The death of email is probably one of the most over-reported stories ever. It might be one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, but here's proof that it is still alive and kicking: Email marketing drives an impressive ROI of 4200%, generating $42 for every $1 spent.
The numbers make it clear that every online retailer should be investing in this personal and powerful form of communication with customers or risk losing out on substantial revenue. So yes, it rightfully deserves a place in every marketer's toolbox.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is sending promotional messages in mass quantities that typically generate leads or sales. Marketers aren't the only ones enjoying this channel's success; users are too. Email is the preferred method of communication among many customers.
According to Marketing Sherpa, 83% of consumers prefer emails over social media to receive promotional content. Therefore, email is your marketing best friend unless you have the human resources or the capacity to build a personal relationship with each prospective client individually.
How does email marketing work?
In email marketing, you focus on providing valuable content to your target audience. It's all about relevance and sending the right message to the right person at the right time.
Unless you are marketing something as specific as a medication or nutritional supplement, email marketing works best when it is personalised. Sending promotional material to people who haven't expressed interest in your brand will likely result in an opt-out.
With email marketing, you create connections, so you don't have to worry about algorithm changes bombing your reach. Modern email marketing is focused on consent, personalisation, and segmentation instead of one-size-fits-all messages.
An email marketing campaign, even in its most basic form, requires three essential elements to perform well:
Clearly defined goals
You can use email marketing campaigns to achieve your business goals--driving sales, increasing customer loyalty, engagements, and generating or nurturing leads.
Email subscriber list
An email subscriber list is a database of contacts who have expressed their interest in receiving news from your company. Your email list is an important asset that makes your email marketing possible.
Email service provider
An email service provider (ESP), or what is also known as an email marketing platform, is a software automation tool that helps manage your email list and send scheduled messages to your subscribers. It allows you to automate your funnel that is triggered by specific customer behaviours. ESP will enable you to tailor your emails to specific audiences in the customer journey. This way, it can help you to come up with a seemingly personalised interaction.
Remember that subscribers should have a reason to look forward to hearing from you from time to time, so ensure that all three elements are aligned.
Email marketing trends
Creating email campaigns in line with the latest email marketing trends ensures that your brand effectively captures your customers. You need to stay up to date with the latest changes in this industry to acquire more subscribers and generate more sales.
Here are seven email marketing trends to start you off on your journey:
#1 Welcome email series
A welcome email series focuses on promotional campaigns directed to new subscribers. This campaign is considered one of the best and is by far the cheapest way of motivating your prospects to check out what you offer and convert them into paying customers.
This campaign generates more than 320% of revenue compared to other kinds of email campaigns, thus, making it the most effective type of email campaign alongside abandonment emails. They also have the highest open rate of 31.4% and can increase the click rate by 196% and a click-through rate of 26.9%.
An excellent welcome series has three critical elements: personalisation, proper timing, and clear CTAs.
Segmenting your customers into groups can help you make more money. By marketing to different segments of people, businesses can reach out and touch specific target audiences with similar needs or wants based on particular criteria. Personalised emails are also known to have a 6x higher conversion rate.
Many subscribers expect a welcome email within 48 hours. You can get an email campaign service provider to operate the automation for you and consistently land in the inbox of your new customers minutes after their subscription.
Clear CTAs (Call-to-Action)
Having clear CTAs in your emails is a must. As you add more subscribers to your list, you need to give them a clear idea of what they should do next upon receiving your email. To encourage them to subscribe, you can offer vouchers or discount codes.
#2 Engagement emails
On average, 300 billion emails are exchanged every day, which is why standing out is not an option; it's the only choice. The level of engagement changes depending on the audience, so make sure that when you come up with a digital marketing strategy, you also measure how various tactics can affect the different types of audiences.
Usually, people cut through their emails, from personal correspondence to spam, and then everything else falls in between. According to Campaign Monitor, emails containing promotional offers, sales, or discounts from a familiar brand usually have higher open rates followed by new products from brands they love or trust than newsletters they are excited about. Last is where a new, unfamiliar brand comes in. Hence, you need to cultivate affection for your brand and make your prospects feel as if they already know you.
