Optimising Email Marketing For SME’s

Whether you’re a start up, an established SME or a sole trader, deciding where and indeed how to invest money into your marketing for a maximum return isn’t a decision which you can take lightly.

The key focus is attracting new consumers and keep your existing customers returning to your business but at times finances can be an issue, not only have you got to choose wisely but you’ve got to be 100% that your investments are going to pay off.

Without a doubt, still the most cost effective method of marketing is email marketing. It allows you to target all of your leads, clients and consumers in the one place you know they visit at least every day — their inbox.

Going back to work after the Christmas break is always greeted with hours of clearing unwanted marketing emails of products you’ve purchased once and never gone back with, yet the reason it’s done is simply because it works.

Out of every 100 emails you receive, you may open 20 and 2 may be relevant enough to get that all important click out of you and get you onto the landing page. It’s the exact same with all of the consumers you’re targeting.

Ever wonder why you don’t just jump on the social media craze? (which in itself is effective), well the answer is simple. Email marketing attracts over 40 times more responses than you’re likely to see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined. Whilst a 2011 UK study shows email marketing as the 3rd most used marketing channel in the with 66%.

over 91% of your consumers (USA) will check their emails every day according to Exact Target. Whilst in the UK over 66% of online shoppers check their account at least 3 times per day and 13% of their consumers check it on an hourly basis according to the relevancy group as reported by Email Jam.

most used marketing channels 2011

Want even more statistics? 80% of Americans check their phone whenever it goes off, including email notifications.

According to eMarketer, Email Marketing Benchmarks: Key Data, Trends, and Metrics, February 2013. Orders which are received as a result of email marketing are also 17% higher in terms of value than that of social media marketing.

1. The click isn’t as important as you think.

As marketers we often obsess over every little detail of our emails marketing campaigns. Is the subject line engaging enough? what about the text size? is it readable? do we still look fun and professional? All of these things are incredibly important, but what happens after the click is where the magic happens.

“Sale at first click has never happened.”

Your newsletters, promo emails, etc. are all part of a bigger picture, a picture centred around interaction and consumer relationship building. It’s important to send the recipient on a journey which meets every one of consumers needs perfectly — that is where your obsession needs to be, not on the ‘first click’ specifics.

You need to make sure your email goes further than the email itself. What is the point of your email? To get a click onto a landing page, yet the majority of emails I receive send me to a generic landing home page with little to no information of what I was enthused by in the original email. So what do I do? I close the tab and continue looking through my emails.

Your landing page will transcend your audience further into a needs met bliss. Provide your consumers with an easy to navigate landing page, a landing page which sends them directly to the email subject, give your consumers what they wanted when they clicked the all important link.

It’s argued that you’ll receive more than a 25% increase in sales if you send your consumer on the needs met journey they desire.

Oh and don’t forget mobile! Point 3 in my tackling market trends in 2016 post discussed how mobile is quickly becoming the most used method of digital interaction yet you’ll be surprised how many emails you receive which do not send you to optimised landing pages for Smart phones, yet over 45% of you will open your emails on your mobile, resulting in a read and close app, never to be seen again in your unread Gmail inbox. Perhaps that will change with Googles search algorithm now set to penalise websites which aren’t optimised for mobile usage.

Brush it off if you wish, can’t make too much of a difference right? Well you’re wrong. According to Google over 61% of users are unlikely to re-read or return to mobile websites which they’ve previously had issues with accessing and just to make matters worse, that problem you solved? well the first thing 40% of your lost consumers will do is search your market competitors for the same solution.

2. Celebrate Solutions

I don’t know about you, but myself and other like minded passionate marketers will take every single email as a chance to discover more about our consumers and how they behave in the lifecycle. Made even more possible with Marketing Automation.

You should be out there getting stuck in to every bit of raw data you can in order to redefine and provide a clearer scope for your future campaign outcomes.

One incredibly influential US apparel company took things one step further in 2014 and it’s been reciprocated heavily by risk taking marketers. This unnamed company now provides monthly marketing reviews of all of it’s email and digital marketing campaigns in which marketers are invited to share 3 things that were hugely successful and 3 things which need improving from the most recent campaign. This has also been adopted into sales organisations where the sales team will meet with the marketing team and discuss lead feedback and how things can be improved.

This apparel company goes one step further and shares these experiences over an in house television network in order to really understand the lessons that can be learned from this process.

“We want our team to share every lesson…If what we’re doing doesn’t work, we should celebrate finding that out.” — ******* head of marketing.

The end result is fantastic, it provides a continuous learning process for marketers, the sales team and beyond. Does it work? well at the end of 2014 this company went one step further and reportedly doubled it’s ecommerce value without an increase in marketing spend all as an outcome of shared learning.

Okay, so you’re not some multinational organisation, so how does this benefit you?

Well, the answer is simple. Whether you’re a stand alone marketer or working with a marketing department you can use these lessons to broaden your own horizons. Analyse everything in more detail, if you’re a stand alone marketer go one step further and liaison with your sales team, don’t have a sales team? Speak to your company directors, get feedback on the statistical data from the campaign without your input. opinions, factual statements, they all matter.

If you do have a marketing team simply follow the same principles, send your team away with all of the data and get them to interpret their findings and give them back to you either anonymously or in a group session.

What I like about this improvement method is how simple yet effective it is, after all two heads are better than one.

3. Break the barrier, get personal

Standing out in a world full of spam emails and must see deals has become increasingly difficult and unless your recipient has enquired personally it can become quiet difficult for you to get a meaningful response or click rate to start off that magical journey outlined in point 1.

In 2013, the number of marketing emails sent out was believed to have surpassed the 840 billion mark according to Forrester. Attention to detail and need solution relevance has never been more crucial for every marketer big or small in all 4 corners of the globe.

Personalised Emails

The best emails, as I’m sure you will all agree are the ones which feel personal, I’m not talking about emails with your name coded into them, I’m talking about real personal emails where you feel like more than a number. Of course, hand written emails to each of your clients may seem like a huge waste of time, especially if you’ve got clients in their 100’s. NY based retail giants Gilt Groupe have email tempate design patters which factor in a real personal feel.

Each email takes your cookie history into consideration, looking at your browsing history, sales cycle position, and so on in a very similar way to market automation. Each email transcribes to give you a real tailor made feel and that is the target for any business looking to wow their target audience and make them feel valued.

Lets get real for a second though, the chances are most people reading this do not have the resources available to really put something as complex yet amazing together. In fact even in most MNC’s you’ll find that consumer information is segretated depending on various departments which is an absolute pain to get together for you to really understand a consumer in the form of data.

You must build targeting engines to devise and send the correct message to the correct address, then you need to make sure operations can handle this amount of fluidity, what if the engines bug out and stop working? what about the department who are spending days creating over 300 email templates? Far more time consuming than the generic email blast with only a name to identify your unique characteristics.

But here’s the key point, it really does work and you really will see a benefit. Various financial companies have reported revenue increasing to over 20% as a result of consumer life cycle events triggering personalised emails. It’s true that Automation is the future and that’s why now you can find out which are the best email marketing engines by simply clicking here.

Here’s a company we will name, US-based Home retailer Williams Sonoma increased response rates and click activity 10-fold as a result of personalised email offerings.

“If you comb the corporate Website, you’ll learn the company uses technology to reach its customers on multiple channels, and capitalises on data to “enhance customers’ lives at home…We keep our marketing relevant so it doesn’t feel like spam to our customers,” — John Strain, 2011.

So there we have it, my top 3 ways to make email marketing an critical part of your marketing process in 2016.

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