For Email Marketing to be successful it must more than inform – it MUST engage
We receive countless emails everyday – some are welcome, many more are not. All have the same theme – providing information. But providing information shouldn’t be the number one goal of email marketing. Information is merely the vehicle to what should be the number one goal — Engagement. Informative content that proves engaging is the true test of an effective email campaign.
A digital conversation via email is no different than if you’re having an in person dialogue. Most everyone (especially those in sales and marketing) are keen to identify when a person they’re talking to is bored with the conversation. Whether they glance at their watch, begin to yawn, cross their arms, look over your shoulder, or worse – simply walk away.
The insight gained by reading body language during an in-person interaction is the same insight that marketing automation gleans from email message behavior – the digital body language.
Deliverability and open rates are important metrics. But those only touch the surface of engagement. I open just about all messages that hit my inbox, whether solicited or unsolicited. Of those I typically delete 80% in short order. For me (and many others) opening the message indicates curiosity more than interest. Sometimes I open out of obligation to the sender. Don’t place the entire value of an email campaign on whether I opened the message. Care more about whether I’ve actually engaged with the content by taking an action. If you’ve sent me a personal message and I respond then I was clearly engaged enough to take the action of responding. Newsletters and other distributed email marketing campaigns may not solicit a response but engagement can be determined by the call to action response within the message.
Many email marketing solutions, especially those which are free, merely manage contacts, send messages, and provide superficial analytics. But what’s the point of knowing the average open or click rate if it’s not mapped to the person who’s actually taken that action? Average rates don’t provide insight as to what a specific person – let’s say Ms. Smith does with your message. You need to know how Ms. Smith interacted – engaged – with the content in order to develop future messages that’ll be of worth to her. Otherwise you’ll soon receive an opt-out message from Ms. Smith because you weren’t speaking to her interests.
According to Hatchbuck, 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th time you follow up with a person. The sooner in the window you learn Ms. Smith’s interest, the sooner you can tailor messages specific to her. Deeper analytics on an individual basis is necessary to capitalize the 5-12 time window.
Marketing automation goes deeper than simple email marketing solutions. The technology provides insight beyond open and click rates, allowing you to know the person and their interests better. Not just ambiguous numbers that give general insight on the overall mailing list activity but actual information specific to a person on the list. Get to know Ms. Smith better.
• The time and day Ms. Smith opened the message – if she did at all
• The device and browser Ms. Smith used to view the message
• Which content had highest engagement prompting a call to action response
• The pages Ms. Smith visited on your website, how long the content was engaged
• And, the behavior that followed – not just at that time but anytime thereafter
Wouldn’t it be a great deal easier to craft a future message for Ms. Smith if you knew all that information and weren’t just guessing what was of greatest interest to her? I don’t know about you but I hate throwing things at the wall and hoping they’ll stick.
If actual behavior that results from an email campaign is tracked, you’re positioned to make better business decisions because you know what messaging actually motivated Ms. Smith to visit your website. The primary purpose of email marketing is to further engage individuals to attract them to your website so they learn more about your product or service. By visiting the website Ms. Smith moves further through the buying process – ultimately converting to a customer or better – a repeat customer.
How refreshing it’d be to receive email content that’s actually of context to me instead of random messages that are clearly meant for the masses. Email marketing shouldn’t be one size fits all. Messaging should be based upon how a person has or hasn’t engaged with past email content.
Segment your mailing list based on the email interaction and behavior on your website. Craft content accordingly for each segment. Listen to the digital body language. The secret to sending better email is knowing in advance what your audience wants to hear or learn from you.
Craft email content as dynamic and interactive, not static. The goal is to get the reader to your website so you can learn more about them. In the email provide a glimpse of the complete picture viewable on your site. Think like a journalist. The title should be compelling, the first sentences should be intriguing enough that prompts a click to your website to consume the entire content. Place the call to action where the content’s most magnetic to draw a person into your site.
Provide the ability to click in more than one area of your message. Link the title and images not just the “read more” (or whatever) call to action. Include share buttons and track whether those are being used. Someone sharing is a good indication you provided content of context. But most importantly leverage the power of marketing automation by tracking a person’s behavior once they enter the door of your website. They’ve walked in your digital storefront and where they wander within your site suggests how you should further engage them.
Hopefully you’ll secure the business early in your 5-12 touch point window. Some interactions will take 12 times but if you know what is of interest to a particular person you’ll close the business in fewer touch points because your engagement was better targeted.
Contact us for a No-cost, No-obligation digital performance assessment and learn how visitor website tracking converts email campaigns into bottom line growth for your business.
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