Ugh, spam. That little four lettered word causes our spam filters to work overtime and our inboxes to become cluttered. We become so used to spam that we don’t even give it a second thought and hit the “delete” button before even opening the email. So, how do businesses reach existing and potential customers using an email marketing campaign? Is it even worth it?
Kristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer at BluePay, says a good email marketing campaign is still a great way to reach customers. Gramigna argues that the cost for marketing through email is actually quite low. In her article 4 Email Marketing Conversion Tips, Gramigna states “an effective email marketing message has the potential to result in $38 in revenue, for just $1 of marketing investment“. Whoa. That’s quite appealing. So, how do we keep company emails from being banished into the spam folder? Gramigna recommends four key strategies:
- Use Descriptive Tags
- Send Targeted Messages
- Keep Requests Minimal
- Form Lasting Relationships
Descriptive HTML tags (also known as “ALT” tags) are available when you use an image in your email or website. Allow me to demonstrate why ALT tags are important:
Here’s a picture of a book proof-of-concept to teach younger children about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Cute picture, right?
What would happen if the picture was viewed on a mobile device where the picture couldn’t be displayed? Or what if your link was broken (which wouldn’t happen because you always test your links, right)? You’d lose the impact of the picture. However, if you look at the (broken) picture now, what do you see?
You should see a broken link image and a description. I added an ALT tag to my picture, so if for some reason the picture wasn’t viewable, you can still get information from it. This feature is also great for accessibility (defined as the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities), so that if a blind customer received your email, reading devices would be able to detect the picture and read the ALT tag to the customer.
Still uncomfortable with the use of ALT tage? W3schools.com has a great section on ALT tags along with examples.
Never, and I mean never, send out mass emails without having a specific target audience first! No one wants to get those emails where it begins “Dear Future Customer” or, even worse, an email that has nothing to do with your lifestyle or preferences at all. As a married mother of (almost) five, if I get an email that says “Find Singles in Your Local Area Today” that’s going straight into the trash bin. However, if I get an email that says something like “$20 Off Your Next Grocery Visit to Woods” then I may be tempted to read that email. Of course, this depends on what hoops Woods wants me to jump through to get that $20 off. Which brings me to Gramigna’s next point. . . .
Do not require your readers to jump through many (if any) hoops. Gramigna recommends that you “prefill special offers the email message may include so customers aren’t required to key special discount codes that are part of your email offer at checkout.“. She also mentions that you might want to partner with a reputable mobile payment provider to eliminate extra steps needed to complete a transaction. Though, some payment providers such as PayPal still require extra steps. Gramigna’s article mentions that PayPal has taken a little bit of a hit since they require extra action steps for added security purposes. She states that “evidence suggests that it kills conversion by nearly 15 percent (particularly when consumers are shopping on a mobile device)“. I personally don’t mind the extra security, but I can see how that could frustrate some.
Above all customers come first. You want to meet their needs, and one of the best ways to do that is to build a lasting relationship with them. You want to earn and build their trust so that they become loyal to your brand and/or company. You should build on previous emails and your knowledge of the customer. Gramigna offers this statistic in her article: “marketing firm Epsilon cites data indicating that ‘triggered’ emails targeted based on a recipient’s engagement with past messages have open rates that are 76% higher than those with generic messaging“. Those are some pretty impressive results.
Below, I highlight a company who I believe expertly uses an email marketing campaign. I’ll give examples of how ModCloth uses the “targeted messages” strategy well.
Website Example: ModCloth
ModCloth is an online retailer of vintage clothing and home goods. They excel in many areas and are excellent examples of a well-planned email marketing campaign. For example, if you are a new customer, they offer you an automatic 10% off your first purchase. This shows great targeting for new customers. Once they establish a relationship with you, you’ll get even further targeted emails from them. For me, I received an email letting me know that an item that I was interested in was in danger of being sold out. Or, conversly, an item I was interested in was back in stock. Modcloth used my activities on their website to send me very specific targeted emails. Another time, their website was down, so they sent an “Oops!” email and offered free shipping for the day to make up for the inconvenience.
Modcloth is a great example of a company who puts a little bit of elbow grease into their email marketing campaign. They work hard to establish a trusting and loyal relationship with their customers (and their stuff is pretty cute, too).
Do you believe email marketing to be worth the investment? Questions? Comments? Message me below!