Having just completed a thesis on the very topic mentioned above, email marketing is something which is very fresh and foremost in our minds here at Ignite Design. In todays flurry of social media, blogging and snapchatting, email is sometimes a tool which is forgotten in the industry. Hundreds of emails fly in and out of our inboxes on a daily, if not hourly basis, but many are either ignored, deleted or merely forgotten. With a recent McKinsey article indicating a 20% decline in email marketing between 2008 and 2012, due to the rise of social media, it is therefore surprising that email marketing continues to account for a far greater share of acquired customers than social media and also a higher purchase conversion rate. This is due in no small part to PEM, Permission Email Marketing, a concept we are all familiar with, where customers willingly sign up to receive newsletters and updates from chosen companies. But if, like ourselves, you find yourself signed up to tens if not hundreds of email newsletters, what separates the bad from the good and the ‘read’ from the ‘unread’?
Having conducted extensive research into this topic we can now pinpoint and share our tips on what makes a good email marketing campaign, based on the opinions of over 200 survey respondents, along with feedback from large businesses who create email campaigns on a weekly, if not daily basis. By combining and analysing the corresponding data, we have compiled the following recommendations in a nutshell:
1. CONTENT CREATION & SUBJECT LINE CREATION
Customers want to receive newsletters from companies they have signed up to, right? Wrong!! Companies want to receive RELEVANT newsletters from companies they have signed up to! Therefore, the subject line is the single, most effective line of your email campaign. Companies must get to know their customer, analyse their profile and create content based on this. Emails must be targeted and precise and can no longer be created on an ad-hoc basis. By signing up to an email marketing campaign, customers are trusting companies not to spam them with nuisance emails so the burden lies with the company to ensure they do not abuse this privilege. However, the responsibility does not stop there! Research has shown that the entire customer experience comes into play with regard to attitudes to email marketing. For example, if a company website is very user friendly and easy to navigate, this will enhance customer attitudes not only towards the company in general, but towards other aspects such as their email campaigns. This brings us back to the importance of developing a brand and an air of reliability, which inevitably leads to trust creation. Without a certain level of trust, companies can and will survive email campaigns by using offers and incentives, but to aim for longevity and longterm customer loyalty, more thought must go into the content creation process.
2. PERSONALISATION AND SEGMENTATION
There is a huge need for personalisation and segmentation within the realm of email marketing. For example, the email you would send to an existing client would differ greatly from that which you would send to a new or potential client. Lack of manpower has been blamed for lack of segmentation within companies, but ideally it would be advised that some type of segmentation strategy be implemented both into everyday business and email marketing in order to allow businesses to move forward in a progressive and knowledgeable manner. At its most basic, segmentation strategy can involve merely separating a group of customers with different needs into sub-groups with similar needs and preferences, whilst slightly more in-depth approaches can focus on lifestyle or behavioural attributes. Campaigns can then be targeted accordingly. By narrowing groups and sending targeted messages, both the company and the customer will benefit greatly. Blanket campaigns will never be as effective.
3. INCENTIVES AND TIME LIMITED PROMOTIONS
Our study found that while promotions and incentives inevitably are received in a positive manner, they are used to their greatest effect on a subdued basis e.g once per month or bi-monthly. If a company is known for weekly promotions, customers will be hesitant to purchase when stock is at full price. With regard to using celebrity endorsement as an incentive, our study found that Irish blogger recommendations or local faces proved more effective in increasing purchase intention than celebrity choices.
4. POST EVENT ANALYTICS
Companies must evaluate options coherently rather than just based on marketing budgets, and must gain an understanding of their consumers buying patterns. Although limited resources obstruct many companies from evaluating their email campaigns as effectively as they should, research has shown that stronger analytical power could greatly increase ROI in the longterm so this is definitely something to consider, especially when popular tools such as mailchimp aid the analytical process to some extent and can take the manpower out of report creation.
Overall, it must be advised, that email marketing is not an area which should be overlooked in favour of social media and instead, at best, should run alongside social media campaigns. It is still one of the most effective marketing tools available and best of all is relatively cheap. Therefore, companies should strongly consider their campaign development, strategise their content and stay up to date with their customer and industry behaviours and trends.
If you feel you need help developing your strategy, we are here to help!! Contact us today on 087 9360358 or email email@example.com and we will be happy to provide a FREE consultation and quotation.