Top 5 tips for effective email marketing
Executing a robust email marketing strategy centred on the customer will play an important role in helping you to build lasting relationships with those customers. Getting it right involves delivering the content that most resonates with your readers which in turn provides cut-through against the plethora of other emails hitting people’s inboxes on a daily basis.
To celebrate the importance of email marketing excellence, dotmailer recently held its inaugural dotties awards ceremony, uniting the great and the good of the sector. Using this year’s winners as inspiration, I have put together five tips to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing.
Consider the user experience
According to Litmus’ 2016 Email Analytics report, 55% of emails are opened on a mobile device. While your individual results may differ, it is essential that you know the device profile of your readers and where appropriate adopt a mobile first design approach. This is where you consider the user experience (UX) of your emails, so that recipients can easily consume your content on a mobile device, but also on bigger format screens.
Men’s editorial magazine Mr Hyde, which produces articles on everything from the best places to eat to what to watch on television, has a mobile readership of 47 per cent. Earlier this year, their publisher Shortlist Media took on the challenge to change Mr Hyde’s email templates, ensuring that the quality of the mobile-friendly desktop site was replicated in its emails. The team adapted the existing designs so they were optimised for mobile users, which they did with so much success that the campaign is regularly held up as an example of mobile first best practice and scooped ‘Best Mobile Campaign’ at the 2016 dotties.
Use data effectively
Timely emails increase the likelihood that they will be read but for this to be effective, you need to read your contacts’ digital body language and use the data effectively.
For example, Slendertone a world leader in providing products that improve body shape and muscle tone, calculated that on average, people hit a motivational wall at around three to four weeks after starting to use the product. It usually takes around four to six weeks, however for users to start seeing results with the toning belts. Slendertone countered this by sending users a personalised email six days after their last session to encourage them to pick up their device again, witnessing a 21 per cent increase in product re-engagement.
First impressions count
It is often said that people’s first impressions are made up within the first eight seconds of meeting them. The same can be said for email marketing (except of course you have less than two seconds to make that impression): the from name and subject line are the first interaction that someone will have with your email, so they need to grab the reader’s attention.
It is best to have a from name that stands out and catches the reader’s eye but once you have a good one keep it consistent for each campaign to reinforce your brand. The subject line however, is probably the most important copy across the entire email.
A case in point is Alexandra, the UK’s leading workwear provider. By split testing different subject lines, they were able to determine which had higher open rates. The results showed that those which generated more curiosity to open with the reader, such as, 'Shh… see our exclusive sneak preview”, were significantly more successful than others.
Creativity is key
Of course getting the email opened is less than half the battle. You still have to engage the reader and ultimately get them to click through into your website. This can be done not only by adding photos or altering the font, but also by re-designing aspects of a familiar email.
This tactic was illustrated successfully by Shortlist Media, who revamped Mr Hyde’s daily emails, giving them a vintage look to coincide with the release of The Order, a computer game set in the 19th century and targeted at ABC1 males. The success of the campaign ensured they went on to win the ‘Best Email Creative’ at the dotties.
Create compelling copy
Finally, you may have a beautiful looking campaign but if the copy is unimaginative, consumers are unlikely to take the action you want them to take.
To illustrate how far skilful content can take you, let’s look at the British Heart Foundation’s DECHOX campaign. As part of the month-long fundraiser, people commit to giving up chocolate for a month and the British Heart Foundation delivered a series of 11 emails to participants before and during the event. The content differed based on the level of contribution and messages consisted of fundraising tips, Easter recipes without chocolate, and surveys. The campaign exceeded all expectations, seeing a remittance rate of 43 per cent – an increase on the charity’s 2015 figure and above this year’s target.
Email marketing can be tough to get right. There is the need to get the timing of your message right and create the right first impression. By adapting your email templates and content so they remain readable and engaging, it can become a much more tameable beast that delivers outstanding ROI.
By Skip Fidura, Client Services Director at dotmailer
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.