In one of our previous articles, we discussed that email marketing outperforms many marketing channels, and consistently delivers a high ROI. However, this is only the case if your email marketing campaign is well planned, executed, and most importantly conversational.
Blasting your contacts (customers/subscribers) with the same generic messaging or promotional material is called “spam”; therefore, such campaigns will most likely end up in a spam folder.
On the other hand, we have conversational email campaigns which are personal, relevant, and timely. These type of campaigns result in more opens, higher click-through rate, and higher sales. However, they do require a little more work to plan and execute.
How do you make your email campaign conversational?
Creating a personal email without segmentation is impossible; therefore, your first task is to segment all your contacts (e.g. email subscribers) into different groups/segments. Here are a few typical segments and segment types:
- Age (28 – 38)
- Gender (Female)
- Occupation (Professional)
- Income ($60,000 – $90,000)
- Education (College educated)
- Country (USA)
- State (Washington)
- City (Seattle)
- Zipcode (98121)
- Buyer readiness (Aware)
- Adoption status (Early adopter)
- Benefits-sought (Convenience)
- Usage rate (Heavy user)
- Lifestyle (Fitness)
- Values (Altruist)
- Personality (Outgoing)
- Social class (Upper-middle)
We don’t recommend that you use every possible segmentation type, because there is a risk of creating too many segments, and too many subscriber groups.
Email content has to be targeted at a specific segment or customer persona. For example, a “welcome” email that is typically sent to a new customer or member will have a very different goal when compared to a loyalty program targeting your most valuable customers. The tone, messaging, promotional offer, and call-to-action will be different.
Also, you have to take into account all customer touch points, as well as their order history. The more complete your customer picture is, the more relevant and effective your email campaigns will be.
Timing is often overlooked by business owners and marketers alike, and by timing we don’t mean day of the week or time of the day. These are important factors, but not as important as knowing where a consumer is in the “buyer decision process”.
Buyer decision process (5 stages)
- Problem or need recognition
- Information search
- Evaluation of alternatives
- Purchase decision
- Post-purchase behavior
For example, if a consumer is in the “information search” phase, then your objective may be to educate the consumer on “benefits” of your product or service. However, if they are in the “purchase decision” phase, then focusing on “limited time” discounts is more appropriate because the consumer is indicating readiness to buy.
In other words, if the consumer is not familiar with your product or service then focus on benefits, because the consumer is not ready to buy yet. Don’t force/rush the sale, because it will yield poor results.
As we mentioned above, exact timing (e.g. Wednesday at 10:30 am) of your email campaign is not the most critical factor, but it is an important factor, so analyze your previous campaigns and do some research – your research should be audience and campaign specific.
Even though email marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing channels, it is still one of the best ways to reach your customers and boost your sales. However, like most high performing campaigns it does require careful planning and execution.
Finally, remember that most of us receive over 100 emails per day, so the only way you will capture attention is by making your email campaign conversational (personal, relevant, and timely).