With the onset of a digital era in the early 1990’s to 2000’s, one major platform for communication and expression rose above all others into prominence—emails. This method of complex instant messaging gave users the ability to combine text, media, graphics, and other such tools in order to get a personalized message across to the recipient.
More Email Marketing Related Articles from HVMA:
► How To Transform Information Into Cash
► Eye-Catching Email Marketing Tactics
► Powerful Welcome Emails – 80% Or Higher Opening Rates
► 2020 Email Marketing Guide
Most importantly, it forged a new avenue that bridged brands and companies to audiences and individuals across the globe, removing the physical obstacles within the sales and marketing process. This was it. Now people have an innovative form of digital communication that provided a basis for web marketers and e-commerce merchants to directly pitch their goods and services off of to online subscribers who then, in turn, seamlessly associated/interacted with their favorite brand names who they trusted.
Today, this process has become even more refined and potent, with email marketing campaigns operating efficiently to subtly draw in curious consumers with tantalizing discounts or personalized diction that drive purchases. Custora E-Commerce Pulse reported that in 2020, emails accounted for 19.8% of all transactions, just behind paid search (19.9%) and organic traffic (21.8%) (Barilliance, 2020). Most marketers still prioritize email marketing as a major outlet, as its precedence over other forms of communication within digital marketing still reigns supreme.
The associated email lists have also become one of the greatest sources of potential income and conversions, simultaneously targeting individuals with relevant information while also garnering their interest in the company’s offerings. As such, powerful assets like email lists tend to be soaked in user data, metrics and vast insights into their recipients. Did you know that current data prices have exceeded the price of oil? Emails have evolved into literal cash sources for organizations who can properly utilize them….or can they?
SHOOTING IN THE DARK—UNDERSTANDING EMAIL LISTS
Unfortunately, even with such a robust communication domain and the expansive user analytics involved, many firms are falling flat and wondering why they see little to no lead generation in spite of great open rates. This is just one of many several problematic gaps which modern marketers are attempting to fill within the email marketing terrain. Namely, the issue of transforming your email lists and subscribers into regularly paying customers. Remember—not everyone who subscribes to you opens your emails, let alone clicks through to the website.
Converting dormant leads is a tough process, but shooting out more emails or buying more user’s addresses won’t solve the problem. We still know that monetizing your email list is mandatory for most brands in their marketing strategy stack, but what is the foremost method to accomplishing that? Rather than focusing on short-term goals, attune your efforts to building subscribers through a customer journey that puts them at the center.
Making your customer feel special and attended to can elicit profitable reactions to drive conversions and boost revenue—however, those occur! Instead of asking how to convert email lists into customers, the better question is to ask: How can I transform intonation into cash? Email marketing has shifted from the traditional spam-all, fill-in-the-name style of web marketing towards creating a conversation with your customers and addressing their needs, specifically, while maintaining a unified and easily maneuverable user interface.
Therefore, the intelligent modern marketer must use the right metrics and data analysis methods to obtain the clearest understanding of who their audience is, uncover their actual needs rather than throwing features and products at them and understanding where the opportunities lay in providing consumers with true benefit and inherent value. So, how exactly can you do all this? Why does it really matter, and where can these approaches take your brand? Read on to find out!
FIGURE OUT WHAT’S IMPORTANT: EMAIL CONVERSION RATE VS OPEN RATE
So far we’ve taken in the implicit significance of email marketing, email lists and the direct benefit they can provide businesses in their marketing efforts. However, we must also understand that simply addressing shortsighted figures such as “open rates” isn’t enough to quantify success or provide a threshold for growth (open rates being the ratio of users who opened an email versus those amount of emails confirmed as delivered). Such an arbitrary and opaque metric does little to give way to appreciating a customer’s preferences, needs or tastes, and equipping a business owner or marketing team with the know-how to address that customer’s needs accordingly. It just tells you, “Okay, I sent 200 emails that were delivered and 20 were opened.”
So what? Do those individuals care for your email? Did they advance further in the marketing funnel, or did they lose interest and unsubscribe? Analyzing these minute details can aid companies with precisely what they need to avoid lame branding pitfalls and siloed strategies. After all…don’t we all hate to receive the same obnoxious mail again and again from a brand that is tone-deaf to you? Paying attention to customers and letting them know that you care can yield powerful results in affirming their trust in your company, and potential future engagements.
