What’s a printing company doing writing about email marketing, you might ask? Well, just like you, we notice those handwritten letters and birthday cards when they come in the mail, but we know that lots of people like to write their missives on Facebook or shoot you a quick email update instead. And we understand that every good marketing campaign takes all of the relevant channels into consideration.
By now, most of you have regular email marketing campaigns. But the question is, how effective are they? Often, we see that engagement in email marketing falls as the list becomes increasingly accustomed to receiving communication or the list ages with many contacts who may no longer have a connection to the company. Here are some of our tips for shaking up your email marketing campaigns with fresh ideas that help you stand out from the crowd and re-engage your list.
Consider the Welcome Email
When someone is added to your email list, what happens from there? Do they go into the regular email queue, receiving marketing emails and newsletters, or do you have a special message set up just for them. Your email marketing software will allow you to create a special welcome series that automatically sends one or more specific emails to your new subscribers. You can design these to take advantage of the fact that a new registrant likely hasn’t heard from you before and is a potentially “hot” prospect.
Refresh Your Look & Messaging
If you’ve been working off the same template, using the same messaging or adding the same call to action on every email and you’re seeing your open and click rates slowly decline, it’s time to shake it up a bit. Consider making a change to the look of your email to “wake up” your audience. Try a new template or format, and revisit your messaging to ensure everything’s relevant and actionable. Often over time, messaging can become stale or unwieldy and it should be assessed often. Vertical Response has a few more tips for refreshing your email campaigns if you fall under this category.
Target Your Inactive Users
Most email marketing software will let you pull a report around your inactive users. If someone is no longer opening emails from you–and hasn’t in awhile–consider targeting them with a special email campaign designed to offer extra incentives, bolder messaging or something else to make them open the communications up. If they’re still not responsive, it might be time to clean up your list and move them into an inactive category so they don’t become accustomed to deleting emails from you every time they arrive. Here’s one perspective on dealing with those inactive subscribers.
A/B Test Your Campaigns
A/B testing sounds more complicated than it actually is. What it means is to test a couple of different versions of your email in a strategic way so you can see what performs the best. The key to good A/B testing is to ensure you’re only changing a single aspect of the email, so you can tell what change actually triggered better results and use that to inform your marketing efforts in the future. This can really be done with any communication, from email to online advertising to direct mail, but most email systems have A/B testing features in place to make this easy. Consider changing the wording or type of offer in your message, the color or template, where photos are placed or even what the photo in the email is. If you need ideas, here’s a list of 150 things you can A/B test!
You can also consider testing the time of day and day of the week you send your campaigns. Lots of literature says this doesn’t matter, but in truth, depending on what you’re saying, sending off-peak hours, during a commute or when people are sitting on their couches surfing the internet after work can make a big difference in what they do with the information or offer.
Combine Online & Offline Marketing with Cross-Media Campaigns
As a printing company, this marks our major foray into digital marketing. Many of our clients have tasked us with managing not only their offline, direct mail campaigns but also running digital marketing and email campaigns for them. We use a trackable solution for cross-media marketing that allows us to trigger different actions based on the response of the individual customer, but the main point is that these campaigns tie in both online and offline communication to create a real impact. Imagine receiving a few emails from a company, and then similar messaging right in your physical mailbox. It sounds like a simple concept, but that surprise direct mail piece can often be the missing link that gives the online marketing efforts extra zing.
Target the Individual Experience
If possible, segment your list to create the most personalized experience possible for each user. Customers should receive different messages than prospects. Those who haven’t purchased in a certain time period might fall into another category. Did the person join your list under specific circumstances (signing up at an event, downloading a specific resource)? In that case, tailor the messaging for them. Email automation makes this relatively simple and painless, and it goes a long way towards fostering a relationship with the contact.
There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all with email marketing. Depending on your industry, sales cycle and the size of your email list, you’ve got to design a strategy that makes sense from you. But a little inspiration goes a long way. Check out these posts featuring some great email marketing concepts that you can snag for your own campaigns!
- Hubspot: 12 of the Best Email Marketing Examples You’ve Ever Seen
- CampaignMonitor: The 100 Best Emails of 2015
- Shopify: 7 Ecommerce Emails You Should Steal Today
- CrazyEgg: 5 Killer Examples of Retention Emails (love this one because it shows that results aren’t always about how slick-looking the email is!)