Unless you’re selling products from underneath a large and technologically averse rock, then your small to medium-sized business is already using some sort of centralized email service provider to reach out to existing or potential customers via marketing emails. It’s effective, it encourages brand loyalty, and it works like a charm, when done correctly. However, in order to engage your email subscribers in an effective way, balance is key, and statistics reveal that going overboard kills potential return on investment rather than bolstering it.
Every business is different, and not all customers will react in the same way to every email marketing campaign. But according to this study, email use could reach 2.16 billion by the year 2016, that’s at least one email account for roughly every 3 human beings on earth, and almost two email accounts for every single television on earth. So, yeah… email marketing done the right way is kind of a big deal.
For example, if you’re selling something that people need to buy in large quantities and frequently, sending them emails about sales, free shipping, and other deals with higher frequency may be a very good idea. On the other hand, if what you sell is something people only need once every few months, sticking with one monthly newsletter or sales information email is probably best. By knowing your demographic and by watching how many people unsubscribe, and how many new people are subscribing from the company website, you can begin to have an understanding of how well this marketing technology is working for your company’s bottom line.
A word to the wise, be absolutely sure to make the most of the technology at your fingertips. A great example of this would be setting shopping cart abandonment email notifications for those who visit your website, load up their shopping carts, and then for a variety of reasons, jump ship. Maybe they got tired, had too much to drink (the classic surprise package at the door you forgot you ordered) or just flat out forgot to complete the transaction. What ever the abandonment reason, reminding people they left their cart twisting in the proverbial Internet wind is a good idea.
On the off chance that those users that bailed on you, did so for a legitimate reason (poor usability being a very common one) then you may want to sweeten the deal a bit so as to incentivize them to come on back to their cart and complete the deal. Discount codes, exclusive offers to scarce items, or free shipping are classic and effective olive branches that you can offer to an all but forever lost customer. Additionally, your chance of completing the deal and capturing a purchase is far more likely using this method than just sending a reminder to them that they forgot to give you money (which… is exactly what you sound like to them in a shopping cart abandonment reminder email that contains no incentive)
For businesses of any size, knowing how to interpret data that comes in about each individual mass marketing campaign via email could not be any more vital. For example, if you’re really not sure what you’re looking at, you may find it extremely confusing when you see that 75 percent of those who received the email opened it but of those who did, less than two to three percent decided to visit the site. In other words, because you haven’t fully grasped how email marketing technology works and how to analyze it, you are wrongly assuming that opened emails translates to more sales.
What you really want to be looking for when you send out a mass marketing email campaign to several hundred or several thousand people is how many of those people clicked on links within the email and which links they clicked on—was it the link to the page mentioning a sale that allows customers to immediately “add to cart” for an order you can fulfill? Did they simply click on the link to your homepage? Did they click on the links to your social media pages? Where did they go? What did they do? Did so few of them click through to your site that you didn’t get a single sale? Or is your analytics tracking a bit screwy? Don’t leave anything to uncertainty. Mailchimp, Constant Contact… virtually every small business ESP offers easy integration with Google analytics. And if they don’t, then you can do event tracking through GA on your own (though it’s a tad bit trickier) use the technology at your fingertips to change how you sent out these emails: reduce the frequency of email blasts, don’t follow up like a desperate boyfriend, but do thank customers for their loyalty (just not 12 times a day.)
The goal, obviously, is to make your business more lucrative. When it comes to email marketing technology, allow it to make suggestions about which time of day could be most effective based on how many people you’ll be mailing out to, where you are in the world, which industry you’re in, and a host of other variables. You may find it surprising that email blast technology understands better than you do which times of day and with what kind of frequency will create better returns for your enterprise, regardless of size or what you’re selling.
For more information on email marketing best practices, my colleague at Wpromote, Claire Perez wrote a three part guide to Email Marketing best practices. She’s British, and used to be a lawyer… so it’s written amazingly well. Give it a go!