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Email is Still a Winner When it Comes to Marketing

Although sending email is still a winner, writing content and pressing “send” isn’t quite enough for a successful email marketing strategy.  Your goals with email depend on the type of business you have, but the below items are definitely worth considering for your next email campaign.

Ecommerce sites

Did the shopper abandon their cart?  There are a number of reasons that can happen, so you can send an auto-responder to remind people they still have items in their shopping cart.   You don’t necessarily need to offer a discount to get them back, because people abandon carts for different reasons. An initial message can simply invite them to come back.  If they don’t come back to their cart immediately, another message could go out with a 10% discount offer if they complete their order in a certain time period, such as 24-72 hours.

Individualized follow up with leads

What is a lead to you?  Filling out a form? Downloading a white paper?  Once you have their email address, set up an auto responder based on their action.  Maybe it’s an invitation to a product demo, or introductory rates relevant to the content in the white paper.  This helps segment data based on customer preferences.

When do you send it?

There are a lot of opinions on the best time for open rates.  You may need to learn from your historical data and try split testing to see what time works best for you.  You can also look at when users are most active on your website.  Although not necessarily a scientific measurement, if Google Analytics show a high volume of visitors on the site on Tuesdays at 2:00pm, that could be a good time for an email update.  Although there could be other drivers leading people to your site at that time, it is still a metric worth exploring.

Subject Lines

If your subject line isn’t interesting, most people won’t even open the message.

Try some testing here to see if there are differences in open rates based on the subject.  Clear and specific is generally a good rule for the subject of your message.  Tell people up front why they should open the message and what to expect.

Use scarcity if it is appropriate.  Are you offering a 24-hour special?  That’s something to promote and will increase open rates and conversions.  Your subject line is a place to include those time sensitive keywords, whether it’s “limited”, “important”, “ending soon”, or some other phrase that entices people to open it.

I encourage you to think twice before using the word “Free” in your subject line — even if your offer is free!  It is overused and people naturally are going to wonder what the catch is with “free”.  Is it free – for 14 days?  Or free – with a $99 purchase?  Of course everything can be tested, but never use a questionable keyword in your subject line.

Subscriber Preferences

Of course, we all think our content and offers are wonderful and should be sent regularly, but have you considered your customer preferences?  What about frequency?  Make sure you don’t send weekly updates when they only want monthly.  The right answer for frequency is the amount of email they want to receive.  If you have a daily or weekly subscriber that clicks that dreaded unsubscribe option, try to keep them by offering a reduced schedule for receiving messages.

Make it about the subscriber – not you

You can introduce a new product or service if it genuinely benefits the subscriber.  Or if you don’t have anything new you’re selling, provide a piece of content they can use – maybe about what they can do with what they already have.  For example, a company that sells computers can offer “10 tips to keep your computer secure”.   Even if the subscriber isn’t ready to buy a computer from you, they probably own one and everyone is concerned about security.

Even with all the other new mediums in marketing communications, email marketing is still here and it’s worth exploring different options for sending messages to customers.  Savvy marketers need to think strategically, send to the right subscribers, at the right times, and with the right content.  The use of auto responders can simplify a number of these tasks.  These are the reasons why email is still a winner when it comes to marketing.

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