Are you still sending e-blasts and praying something will happen as a result of your one-way, outbound communication?
Or, are you an inbound marketer who uses marketing automation in your communication with prospects, clients or your other constituencies? (What is Inbound Marketing, you ask?) As improved tracking and automation technology (marketing technology, aka "MarTech") has become accessible to marketers of all sizes and budget, email marketing has regained prominence in the marketing mix. Engaging email copy is just the start. Moving beyond the basics of calls-to-action (CTAs), catchy subject lines and pivoting your focus to several key components will significantly increase your effectiveness.
It All Begins With Segmentation
Please stop sending email newsletters to the same, disinterested and exhausted group of subscribers, who will never open your emails and, if opened, will be likelier and likelier to mark your messages as spam!! Instead of sending out a single, non-specific email to all of the contacts on your list every month, send personalized emails based on real interactions with your website. Yes, it’s a bunch of work to setup but I’m sure you can see the benefits - it’s tangible.
Audience segmentation allows you to group subscribers based on similar preferences, actions, demographics, occupation, customer value, transactional data, clicks to certain pages on your website, social engagement and nearly any differentiators or vectors you can dream up. This level of focus will help ensure that your message is resonating with each of your respective target audiences on an individualized basis. Through a well-crafted marketing automation and dynamic content strategy, you will run campaigns of greater relevance to each of your segments.
Personalization is much more than just a first name. It is vital to building relationships with your customers by providing relevant content. Profiling collects information about a customer’s interests and behaviors to be used to personalize email messages and on-page content and keep your target engaged and interested.
You can probably name within several seconds 10 online retailers that do an excellent job of personalization and give you the virtual warm-and-fuzzies when you shop with them.
Automatic emails that are sent out based on subscriber actions or events go a long way to make your subscribers feel valued. Some examples of trigger-based campaigns include the following:
- Confirmation messages such as welcome emails or thank you notes for purchases, taking surveys, subscribing to an email list, etc.
- Event emails to be sent out before or after an event or a webinar. These emails increase attendance and create opportunities for more engagement back to your website.
- Abandoned cart emails to alert customers to abandoned carts in an effort to get them to complete the purchase.
- Celebratory messages that congratulate or acknowledge your subscribers on birthdays, anniversaries or holidays.
- Helpful summaries of your shopping history are emailed for future reference.
Lead scoring allows you to track and rank subscriber actions for a more targeted campaign. It uses a point system that is based on behavior, such as clicks or downloads, which can be used to personalize your workflows. With this system, it is easy to reward your most valuable customers and identify potentially declining customer engagement or brand loyalty. In addition, any customer’s scores can be reset to collect new data.
Social Media Integration
Social media is incredibly helpful to your data-collection and email campaigns. It can be used to build your subscriber list through social media engagement, retarget customers who take action on your emails and even create email campaigns that are exclusive to your social media subscribers. For example, Facebook’s “Custom Audiences” feature is a particularly beneficial tool for increasing your email subscriber list.
In addition, you can follow your subscribers across various social media platforms, which gives you real-time insight into their needs, interests and behaviors. Social media gives you plenty of information about your target market, but using that data for your email campaigns expands your audience and gives you an opportunity to enhance your email marketing efforts.
It is important to know how your email will look across all devices. What works for a desktop program may not on a mobile device and you need your email to adapt to those changes Responsive design uses queries to adjust fixed-width tables and images for desktop programs or smaller device screens. As a result, your emails will be accessible, logical and attractive on any device.
Tying it all Together With Automation
Marketing automation uses technology to organize and personalize email content that you send contacts. You will quickly recognize the benefits of aligning your marketing efforts with sales goals to provide valuable content and offers to your subscribers, identify prospects and turn them into repeat customers.
The backbone of marketing automation is the architecting of workflows, a modern marketer’s best friend! By isolating website traffic based on certain conditions, filters or actions, you are able to tailor communication automatically based on a pre-programmed marketing strategy.
workflowS are if / then statements
“if someone visits a certain website URL,
send them X email automatically.”
“if someone clicks on a call-to-action ("CTA") but doesn't
download the intended content, resend it to
them in five (5) business days.”
“if anyone in your database uses a certain technology,
send them a sales promotion that is relevant and specific.”
If someone visits your website and downloads a specific eBook, we can make an assumption about their interests and then score that individual so that their next point of communication includes additional relevant information. A workflow will push off a series of actions to be taken after that download. Next they could get an email with an infographic that is relevant to the eBook they downloaded. Workflows are automated based on the first action the viewer takes.
Essentially, a workflow is a tool used in the closing stage of the buyer’s journey, where you can trigger a set of automated actions based on a customer’s behaviors or information provided. Yet workflows go beyond simple marketing automation. With workflows, one can send emails, update contact information, add or remove contact and trigger notifications, which are all “back-end” functions that improve the internal communication in your organization.
Workflows have many benefits, including converting leads to customers, customizable timing and content, as well as time-efficiency. If you haven’t yet, it’s about time you started using workflows to better nurture your leads.
An Integrated Approach
Successful marketing involves an integration of all the marketing branches to enhance customer experience, increase engagement, provide a consistent experience, gain valuable data and increase bottom line. For a truly exceptional customer experience, you must move beyond the basics of email marketing.