7 Email Marketing Predictions For 2016

What’s ahead for email marketers in 2016? From responsive design to an Apple voice-controlled headset, columnist Chad White shares his thoughts on what the future holds for email marketing.

1. There Will Be Many More Positive Media Stories About Email Marketing Than Negative In 2016

After years of “Email Is Dead” headlines, this year brought renewed interest and headlines like “The Triumphant Return of the Email Newsletter,” “Shop, Play Games, And Check Twitter — From Your Inbox,” and “Lena Dunham and why 2015 was the year of the email newsletter.”

The media and influencers finally seem to be realizing that all of the self-proclaimed email-killers — from RSS to social and mobile and Slack — have only made email stronger. And as the shine wears off newer marketing channels, more attention will be given to the marketing channel that consumers prefer most and that has the highest ROI: email. In short, email marketing will get its swagger back.
2. Another Major Email Service Provider (ESP) Will Be Acquired

In 2015, Constant Contact was acquired by Endurance International Group for $1.1 billion. In 2014, IBM bought Silverpop, and Adobe acquired Neolane for $600 million. In 2013, Oracle purchased Responsys for $1.5 billion, and Salesforce acquired ExactTarget for $2.5 billion.

A few software titans, including Microsoft and SAP, have yet to integrate email marketing into their customer relationship management and digital marketing offerings, so we’ll see another big ESP bought in 2016 as the wave of integration continues. The age of email marketing as a standalone, siloed channel is coming to an end.

Email is critical to cross-channel marketing, plus the data from email marketing interactions is vital to fueling campaigns in social and elsewhere.
3. Brands Will Debut The First Shopping Experiences That Are Fully Contained Within Emails

Thus far, interactive email functionality has been largely limited to hamburger menus, email carousels, embedded video and the occasional live Twitter feed. That’s all just a warm-up for the main event: shopping in an email.

Using functionality pioneered by the likes of Rebelmail, a few brave brands will step out into the unknown and allow subscribers to complete entire shopping sessions — including viewing products, picking sizes and customizing orders — within emails without ever clicking through to landing pages. Will consumers like it? I bet that they will.
4. The Majority Of Email Opens Will Be On Mobile Devices

During 2015, the percentage of email opens on mobile devices averaged 49 percent, with mobile opens surging in November and December, according to Litmus’ Email Analytics data. Webmail, especially desktop opens, will continue to decline.

In 2016, opens on the Outlook desktop app will fall to around five percent as businesses continue to shift away from expensive desktop suites like Microsoft Office toward more scalable services like Google Apps and Outlook 365. Cloud-based software will continue to disrupt installed and on-premise software.
5. The Majority Of Brands Will Use Responsive Design For Their Marketing Emails In 2016

Brands have been stubbornly slow to adapt to consumers’ shift to reading email on mobile devices. In late 2014, the majority of marketers were finally using mobile-friendly design techniques for their emails. In 2016, we’ll see this trend take a jump forward as the majority of marketers adopt responsive email design.

Only 41 percent of marketers were using responsive design for their emails as of June 2015, according to joint research between Litmus and Salesforce. Driven by what has turned out to be the most mobile holiday season ever, we expect a big wave of responsive design adoption toward the end of the first quarter and into the summer.
6. Apple Will Release A Siri-Infused Headset That Syncs With iPhones And The Apple Watch

In addition to a new iPhone with a screen size similar to the 5S, Apple will put effort into a voice-controlled headset (a la Jawbone) that can be used to read and dictate texts and emails, access map directions and more.

This new accessory will bring more relevance to the Watch by allowing users to do more without taking out their phones. It will also bring new relevance to the plain text version and watch-HTML version of an email, the latter being the portion of an email that would be most likely preferentially read.

The cumulative effect of all of these developments is that…
7. Email Marketing Will Experience A Second Coming Of Age In 2016

It will be a time of accelerating competitive advantage for brands that are committed to investing in high-ROI, subscriber-centric strategies. And it will be a dangerous time for brands whose resource-starved email strategies have never matured beyond batch and blast.

Source: Marketingland

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Does Your Email Marketing Need CPR?

Do your email sales results need a first aid intervention? It may be time to perform CPR.

If you run an e-commerce or service company, you know email sales can be the lifeblood of your firm’s marketing.

