If you’re not leveraging email for acquiring new customers, you’re most likely missing out on potential sales.
According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective for acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined1. Plus, VentureBeat reports that email is the channel generating the highest ROI - $38 for every $1 spent2.
So, it’s clear that email marketing presents a greater opportunity than social media for increasing revenue, but how can marketers effectively start taking advantage of it?
Step 1: Acquire quality leads
First, to even consider email marketing as an option, you need leads. And I mean high quality, interested leads.
Many business owners think that gaining leads is easier said than done, and some even opt for buying lists. Do not do this! Buying lists is dangerous for your email sender reputation - it is a sure way to increase spam complaints and bounces, and you may even fall into a spam trap.
But acquiring leads doesn't have to be difficult. An effective method is to offer potential customers something valuable in return for their email address.
Here are some examples:
- -Competition: “enter for a chance to win”
- -Exclusive content or a newsletter
- -Discount code, free sample or free shipping
- -Sneak preview of new products or upcoming sales
- -Rewards program or loyalty club
- -Free trial or membership
This way you’ll know exactly where your leads came from. You can even ask them to provide information at sign-up that you can later use for segmentation, which brings us to our next point…
Step 2: Segment those leads!
Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all email revenue, according to the DMA3. Divide your leads into the most specific segments possible based not just on demographics, but things like engagement and time on your list as well.
To go the extra mile, offer your subscribers email preference options, like how often they prefer to be contacted and what type of offers or content they are most interested in, and segment them based on that.
You can do this by using extra fields at sign-up, asking about their preferences in a welcome email, or just keeping a handy “Update your email preferences” link in all of your mailings.
Step 3: Personalize email messages
Now the final step. You may think that personalization automatically follows segmentation, but it may actually be the most overlooked opportunity by e-marketers. Experian has stated that, “In fact, 70 percent of brands are not personalizing emails sent to subscribers.”4
Don’t let all of that segmentation fall by the wayside; USE it to your advantage to send your readers more relevant messages. After all, Experian reported in 2013 that, “Personalized promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings.”4
Try leveraging cart abandonment data to send potential customers a reminder that they left an item in their cart, or to let them know when it goes on sale. You can even send personalized recommendations for products similar to those in their cart or that they viewed on your site.
If that type of activity tracking and data is not available to you, don’t worry! Even using your subscriber’s first name in the subject line or greeting is an effective way to add a personal touch.
Or, be bold and use any of these easy-to-gather fields:
- -Their status in your rewards program - use this to extend an offer that is exclusive to their specific standing
- -Their location - maybe their area is experiencing cold or rainy weather and you have a product that’s perfect for that situation, like a raincoat or space heater
- -Timezone - using “Good morning” in your greeting sounds more human than “Greetings” or “Dear…” but it will only make sense if you send your emails at the right time, and this may mean sending them out in batches to different segments based on timezone
- -Age - a younger audience may be more responsive to slang and a casual tone than an older generation, so adjust accordingly
Follow these three steps, and keep in mind that your customers are in fact a lot like you. Think about the type of content you like to see in your inbox, and the specific things you appreciate about brands that go the extra mile in their email campaigns. Your customers will appreciate the extra effort too.
1 McKinsey, Why Marketers Should Keep Sending You Emails
3 The DMA, National Client Email Report 2015