Co-founder of SchoolSafe
With figures from Statista showing that more than 2.5 billion people use social media every month, it makes sense for companies to focus much of their marketing effort on cultivating their online presence. However, it’s a mistake to think that social media is the only way to reach consumers.
Set aside this common belief and keep in mind that, also according to Statista, there are 3.7 billion active email users around the globe. In fact, research compiled by Campaign Monitor indicates that 72 percent of people would rather receive brand content through email, while just 17 percent prefer to receive their brand messages from social media platforms. In addition, 39 percent want that email content to be more informational than promotional, according to Adobe Campaign’s fourth annual consumer email survey results released in August.
Still, it’s important to tailor your email marketing campaign to appeal to the social media generation. No one likes canned junk emails, but by following these steps, you can send the right messages with the right personal touches at the right times and leverage email into a highly valuable engagement channel.
1. Embed trigger emails.
The most-often rejected emails are the ones users aren’t expecting. Messages that are triggered by a user’s specific actions have a much better chance of being accepted. Trigger emails can take the form of a welcome message, a re-engagement email, a follow-up to a transaction, or any other opportunity to provide a subscriber with information and a call to action.
For instance, Uber’s email campaign is almost completely triggered, and it works wonders. New registrations trigger a welcome email with a brief summary of user benefits and a quick guide to getting started with the service. The first ride triggers a thank you, a discount for getting friends to sign up, and links to share the experience with others on social media.
Where and when you decide to embed email triggers will depend on your brand and industry. Online retailers can implement onboarding triggers that remind users to complete their accounts or finish their most recent searches. Personal event triggers can remind shoppers of holiday deals and bonuses to prompt them to return sooner.
2. Tag visitors for follow-up emails.
Welcome emails are highly valuable for new subscribers, but they won’t be as effective for repeat visitors you haven’t heard from in a while. Using specific tags to reach out to such consumers can help draw them back to you. After a certain period of time, individuals will be tagged for a highly customized personal message inviting them back.
This is especially important for campaigns in relationship-based industries such as healthcare. Lathan Fritz, email marketing expert and founder of Amerisales, says that simply tagging consumers for follow-up emails has helped his dental clients gain 30-50 additional appointments every month.
While looking for new clients and consumers is always a good idea, it’s just as important to stoke your current customer base into re-engaging. Messages should be relevant to the customers’ previous experiences. Include phrases such as, “We noticed you purchased this last time,” and “How is your purchase of [item] working out for you?”
3. Make every word count.
Whether you’re sending a welcome message, a re-engagement email, or a promotional discount or coupon, the content of your email matters most of all. Content that is short, sweet, and (most of all) useful should be the defining characteristic of every email sent in your brand’s name.
Take Amazon Local’s feedback emails, for example. The entire platform is about customization, and every piece of consumer info it can collect is valuable. It capitalizes on convenience by sending users little more than a call to action and an invite to leave an opinion. The content is simple enough that most users engage without a second thought, and the feedback Amazon receives only boosts its ability to customize experiences further.
And don’t give short shrift to your messages’ layout and design. Adobe’s recent survey report found that about 20 percent of respondents said brand emails that required them to scroll too much when viewing on a smartphone were a turnoff. In addition, slowly loading images, too much text, and tiny font sizes all made the list of factors that make promotional emails annoying.
These days, brands have so many different avenues to engage with consumers that it’s easy to overlook some of them. Email is one of the oldest forms, so it’s often considered nearly obsolete, but that’s far from true. While building out and engaging consumers with a comprehensive social media campaign, don’t forget to communicate with them directly the way they still prefer to communicate -- with well-timed, highly personalized, and well-formulated emails.