How to Efficiently Develop an Effective Email Campaign
2012 will see a shift in the use of emailing as a tool of considered marketing power. It demands to be considered a bit more thoroughly.
1. Being Relevant
In email marketing, several principals apply. Email service providers, such as Gmail or Hotmail, continue to develop new ways to prioritize messages with a very individual approach. Newsletters no longer have to be marked as spam to disappear from one's inbox.
When preparing your email newsletter, you need to ensure that the content of your email is relevant to the person to whom you are sending the email. Gone are the days of "batch and blast." You have to tailor your offer to match the recipients' preferences. If you miss that, you will lose conversions, decrease your sending reputation, and wind up in the junk folder.
How do you ensure that you only send information to people who want it? Use opt-in mailing lists with as much freedom for the subscriber to detail what it is he is interested in.
2. Personalization 2.0
Is anyone still impressed by the plain "Hello, (first name)" type of personalization? The answer is no, and it's high time to take email personalization to the next level.
This year will be all about using customer data for newsletter content. Purchase history, website activity, and customer relationship management (CRM) data will be used widely among top retailers to ensure that their emails are as personal as possible.
If you had not started collecting the "finer" data yet, this past holiday season would have served as a great opportunity to learn more about your customers so you could send them more personalized emails this year.
An excellent tool for personalizing your newsletters is SendBlaster. The professional version offers very high flexibility, but the free one is also quite useful for beginners.
3. Click "Send" Less Often
Clicking the "send" button less often is something you should definitely do over the next 12 months. Do not get me wrong; that does not mean that you should send fewer emails. Communication is becoming more and more event based, so the subscriber should actually prompt your sending of an email in most cases.
How? That's easy. Here are some examples:
Sending emails when a customer abandons her shopping cart
Sending welcome messages to new subscribers
Sending "thank you for being with us" newsletters
Event messages (or, so-called triggers) will become more and more popular this year, and they should definitely be a part of your email strategy. Event messages reportedly have nearly 71% higher open-rates, and they can generate five times higher return on investment (ROI) than a standard weekly newsletter. Offers created on the fly will certainly be on the come up!
4. What, When, How … Let 'em Decide
Facebook is getting more and more popular, and people love to tweet because of the brevity of 140-character-limited messages. Some 15% of email opens were generated via mobile device in 2011. Is that something you should worry about? Does that mean that the good ol 'desktop email clients will soon become obsolete?
2011 was a decisive year for email marketing. With ROI at its finest (4000%, according to the DMA), we've witnessed a definite channel and platform infiltration. Facebook fans sign up for newsletters on fan pages. Email users hit "Tweet this!" buttons in messages to share hot offers with their followers. Smartphone users consume email communication while stuck in traffic jams or while waiting in line at coffee shops.
The word "cross-channeling" best describes this channel infiltration and teachers us a great lesson for 2012: Be where your customers can be. Make sure your newsletters are readable on an iPhone. Capture customers' email addresses on Facebook. Let them share your offers with their network. "Social" no longer applies only to social media. Social = marketing communication. You can be social via email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, SMS texts, PCs, Androids, iPhones, etc. Those who work across those channels effectively will win the most customers.
5. So, Will It Be Any Good?
Absolutely. Yes. Email marketing is here to stay; and as one of the most cost-effective channels, it'll still be popular in the struggling economy. With marketing budgets being cut back, emails are still the best way to retain current customer databases and open many upsell opportunities via low-cost promotions.