Creating Engaging & Successful eDMs
The unexpected, and unprecedented, advent of COVID prompted brands across the globe to adapt their marketing strategies, both quickly and creatively. This saw an increase in email marketing (eDMs), and in the ways that brands use email compared with previous years. The pandemic inspired businesses to shift their messaging to connect more deeply with customers – to find new ways to be there for them; and, eDMs proved themselves a fast and effective messaging tool.
On the receiver side, 2020 also saw higher eDM open rates than ever before with audiences interested in learning how brands were responding to the crisis and changing their business plans.
According to Litmus, 78% of marketers agree that email marketing is important for overall business success. But, even more interestingly, four out of five marketers say they’d give up social media marketing before they would email. It goes to show the valuable marketing powerhouse emails have become.
In 2020, for every dollar spent on eDM advertising, companies received an average 44 dollars return on investment. And, personalised emails generated an average ROI of 122% – emails with personalised subjects were 50% more likely to be opened and birthday emails generated nearly 3.5 times more revenue than a standard promotional email.
Personalisation in marketing has been a buzz topic over the past few years, and for good reason – all the figures support that it works. Research by Segment, says that 44% of customers are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalised experience with a company; and, 49% have made a purchase they did not initially intend to buy because of a personalised experience.
Email marketing lends itself beautifully to personalisation, accounting for a good part of its popularity. But, what do we mean by ‘personalisation’ at this point in time?
Companies are moving far beyond inserting a first name and calling it personalisation. User behaviour now forms the basis for those doing personalisation well. This means using data to segment user groups and creating custom eDMs that target specific behaviours. For example: birthday emails, geo-location recommendations, abandoned shopping cart prompts, and past website engagement emails.
A personalised subject line will also increase the likelihood of your eDM being opened by 26 percent.
Why the ‘Click to Open Rate’ counts
Opening an email is a start, but it’s not enough. The best metric there is for measuring the effectiveness of an eDM is called the ‘Click to Open Rate’ or CTOR. It’s the number of ‘click-throughs’ measured against the number of times an email is opened. It tells us whether an eDM’s message has inspired customers to take action. Here’s a few tips for upping the CTOR:
Make sure the subject line matches the email’s content – no one likes false promises.
- Make eDMs interactive with kinetic elements, GIFs and video. According to Campaign Monitor, interactive email content increases click-to-open rates by 75%, and videos can increase click rates by up to 300%.
- A personalised message, which can be created using list segmentation to target specific customers, will deliver six times higher transaction rates.
- Test, test, test, test, test – make sure images, logos, and text can be viewed easily across different devices (especially mobile), and email clients if possible. Even try A/B split testing to see if a different interactive design or a slightly different Call To Action makes a difference for the eDM strategy.
List hygiene (ewww)
The sky is really the limit on the design and messaging side of email marketing and companies show time and time again that creativity pays off.
However, there’s also a more boring side to this coin, which is managing your list of recipients. It takes methodical diligence and without it even the best email marketer can fail.
Bounce rates – which refers to the number of emails that are rejected or returned to the sender – should stay below 3%. If you get notification of a bounced eDM then you need to remove that email address from your recipient list; and the same for anyone who clicks to unsubscribe.
Never send to a stale list – though it might seem harmless enough, there’s a greater chance of higher bounce rates and being marked as spam, which will only reflect on your send reputation. If your reputation becomes really bad, then you risk Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor shutting your account down.
To improve email deliverability you can:
Avoid spammy content. Don’t overuse CAPS or include unnecessary punctuation and symbols in subject lines, as this can trigger spam filters.
Use a double opt-in process for new subscribers to your list. This prevents bots spamming website subscribe forms with bogus subscribers.
Ensure the unsubscribe process is simple and easy – don’t try to hide it; and remember that some ‘unsubscribes’ are both normal and healthy.
Ensure domain authentication: this is very important for your deliverability especially as inbox security and filtering become more sophisticated.
The tip of the iceberg
There’s a lot to get right in doing a really great job of email marketing – we’ve only just skimmed the surface in this article.
The point to reiterate – and also end on – is that great email marketing needs an all-round approach. Inventive design and a well-executed message will only get you so far.
To stand out in this realm, you need to start with strategy – which means using data to better understand your ‘audience’. There’s a famous marketing quote that says it all: ‘When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.’ Through data analysis, categories of customers can be segmented and then targeted with personalised messages – messages that speak more directly to them, as individuals.
While this approach to email marketing may take more thought, planning and time, all of the evidence suggests it’s worth it. Return on investment is not only higher on a campaign by campaign basis, but over the long run too. A strategic approach to email marketing will see brands build better reputations for providing their customers with valuable, interesting and useful content over time.
At Rock, it’s our job as a digital agency to stay up-to-the-minute on all of the elements that come together to achieve email marketing success – that means being on top of latest trends, changing technologies, and email benchmarks. If you’re interested in learning more about how we do email marketing – or digital marketing more broadly – then please get in touch for a chat. This is our area of specialty and we’re passionate about doing it well.