Something that also falls under this bracket is the re-engagement email. Re-engagement emails are for your inactive subscribers where you feel as if you have exhausted your subject lines and content, yet you're still left in the unread zone.
A study by Salesforce revealed that 63% of marketers said that re-engagement email marketing campaigns are very effective. By sending a re-engagement email, you can see those who are interested and likely to generate some immediate sales.
The key then to a successful marketing plan is to keep your customers at the core of your efforts, providing them with surprise, delight, and value.
#3 Hyper-personalised automated email campaigns
In hyper-personalised emails, the focus is on psychology. Marketers have the potential to increase their open rate by 28% when they create an email with a subject line containing the subscriber's name.
Hyper-personalised automated email campaigns enable businesses to personalise the content in each email by highlighting the reader's interests and behaviour patterns. Personalisation allows subscribers to feel important and boost their desire to open your messages and stay connected with you.
#4 Abandonment emails
An abandon-ship email is a marketing campaign to re-engage subscribers who have unsubscribed from your list. Here are the two types of abandonment emails.
Browse abandonment email
Browse abandonment emails target users who were viewing products on your website but did not add any on their shopping cart. This is an opportunity to help your prospective customers to discover the right product for them.
You should send the first browser abandonment email 30 minutes after the users have abandoned their carts and the second one after 24 hours. It should include a short but engaging copy, their viewed products, and your best-selling items. And for a bit of icing, you can give a discount or a free shipping voucher.
Cart abandonment emails
Cart abandonment emails are follow-up emails to subscribers who have added items to their shopping cart but did not complete the purchase. Cart abandonment emails are more effective than browse abandoners because they target people who have already shown an interest in your products and are close to buying them.
The email should include attention-grabbing subject lines with engaging copies and a strong call-to-action or a social media share link to win back prospective buyers. This will ensure that your subscribers stay engaged even after they have abandoned their carts.
Timing is essential when running campaigns like these. The messages must be sent during the "first hour" that the cart has been abandoned + another 24 hours afterward. You can also choose to incentivise them with a discount or voucher.
Referral email campaigns
Referral emails are done in many businesses. It's a great way to invite new users and reward existing customers. According to BigCommerce, 74% of customers identify with word-of-mouth or referrals as key influencers in their purchasing decision. With such a significant number, it's not surprising why brands invest time in establishing good referral programs.
Up-sell and cross-sell emails
Cross-selling and up-selling are an essential part of the sales process that enables brands to drum up new revenue streams for their businesses. Both are related marketing and sales methods that increase the average order value of clients by suggesting more profitable items, services, upgrade options, and add-ons for an existing product.
This type of email marketing campaign should have a touch of personalisation with a strong call-to-action button. You might also consider including links, videos, or images where appropriate.
Up-selling emails are one way to increase the value of your baskets. An up-selling email encourages existing customers to purchase additional products that can add value on top of their current purchases. The idea behind this marketing strategy comes down to reading your customer data and knowing what type of customer would want such upgrades.
Cross-selling emails offer a related product or service that's complementary to the one your customers have already purchased. Cross-selling emails should contain several products you want to promote and send them out 4 hours after their first purchase. Cross-selling is more effective when done at the point of sale.
#5 Drip marketing
Drip marketing is a series of pre-written emails to be sent out automatically according to the predefined schedule. Businesses use it, for example, if they want to automatically send out emails based on particular actions their customers take, such as placing an order, engaging with customer service, or being inactive for a while.
Email drip campaigns are designed with the primary goal of making it easier for marketers to attract new subscribers (new sign-ups) and retain or grow their existing subscriber base by continuously delivering relevant content.
#6 AI for optimisation
Today, artificial intelligence can be used to customise marketing campaigns according to consumer preferences, behaviours, and trends. Marketing automation makes it possible to customise messages that are more relevant to recipients with dynamically generated content, creative images, video clips, etc.
Artificial intelligence aids marketers in determining when to send emails by determining the optimum time during which people are most likely to open their inboxes. Using AI for email marketing means brands can target the right demographics with highly personalised ads at scale.
#7 Including user-generated content
Taking advantage of user-generated content is not just limited to social media marketing. Brands are also leveraging the power of UGC for email campaigns.
