In modern business, email dominates marketing channels. With the broadest reach, lowest cost, easiest measurability, and highest conversion rates, 91 percent of executives cite email as the single most-effective channel for driving revenue. Though, on the consumer end, the average person spends 6.3 hours per day checking email — while at dinner, in bed, in the bathroom, and even at the movies — only 14 percent of emails are even read. As a result, in 2017, the best email campaigns must come of age.
As consumers complain about overloaded inboxes and irrelevant messages, smart marketers are listening. They no longer push and promote products but, instead, react to their customers — and it’s presenting huge opportunities in terms of higher conversion rates and increased revenue.
Launch a Truly Successful Email Campaign — Three Rules for Success.
To launch your email campaign into a successful future, consider the following three rules for email-campaign adulthood that are sure to propel your email strategy into its prime.
1. Transform Email Strategy Across Channels.
Email strategy can no longer exist on an island. Obtaining buy-in from the C-suite is key to transforming it across channels. Leadership support removes barriers to maturation and fosters an organizational structure that promotes a collaborative approach. Communicate with all stakeholders from the beginning to secure executive support for a cross-channel strategy and organize teams around the customer. “Buy in is a whole lot easier when you have the right stakeholders in the early conversation versus trying to sell up later,” says Sachin Shroff, senior director of customer performance optimization at The Container Store.
To make your argument and secure key-stakeholder buy-in, test a small market segment and let the data demonstrate how your cross-channel strategy feeds into and propels your email campaigns — allowing customers to pick up where they left off on all channels for a seamless experience and encouraging them to engage via email where a vast majority of conversion-decisions are made.
2. Integrate Cross-Channel Data and Make It Actionable
In 2017, successful email strategy will require data from online and offline channels. Tie data together — from your digital channels to your point of sale, customer relationship management, and third-party sources — in an integrated, centralized database that everyone can use and enable your program to be part of a coherent conversation across your brand.
You can start by using an email program to connect channel data. Encourage users to sign up for your email program, allowing you to authenticate them. Then, tap into their browsing histories to send personalized follow-up emails.
But, don’t stop there. Use this authentication to look beyond online or email-only data and identify those channels that drive conversion. “We use that unique identifier to stitch together years of data sitting in all these databases — transaction, web, email, and direct mail — to get a better view of how our customer is shopping with us,” says Schroff. Create a complete customer profile that offers a single view of your customer, compiling data from every possible source — from Facebook and other social-media sites to direct mail and email inboxes. Then, use this complete customer profile to deliver a seamless, channel-agnostic, personalized campaign from first awareness to purchase and beyond.
3. Make It About Your Customers — Really.
Information is available to help you personalize, customize, and delight your customers. Send more relevant offers to more precisely targeted audiences, and you’ll drive sales. Most email users spend less than three seconds deciding whether they will read any further. Create personal and contextual emails by incorporating dynamic content. And remember — timing and location are everything. Just because email has proven its aptitude for high conversion rates, don’t be afraid to think holistically, reaching out to your customers on whatever channel is most relevant to them in the moment. In fact, with all the marketing noise you and your customer must contend with nowadays, it may take several channels to cut through that noise. And, that’s okay.
Email campaigns in 2017 have two choices: grow up or be left behind. Start with a clear vision and a team with the skills and motivation to embrace customer-centric marketing — rather than product-centric marketing. Integrate your data across channels and make it actionable. Lastly, use your data and tools to make it personal. Today, it’s all about your customers.
To learn more about the specific statistics and case studies discussed in this article, or to read more about email marketing success in 2017 and beyond, download our in-depth white paper, Email Comes of Age.