With so many available ways to contact customers, marketers are often left wondering if email marketing is worth it anymore? The short answer: yes absolutely. Rather than struggling to keep pace, a recent eMarketer survey found that email produced a ROI more than four times higher than for some of the supposedly sexier marketing channels such as social and paid search. Just one of the reasons why I believe email marketing should be the Cornerstone of Your Lead Generation Program.
But what if your email marketing efforts have stalled and stopped giving you the ROI you are looking for? Here are 8 ways you can change that and increase your email marketing ROI.
Build a Quality List to Improve Deliverability
You might say list building and deliverability are two separate topics but having the first goes a long way to ensuring the second. After all, no matter how good your email design and content might be it’s completely wasted if it’s not delivered or never opened.
While list numbers are important, an effective email list focuses more on quality than quantity. Create a list with people who have actually indicated that they want to hear from you and it will pay dividends. It seems like a counterintuitive practice, but when you think about it, a list 1000 quality emails will deliver better results than one with 10,000 random emails.
Where does deliverability come in? As I’ve pointed out before, ISPs are going way beyond the spam check to eliminate unwanted content. They’ve shifted towards looking at how the recipient interacts with the email. Did they open it? Read it? Scroll to the bottom? Click on a link? Add a contact? Respond? All of these data points impact whether your email gets to the inbox consistently.
Want to learn more about getting your email in the inbox? Check out Email Marketing Best Practices for Deliverability.
Segment Your Lists Effectively
Another key tool to ensure deliverability is segmentation. Spray and pray or sending the same email to every person on your list is an ineffective method for email marketers. We all used to do it, but there’s a better way. Segmentation helps ensure you reach the right person, with the right email, at the right time.
It can be as simple or as complex as your needs demand or your resources allow. Break your list down by demographics, firmographics, pain points, personas, behaviors and any other data you have.
I’ve detailed several of your segmentation options in The Key to Email Delivery: Segmentation. Take a look.
Personalize and Humanize
Consumers have high expectations of marketers, expecting to be treated as individuals across all channels, and that includes email. If you want some degree of engagement, take the time to personalize your emails.
By personalization, I don’t just mean adding a name in the greeting. It goes beyond that. Content needs to be tailored to the recipient according to their history, needs, demographics, and stage of the buying journey; hence the need for effective segmentation.
Also design an email that looks like it came from a real person and not a corporate entity whenever possible. People relate to people and respond to the personal touch, even if it has come from an automated process.
If you’re inspired to revamp your automated emails, check out How to Design an Email People Actually Want to Read.
Stand Out in a Crowded Inbox
You don’t need me to remind you how our inboxes are flooded with emails these days, many of them promotional. If you want your email to be opened you need a well-written eye-catching subject line. Without it you’ll likely end up in the trash—or worse, the spam folder. A well-crafted subject line should:
- Be useful and specific.
- Not be misleading.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Be short and concise.
- Avoid the use of common spam words.
Design an Email People Want to Read
In addition to the content of your email, the template you use is critical for email marketing success. Everything from subject line to the number of hyperlinks to the display on every device plays an important role in whether or not the recipient reads your email or takes an action.
Visuals are a vital element in an eye-catching email, but should only be used to complement the message, not to add unnecessary images just for effect. Video is playing an increasingly important role as more email clients enable embedding within the message itself.
Don’t forget the small stuff. (Reproduced from my recent article: How to Design an Email People Want to Read).
- Web fonts should be used when possible and web safe fallbacks set for unsupportive email clients.
- CTAs should be specific, benefit focused, and designed to stand out prominently. Designing a button as an image can have a negative effect, as an email client may block images by default.
- Links should have UTM tracking codes added to assist analysis and must always be checked to ensure the link opens the target destination successfully, on desktop and mobile.
- Footers should contain legal statements, social links, and unsubscribe links as appropriate.
- Finally, the email should be proofread and checked thoroughly for accuracy and tone before the send button is activated.
To conclude here’s three brief, but no less important reminders about how to increase ROI from email marketing.
Optimize for mobile. Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the preferred choice of users for the opening and reading of emails. Failing to optimize for email across all devices is simply setting up for failure.
Compelling content. Content must be relevant, informative, and designed to encourage the reader to engage and take action. The emphasis should be on how the benefits of your offering can help to solve needs, not on pushing features and functions.
Test, test, and test again. No two businesses are the same so track and test activities to find out what works for you.
Email looks set to endure as a marketing mainstay for the foreseeable future, offering the potential for healthy returns on marketing investments. The marketer who fails to appreciate that fact, or the CMO who fails to secure an adequate budget to support their email ambitions runs the risk of being left behind.
Hopefully these 8 different ways marketers can tweak their current email marketing practices to improve ROI will help you to avoid falling in to that trap.