How to wring the most out of your email campaign

by Melle Staelenberg
09 March 2017
How to wring the most out of your email campaign
From first open to VIP customer, here are our Business Manager - Lifecycle Marketing, Melle Staelenberg’s five commandments of email marketing.

There was once a time when people predicted the end of email marketing. ‘Email is old-hat!,’ they exclaimed as they rushed to invest their marketing dollars in Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. 

However, as Facebook has expanded from star to supernova, guzzling ever more dollars in order for companies to reach their target audience, email has well and truly rebounded as a marketer’s most valuable platform.

In 2016, some 61.8% of mid-tier companies told Salmat they used email marketing, and this number is expected to grow in 2017. 

Why is that? 

Why has email marketing become mid-tier company’s most dominant tool? 

Put simply, email marketing is, and will continue to be the best performing digital channel in terms of ROI. 

Email allows marketers to:

  • Gain direct access to potential customers;
  • Serve customers dynamic content that speaks to their specific interests;
  • Build a relationship based on a cycle of interaction, keeping you top-of-mind; and,
  • Cement trust and loyalty, resulting in consistent purchases by the customer

How to do email marketing really, really well. 

Currently, mid-tier companies are getting the basics of email marketing right. 

But they’re failing to integrate three important elements into their email strategy:

  • Personalisation (sending the right offer to the right person at the right time)
  • Optimisation for mobile devices, data analytics (measuring behaviour beyond click-throughs), and;
  • Automation (responses that occur independently of the marketer).

Here, we’ve rounded up the rules you must respect in order to properly implement an email marketing campaign (and a few tips on how to really knock it out of the park). 

The 5 commandments of email marketing:

Send at the right time and be quick to respond 

Email is a great way to retarget customers that have showed an interest in a brand, product or service, and offer them a reason to convert to a sale. The key to doing this? Engaging potential customers within the shortest possible window of time. 

Automation allows you to send emails when your customer is most likely to open your email, based on historical behavioural data. For example, an email might be sent at 8am for person A (let’s call them an early bird), or 3pm for person B (aka the after-lunch-slump internet shopper).

Automation also allows for instant two-way interaction. If a customer gets distracted part-way through the marketing funnel (leaves an item in their cart or simply stops browsing), automation allows you to immediately follow up on this missed opportunity via email and remind them of what they’re missing. 

Importantly, automation can also help filter out those customers who are no longer interested in your emails. The result? A healthy, engaged marketing list.

Always personalise

You might have received emails where you are greeted by name. That’s nice, but really, personalisation is a lot more than saying 'Hi Melle' in emails. 

It's about showing your customer content that is specifically relevant to them. We’re all inundated with emails every day, so it’s more important than ever to show your customer that you’re not going to waste their time on things they don’t care about. 

Personalisation can be based on purchase history, browsing history, or gender, age, and state. This shows a level of respect to the customer, but it also just makes good marketing sense. No one wants to be offered a promotion only available in WA when they live in Canberra. 

Personalisation also means understanding your customers’ purchasing lifecycle. Take a baby supplies store as an example.

As soon as you start shopping at a baby supplies store (in store or online), they will know based on your first couple of purchases how old your little one is. From there, they then know when you're in the market for a new pram, are upgrading from cot to bed etc. 

As for what not to do; an example of very basic email marketing would be offering a nappy sale to parents whose babies have graduated to pull-ups. Big fail. 

Data mining is powerful stuff – see how Target in the US discovered a teen was pregnant before her dad – so it needs careful consideration.

What about content?

Any good email strategy should focus on maximising ROI. That means that everything from subject headline, to your email content should be dynamic and speak directly to that customer, leading them to purchase. 

So, what’s dynamic content? 

It is a form of personalisation where you treat your email campaign as a template that has different content for different recipients. 

Think of it as a newspaper where the layout is static but the content changes daily. With email, this means that content can vary for every customer. You might have a default header and footer, but the rest of the content is customised based on user data fields and purchase behaviour. So a VIP customer may get to see an invite for a pre-sale where a regular customer is shown the standard sale. 

Great email marketing contains personalisation or dynamic content in the subject line as well as the body of the email. Subject line A/B testing should be part of every marketer’s practice for every single campaign.

Know your inbox objective

Most people get a lot of emails on any given day. If your offering fails to entice them after a few tries, chances are you’re out! 

The technical result of this is that inbox providers (Gmail, Bigpond, Outlook etc.) always reinforce their anti-spam filters and constantly analyse their users’ behaviours. This means that if someone on your database consistently deletes or ignores emails from a given sender, the algorithm is likely to block future emails. 

To effectively reach each potential customer, marketers need to ensure that every email they send has a clear subject line, a relevant offer, and is delivered at the right time. And, again, don’t be afraid to take users off your list who have shown no engagement with your emails for a while.

Protect your customer’s privacy

As I’ve mentioned, the efficiency of any marketing strategy is based on trust between the customer and a brand, so privacy initiatives are essential. You need to ensure you’re ticking all your boxes when it comes to email privacy.

And the best way to do this is to be absolutely clear about the origins of the email your customer receives. When signing up new subscribers, it’s essential to disclose why certain personal information is captured, where it is stored and accessed – and how to update it.

Marketers need to make sure they collect only the data they need, and constantly assess where and how they store the data. We all know that a leak can have serious ramifications for a brand and their reputation with customers. 

Download Salmat's Mid-Tier Marketing Index to understand how you compare and click here to learn more about our email marketing services or call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Melle Staelenberg
Business Manager

Melle has been with Salmat since 2010. In his current role, Melle is responsible to maximise business value from Salmat’s core products, including email and mobile. His product expertise combined with a strong focus on research and a healthy dose of creativity helps driving Salmat’s digital roadmap. Melle holds a Masters degree in Business Economics and a BA in New Media & Digital Culture and is passionate about all things digital. Being Dutch, he likes to cycle – he’s also a big Ajax fan (the football team, not the cleaning product)!

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