I am sitting on an airplane right now returning to New York City and hoping to start the New Year with fewer than twenty emails in my inbox. It is a mighty task, as I often use my inbox as a notepad of things I need to do, people I need to call and information I need to remember. It is a reminder that after a decade or more, email marketing today is still the most effective mode of marketing – even if you are “marketing” to yourself!
Nearly every business has a list of customers, retailers, shoppers, distributors, vendors, and even friends and family where email is the only (and often the best) way to communicate. Frequent communications also help proactively address customer service failures and issues that can contribute to negative reviews about your business online. Your customers are more likely to hit reply to an email to report an issue than go find your business on a search engine and leave a negative review.
MarketingSherpa recently shared a report by Litmus which analyzed both B2B and B2C emails to ascertain the secret sauce for getting their marketing emails opened and in some cases — responded. While B2B emails may be selling to a more professional and niche audience and B2C targeting consumers looking buy products and services for everyday use, Litmus found that whether analyzing B2B or B2C, the emails that have the most power were “viral.”
Litmus found, “The average commercial email generated one forward for every 370 total opens. The viral emails got 17.6 times more forwards, generating one forward for every 21 opens.”
Ultimately Litmus concluded that different companies were using varying approaches when it came to email marketing: segmentation, triggered messaging, personalization and a prominent “Share with Your Network” CTA — in their email. Here is how each segmentation ultimately did with their email marketing campaigns:
Call to Action or CTA:
Most of the best online marketing companies understand the powerful concept of CTA or Call to Action. The CTA could be a phone number, a website, a whitepaper, anything that asks its targeted audience to to elicit action.
Litmus found CTA to most effective – especially viral emails. “…6.4% of the viral group of emails included a “share” CTA…viral emails were 13 times more likely to have a prominent “share” CTA than average emails. The best way to get subscribers to do something is to simply ask them,” a researcher at Litmus said. “For example, if you want them to shop, include a ‘Shop Now’ button.”
Make It Relevant: Personalization, Segmentation and Triggered messaging:
Personalization is a popular term – especially in the retail industry as this creates a feeling a loyalty and a sense that the online business truly knows your tastes. For instance, if you shop online at a retail chain for a black coat, the next time you go online, the retail store might suggest clothing that would match a black coat for instance. In addition, triggered messaging that is based on previous shopper behavior for instance, might inspire online retailers to mold their emails with certain phrases that resonate with the receptive shoppers.
Now what about email?
Litmus agrees that emails too must be personal and tailored to the individual. Research found that, “Message-based relevance: Viral emails were 4.5 times more likely than average emails to have personalized messaging in meaningful ways, such as providing customized product/service recommendations or dynamic content like photos of the recipients taken at previous events.”
- Help your customers share their passions. Allow them to speak out and make create a community.
- Try to plan to come up with remarkable experiences. Litmus says, “…you can plan your email content calendar so that you’re occasionally sending an awesome deal, exclusive news or similarly impactful content.”
- Litmus recommends “action-based relevance.” Litmus concluded that viral emails were “…2.9 times more likely than average emails to use triggered messaging based on customer actions — welcome emails, post-purchase emails, post-event emails, application-related emails and the like. This was the most used tactic of both viral (15.8% used this tactic) and average (5.4%) email.
- Measure your success with email contents with strong analytics that can help you evaluate which emails truly inspired its readers.