Email is the one of the most frequently utilized digital marketing channels, providing an easy way to communicate with customers and drive lead conversion. With all of the time, and money, being spent on your email marketing campaigns, collecting data and making updates based on that intel, often in real time, is critical. There are many ways to make modifications that can have a large impact on existing and future campaigns. Below are four optimization tips you can put into practice today that will help to increase engagement and ROI.
Analyze engagement results… and use the data
Reporting on your email marketing campaigns isn’t news worthy. We all do it (or should be), but what you do with that information is what’s important. A/B testing in your campaigns can help you to see how your customers prefer to engage with your emails (button vs. text links, colors, images, etc). You can then make modifications to existing and future campaigns based on true, real-time data. Industry best practices are helpful, but it’s important to create benchmarks from your own customer base.
Don’t bury your contacts in email (so good it’s a 2 parter!)
Email deliverability is a big topic to cover when reviewing or starting an email marketing practice. There are a lot of best practices and rules to follow to make sure that your emails hit inboxes. Equally as important as the setup to pass SPF and DKIM is making sure that you are not over-emailing. Over-emailing can lead to the three most dreaded outcomes in email: email blindness, increased unsubscribes, and spam complaints (oh my!). There are two strategies you can implement pretty easily that will help to decrease over-emailing:
- Email Marketing Calendar
Create a schedule of your email deployments in a timeframe that makes sense for your business (i.e. best practice for B2B is 3-5 business days between email sends per contact). This calendar should be worked on in partnership and socialized across teams and businesses who market through the same channels or to the same audience. Any changes to the schedule should also be done in reference to the existing calendar. By having this tool in place, you are effectively working as a company to maintain the health of your MAP’s database.
Pro Tip: Make sure to share this schedule with your sales team. They not only will be having conversations with your customers on the products and services you’re emailing about, but they will likely be sending out their own emails as well.
- Email Throttling
Calendarizing your email program is only half the battle to avoid over emailing. The other is to make sure that contacts aren’t sent more than one email in your determined time period when they are already in an on-going or evergreen, multi-step campaign. In most platforms, you can create a filter that evaluates if a contact has been sent an email within the last X amount of days. You will want to use that filter as an exclusion before every email in your campaign, holding those who have received email within that timeframe until they no longer meet the condition.
Tool Tip: As an example, if you are using Oracle Eloqua and you want to have a 3 day wait in between email sends to a campaign member, create a shared filter with a ‘not sent email in the past 1 day’ criteria and set it on your campaign canvas with a 3-day evaluation. Both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ paths should connect to the email. As contacts meet the ‘Yes’ criteria they will flow through to be sent the email.
Use machine learning in your campaigns with send time optimization
Many marketing automation tools such as Adobe Experience Cloud, Oracle Eloqua and Responsys, and MailChimp, are utilizing machine learning to capture data on your contacts, including when they are most likely to open and click through your emails. These allow you to utilize the historical data stored in your ESP to deliver emails to each contact when they are predicted to best engage with your email. For Oracle Eloqua users, Relationship One has a Time Zone Checker app that helps you to better manage a campaign or program workflow by allowing or restricting contacts to move through a step based on the contact’s time zone. You can pass them onto the next step within 15-minutes of the time zone or within a time range.
While these tools have come a long way, they are only as good as the data available. The more you use them the better the outcome will be.
I hope you try out some of these tips in your email campaigns. Let us know how they go and as always, reach out with any questions.