You did it right this time. You’ve done some research, you’ve taken the time to craft the perfect copy for an upcoming email offer, and you know you’re sending out your newsletter to people already interested in your small business.
Then you click send, watch the sales numbers—and the results just aren’t there.
Sound familiar? You know you need to spice up your email marketing campaigns to motivate your customers and generate new revenue. You’re just not sure how to do it. What’s the next step? Think outside your usual box. Below, we’ve put together some tips for small businesses in desperate need of an email marketing facelift:
Get More Out of your Transactional Emails
According to Experian, people are 8 times more likely to open a transactional email than any other type of email. That includes emails from Grandma. Not too shabby.
What does this mean for you? It’s time to start jam-packing those transactional emails with up-sells, handy links, and plenty of places for your customers to explore.
Think about it: if you’ve ever trusted a business enough to order from them, you’re more likely to check up on your own order than hear their latest suggestions on what you should buy. You’re interested in what’s happening for you—not what the company thinks you should interest you. Start packing those transactional emails with ways for customers to explore your business, because those are the emails people actually like to open.
One important note: As with many email marketing tactics, there are rules here. Make sure you investigate the CAN-SPAM Act to make sure everything you do is in accordance with government regulations.
Stop with the One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Wonder why your meticulous email strategy isn’t working? It may be that your strategy isn’t as meticulous as you thought. In fact, you might be using a carpet-bombing strategy that only occasionally hits its mark when you should opt for something a little more subtle instead.
Some statistics suggest that triggered email campaigns—that is, a campaign that’s triggered by something more specific than a general newsletter signup—are more effective than the general newsletters you send out. The logic is sound. People want information relative to them and their tastes. “One-size-fits-all” won’t cut it in a digital economy.
Campaign Monitor says that some 53% of emails—that’s the majority, for those of you counting at home—are opened when the user is on a mobile device.
Maybe it’s the fun click of the icons. Maybe it’s the home page alert. Maybe it’s the buzz your phone makes. Whatever it is, it’s clear there is something far more effective to mobile emails. So take the time to make your emails mobile-friendly. The people browsing your email on a smart phone should be able to read your offer clearly—too much distraction and it only takes a thumb-swipe to delete it. Spicing up your campaigns means maximizing the opportunities you already have, which means it’s time to stop making assumptions about which devices your audience uses most.
It’s a time-honored tradition in email marketing by now: the more personal the email is, the more likely it is that it will have an impact. Who wouldn’t want to see their own name on an email rather than Dear User…?
Today’s cloud email software packages make it easy to add personalization to your emails, including the following tools:
But here’s the key: use the tools at your disposal to increase personalization. The more your customer feels like they’re an important part of your world, the more likely they are respond positively to tips, recommendations, and even upsells.
Measure the Right Variables
Spicing up an email campaign isn’t only about what you can do. It’s also about what you can measure. If you aren’t measuring the right things, you’ll have no idea if you’re succeeding or not.
What exactly are the right things? Here are a few examples:
- Opening rates: How often is your email opened, and how often is it simply ignored?
- Conversion rates: What is the rate at which your emails generate clicks on a certain goal, whether it’s viewing a landing page or clicking a product? This gets to the heart of how effective your emails are.
- Unsubscribing rates: How often do users unsubscribe because of a recent email? And why?
Each of these variables tells you exactly what customers are doing not because of their feedback, but because of their behavior. And you’ll notice that word “rates” is used in all three variables. That’s because it’s far more accurate to measure rates than it is the total amount—you’ll get a far more accurate picture of which emails are succeeding and which are failing.
Get a Little Wacky
Over time, it’s only human to settle into a few boring habits. You start planning your email subject lines with minimal forethought, inserting only key information without any flair or personality whatsoever.
The problem? Wacky works much better.
Fun emails are more intriguing. Wacky subject lines are more likely to entice your subscribers. This isn’t to say that you should start writing copy that’s wacky for the sake of wacky. But as you plan your campaigns, really take the time to consider what might entice your customers. What’s the most fun possible way you can start? What’s a good way to make a dramatic entrance?
Repeat after me: It’s okay to automate. Even though the word “automation” conjures up conflicting feelings in the mixed 21st century economy, there’s no doubt that automating your emails can be a good thing. You want your customers to receive automated emails that confirm their purchases. You want them to feel like they’re in your system. In fact, it’s expected.
What you don’t want to lose for all this automation is the personal touch. You also don’t want to lose out on opportunities for upselling, encouraging your customers to share their feedback, or the zillions of other little links you can plug into your automated email messages. The key? Make use of your time. Don’t use the paint-by-numbers approach.
Really take the time to make your automated emails special. Those are the emails, after all, that will continue to move across the networks even while your small business sleeps. Those are sometimes the emails that make sales—without even charging a commission.