The Problem with Marketing Today
Many of us have gotten used to and dependent on the status quo of internet marketing. There is a widespread assumption that social media and SEO will continue to drive organic (free) traffic to your site which will keep pushing new leads into your sales funnel. While it’s likely that this will remain true for a while longer, it’s good to have a longer-term backup plan, here’s why.
With social media, your audience is owned by the social platform – you have access to, not ownership over, your followers. Changes to these platforms can limit your reach to your existing and potential audience overnight. With SEO, Google (or another relevant search engine) controls your visibility. As advertisements and algorithms change or Google looks to compete for traffic (as an example, by offering suggested answers so searchers don’t have to click through to your website), it’s clear that your traffic generation is not guaranteed in perpetuity.
The Solution: Email Marketing
The solution to this problem is to create a list you retain ownership over and there’s currently a no better tool for that than email. In addition to being an asset you hold full control over, it’s also one of the highest ROI marketing strategies – it creates an estimated $51 in revenue per dollar spent, which is a considerable return on investment.
So, let’s get to the three strategies you can implement right now to grow and monetize your email list.
3 Email Strategies to Implement
1. Optimize your email structure
There is an infinite number of ways to customize your email structure and many of them are worth testing with your list. Email responsiveness and getting strong click results is a skill that is very similar to optimizing your website for higher click-through rates through SEO. There are a lot of overlapping applicable skills between both web copy and email copy, so if you’ve written for a website or blog before, this list may look familiar to you.
While this list is not exhaustive, here are just a few of the main, actionable ways to impact your click-through-rate and ROI.
- Subject line optimization – It may go without saying, but without a good subject line, the rest of your email essentially doesn’t matter. The title is what determines whether or not your email gets opened. For best results, keep it simple and intentional – avoid clickbait or buzzwords like “winner!” as these may send your email to the spam folder.
- Timing – This one’s quick and simple, but often overlooked. While everything may differ in practice with your specific audience, in general, Tuesday is the best day of the week to send emails according to research. If you’re going to send more than one email a week, Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to do it.
- Responsive design – According to a study, 75% of Gmail’s 900 million users access their accounts on their mobile devices. This means that your email should be designed to be responsive (optimized and viewable on both desktop and mobile devices).
- Call-to-action – A strong and clear call-to-action (CTA) is crucial to getting your viewer to take the desired action and achieving the ROI you’ve set your sights on. An example could be something like, “Use the code SPRING20 by next Friday to snag an extra 20% off your order.” The key is to ensure the CTA is clear, actionable, and has a deadline for the best results.
2. Segment Your List
Segmenting your email list is one of the best strategies for improving your email ROI and a surprisingly low number of companies do it (only 11% as of 2020). If you’re in the habit of sending every email to every subscriber, it’s time to start segmenting. Send what’s relevant to the individual for the best results.
There are many ways to learn about your audience when it comes to the digital world. You’re given a lot of data about your subscribers when you manage an email list and with it, several great ways to segment your list. Some creative examples include:
- Location – Some retailers utilize location, for example, to promote raincoats on a rainy day in Baltimore while simultaneously promoting sunglasses to their email list in California. This strategy is about providing content for an audience who would be interested at the right time.
- Website actions – If someone filled a shopping cart on your website, visits it frequently, or opted-in to your email list on a particular page on your site, you have an insight into that person. You can act on this insight to segment and better target your emails based on customer interest.
- Sales cycle – If someone has a particularly high engagement rate with your emails or has purchased something in the past, you can reward them with a more aggressive loyalty email based on their previous interactions. If someone is brand new to your brand, on the other hand, they’re probably a bit more ad averse and could use a more intro-level email or two to warm up to you.
3. Make It Interactive
Your audience is typically scanning or reading through a batch of emails at a time. This means that they may be in more of a passive viewing mode than an active action-taking mode. To snap them out of their passive state and make them feel comfortable and ready to take an action, warm up their critical thinking muscles with interactive email marketing.
This is only just emerging as an up-and-coming email engagement strategy, but we’ll illustrate with an example. Imagine your email posing a thought-provoking question that guides them through a sample scenario. After reading this quick scenario, it then offers a way to find their personalized answer to the same question by clicking through (such as, “Is it better to buy or lease a car?” with a process flow that explores the pros and cons). Your readers are not only engaged but are thinking in the direction of what you’re promoting.
While the landscape looks different than it did ten years ago, one thing hasn’t changed: email is one of the most powerful tools in the online business playbook. Use these three actionable strategies to boost your email ROI and grow your list: optimize your email content, segment your list, and make your emails interactive. You’ll have better ownership and control over your audience in no time.