Reading the various posts dedicated to email marketing topics we can notice the obvious consensus among the authors. With a single heart, different writers agree that our communication channel is probably the best.
In fact, this is not self-praising. Numbers don’t lie: just look at incredibly high ROI. Like a magic wand, it makes up to $44 from each dollar invested in digital marketing. Not even mention other metrics.
The email channel fits all types of businesses, it’s flexible and easy to implement… And what is essential, it’s user-friendly. Therefore it opens the speedway to engage people, lead them through the funnel, generate sales, etc.
Sounds compelling. We could list more pros to prove that the cons are insignificant. But enough. We write these lines not to sing hosannas, but to focus your attention on important facts.
The matter is that email marketing is not for lazy people. It requires efforts, creativity, and constant self-perfection.
Ask yourself what is good for your strategy? Despite the COVID-19 age, self-isolation is a bad solution here. We should be always opened to new knowledge, best practices, and shared experience.
We’d like to help you with some tips. The overall concept is: performing strategy should be well-planned, timely, relevant, and personal. All the best practices are based on these principles. So let’s try to find how can we reach our ambitious goals.
1. Make friends with digital assistants
Prior to sophisticated tricks of design, smart timing, and other advanced practices – let’s pay attention to the basic things. You guess right, we mean digital marketing machinery.
If only you’re not a coding geek, you need a proper set of tools for various purposes and cases. There are dedicated reviews of the best services so we won’t dive too deep into detailed descriptions.
Enough to mention that we need an HTML email template editor to create attractive and powerful templates, and ESP/CRM to send them. But the complete equipment is not limited by these two types.
For instance, NiftyImages and Vidyard come to help with the personalization of imagery and videos. Litmus and Email on Acid are top testing tools.
There are special services to pick up color schemes for email design, work with databases, and so on. Yes, various services are typically integrated with each other now. But if not, the glorious tool called Zapier will connect literally everything.
How to make a perfect choice? It’s on your behalf. Let your decision be caused by your goals. We also advise you to pay attention to the implementation of the newest techniques. For example, AI-based automation is one of the 2020 trends. Check these features – they are essential as they save your time and take a lion’s share of operations on themselves.
Well, let’s look better at template builders now. And at templates in general.
2. Get armed with templates for all cases
Regardless of business type and scale, there is a common recommendation for all marketers to know. It’s a basic set of email categories. This set fits the needs of any brand. In a nutshell, we all send emails of three basic types:
- promo messages. This kind includes sales emails, product announcements, and newsletters;
- transactional messages. Speaking of this category we mean various triggered emails, confirmations, congratulations, etc;
- lifecycle emails. They are based on customers’ history and behavioral patterns. Abandoned carts are typical examples of this type.
No panic, please. It’s 2020 today. We can easily pick the best templates offered by HTML builders (and embedded email constructors available in ESP/CRM services). To collect a perfect set, we need to know a bit more about the mentioned tools.
So what is essential for these services?
Firstly, a good email editor is equipped with a lot of advanced features. It’s no time for primitive “old school” solutions. Imagery editing options, personal storages, etc. But what is more important: a well-categorized collection of ready-to-edit-and-send templates, and automated responsivity. These two conditions are to notice first of all.
As for ESP/CRM tools – deep segmentation, smart personalization, advanced marketing automation are priorities here. As well as convenient integration with builders.
3. Write irresistible subject lines
There’s a typical eCommerce mistake that may turn out to be fatal. Some marketers (I hope not you!) apply enormous efforts to create perfect content and design, try new-fashioned solutions, fill templates with AMP games… But they forget the obvious thing: all that grandeur will be appreciated only when the message is opened.
Avoid the failures of those who underestimate subject lines! These elements are before-open. And from them, the recipients’ decision depends. To open or not to open? For the answer “YES”, subject should be really outstanding and motivating.
There are a series of practices to reach the goal and boost the open rate. Everything depends on many unique factors. According to the brand voice, you may write subjects in a serious or fun manner. As for holiday subject lines, it’s a complex science. Just look at the spooky subjects in Halloween newsletters…
Too rich topic to say everything in the format of the short paragraph. Yet the common denominator is: email subject should always appeal to the clients’ emotions.
But to be really on the cutting edge, apply hyper-personalized subjects. This is when people see the surprisingly personal subjects where their previous purchases are clearly mentioned. It creates an impression of live communication without machines and bots. And makes subscribers open the incoming email immediately.
4. Timing really matters
Another essential point. When your message arrives? Sometimes it’s as important as newsletter content. I agree: email format is user-friendly a priori. People can choose when to read inbox emails, right… But keep in mind that you’re not the only sender in the reader’s address book. Are you still ignoring the timing? A serious risk to sink in the inbox pond.
How to find the perfect time? As for triggered or transactional messages, everything is simple, there are clear timing rules.
With regular newsletters, timing depends on a series of factors. Until the recent past, we had to make experiments. The challenge was not easy. Reality is not statistics, everything is too individual. Where is the perfect solution? Looks like we must customize the sending time on a personal basis. But human brains are not enough to complete this mission.
But AI is high-speed enough. Once again, we have to mention the smart trends of this year. Today, digital algorithms are already able to analyze the email reading preferences of each contact. And to set the timing individually. Isn’t it great? This way we can upgrade marketing strategies to the new level of customized sending.
5. Smart and precise segmentation
Sometimes we tend to confuse personalization and segmentation. They are interrelated, right. But in fact, they differ. What is segmentation for? We split the whole contact list into many intersecting segments. Then, we generate precisely targeted content for people with various needs.
When databases are really big, let’s share our tasks with self-educative AI. Another reason to choose the next-gen tools, as it was stated in paragraph one. Smart systems will easily split the database into hundreds and thousands of segments based on every available data. Moreover, smart tools will analyze behavioral patterns and invent new ways to segment the audience deeper.
Each new segment is another opportunity to customize newsletter. Remember the following tip: the best approach to eCommerce strategy is to create emails that look like they are made by humans, not machines.
6. Implement predictive personalization
Predictive? It’s obviously about forecasts. How does it boost the power of email marketing?
As we know, AI algorithms are processing the giant massives of input data in a real-time mode. But our mission here is to predict customers’ behavior. To do this, smart tools use complex software, data-driven insights, and self-education. So predictive personalization is based on every available data. History of purchases, segmentation maps, behavior tracking, hot market trends, and so on… This way robots make decisions with a minimized human touch.
Then, AI tools choose the proper content and offer for each recipient. Machine-written copy fragments, images, links, etc. – all are based on deep analytics and forecasts. As we said above, it creates an illusion of personal message. As a result, you’ll see the growth of engagement – with fewer efforts spent on routine operations.
7. Want people to act? Call stronger!
CTA is an element that represents the mission of the given campaign. With these buttons or links, we urge to directly motivate people to perform the desired action.
In most cases, CTA is arranged as a link or button. Let us share two ideas about these items:
- make a focus on a single CTA per message. I.e., on the central action. We can use more buttons and links, of course… But additional elements are a risk to distract attention. If you need many CTAs, make them look less dominating. Or hide them in AMP carousel;
- your voice should be action-oriented. Make a play with a sense of urgency: people afraid to lose. A flawless practice here is a countdown timer.
8. Set relations with welcome emails
Welcome emails are essential as they set the tone of your relations since the very first moment. So it’s a crime to ignore them. Moreover, it’s simply rough and unethical.
We said welcome emails… But it’s better to create welcome series. In any case, the first email has to arrive at the new client immediately. Firstly, it’s a gesture of politeness. Secondly, this is a unique time when we are fresh on recipient’s mind.