If open rates can’t do the trick, there’s another, more robust metric that will. Abbreviated as CR, an email conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who complete a desired goal. Now, the desired action and the denominative figure aren’t locked in…and here’s the key; Your actionable response depends on your specific conversion goal. Also, a true ROI from a campaign can only be ascertained if your emails convince recipients to complete a desired action, whatever that action is. Do you want them to subscribe? Perhaps you would just like a response back, or to secure a completed purchase! Great. That’s your desired action. But it’s not quite that easy.
Email conversion, being a nuanced metric, entails a business leader to effectively understand from what base they are comparing to. Are you considering all of the email sent within a campaign, or just those that were confirmed to have been opened, or at the very least, delivered? Defining your base with a logical approach is key in the process of orienting your brand amongst all the noise in email marketing. Using sent emails, for example, will provide stability in the statistics but will also be skewed by the dependent factors of subject line effectiveness, timing of deliverance, and the email’s copy itself.
On the contrary, using the number of click-throughs will set a control over all the aforementioned variables (since it skips the stage of a customer deciding whether to open it or not) but rather be sensitive to the effectiveness of product/landing pages, the quality of your offer, and the level of friction between your offer and how it aligns with a segment’s needs.
WHAT’S BEHIND A GOOD EMAIL CONVERSION RATE—IF THAT EVEN EXISTS?
So you’re probably wondering, “Okay, email conversion rates are the way to go. Great, but how do I know when I’ve succeeded? What’s a good CR?” You might think case studies, research statistics and so forth might give you a solid number to aim for…right? Well, not quite. There isn’t a real answer to that question—at least, not in the general sense. The only way to understand the best CR is to understand the metric’s inherent design.
Marketers can’t just assign a best value to it because the conversion rate depends on factors unique to your own company that make assigning averages null. Actions such as the desired conversion action (as mentioned earlier) average offer price, and, in particular, the type of email being analyzed all contribute to your overall email marketing infrastructure. They are niches to your organization and your own! Therefore, attempting to compete with another firm’s CR number is a futile and redundant effort. The only way to truly achieve solid email campaign conversion rates is to analyze your own data, discerning the weak points, and optimizing your approach to boost the CR.
Instapage says it best, “…the only good conversion rate is simply one that’s higher than your current one.” Now, while there are industry benchmarks and average historical rates one could peruse over, these stats are skewed by natively dependent factors. These may be variations in industry, geographical location, company size, bulk email provider, and so on. For example, an analysis table from GetResponse of landing page conversions by industry ranked legal services and publishing amongst the top hitters with upwards of 13% CR, while retail and financial services ranked under 6%. However, neither of these numbers are necessarily indicative of a particularly poor or super stellar conversion ratio.
Contributing factors within each company’s individual situation affect their numbers, rendering comparison essentially useless. In further analysis, B2B companies in fact carry a lower overall conversion rate over B2C brands, mainly due to a higher average check. User engagement, on the other hand, was traced to lower open and click-through rates on fashion and apparel industries, but higher for non-profits. Segmentation by type of email can also be a huge, if not one of the biggest contributors to varying CR numbers.
In a Barilliance table analysis, browser abandonment emails were found to convert at a mere 4.10%. But considering the nature of browsing abandonment emails…that kind of makes sense. They probably abandoned their search for a reason! However, once customers demonstrate an affinity to purchasing, emails convert at a much higher rate. The most conversions? By the “Email My Cart” type. These emails converted at almost 25%, clearly depicting a large customer intent to purchase. Evidently, there’s more to email conversion and a ‘good rate’, than meets the eye.
Diving one final layer deeper, we can attain an ever stronger metric to uncover the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily about the open rate or click rate, which give way to little critical insight about the user and their online footprint. The click-through rate, or CTR, however, is a basic metric that most professional email providers utilize and can yield amazing results to push your lead conversions. CTR is calculated by taking the total number of site visitors who clicked through on an email (sometimes a link or jump to a matching landing page) divided by the total number of sent or delivered emails (delivered being a stronger base).
This analytical gem allows marketers to fully appreciate the effectiveness of their messaging efforts and understand why a certain user may have been drawn to click a link, or where they may have left off within the funnel. But, what about all the people who didn’t even open the email? Isn’t including them in the denominator a little…messy?
