Teaching 'Old' Marketing Methods New Tricks, Email Style
Out with the old marketing methods, in with the new: a common philosophy for heralding in any time of major change. Should the same hold true for the way we plan and invest in our marketing?
Many marketers would say so. How many “X ‘older’ marketing channel of the day is dead” articles have you read this year? Or even just this week? We’re always wary of which methods are going to be seen as passé tomorrow, and which hot new tool we should be investing in today.
In an engaging session at INBOUND 2018, Sam Awezec, HubSpot’s senior growth marketing manager, made the case against this mentality. The session, "Old School vs. Young Guns: Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs Both," explored why neither old nor new can survive without the other.
The first point to cover was, what exactly do we consider “old school” marketing channels now? Not so long ago, we would have said direct mail, radio or even billboards. But now, Awezec pointed out, the “new” old school is email. While we’ve lived by the email marketing sword for years now, and we do still see results, inbox oversaturation is real and causing more and more email blindness every day.
So, what’s the “new school”? One possibility might be chat functions, or bots. But these friendly little chatterboxes have their constraints too: “Bots are only as good as their input,” said Awezec. He pointed out a simple example of how this “function of the future” might still drag a user into the past:
As you can see, this chatbot was programmed to only answer the most basic questions, and could not provide an answer when any layer of nuance was added. Prospects usually turn to a chat function hoping for a quick, simple solution if the answers they need are not readily available; a poorly executed chat function like this one only adds to their frustration and could very well result in them leaving the site entirely.
Another “new school” tactic is customization and personalization of emails and offers. But again, if not done properly, the results are comical at best, and irritating at worst. “The Internet seems to think I have a child,” Awezec said, showing several images of notifications he’d received from several retailers, offering deals for babies’ and children’s goods.
So, how do we take the old school of email marketing and give it that new car smell without missteps like above? It’s important to create a seamless omnichannel experience: “Personalized, contextually relevant content at the user’s time, not your time.” Awezec shared a few ideas which have yielded extraordinary results for him.
Webinar Invite Email
- The team A/B tested a plain-text webinar invite email, against the same email with a time ticker counting down to the time of the webinar. The clock also had an “add to calendar button.” Version B saw a 75% lift in CTR.
- Taking it a step further, the team then tested dynamic CTA buttons: “Join Us,” “Register Now,” “Sign Me Up” and “Save My Seat.” The winner was the simple (perhaps even “old school”) “Register Now,” with a 46% increase in CTR.
Live Event Emails
- Awezec included several highly personalized elements in live event emails: live weather forecasts for the event location city, live traffic updates to help plan travel to the event, and live polling pertaining to sessions and activities at the event.
- Adding these “new school” elements to email saw a 75% lift in CTR, 245% lift in engagement and 136% lift in re-engagement!
Allowing Users to Pick Their Journey
- In an otherwise typical sales email, the team included four “what are you looking to achieve” options for the customer to choose from: lead gen, revenue growth, sales management or all of the above. The user’s choice sent them along a process map, providing them with customized content for their goals.
- This method of personalization resulted in a 67% open rate increase and a 67% CTR increase.
In addition, Awezec has seen through several ways to spruce up bots and use them more effectively than the one shown earlier. For example, using an SEO chat bot to ask form questions, like company name and size, and business interests, saw a 66% completion rate and 32% control conversion rate over a standard form.
A key takeaway from the session was definitely this: personalize, customize, optimize. Giving your prospect choices and convenient tools that pertain specifically to them saves them time and frustration, as well as earning trust and satisfaction.
Just because a channel like email is becoming “old hat” doesn’t mean it can’t be taught new tricks. It’s all about being smart with the shiny new toys you add, and making sure you add them with purpose and goals. As demonstrated in Awezec’s examples, it really can make a massive difference.
To get more information from Samuel Awezec, you can find him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/samawezec. You can also download his presentation deck here: https://events.bizzabo.com/205972/agenda/session/5059.