Is Email Marketing Still Relevant?
Updated: May 3, 2022
Despite its ill-conceived reputation as a dated method of marketing in the bright age of social media, email marketing has been known to help a brand achieve its targets! Time and again, it has proven its credibility by being cost-effective, driving more traffic and generating more sales in the process.
There’s no doubt about the fact that E-mail marketing was far more effective in the early 2010s , but there is a method to engaging with customers without being too noisy and intrusive. It’s all about the perfect balance.
At Nuance, we have worked with clients across different industries in the luxury and lifestyle space and have seen significant top-of-the-mind recall and an increase in traffic and revenue across the board.
In some cases, we have seen the overall revenue for a brand increase by almost 20-25% in a month courtesy effective E-mail marketing practices, while in other cases we have seen it work more as a channel than paid display and paid search channels.
Fortunately, the method speaks for itself. We are not here to make a case for email marketing but rather to help you alleviate your position with this tactic.
Having a healthy email list is necessary if you want to invite responses from the right audience. The trick, however, is turning it into an engaged one. Here’s how we optimize email marketing;
1. Capture leads whenever and wherever you can!
Without coming across as too desperate ofcourse. One of the biggest mistakes a lot of brands make is not capturing leads when they launch their brand. Loo
k for any opportunities you can to capture email addresses and phone numbers which can come handy across platforms in the future for email marketing, paid ads, Whatsapp broadcasts and SMS Marketing among others.
Capture leads across touch-points whether on your website, at an event, through a landing page or at your store/place of service.
2. Keep your mailing list relevant & engaged
It might be tempting to reach out to as many people - but what if they don’t reciprocate? Review your audience from time-to-time, and weed out the ones who don’t seem interested or engaged. In fact, such segmentation has helped us increase Open Rate by 30%. Moreover, you’re not spamming your audience, hence creating a more positive impression of your brand.
Try to identify patterns. Are certain people buying specific products only? Is there an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell?
Planning to send a mailer for an expensive product? Send it out to customers who have previously purchased products exceeding a certain AOV only.
Understanding your audience behaviour and building relevant funnels will go a long way in sending more targeted messages and hence reducing unsubscribe rates.
3. Your Subject & Byline
Begin as you mean to go on! Attractive copy, memorable and evocative lines, and emojis will guarantee that the reader is compelled to open the email. Keep it between 30 to 50 characters and you’re set. P.S. Talking about a sale or an incentive will never hurt!
Creating curiosity or writing something clickbaity will always help.Example: ‘You will never believe what we are about to launch!’ or ‘A special surprise awaits you!’
One trick that always works like a charm is creating FOMO. Talk about something limited edition or something that’s only available for a limited period of time. Example - ‘This _______ (product) generally sells out within 24 hours!’ or ‘Special surprise only till ______ (date)’
Tied up with a famous celebrity or influencer? Make sure you leverage their clout by talking about them in the subject line or byline.
Another very important thing to keep in mind is to ensure your subject line and byline go hand in hand and that there is no disconnect between the two.
4. Capture eyeballs above the fold
Keeping priority content such as the main intent and the call-to-action right above the fold is integral to driving interest - and has proven to increase CTRs.
Not a revolutionary insight of course but if you’re to look into heatmaps of your newsletters (a feature offered by Mailchimp and several other services), you will notice how 70-80% of people who open emails don’t make it past the above fold.
5. Timing is everything
To see success rate in email marketing, one has to engage with their audience at the right time and on the right day. Study your e-commerce data to analyse timing of purchases and city/country where maximum conversions are coming from. This will help you figure out when your audience is active - and strike while the iron is hot!
Two main takeaways: don’t forget to test and leave all assumptions at the door. What might have worked for Brand A might not necessarily work for Brand B!
For Example we have a brand that sees maximum open rates and purchases on a Sunday, whereas another brand records lowest purchases on a Sunday.
It’s also imperative to understand what is the ideal number of emails to send out per customer over the course of a month.
6. Use a memorable sender name
Your readers are more likely to actively open mails from a person than from what they assume is a company bot. Personalization makes communication easier and better.
You can also switch it up from time-to-time! Previously, we have used “Secret Santa” as our sender name before Christmas which saw a massive spike in open rates and even a celebrity’s name in order to get more eyeballs.
Every now and then, brands can also get their founders to send an email for important announcements to lend credibility and a bit of a personal touch. Works like a charm, especially if the brand is synonymous with its owners.
Personalization is everything! Mentioning the receiver's name, or mentioning a previous interaction you have had with them can help them connect with you better.
During my time at Dineout, we would often send out emails at the end of the year with a personalised summary of how many times they dined out, what their favourite restaurant and cuisine was and how much they spent at these restaurants increasing overall time spent on the email along with click throughs.
One of the brands I worked with also had access to birthday details and hence we would send an automated personalised happy birthday email for every customer, without fail, enticing them to make a reservation at one of our restaurants.
Zomato and Swiggy does this very well too. There is also an opportunity for upselling and cross selling. If someone has bought an iPhone, it’s possible they may want Airpods. If someone has bought a laptop, they may want sleeves & accessories.
Take this mailer by Swiggy for example, that has identified my primary location as Mahalaxmi Malabar Hill based on past transactions. Swiggy sent me an emailer with personalised recommendations from the area.
8. Keep it light
The nature of today’s digital presence is that readers don’t often take the time out to read. Making your email content-heavy might increase load times and hence increase bounce rates from emails.
If we are using HTML files for emailers, ensure they are not heavy. If we go ahead with templatised emails heavy with videos, gifs or any other media, ensure they do not take time to load
As far as language is concerned, it’s best to keep the communication crisp, direct and simple.
9. A/B Testing
It is staggering how so many brands still don’t use this feature. If you have an email to send out to 50000 subscribers, A/B test by sending a mailer out to 5k subscribers first to determine which subject, byline, sender name or even template works best.
Make sure that you only test one variable at a time and ensure that all other elements remain the same.
After the test runs its course after a few hours, send the winning combination to the remaining 45000 subscribers.
It’s unbelievable how often the winning variable is one that we did not expect to win!
10. Analyse data
At the end of the day, there is no one size fits all. Analyse data to extrapolate insights that will help your brand learn faster. Incorporate these learnings to improve the overall performance of your promotions as well as your online store.
There are so many different moving parts of an emailer that contribute to its success or failure. Make sure you create dashboard and update it regularly to determine the KPIs for each mailer as well as the overall performance of your account. Keep an eye out on:
You can also additionally analyse demographic data and user behaviour in terms of the ages and locations of customers and how they interact with emailers.
It won’t happen overnight but it’s important to test all possible factors impacting performance from headers, CTAs, subject lines, design, content segmentation, day of week, time of day and products.
Testing is the only way to make your own email marketing best practices, so you can see an improvement in performance week on week.
These are some of the most important measures to make your email marketing experience more of a success. Emails often get a bad rep, but more often than not, it is because the channel has not been used optimally. Don’t forget to experiment and be creative.
Needless to say, email marketing is not as effective without a steady brand universe built over time. Brands with higher customer affinity tend to enjoy better performances through email marketing. How does one build a brand universe you ask? Well, I thought you would never ask.
If you’d like to know more, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or @doshmeister on Instagram! I’d be more than happy to address any questions regarding E-mail marketing as a channel.