New digital marketing trends surface year after year, and what you were doing effectively just a few months ago might be considered obsolete today. However, one channel that remains constant is email. With its impeccable ROI and user base that numbers in the billions, it's safe to say that email is here to stay. To consistently leverage email marketing for your brand, you need to take advantage of an additional marketing constant: data. Data is the main driving force behind many effective emails. In this article, we'll explore four data-driven email marketing strategies that you can implement for your future campaigns.
Engage your existing subscribers
Like all other digital marketers, you put a lot of effort and resources into your growing your email list. While growing your subscriber list should definitely be one of your top email marketing priorities, don't forget to maintain engagement with your existing audience. After all, engaging with your current subscribers is an easier and more cost-effective endeavor than trying to gain new ones. In fact, acquiring new customers can be five times more expensive than retaining existing customers. Engaging with your existing subscribers is also beneficial to your ROI. A mere 5% increase in your customer retention efforts can boost your profits by as much as 95%. Focus on your existing subscribers. Nurture your relationships with them by providing them with the best possible experience. One way to do this is to make sure that your campaigns are optimized for mobile. Over 50% of all email opens occur on a mobile device, so it's crucial that your emails display perfectly across all devices. To achieve this, use mobile-responsive email templates that are optimized for mobile right off the bat. Another way to keep your existing subscribers engaged is to change up your email marketing formula. Avoid sending a newsletter about the same topic every week. Instead, follow up your newsletter with a product offer that includes a hefty discount.
Segment your subscribers
Today, the consumers expect personalization from brands, which is why list segmentation has become an increasingly important aspect of email marketing. As a marketer, you are likely familiar with segmentation. You segment your email list based on subscriber data that includes gender, age, geographical location, and even education level. These are basic segmentation techniques that most brands are taking advantage of. Separate your brand from others and up the ante with your segmentation. To offer your subscribers a far more personalized experience, segment them according to their behavior. Here are some examples of how you can start.
- Email engagement. Segment subscribers based on which emails they opened and which promotions or offers they clicked through.
- Transaction history. Segment subscribers based on their purchase patterns and the products they most recently bought.
- Workflow activity. Segment subscribers according to where they are in your marketing funnel (subscribers who just joined your list vs. subscribers who make regular purchases).
All customers behave differently. This gives you endless opportunities for segmentation. Feel free to experiment with behavioral data that could be unique to your brand.
Do A/B testing
You've surely experienced getting lower open rates or click-throughs than you expected. It's just the reality of email marketing. The optimal solution to this type of problem is A/B testing. It's the best way to discover what your subscribers find interesting and what they don't. A/B testing means sending two variations of the same email to two small groups of subscribers called subsets. The objective of A/B testing is to determine which email variant is the most effective before you send it to your entire list. This way, you prevent negative results from having a major impact on your email metrics. The subject line is the first thing your subscribers see before they open your email. This makes it the ideal place to start with your A/B testing. Test subject line length to see if your subscribers respond better to short or lengthy subject lines. You can also test including and excluding your subscriber's first name to find out which one gets more opens. Another subject line test you can try involves content. On one subject line, you can offer a discount (e.g. 20% off) and on another, you can offer free shipping. Whichever has a higher open rate is the more effective one.
Consider current email marketing benchmarks
When you use email marketing for your brand, you have to analyze your email marketing data in order to accurately measure your performance. Digital marketers already know this. But, you can also use email marketing benchmarks to determine how successful your email marketing strategies are. Learning current benchmarks gives you valuable insight into your industry and other industries' email marketing performance. With these benchmarks, you get the bigger email marketing picture. On the other hand, the data from your analytics is limited to just your brand. In order to get the most holistic view of your email marketing performance, compare your own email data with email marketing benchmarks. For example, current benchmarks indicate that the average open rate for the marketing and advertising industry is 18.65%. Meanwhile, your average open rate is only 12%. This is much lower than the industry-wide average, which means that you need to work on your open rates. This is the advantage of email marketing benchmarks. It provides you with a baseline to determine which areas of email marketing you need in order to develop further. An effective email marketing strategy is one that leverages a wide range of data points in order to hit all the right notes with audiences. Be sure you keep these four data-driven email marketing strategies for future campaigns. You'll definitely see your metrics improve across the board, from your open rates right down to your revenue per email.
Ash Salleh is the director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital. You can find him on Gravatar.