Overlook This Email Issue and Customers Will Opt Out
Email marketing tips
Email marketing may be mature, but that doesn't make it easy. There's much to consider, not just with overall strategy, but also with day-to-day execution. So Direct Marketing News asked several industry leaders, “What is one issue that email marketers aren't thinking about today that they should be, and why?”
Here, they share their opinions on overlooked areas that can trip up email marketers and lead customers to ignore messages or opt out altogether.
Director of strategic accounts for cross-channel marketing, Experian Marketing Services
One issue that's often overlooked by marketers is making sure they're optimizing their program with triggered messages based on customer interactions or insights. Although triggered messages may be slightly more time intensive at the outset, they're the workhorses of an optimized email program. Marketers can get so caught up trying to get promotions out the door that they ignore longer-term programs that can, ultimately, contribute more to their bottom line and can help avoid the “coupons and promotions scramble.” To customers, triggered response messages are often very timely and relevant. Triggered messages like browse emails that are based on categories or products a user has surfed, abandoned cart series, and even thank-you-for-purchase emails are extremely effective and also help to engage customers and keep them active on your list. We've seen a 54% lift in revenue when sending a second abandoned-cart reminder, a 3.4x increase in revenue with browse emails, and 13x increase in revenue with thank-you-for-purchase emails. These are all no brainer programs that every marketer should be deploying.
Founder and CEO, BrightWave Marketing
Email marketing remains the hub of all digital marketing. The marketing world has seen more innovation in email in the past few years than in the past decade. These macro changes are all positives and the opportunities for email remain near endless. Of course, these new opportunities bring new challenges and many email marketers are not looking beyond the horizon. Some aren't even taking advantage of the biggest thing to ever hit the email universe: mobile.
Mobile is the game changer for email marketers. A well-defined mobile email strategy will either take your email program to the next level or wreak havoc to your subscribers' inbox and your bottom line.
Why mobile email matters:
- Smartphone owners are more likely to read emails than make calls.
- Consumers care how your email looks on a smartphone.
- You can't know the right approach without understanding how and where subscribers read your emails.
- Your approach will depend on what you're trying to accomplish in your mobile email.
- Mobile purchasing decisions are most influenced by emails from companies.
- Device matters and behavior varies.
Ph.D., Director of insight, Outsell
Marketers are not keeping in mind the importance of optimizing for a cross-device experience. As consumers shop they use several devices throughout the process, whichever device is most convenient to them. Marketers must optimize their communications so that they render seamlessly across devices. Otherwise, consumer engagement will suffer. Worse yet, consumers will delete or opt out of your email communication altogether. If you aren't optimizing your communications for a cross-device experience, you're missing out on engaging with consumers on that communication, and you're impacting the effectiveness of your future communications with that consumer. How? When a consumer deletes your email because it doesn't render properly on her device, you're missing out on the capture of all that engagement data. This consumer click behavior or engagement data is one of the most valuable sources of data in understanding consumer intentions and crafting future relevant, targeted marketing communications.
SVP, B2B List Services Group, Infogroup Targeting Solutions
There's more to your customers than their email addresses and ZIP codes. A customer's age, gender, household composition, and purchase history all count when it comes to future purchasing decisions. Failing to profile the individuals behind your email list will lead to highly ineffective email marketing campaigns.
For consumers to engage in email marketing material and respond to calls-to-action, it's important that the information they receive is tailored to their demographics and personalities. Men and women respond differently to marketing tactics, just as teenagers interact differently from adults with spouses or children. It's important to supplement email addresses with data that offers clues to what will spark a reaction from a customer, and to craft messages accordingly.
Big Data is everywhere, so relying on an incomplete customer profile is unacceptable in today's marketing world. Messages need to be tailored specifically to individual customer segments, and simple email addresses do not offer enough insight on your customers. Supplement your email lists with more detailed data and your messages will go a long way.
Corporate sales manager, Campaigner
Email marketers should remember that email marketing is about getting a click and not necessarily a sale. It's important to develop an email persona, because when targeted audiences feel they're connected to a brand or feel they have a relationship with it, they'll be more inclined to dig through the clutter in their inbox to find your email, read it, and, ultimately, take action. Personalization in email marketing can't be understated. It goes beyond simply adding images or catchy buzzwords. This common mistake often leads to a swift deletion. Using buzzwords and inserting gimmicks may be trendy, but it's the slow-and-steady marketers who truly know their audience who win the race. Small brands are able to captivate large audiences by taking this approach, and many have built their businesses on creative, outside-the-box email marketing campaigns that are engaging and compelling.
Take a look at your inbox—does your most recent marketing email look like everyone else's? If so, there's a problem. If you're an email-marketing manager, you're surely subscribed to all of your competitors' lists. Make sure you differentiate your brand and learn from how others are either failing or succeeding.
Director of product policy, Message Systems
The issue is mobile. Email marketers are thinking about mobile, just not broadly enough. Most approach mobile as a design challenge, and focus on buttons versus links and small images that load fast. Although this is important, what many marketers are missing is that mobile devices are inherently multichannel. SMS text and push notifications must be part of the mobile mix. It can't just be all about email anymore.
Smartphones and tablets provide a different online experience. Time and location are more important dimensions or variables with mobile, meaning marketers have new capabilities to target and reach out when and where a customer is ready to interact. These capabilities didn't exist with desktop email. Using digital messaging in all its various forms—text, email, push—is key to engaging customers through mobile devices. This is the issue that email marketers should be thinking about right now.
SVP of strategic consulting, Epsilon
Lifetime value of a subscriber. The daily flurry of activity running through today's email marketing teams can easily cause us to become myopically focused on individual campaign results, but it's more important to consider the longitudinal impact we have on our relationships with subscribers to evaluate program effectiveness.
Individual campaigns will continue to achieve dramatic results, but too often we forget to evaluate whether we're sacrificing long-term value for short-term gains with a particular promotion. In other channels, we use cost models to design targeted list selection, but in email, with the low cost of incremental sends, it becomes too easy to send campaigns to broader audiences, whether or not we think subscribers are interested. The result is subscriber fatigue, disengagement, or opting out.
I call this the “opportunity cost of irrelevance,” where oversaturation of a list leads to real long-term losses in the full lifetime of a subscriber.
When evaluating the targeting criteria for your next campaign, make sure the audience is the right one, not just the one that's easy to reach. Consider the lifetime of your program and the long-term value of every subscriber on your list. The benefits will pay out over time.