Top 10 Email Marketing Secrets: Part 2
A Five-Part Series on How to Use Email Marketing for Your Business
Part 2: Automation, Analytics, and Sweating the Small Stuff
Welcome back to our Five-Part Series on How to Use Email Marketing for Your Business. Short answer: It’s easy. By now, we’ve covered the importance of reaching customers through personalized email campaigns, the power of social media networking, and how the right frequency and timing can really impact your ROI.
This round, we touch on automation (making your already-great email marketing campaigns even more efficient and effective), analytics (everybody needs a system of checks and balances), and the oft-overlooked details (subject lines, content, all the meat and potatoes).
Let Automation Work for You
You’ve probably seen the statistics: Digiday says 57.9% of respondents in a survey in April 2015 said automation would save time mining consumer insights, 44.9% collecting and managing visual media; Epsilon says automated emails get a staggering 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails; eMarketer tells us that B2C marketers who connect with customers through automated emails see conversion rates as high as 50%. The numbers go on, but they all add up to one thing: Email marketing automation works.
So, what is it? Put simply, email marketing automation refers to the software designed to help prioritize and execute marketing tasks in a more streamlined way. Think of email marketing automation as the eye-popping window display that drives traffic into your business, converts that traffic into leads, and closes those leads into customers. In short, it’s generating revenue for your company through an automated system.
Here’s the thing: Email marketing automation allows marketers to do more with less. Automate and schedule personalized email campaigns to best accommodate subscribers and potential subscribers. Use autoresponders (offered by email marketing platforms like Aweber and MailChimp) to follow up with customers, keep them interested and coming back, build customer loyalty, and, ultimately, make sales. Set up triggered cart and browser abandonment emails (according to Ometria, cart abandonment emails sent within 20 minutes, reminding customers what they’d left behind, saw an average 5.2% conversion rate). Gain insight into (and, therefore, control over) which elements of data are the most valuable to your business, giving you the information to act upon the results.
Analytics: Beyond the Click
Analytics is like the brain behind your email marketing campaign. Essentially, email marketing analytics monitor different data sources for your company, including the email marketing campaign data (the when, where, and to whom your emails were sent), website data (what happens when customers click your email links and visit your website, and when they leave), and your company cross-channel outcomes data (various customer behaviors, such as lifetime value). Like everything else in the business world, it’s essential to measure end-to-end effectiveness.
Companies like Campaign Monitor make it easy to track the success of your email marketing metrics. Through the use of UTM variables (parameters added to the end of email links—these can be added manually, with the Google Analytics URL Builder, or automatically), Google Analytics will tell you exactly where your traffic is coming from. Next, you can set up what’s called an Advanced Segment. This acts as a filter, allowing you to clearly see data in your Analytics reports, such as whether visitors clicked-in from an email or a search. Finally, it’s time to review your reports. Google Analytics offers a few options in terms of detailed reporting: Real-Time (watch click-throughs and other activity as it happens in real-time), Overview (compare the amount of traffic a particular email marketing campaign drives versus overall traffic, etc.), Campaign (compare all of your email marketing campaigns at once), and Behavior Flow (exactly what it sounds like: monitor the behavior of visitors to your site).
So, to recap: Analytics refers to the measurement and tracking of your online data and activity. This allows you to target your audience and send more effective emails, drive traffic to your website, and, ultimately, make more sales.
Sweating the Small Stuff
By now, we’ve discussed the importance of personalized, targeted emails (knowing your audience); the power of social media (organically increasing your digital footprint and data trail through sharing, Retweeting, and the like); getting your timing right (remember: time zones); doing more with less through automation; and keeping track of it all through analytics.
But all of this means very little if your content is not engaging, compelling, and succinct.
First of all, less is more. Keep emails short and to the point (read: minimal scrolling, if any). Calls to action should be clear (“Click for more!” “Buy Now!”), and recipients should be immediately (and easily) directed to your website. (Note: Once they reach your site, unnecessary clutter like links and confusing navigation will decrease conversions.)
The Radicati Group’s “Email Statistics Report” predicts about 2.8 billion email users by 2018. That’s a lot. These billions of users come from all over the world, but they share one common denominator: One of the first things they look at before deciding to open an email is the subject line. This is your first impression, and it’s up to you to make it count. Effective subject lines (read: ones that increase open rates) should be short and simple, personalized (if possible), constantly changing (in the case of newsletters and other periodicals), and, if the situation warrants, funny.
Helpful hint: MailChimp offers tools that not only help you write effective subject lines, but to test them as well.
Now, every email marketer’s nightmare is the SPAM folder. One simple way to avoid that proverbial no man’s land is to consult an exhaustive list of subject line words that trigger the SPAM filter. Here, is a handy shortlist of common offenders: