Your email marketing efforts should be generating an average ROI of $38 for every $1 you spend, according to recent 2016 statistics. That’s a really good return on your marketing investment, and shows why so many businesses allocate a significant portion of the marketing budget to email marketing (82% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing).

An article by Campaign Monitor shares more notable email marketing statistics:

  • Automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages.
  • Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue.
  • Companies who send automated emails are 133% more likely to send relevant messages that correspond with a customer’s purchase cycle.
  • Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.

Campaign Monitor lists a total of 70 statistics in all, giving some solid proof that email marketing is a viable marketing tactic. But let’s focus on the four statistics above and how we create content that builds relationships.

Personalize more than just the name

With personalized emails producing higher open rates and overall conversions, it’s an important tactic that should be included with email marketing. Personalizing emails goes beyond including the readers name. It delivers customized content to readers based on their interests and what we know about them. It also requires attention to detail and planning, or it will backfire.

Case in point: I received an email today with the subject line, “Your boss will thank you for this.”

I’m a business owner. So while my clients are my bosses in some ways, I don’t have a traditional boss. When I read the subject line, it led me to believe the content wasn’t relevant to me, and I simply clicked “delete.”

That’s not the call-to-action you want for your email marketing.

If the company knew more about me, they could have tweaked the subject line just a bit and grabbed my attention. For example, “Something to make business owners very happy,” would have resonated with me.

Create a buyer persona for email marketing success

If 75 percent of email is generated by trigger campaigns, as shown in the statistics above, it’s pretty important to stay away from the one-size fits all approach. This is where your buyer persona packs a punch; it helps you define the perfect client and develop content relevant for that client. For best results, complete a buyer persona as the very first step in developing an email marketing program. Don’t skip this step or you may waste your marketing dollars. And you don’t want that, right?

Jackie Nagel, president of Synnovatia – a strategic business coaching firm, says it best, “Lead generation and client acquisition are dramatically enhanced with a buyer persona.”

Jackie lists five key benefits of creating a buyer persona.

  • Narrows your focus
  • Sharpens your marketing messages so you can be heard more clearly
  • Meets your buyer’s need for a more human, one-to-one experience
  • Serves as a real competition hacker
  • Dramatically improves your marketing efforts

The buyer persona can serve as a checklist for email content, and it can help increase open rates and prevent people from unsubscribing. For example, if our buyer persona describes our ideal client as a small business owner, then we can check the persona against all of our marketing copy and make sure it’s tailored to the small business owner.

Get to know your audience beyond the buyer persona

When creating effective email marketing campaigns, it’s important to employ tactics that allow you to get know your audience and their interests far more than what your buyer persona reveals. This information is used to segment your audience into smaller groups based on their interests, needs and wants as they relate to your products and services.

Segmenting a list may be challenging when you are building your email list via opt-in forms. Statistics show that the more questions you ask a subscriber, the less likely they are to answer them and click the ‘subscribe’ button.

But… Keep in mind that data gathering doesn’t have to happen at the point of subscribing. There are plenty of opportunities to gather data from your audience in the emails that follow their subscription.

The image below is the excellent welcome email I received when I subscribed to the Content Marketing Institute. Their site is a go-to resource for me. If you scroll to the second half of the message, you’ll see they give me a lot of options for choosing content.

Personalizing Your Emails

Any time I click a link, I’m telling them a little bit more about me and my preferences. That ultimately will help them send me content that is relevant to me. It also helps them to put me in the list segments that are relevant to me, which means they wouldn’t make the mistake the company above made.

Creating market segments allows you to reach consumers with similar interests and needs with the same message, products and services. If you’re managing a list in the thousands and have not yet segmented your list, you may want someone else to do the segmenting for you. It’s a better use of your marketing dollars and will result in a higher return in the long run. For help, turn to a customer relationship management system like Hubspot.

Now it’s your turn. What can you add to best practices for email marketing?