ll want to take that step. It gives your customer more options and control over how they share the information, which is becoming increasingly important https://www.lucidadvertising.com/blog/importance-social-media-audience/. Perhaps they have an audience, too, and would rather forward an email than share on social platforms. The key is to give your customers value, choices and an element of control, which shows them you listen.

Touchdown! Is this Heisman material?

We hope so. Email marketing isn’t going away and, as such, we should all strive to get as much out of it as possible. Try just one play from this list for the month of November and let the Lucid Team know some changes in your December analytics. We’re interested!