Email marketing is like going to the gym and working out. Lots of people do it, yet few do it well. Too often, marketers and gym members only go through the motions and are disappointed with the results. Yet, small changes to email or a workout routine can have a big payoff.
The best way to build email marketing muscle is to leverage data, insights and strategy to develop the proper timing, offer, and objective, which is every “muscle group” a successful email marketing campaign depends on. While e-mail is our focus in this article, the same workout applies to all other outbound channels like push, text, clienteling, digital and search.
In a time when people are glued to their smartphones, brands continue to use email as a low-cost way to reach millions of customers and prospects. However, most companies aren’t even close to using email to its full potential. Just like the average person needs to tweak his/her workout to get a trim waist, brands need to shape up and evolve their email marketing to get the results they want, like engaging customers and generating incremental revenue.
As retailers grow prospects into customers and customers into profitable relationships, tracking and providing the optimal customer experience across key email touchpoints is crucial to maintaining these relationships. Customers decide within seconds to continue that relationship or to check out a competitor. These touchpoints are the make-or-break moments when people meet, judge and respond to brands. To make the seconds count, here are five best practices for crucial email touchpoints across the buyer’s journey.
1. Email Sign-Up and Account Sign-Up
Keep email sign-up short and simple enough to capture the right amount of data to enhance the relationship and move it forward. Just like when we are pressed for time at the gym, marketers need to the keep email focused and to the point. Don’t ask extraneous questions that slow down customers who want to dive in and start shopping.
Email Sign-Up Tips:
- Ask for name, email address, gender, birthday
- Allow the potential customer to request additional information
- Provide product preference/activity preference options
Similarly, account sign-up needs to be simple, streamlined and offer enough options for personalization while requiring minimal information for the initial sign-up.
Account Sign-Up Tips:
- Ask for first name, last name, e-mail address
- Provide the option to add personal information afterwards
- Capture preferences, mailing/billing address
- Repopulate this info if the user already included it while signing up for email
- Avoid asking for information that you don’t use
- Explain why you are collecting the information
2. Welcome Series
All too often when customers join a brand’s email list, they are tossed into the brand’s cycle of email blasts without being introduced to the brand or acknowledged for signing up. Instead, send a series of welcome emails that thank them for signing up, reiterate your promise to the customer and introduce the business. While many brands send a single welcome email as opposed to a series, it is often generated from the website instead of the email service provider, which results in a different look and feel from the brand the customer is just getting to know.
Instead of a text-based layout that offers little to no information about the brand and doesn’t link to email preferences, use an engaging, well thought out series of welcome emails with an image-based layout and content that:
- Thanks the customer
- Builds/acts on your brand’s promise to the customer
- Outlines the breadth of your brand’s products, vision and benefits
- Contains links to update email preferences
- Offers contact information for customer service
- Links to social media accounts
There are a lot of different ways to welcome customers, from pleasant and inviting to disinterested and uncaring, and the empowered customer is quick to recognize the difference.