The pressure for email programs to perform at an even higher level year over year has never been greater. Shareholders and C-suite executives continue to put pressure on their organizations to deliver, and in turn, email marketers are constantly looking for smarter solutions, better results and a higher ROI on their email programs
First and foremost, there are no silver bullets in email marketing. Marketers cannot maintain ROI growth by implementing just a few tactics. Solid and sustainable growth in an email program requires patience, planning, commitment and continual testing. Beyond standard best practices, like basic segmentation and A/B testing, there are a number of other tactical options organizations should explore to see if the return is worthy of additional investment.
Caveat: Some of the ideas presented here are for specific types of organizations and mileage may vary.
Audit your most engaged emails
Typically the most engaged emails of a program would include the Welcome, COI, Password Reset, Transactional, and Cart Abandon. For a start, you need to ensure that they are firing properly and rendering well. Once you do this, look for two things to try to optimize for greater payoff. Some areas to focus on would be A/B/C Subject Lines (SLs), placement, color and clarity of CTAs, content clutter and, finally, timing. Make a plan and run tests on your choices. The payoff could be surprisingly large.
Ensure authentication is in place
SPF and DKIM are no longer enough to protect your brand. DMARC has been around for some time. It not only protects the entire brand from spoof efforts, but it is now considered the gold standard for email deliverability. Making the effort is worth it because it protects the other work you have done to ensure your program is nearly perfect in every other way. This is not a sexy tactic, but a critical one, that pays long term dividends. Don’t just implement DMARC to say you have it, make sure you use p=reject to hold your program to the gold standard.
Have fun, be bold, but be on brand with your subject lines
People need to feel a human connection with your brand. (even with B2B organizations). Have a plan to test two or three subject lines on each send—yes, each send. When you create a testing culture, it can be infectious with everyone in the department. Increase buy-in by holding contests for team members to develop winning subject lines and for goodness sake, just don’t use opens as the deciding measurement.
Create a minimalist version for a few emails
People are busy looking at email on trains, buses, at the dinner table, on the toilet and even while driving. Can you simplify your CTA so that even if a subscriber is opening and clicking on the email with 2 screaming kids in the backseat or watching an episode of the same show for the 37th time, the experience is simple, painless and repeatable? Think of the person on the other end and respect that they have little time, and simplify.
Re-Sends with a twist
Resends are nothing new, but instead of sending again to those that did not not open, try sending to subscribers who clicked but did not convert. Test that against sending to those that did not open and use RPES (Revenue Per Email Send) and RPEC (Revenue Per Email Click) as a benchmark for success.
Countdown Clocks in Abandon emails
If you have a triggered program that is based on some sort of abandonment (cart, browse, completion of profile), instead of using messaging and imagery to create a sense of urgency, use a countdown clock as an “expiration” for them to take action. This creates the perception of them having a limited amount of time to make a decision.
Increase frequency to a test segment of inactives
Choose a time to declare them an “inactive” (there is no silver bullet) and increase frequency 2x for a period of time to see if you get response/conversions out of them. It may seem counterintuitive to do this, but I STRONGLY recommend that you limit the segment size for testing and for goodness sake, follow good sending practices and monitor the heck out of deliverability and reputation.
There is no doubt that you have people who subscribed to you program but have not converted since joining the list. Rather than continuing to send messages that historically have done nothing to convert, consider creating a re-welcome/onboarding program where you, in essence, restart them, but with a slight messaging tweak. The goal would be to introduce them to the brand and the value proposition with the hope of conversion. Don’t be shy about telling them that you know they haven’t done anything since signing up. Remember, you are looking for ways to connect with them on a human level, so even using humor in your copy is an option.
High ROI tactics come at a price, in that something is going to have to give at your organization. Someone or some group will need to go outside of their comfort zone to test one or more of these tactics and accept that failure is an option. But remember, without failure there is no progress, and without progress there is no success. However, if you are able to get just the right mojo working with one or a combination of these tactics, think long-tail in terms of email ROI and not just of it being a quick shot in the arm or a boost to your program over the next few months.
“The winner is the new control”
When refining or combining these tactics, always remember this mantra, “the winner is the new control.”
Author: Andrew Kordek, Trendline Interactive.
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