However, if your email sales results are DOA, then you need to give your email tactics a bit of CPR. That is, correct your mistakes, practice persistence and rotate your marketing approaches.

Correct Your Mistakes

Errors can lessen the impact of your email sales campaign. So start by looking at your tactics to see if you’re making some of the most common mistakes. The one I see most often in autoresponders and newsletters is simply a lack of effort to make the sale.

As an example, think of the internet marketer who lines up a six-email autoresponder sequence, saves the sales pitch for the sixth email, and when that doesn’t generate a sale, simply writes off that lead.

Remember here that email open rates are nowhere near 100 percent, and limiting himself to six emails with the sales pitch only in the last email in the sequence means that internet marketer is going to have a very hard time selling anything.

To fix that mistake, start by mixing up your email sequence to include sales messages more frequently. (This article provides a succinct overview of the various types of sales pitches.)

Using the above example, include a sales message in every other email, rather than just the sixth. Most importantly, if you don’t convert your lead into a sale after your initial autoresponder sequence, regardless of how many emails it might entail, have the gusto to keep trying.

Remember that more attempts to sell make a sale more likely.

Service providers who sell a service over the web instead of a product often make the mistake of omitting a call to action.

While many service providers consider the omission of a sales pitch or call to action a “professional approach to email,” you shouldn’t eliminate selling altogether. Instead, simply focus on less overt forms of selling.

As an example, instead of simply sending out a monthly newsletter that’s basically a glorified press release, mix in an email promoting a webinar in one of your emails, embed the video on your website and make sure your appointment or assessment form is in the column next to it.

For another option, integrate a client success story, along with a little sales nudge urging your email recipient to find out more about what you can do for them.

There are several more subtle ways to make a sales pitch, but don’t forget that you can still sell, be professional and drive phone calls to make money.

Those are the most common mistakes I see in email marketing. If you want better results from your autoresponders, use them as a starting point to evaluate what you can improve in your own email campaign.

With these errors corrected, we’re ready to move on to the next step of email marketing CPR.
Practice Persistence

Practicing persistence in your email marketing is more than just not giving up on a lead. Instead, think of persistence as using every approach possible to maximize the potential of every lead.

For example, let’s look at Amazon’s approach. Once a potential customer has opted in, Amazon will try to make the sale based on whatever the customer showed interest in. When the customer is looking at an item, whether it’s a book or a flat-screen TV, Amazon also points out what other people purchased when they bought that same book or TV.

After the purchase, the customer will get another sales pitch on the Thank You page and in follow-up emails that suggest complementary items. Amazon will keep on trying to make sales on subsequent visits and never fail to remind the buyer of discount codes or seasonal specials.

In other words, Amazon persistently tries to make the sale through a variety of effective approaches.

So how can you apply Amazon’s tactics and persistently try to sell with your email campaign? Start by assessing all the sales tools that are available to your business.

If you’re an e-commerce business, your sales approaches can include incentives, coupons or codes, bundles or package deals, buy one/get one offers or simple price reduction promotions.

Service companies that want to book appointments can offer seasonal specials, price reductions or free assessments. Both service providers and e-commerce marketers can include educational blogs, webinars, client testimonials, video or audio content and even guest articles.

The key is to continuously sell through varied approaches and various tones, so that over time, your email marketing will build relationships, build trust and build your sales. That leads us to the final step in the email tactics CPR program.
Rotate Your Marketing Approaches

Now that you have a full arsenal of sales approaches for your email campaign, it’s important to use them in a balanced rotation that will keep the sales rolling and/or the phones ringing.

To find that balance, consider all the email tactics that are available for your business and develop the perfect combination of educational, testimonial and straight sales pitches that will turn your email list into a consistent sales generator.

Since no two businesses are the same, remember that your email sales approach should be tailored to your company. It may take some experimentation, but the key is to find the right mix of overt and subtle sales approaches that you can use constantly to develop relationships that will, over time, lead to more sales.

Once you have an autoresponder sequence with different sales approaches put together, go back to the top of the CPR plan. Look for three things or three areas that you can make even better.

Consider email open rates, and look at the mix of incentives, discounts, webinars and newsletters in your sequence. Then, when you have a healthy mix of sales approaches, be persistent and keep working to make the sale.

