If you’re like a growing majority of businesses, you’ve discovered email as the “go to” channel for rapidly accelerating leads into sales, increasing customer engagement and generating revenue on demand. Enterprises of all kinds engage in email marketing not only because it works, but because it works phenomenally well and fast. There is simply no doubt that email marketing is thriving when you consider these compelling facts:
- The DMA (Direct Marketing Assoc.) reports that email has returned nearly $30 for every $1 spent on it in 2012, and is projected to account for $67.8 billion in sales
- An April-May 2012 survey conducted by Constant Contact reported 83% of US small businesses (both B2B and B2C) named email as the most effective marketing tactic they use, topping even their web sites
- Exact Target’s 2012 survey of consumer marketing channel preferences found an overwhelming majority of consumers (77%) prefer to receive permission-based promotions via email – topping all other channels – with direct mail a distant second at 9% and social media channels combined coming in at 6%
- The same Exact Target study reports 66% of consumers have made a purchase as the direct result of an email marketing message
- Email is still the most popular activity online; globally, 85% of people use the Internet to check email, while 61% use it for social media (Ipsos, 2012)
- Consumers are taking email with them across platforms. Checking email is the No. 1 activity on mobile phones (Pew, 2011) and No. 2 on tablets, after Web browsing (IDG, 2011)
So now that you’re convinced email should become or remain a part of your 2013 marketing mix, here are five more suggestions for increasing its impact on your business in 2013 (see my first five top reco’s here):
1. Diversify email message variety
When it comes to your broadly targeted email messages, variety is the spice of life. Nothing’s worse than an email marketing program consisting largely of repetitive promotional offers; it’s the equivalent of talking non-stop without ever taking a breath. So as you create your email plans for 2013, aim for a balanced pipeline of messages that includes the following types (to help you remember, the first letter of each word in the following list spells “PIPE”):
a) Promotional. Yes, of course you’re going to keep making offers, promoting savings/discounts, and communicating sales opportunities but there needs to be more.
b) Informative and educational. Think blog posts, articles, newsletters, webinars, demos, tip lists, and “how-to” content. What do you have that helps your subscribers understand and use your products more? That educates them on the space you’re in?
c) Personal and seasonal greetings. Acknowledge birthdays, holidays, anniversaries of being in business. Yes, the personal touch goes a long way and breaks up monotony.
d) Entertaining, fun engagement. Every marketing program should have elements of surprise and delight. This is where contests, sweepstakes, games, customer and employee stories liven up your marketing and add personality to your brand. Use email to announce and promote involvement with them.
2. Increase both message frequency AND regularity
As you craft your email message schedule (or editorial calendar) for the year, think “ongoing conversation” not “random blasts”. Develop a regular monthly cadence and sequence for the above types of messages, but keep it fluid. Keep continuity programs – like newsletters or monthly webinars – on a regular schedule, but vary the timing and quantity of promotional and entertainment messages.
Why? On the one hand, consistency and predictability foster anticipation and trust, so you want that working for you. On the other, become too predictable and you run the risk of your sales promotions being ignored or “gamed” so you need pattern interruptions too.
3. Evolve single-message campaigns into series or tracks
Instead of a single welcome message, try expanding the message into a welcome series which invites, thanks, familiarizes or even educates. Instead of a one-time renewal or reactivation message, try a three-part series that gives subscribers more than one chance to take the valuable action you seek.
4. Re-target those who abandon
One of the most powerful and effective ways to increase conversion is to follow-up when you know someone is considering a purchase based on their recent behavior, but hasn’t closed the sale by buying. Re-target qualified prospects, shoppers or browsers who were on the path to conversion on your web site (or even on the phone or in person) but abandoned before completing a sale with follow-up email messages which a) invite them back on the consideration path b) provide additional incentives to purchase not otherwise offered and c) offer content and information that overcomes known barriers to sale.
5. Introduce or increase use of triggered email
Part of diversifying your email messaging is supplementing broadcast (broadly targeted) messages with one-to-one automated messages known as “triggered” emails. As you automate portions of your email program like welcome, re-activation and re-targeting campaigns, subscribers themselves will determine much of their own email cadence through their behavior and interests. Identify the actions, dates or situations which constitute triggers for sending automated messages and set those messages to auto-deploy when a subscriber trips a trigger.
Chances are, if you’re not already employing most of the above in your email marketing, even incorporating one of these power-boosters will yield an increase in revenue and profits. For more ideas request a no-cost, no-obligation breakthrough session with me that also provides a free 30-minute assessment of your current email marketing program, and see how many immediate improvements you can make!