On the flip side, while email marketing is going to stick around for a long time to come, your customers might not. In fact, unless you know exactly how to market your products to them in the right way, they could easily slip through the net and start shopping with other brands.
You don’t want that to happen – and neither do we. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best email marketing practices to retain customers.
Why You Should Retain Customers Using Email Marketing
A lot of research has been done into customer retention, and it’s shown that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive as retaining an existing one.
Loyal customers are, of course, your bedrock: They’ll buy from you more often, they’ll refer you to their friends and family and they will even offer you a hand when it comes to valuable feedback. Data confirms this, with 71% of people willing to recommend a product or service because they received a “great experience”.
The thing is, it’s easy to assume that the best way to retain customers is via good prices. While price matters, it doesn’t matter as much as marketing. In fact, stats show that 64% of customers prioritize a good experience over price, while 81% say they will only buy from a brand if they can trust them.
And when it comes to marketing, email marketing is the top dog because it gives you the chance to make a genuine, long-term connection with your customers. You can personalize your emails while providing your customers with valuable information related to your brand. This helps you to raise awareness of deals and promotions, and it also lets you build that all-important trust.
Send Emails At The Right Time
Is there such a thing as a perfect time to send an email? Probably not. But there are definitely ballparks you can aim for, based on research. And if you can send emails at the right time, you’ve already got one foot through the door because this will increase open rates.
According to research, the optimal time to send emails are at 10 am, 1 pm and 6 pm, as these are generally when there are spikes in open rates. Also, the workweek typically fares better than the weekend.
That all said, it’s really important that you carry out your own research, too, by looking at, and analyzing your data. When you spot trends in your open rates and click-through rates, it should give you a better idea in regards to timing.
Ditch The ‘No Reply’ In The Sender’s Email Address
If you haven’t yet heard of CAN-SPAM, it’s well worth your time to check it out. It’s essentially a piece of legislation that email marketers implement in their email campaigns.
Well, its goal is to prevent spam. One rule is for email marketers to not use the words “no reply” as their email sender name.
For example, have you noticed how some emails are sent by “email@example.com”?
Not only do these types of emails look impersonal, they also can’t be replied to. If you’re looking to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, you should want to give them the opportunity to reply to you instead.
What should you add instead of ‘no reply’? A memorable sender name, such as your first name.
Optimize The Email’s Preview Text
Whenever you send your emails out, it doesn’t matter how awesome the content is if people don’t open the email in the first place.
To encourage a higher open rate, you need to optimize your subject line – but you also need to optimize your email’s preview text.
This is something a number of marketers forget about, but it’s both simple and very effective.
The preview text is otherwise known as the pre-header. It needs to be short (generally between 35-90 characters), and it needs to contain a teaser that expands on your subject line.
For example, if your subject line is “the game is almost up’, your preview text could be “just 5 hours left until our deal ends”.
Design For Accessibility
Email design is really important if you want people to keep reading until your offer appears, and it’s also important if you don’t want them to unsubscribe.
Because emails that are hard to even look at will turn people off.
And the thing is, email design is harder than you think. There are all kinds of things you need to keep in mind, including image contrast, the arrangement of elements and even things like adding ALT text to your images. You also need to design your emails with a mobile audience in mind and keep your paragraphs short (one or two lines of text at the most are usually enough).
Avoid Excess Code
Another thing to be mindful of is that CSS is inputted in HTML <head> tags. However, many email marketers prefer to remove both the <body> and <head> tags from their HTML. And if you do use CSS, it needs to align with your HTML.
Segment Your Audience
Email segmentation allows you to break up your audience into different categories so that you send tailored emails that are more highly targeted, and that consequently lead to conversions.
Why Should You Segment Your List?
Everyone who signs up for your email list has their own different tastes, needs and desires. They behave differently, and they’re at different stages in the customer journey.
Therefore, if you send blanket emails to your whole list, there’ll be recipients for whom these emails are unsuitable. If you keep sending them unsuitable emails, they definitely won’t convert and they may even stop opening your emails altogether.
Email segmentation, then, allows you to talk directly to each customer in a way that seems highly personal to them and their needs.
How To Segment Your List
Before you begin segmenting your current email list, it’s really important that you create different lead magnets (more on this below) on different pages that target different customers and their different buyer journeys.
Then, you can segment your list in different ways:
- Onsite behavior
- Past purchases
- Lifecycle stage
- Awareness stage
- Consideration stage
- Decision stage
- Buying frequency
- Customers who refer
- Customers who haven’t reviewed
- Shopping cart abandonment
Crafting Your Email Message
Segmenting your audience is one thing, but unless you nail your email message, you still won’t land the conversions you want.
The subject line is the first thing your customers see when your email lands in their inbox. If you can get this right, you’re guaranteed to at least increase open rates. In fact, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.
A lot has been written on subject lines and they’re a bit of a science and an art. A good idea is to test and tweak different subject lines to see what works and what doesn’t. Other than that, here are some quick tips:
- Elicit curiosity
- Outline the offer
- Personalize your subject line
- Make it relevant and timely
- Keep it short
- Suggest what’s inside the email
Benefits and Not Features
Perhaps the oldest advice in sales and marketing is to relay the benefits and not the features. After all, all a customer wants to know is what something is going to do for them.
Make sure you don’t get bogged down with outlining a product’s features in your emails. Instead, tell stories and show exactly how your products or services will benefit them. How will it improve their life?
Clear and Concise
It’s super important that you use language that’s understandable to all. Your paragraphs must be short, your email should contain lots of line breaks and white space, and your message needs to ultimately be clear and concise. This means not saying anything more than needs to be said and cutting out all fluff.
Include a Compelling CTA
Why do you compose emails? Mostly because you’ve got an offer. As such, your CTA needs to be so compelling that you haven’t just wasted all your time.
Whatever your offer is, make sure you only give your customers one thing to do at the end of your email. Be direct with your language, use a button to make your CTA stand out and definitely make it hyperlinked.
Email Marketing Analytics
Email marketing won’t work unless you monitor analytics so that you can spot patterns and trends.
Set Email Marketing KPIs
There are 4 crucial KPIs you need to monitor so that you understand how effective your email marketing campaigns are:
- Unsubscribes – How many people are opting out of your list after subscribing? Look for patterns so that you understand why
- Click-through rate – Measure how many people click your hyperlinked CTA
- Open rate – Take a look at what percentage of recipients are opening your emails and then look at ways you can get this number up, such as testing different subject lines
- Deliverability – It’s important you check how many of your emails are actually reaching your customers’ inboxes
A/B Test Your Marketing Emails
It’s impossible to know exactly what works when it comes to email marketing unless you perform A/B tests. This is when you create – for example – two different subject lines to see which one performs the best.
It’s not just the subject line you need to A/B test, though. You also need to test things like images, the time you send your emails out and – crucially – your CTA.
When looking for email marketing software, make sure it comes with A/B testing.
Create a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet placed on a squeeze page, for example, is a free gift that you offer to people in exchange for their email address. It’s kinda like a gift that must be so valuable to your prospects that they’re willing to part with something as personal as their email address in order to get it.
A lead magnet should also be relevant to your target audience, it needs to be simple, and – yes – it needs to be free.
There are different types of lead magnets you can create, but the most popular ones include eBooks, discounts, cheat sheets, access to video training and a free trial.
Customer retention is super important if you’re to grow a business that people trust and value.
Use these email marketing practices to build a long-lasting relationship with your audience, and don’t forget to test everything so that you can keep tweaking and improving your campaigns as you go along.