If your email sales results are gasping for air, you likely already have everything you need to breathe new life into your autoresponders. Just remember to perform CPR: Correct your mistakes, practice persistence, and rotate your marketing message.

Source: Marketingland

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Choosing The Right Call To Action: What Do We Need To Ask Of Our Subscribers?

When you’re creating your calls to action, don’t ignore the user experience.

It’s no secret that personal inboxes can fill up extremely quickly on an average day. Friends, colleagues and marketers are all battling to share valuable real estate within your inbox. Large-volume senders need to recognize this when deciding what to ask of their recipients when they send them a message.

Any calls to action (CTAs) within a sender’s content ask something from the reader. It’s best to make sure that these CTAs are clear and limited in number to avoid overwhelming your readers.

When you sit down to map out and design your email campaign, there are several notable things to keep in mind about calls to action:

Be Accurate

First, when looking to direct a reader of your email to take an action, one word to avoid these days is “click.” There is considerable growth in the number of people who use smartphones and tablets to read and interact with email.

And, of course, we “touch” these screens; we don’t “click” them. Sometimes senders forget to stop and think about how their recipients are actually interacting with their content. By analyzing your recipient’s’ behavior, you can create better informed copy decisions in your emails.

Be Explicit

It’s also important to be clear about what you want your readers to do, regardless of whether they are “touching” or “clicking.” There shouldn’t be any ambiguity concerning the content being promoted and the CTA that will access that deal or information.

If you want your reader to click on a promotional offer in order to visit your site and buy that item, say that. If you would like your reader to share a deal/story/update with friends via social media, say that.

And when choosing these CTAs, make sure that they directly correlate to your subject line and the body of the post. You don’t want to confuse your recipients by providing conflicting CTAs or by including too many of them.

Our data science team analyzed about 17.7 million emails to see if there was a correlation between the number of HTML links in an email and click rates. As seen in the figure below, clicks significantly decrease as the number of HTML links in an email increase.

This tells us that senders should be more thoughtful and deliberate in how many links/asks for further action marketers include in their emails.

Figure 1: SendGrid’s data science team analyzed 17.7M emails to see if there was a correlation between the amount of HTML links in an email and click rates. Clicks significantly decrease as the numbers of HTML links in an email goes up.

Figure 1: Our data science team analyzed 17.7 million emails to see if there was a correlation between the number of HTML links in an email and click rates. Clicks significantly decrease as the number of HTML links in an email goes up.

Be Succinct

Another reason to be mindful of how many links you include in your email is that too many links (and those that are bloated by adding click tracking) can increase or overinflate the size of an email. With Gmail, oversize emails have been known to be “clipped” so that only part of your email is shown.

I mention this browser in particular because Gmail has been known to “clip” or limit how much of an email your recipient sees, especially for emails that exceed 102 kb. This tends to occur when images are linked — commonly with CTAs.

And since there tend to be more CTAs in marketing email than transactional, this has a higher likelihood of affecting your promotional sends.

Many marketers tend to eschew making their CTAs just images (in case images are disabled) and instead provide a text link along with their HTML. While this is a safer bet, it also has the potential to create some problems.

Some marketers tend to add tracking parameters to their CTA links, which can bloat your links (especially if your ESP [email service provider] includes additional tracking links) and increase the size of your email send.

Be Branded In Your Efforts

In addition to needing to be as explicit as you can with your CTA copy and remaining mindful of how many CTAs you include in your post, it’s important to make sure that your CTAs encourage your recipients to interact with your brand in multiple parts of your message.

As Litmus’ Chad White states in his book, “Email Marketing Rules”:

(Readers) see the logo in your header, the headlines, and any image in your email… Make the most of their interest by making as many of these elements as clickable as possible.

So be strategic with how you brand your CTAs (align them with your site colors and with your site’s tone and voice), and be sure to make your logos actionable, as well.

Overall, the idea of choosing CTAs for your email message is another great reminder for marketers to take a step back, reflect, and really try to think of the user experience of receiving content. Don’t overwhelm your recipients with too many asks — make the most of these clickable opportunities by being explicit, branded and strategic.

Source: Marketingland

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7 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Survey Emails

Email is one of the most popular channels for distributing a survey. But for some reason, most of the emails I receive that include a survey look like they were thrown together as an afterthought.