User-generated images, videos, or other forms of creative work are a good way to boost trust in your digital platform. Most businesses prefer this type of content because it's authentic and relatable.
You can curate these materials by mining your own database or using third-party sites like Flickr, Tumblr, Reddit, etc., which already have huge volumes of public photos uploaded daily.
Overall, incorporating user-generated content into an email campaign can help build brand awareness by showcasing what others think about your products or services through light testimonials (with their approval) which build social proof.
#8 Adding gamification elements to your email campaign
Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage users by making them take actions like answering quizzes, puzzles, polls, etc.
For example, you can have a quiz about the products your subscribers are interested in or ask them for their opinions on what you should offer next. The options should be varied enough that it keeps people engaged while providing great information about the subscriber's preferences. This is an effective strategy to build deeper relationships with customers to turn them into advocates, resulting in higher sales conversions. The idea behind implementing gamification elements into your email marketing strategy is to add an entertaining touch to the equation while increasing customer engagement and generating more leads.
#9 Segmenting your list effectively
Email marketing best practices suggest marketers should maintain several different lists that allow them to send targeted emails using certain groups or segments of subscribers based on their previous interactions, demographics, interests, etc.
In other words, it's important to lay out a list of possible recipient types and create messages that are tailored accordingly. This method allows messages to be tailored depending on the recipient of the message.
#10 Mobile optimisation
Email marketers who are using HTML-based emails have the advantage of being able to create messages that can be easily read across all types of devices. Mobile optimisation is important because two-thirds of email opens happen on mobile.
Most email clients, particularly mobile ones, now offer an option to "display images automatically." This means marketers don't have to worry about missing out on potential subscribers if their messages are not mobile-friendly because this particular method guarantees successful delivery regardless of how users open their emails.
These days most businesses need easy and effective ways to stay in touch with customers without having to invest too much time or money into marketing campaigns. Considering the fact that more than half of online shopping experiences begin with an email sent directly by a company, it is safe to say that email marketing is still an extremely effective way for businesses of all sizes and niches to promote their products and build brand awareness.
Benefits of email marketing
Email marketing has a number of benefits that play a major role in making it one of the best digital marketing tools for small and mid-sized businesses. For example, when it comes to customer acquisition, it is 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined.
Several other benefits of email marketing include:
- Builds long-term customer relationships
- Email marketing allows businesses to build customer relationships over time through interaction, trust-building, and brand awareness, resulting in long-term gains instead of one-time transactions.
- Serves as a cost-effective marketing channel
- Email marketing presents cost-effective ways for businesses to promote their products or services by targeting their ideal audiences based on specific criteria (e.g., location, profession, age, social media behaviour, etc.).
- Enables data-driven monitoring
- Users can track the success of their campaigns and how it yields results for them via email marketing tools such as MailChimp and Google Analytics. Email marketing also allows businesses to collect and analyse data about the performance of their emailing campaigns and use this information for future digital marketing campaigns.
- Facilitates efficient direct marketing
- Email enables companies to target their prospects with highly personalised messages, which result in higher open rates and click-through rates than traditional promotional methods such as online advertising and social media marketing. Research shows that segmented and personalised campaigns increase the ROI by as much as 760%.
- Drives engagement and increase conversion rates
- Brands can generate higher engagement rates with their loyal customers and gain a competitive advantage by leveraging user-generated content. A study conducted by the University of Texas found that email marketing campaigns significantly impact sales conversion rates.
With the rising number of digital marketers, it has become more critical than ever to stand out in inboxes and be remembered by your audience. Email marketing might be one of the oldest tools in the shed. Still, it doesn't mean that it's not as powerful as any other tool in your modern-day marketing toolbox. In fact, email marketing has the power to deliver stellar results for your business -- provided you have the know-how on how to wield its power correctly.
If you haven't already started your email marketing campaign, take this as a sign to start writing!
Looking to up your email game?
In our free email marketing ebook, we reveal how you can drive impact in your customers’ inboxes. And trust us when we say this guide is truly comprehensive. From acquisition tactics to flow enhancements to landing page optimisations, we’ve got every facet of your email marketing strategy covered.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to reboot your brand, download our free handbook, packed with expert advice from UWP's Email Marketing Specialist, Chris Marcantonio.