Email Marketing: Are You Letting Your Customers Down?
Consumer expectations versus reality.
It is a complex topic for all retailers, but especially for those who sell online. Look at how Amazon has raised the bar on consumer expectations, such as with fast and free shipping.
Consider how accessible mobile phones are, allowing consumers to find any product they are searching for, regardless of where they or the product is located.
Social media, and its integration into the shopping experience, is providing a direct connection between brand and consumer.
The best way to meet consumer expectations is to develop a more robust personalization program, especially when it comes to email marketing.
According to a 2016 Flagship Research survey, nearly 60% of consumers expect gender to be used to make email messages more relevant.
More than 60% of consumers expect emails to be personalized based on interests they gave in their profile, their birthday, purchases they made online, and what they looked at on their website.
While these figures are telling, what is even more daunting for retailers is that 40% of consumers expect offline purchases to be used to make emails more relevant.
I repeat, offline purchases!
The good news is that many of the necessary data points are already being collected by retailers. When it comes to email, retailers often ask for this data at sign up or inside of messaging itself.
Consumers who provide this information do so willingly, but expect something in return: relevance.
Retailers aren’t meeting that expectation. Instead, consumers find marketing emails consistently useful only 15% of the time, and at the same time, consistently find emails not useful nearly 60% of the time.
This is a drastic difference between expectations and reality.
The primary reason for this gap is the prevalence of batch-and-blast messaging. Too often, retailers have limited internal resources that prevent them from sending deeply segmented emails to their subscribers.
The result is generic messaging aimed at the mass rather than the individual. Whether a subscriber purchased yesterday, last month, or never, they get the same message.
Retailers can upend that habit by honing on those data points that can make their email more relevant. For instance, retailers can look at the source of the email subscriber.
The person signing up from the maternity section of the website is likely much different from the one signing up from the men’s clothing section.
The same holds true for those clicking inside of emails. The person clicking on maternity links in a message should receive different messaging than the men looking at button down shirts. After all, they have different needs from your store.
Sixty-two percent of consumers expect their website browsing data to be used to personalise the emails they receive. Give them what they expect by implementing a browse recovery strategy.
These messages can be a significant revenue driver for any email program.
While these messages are generally clothed as promotional messages (pun intended), they are immediately relevant to the recent online window shopper. In the example below, the message appears to be a standard promotional message.
It helps overcome common barriers to purchase by reinforcing satisfaction guarantees, return and exchange policies, and even offers an incentive to complete the purchase.
At the end of the day, does this all really matter?
The answer is yes!
One retailer did just this, and implemented a unique second welcome series message based only on a specific link click in the first message.
This targeted message was sent to just 3% of the new subscribers, but generated a 140% lift in total message revenue, compared to the generic second welcome series message.
This is the power of relevance!
Only 15% of consumers say that marketing emails are consistently relevant. Your competitors likely know this.
Take the initiative to meet consumer expectations before they do.
If your strategy isn’t working, you’re losing money. People who buy products promoted via email marketing spend 138% more than those who don’t get offers by email.
And the latest statistics from the DMA show that on average, companies that use email get back 30 times what they spend. If you’re not getting those results, then you could be making one of these 6 mistakes.
1. Sending too many emails — or too few
Ever subscribed to an email newsletter, only to get a half-dozen emails within the first week? We have too, and it wasn’t fun.
But sending too many emails isn’t the only reason your email marketing campaign isn’t working. Sending too few emails is an issue, too. When people sign up for your emails, it’s because they want to hear from you.
If they don’t, then it’s not worth their while, and they might unsubscribe.
To fix this, send the right number of emails. Campaign Monitor reckons that every two weeks is the sweet spot for sending email campaigns. And the Digital Marketing Association’s research shows that most marketers send emails 2-3 times a week.
2. Failed audience targeting
Sometimes email doesn’t work because you don’t fully understand your audience. It’s important to know who your subscribers are and what they need at each stage of their interaction with you.
There are a few things you can do to fix this.
3. Poor email copy
Another issue that undermines your marketing strategy is poor copy. That starts with the email subject line, because some people may not even open your email if they don’t like it.
Use these high-converting email subject lines as inspiration and create a great subject line that wows your subscribers.
People also want to know who’s sending the email. A no-reply return address, a generic return address or an unsigned email all scream of spammy marketing. Identify yourself by making sure the email comes from a real person.
You can even include a photo.
There’s also the call to action.
CTAs can fail because there are too many of them, which leaves subscribers confused about what to click on.
Fix your call to action with these tips on writing the perfect CTA.
4. Email design errors
It’s also crucial for your email to look right and work for recipients, so pay attention to email design. Did you know that 71.2 percent of people delete emails that don’t display well?
One of the most important fixes is making your email mobile-friendly. The Litmus report we mentioned earlier shows that more than 90 percent of all email is read on mobile devices.
If your email doesn’t look good on a smart phone, you’ve already lost the attention of most of your subscribers.
To fix this error, check out your emails on your own mobile device or use a mobile emulator like the one built into the Chrome web browser.
The balance of images and text is also important to email design.
Recently, Mailchimp recommended to follow an 80:20 text to image ration.
That’s 80% text, 20% image.
5. Missing trust factors
A cardinal email mistake is to forget about building trust with email subscribers. We talked earlier about the importance of including company information and having the email come from a real person.
Those are important, but there are a couple more things you can do to build trust with your subscribers, like:
6. Lack of planning and testing
One major reason your marketing doesn’t work is a lack of strategy. Here are a few ways to solve that:
We believe that, as Clifford Jones says, email marketing “works when you do it right over a long period”.
With the tips in this guide, you can troubleshoot and fix the reasons why your email strategy doesn’t work.