Engagement (formerly the middle): Email marketing strategies for this phase deliver education and then point to a product’s benefits, offering a gentle sales lead. Customers have a growing interest in your product, but some might stay in the engagement phase for a while—perhaps visiting your social media pages to find out more about the product before purchasing. If customers are going to abandon the sale, it’s likely to be in the engagement phase, which is where re-engagement email campaigns come in.
Messages which require online action work better in email than DM (direct message on social media), whereas calls-to-action to text to a shortcode or download a mobile app work fine within a DM. RFM and response analysis will indicate channel preference since customers with a preference for specific online channels will be more responsive in them and will make more purchases online.
Activation: A new user creates an account but, they do not use your product within the first 7 days. Create an “activation” campaign that sends an automated email with their login information, steps on how they can get started and include a video demonstration for additional support. You can also invite them to a one-on-one meeting to walk them through the product and answer any questions they may have.
Think about mobile. If a campaign doesn't show up on mobile devices, it's not going to perform very well. Everything you send should be mobile-friendly. Check out ReturnPath's "Email in Motion" infographic for some data that might affect the way you design your emails. One of the highlights: According to the study, 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either close or delete an email that's not optimized for mobile. Might be time to start using a responsive template.
Only send email if you have something to say. This one seems obvious, but too many companies start email newsletters with no plan and nothing to say. Email is simply a way to publish content—the content itself has to come first. Before starting a newsletter, make sure it's a sustainable commitment that will help you achieve your business goals. Otherwise, you'll be wasting your subscribers' time and your own time. Ask yourself: What's the goal for this kind of communication? What do we have to say? How will we measure success? Send thoughtful newsletters, and keep the focus on your company's message.
Alternatively, at least, an eye-catching design. It’s worth letting a proper designer have a go at prettifying your emails. Customers are often opening emails on the go, so you need to work hard to grab their attention. Making your emails nice to look at is a brilliant way to hold their eye. Netflix put time and effort into making their emails stand out, personally and visually – and it pays off for them!
Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it's too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.
Even if you’ve already got a long list of emails for clients and prospects, you should never stop adding to it. Especially since it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. For example, make sure your list is always growing passively with a signup feature on your website. Subscription forms should be on your home page, blog page and everywhere else you can fit it without taking away from more important content.
Will people understand what you’re trying to say? It’s usually better to avoid topics (or opinions) that are complex if many people are extremely passionate about them. For example, sharing almost any opinion about immigration policy is usually a bad move, unless your audience is unusually homogenous. You could agree 99% with someone and still piss them off by using the wrong term just because they have such a strong “either you agree 100% with us, or you’re our enemy” mentality. I once pointed out that I think it’s unacceptable to capture and torture people for years—especially if they aren’t charged with any crime, there’s no evidence they’ve done anything wrong, and they’re children. I got several emails back from people saying, “you have no idea what you’re talking about” or “you should stick to marketing and leave politics to people who understand it.” They took it as commentary on geo-politics. I just said I’m not okay with pointless torture of children. I thought we’d all agree on that.
Technology has a significant impact on consumers’ expectations, and those expectations impact how subscribers engage with your email marketing. Brands need to continually demonstrate that they know their customer, which can make it a challenge to stay on top of the evolving context of marketing. An email strategy can make all the difference between building a relationship with your customers and sinking without trace.