Presenting the final and most insightful metric of all—CTOR, or click to open ratio! This analytic is expressed by comparing the number of individuals who actually opened the email to the number who clicked through to a site jump. A much narrower metric it focuses on the quality of the email copy, the body of text or media content, and even external variables such as subject line and delivery. Both metrics possess the ability to give way to deep insights into buyer segmentation, marketing best practices and personalization techniques embedded in the email that may perform accordingly.
Improving your click through ratios is entirely dependent on your ability as a marketer to craft cohesive, digestible and relatable messages to each recipient. In a study published by Aberdeen, analysts found that leveraging personalization within email copy boosted CTR by upwards of 14%. Going further and including dynamic product suggestions can shoot click through by over 35%! So, how do you imbue a personalized outfit within your email campaigns, and what can it lead to?
PERSONALIZING YOUR EMAIL MARKETING EFFORTS
At its root, a robust email marketing campaign contains effective, personal subject lines tackling multitudes of users. However, it also compels prospects to open the emails with specifically procured subject lines or inner content that provokes them to click through and ultimately convert. Campaigns need to target the right audience for transforming the information from your email list into potential customers.
In the last three years, as reported by Barilliance, this metric has remained steady, due in part to its innate resonance with effective segmentation and messaging. In a CampaignMonitor research study, analysts found personalization has bolstered open rates by up to 26% by simply adding the recipient’s name in the subject line—a very well known yet supremely effective tool! In the end, however, a marketing team’s efforts to personalize emails are only as good as the data they possess, and so the collection of this information and data can be crucial in developing a strong underlying marketing workflow.
Now, to make this system easier to understand, we dive in below into the major macro-level steps necessary to creating and maintaining an effective email marketing strategy. By utilizing the email lists you currently have and integrating them with segmentation, personalization and an accurate targeting/messaging infrastructure, your brand can become equipped with the intelligence to use this time-tested yet newly-renovated form of digital marketing to its fullest potential!
Understanding Your Subscribers’ Needs
Grant Cardone, the renown sales industry expert, claims that the only reason people ever buy anything is attributed to one factor and one factor only—to solve a problem! All of your subscribers within an email list operate in the same manner—so uncovering and fulfilling their needs must remain a top priority! If targeting the right consumers with the right deals, messages and offers within a super-responsive and relevant email is the objective…well, wouldn’t knowing what those people actually need be the smart move?
If you don’t offer products or services that do their job of actually solving problems, your brand will continuously grapple with the lead conversion and revenue generation process. As such, the keys to this maze lie within understanding your audience’s needs, the biggest problems and challenges they’re currently facing, and their current goals and objectives. This sales and marketing fundamentalism can be then used as qualitative data to develop products and/or services that address and tackle these problems.
From there, it’s just a matter of communicating this resolution to your subscribers. But how does one procure the answers to these aforementioned questions? Options such as customer service or sales calls, drawing from warm audience lists (without buying or spamming) constructing free e-books or other value-driven freebies, lead generation advertising, subscription boxes and customer support emails are all avenues and gateways toward building a meaningful conversation and two-way channel with your customer.
And the best way from there, is to ask them about their problems or challenges directly! Consumers yearn transparency with the companies and brands around us—whether we realize it or not. As such, if you as a business owner or marketing head can initiate that spark, a seamless network of data flow can transpire soon after.
Segmenting Your Email List
The worst mistake to make at this point is to start blasting out generic, one-sized-fits-all marketing campaign emails to everybody on the email list. Not only will this probably drive a lot of potential repeat customers and conversions away, it directly damages your own brand’s reputation for its tone-deafness toward audiences. People are only interested in products or services that are relevant to them—and the more relevant, the better!
If you take out the time to carefully segment your email list, which means breaking it down to smaller, more focused and more manageable groups, you will see more superior results in your targeted marketing efforts. This leads to more relevant content being sent with the best offers to the most receptive consumers on your list. Conversion rates will rise, and your profit margins will grow! One study, as reported by Instapage and CampaignMonitor, found that segmenting email lists and campaigns can generate over a 760% increase in revenue!
This massive surge is attributed to a much stronger relevancy factor, more robust email quality and enhances open and conversion rates. Email segmentation can help retain current subscribers within your marketing funnel, and maintain a smooth level of engagement over long periods of time. So, how exactly does segmentation work? The best method is to start right away! As soon as a subscriber joins, you determine in which category or subgroup they best fit into.
By creating and presenting targeted opt-ins within the current email content offer, marketing teams can properly ascertain who the user is, identify what their needs or problems are and address them accordingly—while simultaneously understanding their place within the framework. Most often, this could be driven by behavioral segments, or segmentation techniques based on a customer’s previous online actions and drawn from historical data.
This allows marketers to design an email which has content proven to work on that person, as it had before! Other segmentation criteria could revolve around demographics, psychographics, purchase history, browsing activity, and particularly, their stage within the overall marketing funnel, are all pertinent and powerful facets of a potential conversion that you need to know.
Personalizing Your Email Marketing Campaigns—The Right Way!
Email marketing efforts should always be designed with one important factor in mind—the customer’s viewpoint. Ask yourself questions such as: What problems are the customer trying to solve? And how might they feel about your solution…apprehensive, or eager? Well, first off, if they’re already subscribing to you, that must mean you garnered some level of interest out of them. However, in order to truly get through to them, you must address your solutions in a way that tackles their problems. This can be done in a few different ways. Start with the email subject line. Constructing powerful subject lines begins with following some best practices, such as including a preheater text with short yet relevant information.
Placing a clear call-to-action within the body of text can also do wonders. Of course, always include your recipients’ names in the subject line, and kick the funnel off by laying down the foundation for a meaningful conversation. Ensure your content matches their stage in the funnel. 96% of organizations claim that email personalization has given them an edge in email marketing performance. Aligned with segmentation, personalization and deep data analytics, understanding how and where your customer came across your brand, your product or your subscription button can place you right at their doorstep—rather than fighting the current.
Figure out factors such as the time since the person subscribed to you, historical open/click through rates, past purchase actions, or average order value to draw a clear picture of how to best approach your customer. Then develop an accordingly appropriate message, figure out the timing and hit the nail on the head—gently, of course. Initiating a conversation with a warm welcome email, cart or browsing abandonment checkup, or even post-purchase confirmation can revitalize the audience’s trust in your brand and that you care for them—genuinely.
Sales funnels function off of four basic stages: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. While the titles may be self-explanatory, ensuring even design within your content workflow can be the difference in an irate online user and a delighted one. Helpful, high quality content involved within an engaging sales funnel should be the initial objective, and once their needs are identified, you deliver them an offer. Another very powerful method of inciting a personalized email campaign is by automating emails.
Sending emails one-by-one, handmade, is virtually impossible—especially due to the sheer number of consumers a company would be targeting, personally. If all those people want (and believe they deserve) relevant messages and want them now, those answers must be delivered in a very timely manner. By designing a framework that allows for automated firing of emails based off certain triggers, such as opt-ins, clicking certain links or perusing specific web pages, you can jump onto quick-fire opportunities and never miss the windows.
Study customers as they progress about their journey, analyze their online behaviors and contact them at exactly the right moment, when it’s most relevant—especially if they’re about ready to fall down the funnel. It’s a no-brainer method to drive engagement and secure more conversions.
More Data-Driven Marketing Related Content from HVMA:
► The Future Of Personalization in Digital Marketing
► Using Identity Resolution To Create A 360-Degree View Of Your Customers
► Omnichannel Marketing – The Ultimate Marketing Pathway
The final and most important part of the process? Review and feedback. Without capturing the data created and the campaigns endeavored, a marketing team would never be able to understand if their attempts and methods worked! Keep a close eye on fluctuations within your click-through rates, conversions, and email open rates. Track these metrics to identify problematic numbers, areas and swiftly devise operations to fix them.
Low open rates could be attributed to a poorly developed subject line, or that the email copy looks spammy. A critical issue that immediately halts the movement of the customer journey! On the other hand, low click-throughs may mean issues within personalization, segmentation or accuracy of relevancy. Regardless, all these are high-impact metrics that can both grow as you improve, or reflect upon major weakness points.
Email lists are invaluable resources for the modern digital marketer that are shimmering with powerful data, robust insights and instant revenue generation. Ultimately, however, they are all attributed to one thing: understanding and accordingly targeting your customer with relevant messages in a timely manner. If this can be accomplished by your brand, then there is no limit to your potential growth!