By: Mike Madden
Email marketing is like an old friend. It’s been around for years. It doesn’t surprise you much anymore. You may even find it a little boring sometimes. But at the end of the day, you know you can depend on it.
Even with the emergence of more exciting engagement tactics, email marketing has remained a key method for reaching your audience.
In fact, nearly 70% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 prefer companies communicate with them through email, according to MarketingSherpa research. That number’s even higher among 35- to 44-year-olds and 45- to 54-year-olds.
Regardless of how people feel about email communications, many marketers’ email campaigns are failing to connect with customers.
Nearly half of the marketers who participated in a recent Demand Metric/Return Path study reported email open rates of 15% or less, while almost 60% cited click-through rates of 8% or less.
But that isn’t because email marketing is past its prime. It’s because too many marketers have neglected the recent paradigm shift. Namely, today’s customers have become much more sophisticated about how they consume content.
Here are three easy ways you can improve your email marketing efforts to better connect with your audience and increase engagement:
1. Segment your lists
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out who you should be talking to—and why.
Some of the most popular characteristics marketers use to segment their lists include:
Job title or function
Past email clicks or opens
Why is this important? For one, people’s inboxes are overflowing with marketing emails. If you insist on sending messages that fail to pique their interests, they’ll quickly tune out.
Say you’re trying to engage a chief human resources officer (CHRO) audience. Sending those executives HR content isn’t enough. Instead, you need to focus on their particular industries and needs.
A CHRO in the rapidly growing high-tech industry, for example, would likely be interested in information around talent recruitment.
Meanwhile, a CHRO in a legacy industry—where decades-long employees are nearing retirement—would gravitate more toward content on workforce management and succession planning.
Segmenting your lists gives you a chance to customize your communications, creating tailor-made messages that resonate with your intended audience.
2. Trigger your messaging
As a marketer, you’ve heard the phrase “email blast.” Does it make you cringe? It should.
Rather than sending emails to large, unorganized lists of contacts, you need to strategically engage.
Launching a triggered messaging program—using innovative email marketing software—can help. It allows you to contact customers and prospects based on actions or conditions.
For instance, if someone abandoned their online shopping cart on your ecommerce site, you could send them a strategically timed discount offer. Or, if a person attended your recent software showcase, you could send them an exclusive invite to register early for the next event in town.
By making each of your interactions more meaningful, you’ll earn more customer trust and gain greater influence over their buying decisions.
3. Take advantage of your data
In modern marketing, data is a priceless commodity. And while most marketers recognize that, too few use it like the valuable currency it is. Instead, they treat these precious golden nuggets like knickknacks on some dusty, old shelf.
But for email marketing to have real impact, data must be front and center. Marketers need to capitalize on the information at their fingertips to learn more about their audience and personalize their communications.
That could mean studying device data to better understand how customers view emails and then optimizing messages for mobile. Or it could mean analyzing complaint data to determine optimal email cadences.
Even information that doesn’t seem relevant can be useful. Evaluating how customers behave on a website or social media channel can provide a more vivid picture of their interests, enabling you to improve how you engage with them.
Deliver quality communications
Putting these three ideas into practice will help you elevate your email game. This will:
Engender trust between you and your customers—because you’re not bugging them with emails at all hours of the day.
Prove you’re tuned in to their needs—because you’re only sending them relevant information.
Show you’re listening to them—because you’re providing value, not just trying to sell them stuff.
That’s all your email subscribers are looking for today. And they, along with their inboxes, aren’t going anywhere—especially now that you have these three tips to increase engagement.
Download The Definitive Guide to Engaging Email Marketing to learn more.