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Email Marketing: Spice it Up with Personalization

If you aren’t emailing, you aren’t living. Well, you’re probably alive, but you’re definitely not maximizing your marketing potential. It’s not just millennials who live their entire lives online. People of all ages spend a lot of time connected. The same boring generic emails just won’t cut it anymore.

Email open and click-through rates for small and mid-sized businesses are still good. For example, according to Smart Insights, the average open rate for real estate email marketing is 20.84 percent and the click-through rate (CTR) is 1.91 percent. For recruitment and staffing emails, the open rate is 20.73 percent and the CTR is 2.18 percent. Because it’s such an effective marketing tool, you’ll want to set up a strategy that maximizes your email marketing efforts.

Get to Know Your Ideal Customer

It’s important to know who your customers are so you know how to best market to them. It’s well worth your time to create a persona that outlines who your ideal customer actually is. Personas give you a base point to start from when you compose your emails.  Instead of wildly guessing, you have a template of your ideal customer. It’s like talking to an old friend.

It’s possible that you may need more than one persona. These personas should detail your ideal customer’s desires, concerns, interests and motivations. Include some demographic information like age, income and educational level. Put in whatever you can to help you understand your customer better. Then, give the persona a catchy name like ‘Ideal Customer Cathy’ and add a photo. You’ll find yourself envisioning Cathy when you compose your marketing emails.

Create a Good Customer Experience

By personalizing your marketing emails, you begin to customize the customer experience. This can increase customer engagement and conversion.  Sending the same email to all your customers isn’t a very effective way to connect.

A key goal for your email marketing should be ENGAGEMENT. It’s not enough that people are reading your emails or even visiting your website. Develop a voice and tone that encourages your customers to take action.

A Drip May be More Effective than a Blast

Take some time to think about your customer’s needs. Make a decision about whether you’ll incorporate a drip email campaign or a blast email strategy. An email drip campaign is a slow incremental campaign that can take weeks, months or even up to a year. It’s not unusual for there to be a significant amount of time between emails or engagement from the customer in email drip campaigns. The idea is that you’re playing the long game. Even if you don’t make a sale today, you’re keeping interest going so you can make a sale tomorrow.

An email blast, on the other hand, is a one-off email that can be sent wide or to a specific group of people about a specific event or product. Depending on your product and your customer, both of these are good tools to have in your email marketing mix.

It’s important to determine your objectives when you create your marketing emails. Do you want to get the name and face of your company out there to reinforce your brand? Then, a drip campaign will work better than a blast. If you’re looking to make some quick sales, try a blast email.   

Know who’s on Your List

Once you’ve composed an amazingly personalized email, it’s time to execute. Whenever I get ready to embark on a new email campaign, I think about my favorite quote from Ben Franklin, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” In others words, you need to be prepared to be flexible.

Make sure you have a very detailed list with as much customer information as possible.  The more detailed your list is, the better you can target the right customers and not bother the ones who don’t match your sales objectives.

By further scrubbing your email list, you can target geographically or seasonally. You can also personalize based on interests or past purchases.

Keep Trying until You Get it Right

Testing and experimentation is the key. For example, one subject line might grab more attention than another. Or, try different graphics or color schemes that may have more of an impact. Your customers might be inclined to open and read your email if it’s sent during a certain time of day. Switch it up and see what works best.

Find the sweet spot in the frequency of your marketing emails.  Do your customers like hearing from you once a week, once a month or once a quarter?

KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid

A good marketing email has clean lines and colors. It’s simple and isn’t overflowing with graphics. Think about the emails you get and the ones you actually click on and follow-through to action. You want to mimic that feeling for your customers.

To be successful with email marketing, you have to be prepared to play the long game.  You might not see instant results after two emails. This is a long-term strategy that can take months before you see measurable results. 

Let the Metrics Be Your Guide

Metrics will help you determine the success of your email marketing efforts.  Whatever email marketing tool you use, make sure it provides good analytics. You’ll want to measure things like delivery, open rates and clicks.

It’s important to gather as much information as possible so you can target better the next time around. The information you need to glean from reports will help you make better decisions. You don’t want to be marketing in the dark.

Metrics will let you know if your email marketing campaigns are going well.  What exactly are you aiming for?  What specific type of engagement are you looking for from your customer?  Do you want people to click to a landing page and fill out a form? Measure your success against your goals.

Metrics can also open up new possibilities for your email marketing campaign. There may be things you haven’t considered that will take you in a new direction.

Email marketing is an essential tool for any business today.  It’s not enough to simply send emails, you need to engage with your customers and measure your progress. Most importantly, you need a winning strategy. Your marketing agency can help you develop an effective email marketing strategy that will allow you to engage with your customers and meet your sales and marketing goals.

For more information on how to use email marketing to improve your conversion rate click here.

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