Even with other digital marketing channels growing, email continues to play a vital role in generating leads and conversions for businesses. One reason email is still popular is because of the frequency people send and receive emails.
Not to mention, there are over billions of people that have active Gmail accounts through Google. That does not even account for other email accounts through other services, like Microsoft and Yahoo. As such, there are billions of emails that are sent, read, and received daily.
Why Is Email Still a Major Digital Marketing Channel?
Your customers communicate frequently with their friends, family, co-workers, and other businesses through email. One reason email marketing is still popular is it has one of the best returns on investment. This is why many businesses often make email marketing campaigns a vital part of their multi-channel digital marketing solutions.
Another reason email marketing is still a major digital marketing channel is because campaigns are easy to roll out quickly. Finally, unlike social media followings and audiences built for digital advertising, email marketing is the one audience that 100% belongs to you.
While email marketing is still popular, it is important for businesses to be aware of current trends and utilize the right strategies to adjust their campaigns to make them effective and successful using these best practices.
Best Practice #1: Know how emails are delivered.
Email marketing requires understanding the basics of how emails are delivered to your customers. You need to make sure that email messages are reaching your customers and are not being blocked or bounced back for non-delivery.
There can be a variety of reasons why customers would not receive emails, such as invalid email addresses, an ISP blocking the email because it looks like spam, or emails ending up in the junk email folders.
One way to increase email deliverability rates is to require your customers to validate their email addresses. After signing up for emails from your business, an initial email message should be sent requiring the customer to opt-in and confirm the email address.
Another way to ensure the deliverability of emails is to avoid spam filter keywords. Email routers have a list of keywords they scan inbound emails for. If they contain any of the spam keywords, they automatically put the inbound email in the user’s spam or junk folder. In some cases, the automated algorithms may even reject the email and not deliver it.
You also want to make sure your sending domain is includes the correct DKIM and SPF records set up in its DNS.
Best Practice #2: Measure email deliverability rates.
Your email service provider (ESP) can help you gather the data to determine deliverability rates. It is important to review these regularly to help identify potential delivery issues and make corrections to your email marketing campaigns.
Best Practice #3: Scrub your email lists frequently.
You need to review your email lists and remove inactive email addresses, as well as email addresses that could be illegitimate or considered spammy. There are several effective apps you can use to help scrub your email lists. By removing these subscribers frequently, you can help build a better email list of qualified leads.
Best Practice #4: Leverage email micro-segmentation.
You may have specific email campaigns where you want to focus on a micro-segment of your customer base. Emails that focus on micro-segments tend to be more successful and result in higher click-through rates than generalized email blasts to your entire customer base.
Micro-segments could include:
· Geographic Location
· Purchase Frequency
· Products Viewed but Not Purchased
· Past Purchases
· Amount of Purchases
· Campaign emails opened
· Campaign emails clicked
Best Practice #5: Implement tools and apps to deliver personalized email messages.
Personalization is becoming a key aspect of effective digital marketing strategies. Customers are more likely to respond to an email that focuses on the products and services they like. They also enjoy receiving discount offers and special incentives tailored just for them.
Rather than having to write individual emails for each customer, your ESP should contain tools that automatically pull customer data to generate personalized email content, such as their purchase histories, product preferences, gender, age, etc.
Best Practice #6: Automate email marketing campaigns.
There are specific email marketing campaigns that you can automate to help provide added value and potentially lead to conversions. These are called automated workflows and include:
· Abandoned Carts – If customers leave products in their carts, this is potentially lost revenue if they do not return. You can automate email reminders to entice your customers to return and complete their purchases. An initial email could be a reminder there are items still in the cart and sent within the first 12 hours of cart abandonment.
A second email could be sent 24 hours later that thanks the customer for visiting your website and points out some of the key benefits of the products in their cart. A final email could be sent 48 hours later that offers some sort of discount or incentive, like free shipping or a one-time percentage off deal.
· New Customer Welcome – This type of automated email helps you make a great first impression on new customers. The email should welcome them and share details about your brand. This email should be sent as soon as they confirm their email address or after their first purchase.
· Purchase Tracking Emails - The first email sent should confirm the customer’s order. The next email sent should let your customer know their order had been processed and has shipped. It should include a link to the tracking details.
The third email to send within 48 to 72 hours of placing an order is one that inquiries about the customer’s shopping experience. There should be a link or reply option for the customer to share their feedback.
An email should be sent when the product is delivered to let them know it has arrived. The email should include a link where customers can report delivery problems and issues. The final email that should be sent about five days after the product was delivered is one that asks the customer to review the product.
· Customer Re-Engagement Emails – These types of automated emails are designed to help renew interest in your brand when your customers have not made a purchase in quite some time. They may have grown accustomed to your emails, so they are not responding to them as often as they once did.
An initial email could reinvite the customer back with a special personalized discount offer. If they do not respond to that, follow up with another email in about a week that reminds them of the offer and asks if they want to continue to receive emails from your company.
Include a link where they can unsubscribe in the email. If they unsubscribe, send a final email with messaging that says you are sad to see them go, and reminds them they are welcome to sign back up for emails at any time.
· Cross-Sell and Upsell Emails – These types of emails are great ways to gain repeat business. Cross-sell emails suggest related products to the ones your customers recently purchased. Upsell emails normally thank a customer for a specific product purchase and entices them to return by offering a discount on a future order within a set period.
· Product Availability Emails – If you have products that tend to sell out, give your customers the option to receive emails that let them know when they are back in stock.
Best Practice #7: Test and Test Again
What works with one micro-segment does not always work with another. You need to develop testing strategies to determine what types of emails work best with your micro-segments. For example, you could send one email to part of a micro-segment. Now, change one variable in that email and send it to the other part of the same micro-segment.
Variables include things like the length of the email, graphics and pictures used, colors and font sizes, time of day sent, email subject, etc. By experimenting with different variables and variations of email messages, you can determine the style of email that works best with each of your micro-segments.
Email marketing remains a viable digital marketing channel for businesses to generate leads that can turn into conversions. By taking the time to implement these best practices for 2021, you can better engage your customers, build brand loyalty, and increase conversion rates.
If you need help deciding what automated tools and apps to use with your email marketing campaigns, or want assistance building an all-star team to manage your email marketing strategies, please feel free to contact The eCommerce Quarterback for further information and to request a free consultation today!
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