The success of email marketing campaigns can usually be attributed to three things: the objective, the audience and the ask – or CTA.
Understanding why you’re creating the email campaign in the first place, and what you want to get out of it is often overlooked.
While engaging with your customer base is a legitimate response, it’s only half of the response. Because the question your audience will be asking is ‘so what?’.
The reality is that you don’t mean as much to them as they do to you. So any email you send them needs to be of value.
This is why understanding your audience is so important to your campaign objective. And, by extension, knowing what you want them to do after they’ve read your message.
A successful email marketing campaign has more to it than this but that is where the core of your focus should lie. Everything else will feed into it.
Define your Email Campaign Goals
Before you can create a campaign you need to define the campaign goals. This may seem obvious but a lot of businesses don’t do it. At least not properly.
It’s not enough to just email your customers to keep in touch. It’s not even enough to email them to let them know about a sale.
You need to have a clear idea of what a successful campaign means for your business.
This can be conversions, signups, competition entries, downloads or growing your audience on social media.
Whatever it is, make sure that everyone involved in the campaign understands what you’re all working towards.
Generating sales is a perfectly acceptable objective for your email marketing campaign but you need to have a conversion rate, average order value and sales target in mind.
Otherwise, your campaign is a success by someone placing an order. This does nothing to help your business grow.
Use historic campaign data, website analytics and your customer data to determine how many clicks and conversions you can realistically expect.
Average order value will be heavily influenced by what products and offers you include in your email. Tools like Geru are excellent at predicting campaign performance.
Define your Audience
You should have a clear idea of who you want to send your email campaign to. Here’s a hint: it’s not everyone in your database.
Generic email marketing campaigns never perform well because it’s the marketing equivalent of a blunderbuss. Sure you might land a few hits but your penetration will be poor.
Going down a generic route you’re putting together a broad offering to try to appeal to everyone. In reality, you appeal to no one.
The one thing you can be certain of with a campaign like that is it will annoy more customers than it will delight.
The assumption you’re making is that each of your demographics will like at least one item you’ve included. This is wrong.
It may encourage some of your customers to click but there’s a crucial component missing. You’re expecting them to navigate your site with low buying intent and then spend money.
Your customers don’t think that way. Customers, especially repeat customers, come to your site with a product in mind. Not to aimlessly browse.
Most eCommerce websites are too big with a huge number of products. It’s not like wandering around a clothes store, the experiences aren’t the same so you shouldn’t treat them as such.
Equally, defining your audience is so much more than gender, age and any other demographic data you care to throw into the mix.
Your audience should be defined on an individual basis, leveraging the customer data you have at your disposal. You have average spend, order history, frequency of order and other preferences sat in your database.
This allows you to send highly personalised communications that significantly increase the chances of conversion.
Build your Campaign
Email campaigns should not be fire and forget, but rather a multistage campaign to nudge your customers towards the objective.
Whatever the objective is, you should have follow up emails ready to maximise your chances of success. A sales campaign, for example, should include follow-ups for customers that:
- Didn’t open
- Opened but didn’t click
- Open and clicked but didn’t convert
At minimum. There will be other emails you can create to ensure your campaign performs as well as possible depending on the objectives, what you’re offering and the data you have available. But it won’t surprise you to know that the more customer data you have access to, the better your email marketing campaigns become.
You should also ensure you have an abandoned basket campaign ready to go for your website. Although a separate campaign, it’s essential to catch those customers who leave before completing their purchase.
Your campaigns will vary depending on what you want your customers to do. Starting with the objective and working backwards can help you to build out emails that offer incentives and other offers in exchange for converting.
You should also consider segmenting your database so loyal customers receive different offers and promotions from customers who have only purchased once. Or customers who have lapsed.
This isn’t to say one cohort should get better offers than others. Rather, each group of customers will be looking for something different.
Loyal customers need fewer incentives like free shipping or a discount code since they already shop with you. A lapsed customer, however, is more likely to respond to this.
So as you define your audience, consider what you should include in your email marketing campaigns to get the best results.
Calls to Action
Whatever your email marketing campaign is designed to do, make sure you ask your audience to do something.
A list of personalised products isn’t any good if you don’t direct the user to ‘buy now’. It may seem obvious to the point of ludicrous but it will make a difference.
Furthermore, use the real estate of your emails wisely. Direct users to sign up for your newsletter or join your loyalty programme. These can be incentivised with a discount code, bonus loyalty points or even a gift.
An important thing to remember when it comes to asking customers to sign up for something is telling them what they’ll get. You’re getting their personal information and they’re savvy enough to know you’ll use it to sell to them. Your customers accept that as part of the transaction. However, either in your email or on the landing page, you need to make explicitly clear what they’ll get in return. This will help your customers to trust you and make it easier for them to sign up.
Analyse and Test
No matter how personalised your campaigns are or how confident you are of your offering, customers can, and will, surprise you.
Where possible you should split test your campaigns so you can get a more accurate idea of what your customers are interested in.
Don’t forget, order history isn’t perfect as some products your customers have bought may not have been for them.
Split testing helps you to determine which messaging and products work best, helping you to boost conversions next time. You should continue to test throughout your email marketing campaigns as buying habits change. Also certain messaging may become less effective over time so testing helps to keep customers engaged.
On top of this, you should be looking at your email marketing campaign’s analytics. Before you get as far as your conversions you want to look at how the emails themselves are performing.
Deliverability is a good start as this gives you an indication of how clean your data is. If you’re getting a lot of bounce backs there could be a problem.
Open rates, clicks, and unsubscribes are among the key metrics you need to be paying attention to.
Industry benchmarks vary but in eCommerce, the average open rate is 15.6%. The click-through rate is 2.01% and unsubscribes sit around 0.27%. If you’ve built your campaign properly you should be hitting well above these averages.
If not then you need to delve into the data and understand what went wrong.
If you’re not split testing your email marketing campaigns now is a good time to start.
Taking the time to analyse your campaigns to determine what’s working and what’s not is essential. It may not seem the case with generic email campaigns because, as we’ve established, you can’t please everyone.
A generic campaign takes the responsibility of performance away from the business and puts it on to the customer, which is backwards. And explains why your customers don’t respond well.
When you start personalising your campaign interactions and behaviours become far more significant. This means the insights you get from your reporting are far more useful as a result.
To learn more about how you can personalise your campaigns through accessing your customer data, get in touch today and a member of our team will help.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.