Many have boring subject lines and uninspiring copy and creative, so I rarely feel compelled to participate. If your emails with surveys are lacking opens, engagement and click-throughs, here are my seven tips for improving them:

1. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

Typical survey subject lines:

Customer satisfaction survey
Take our survey
Let us know what you think
Satisfaction survey
We want your feedback

I don’t know about you, but these subject lines just don’t do it for me. Yes, they do make it clear what awaits me inside of the email, but they definitely don’t encourage me to open.

I’d be more likely to open if the subject line set my expectations, told me what’s in it for me and had some personalization. I realize that sounds hard — but it’s really not. Most ESPs offer options that do all those things and more.

Here are some survey subject lines which caught my eye:

Take our short survey and get 20% off
How was your experience? Take our quick survey
We’d love your feedback! It’ll only take 3 minutes
Andrew, we want you to give us the scoop!

If you’re stuck for subject line inspiration, then it’s worth taking a look at Touchstone, a subject line testing app which lets you simulate a split test without having to actually send an email.

2. Get To The Point Quickly

Your subscribers are busy people, and you are asking them to spend their time taking your survey. So don’t waste their time with a lengthy email about how valuable their input is. They are mainly interested in what’s in it for them and how long it will take to complete. Take longer than 15 seconds to get those two points across and you’ve probably lost most of them.

This short and sweet survey email from Airbnb is a perfect example of how to do this right. I like how it’s personalized with my name, includes just one short paragraph of text and a large call-to-action button.

3. Set Expectations

Please don’t send your subscribers to a 50-page survey without setting expectations about how long it will take in your email.

You may have noticed that the above example from Airbnb stated that their survey will only take three minutes. I also really like this example from Campaign Monitor (my employer), who sent this micro-survey to subscribers of our blog.

The call-to-action button is a great touch. We don’t say how long it will take, but we do say three questions.

4. Incentivize — What’s In It For Them?

Giving your subscribers an incentive for filling out your survey is definitely a good way to boost participation.

However, be careful to only use an incentive when necessary. For example, short surveys like the one above or product reviews don’t usually warrant an incentive. Kate Spade gives subscribers a strong incentive to complete this survey, and the company has communicated it with compelling creative and minimal text.

5. Make Your Review Email More Relevant

Having high-quality reviews on your website has been proven to help increase sales. So it’s worth putting some time and effort into making your review email requests stand out.

One of the best ways to do this is to personalize the content of your review email with text and images from the product they purchased.

6. Get The Survey Started Within The Email

Even if you follow all of the tips above, it still can be challenging to get people to respond to your survey.

Why not remove one more barrier by embedding a survey question directly within your email?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to embed the entire survey within the email, as many email clients would reject the code required to do that. However, this technique could produce higher click-through and survey completion rates, so it’s worth trying out.

7. Mobile-Optimize The Entire Experience

Finally, it’s not really worth sending your subscribers a survey that they can’t complete on a mobile device. In fact, I think that so many people have had a terrible experience with a survey they’ve tried to complete on their mobile device that they’re probably too annoyed to click through.

So make sure that you use mobile-friendly survey software, and don’t be afraid to make your subscribers aware of this within your survey email.

Source: Marketingland

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For Potent Email Campaigns, Timing Is Everything

The time of day at which you send out an email can have a huge impact on whether or not your recipients click on it. Columnist Eric Dezendorf helps you figure out how to test and find that sweet spot.

In my last column, I spoke a bit about achieving the best results for your email program through testing. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into one of those tests. This month, I want to help answer the age-old question: When’s the perfect time to send an email?

Remember, timing is everything. An email has its greatest potency in the first few hours after it is sent, and content becomes stale after about 24 hours. Though for any client results may vary, here are some helpful hints to get you started.

One client of mine in the hotel industry sent 13 different messages in the month of June at various times. The best-performing messages by opens had rates of 24.6 percent or greater and were sent on a Tuesday at noon, a Friday at 11 a.m., and a Monday at 3 p.m. Their worst-performing emails, with an open rate of 15.8% or less, were sent on a Tuesday at 11 a.m., a Thursday at 4 p.m., and a Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can learn from these results because this small sample set doesn’t give us much to act on. But this might be exactly as much information as you have when determining when to send your email.

So what steps should you take to develop a test to find the sweet spot for your emails?

Identify Your Audience

First, you need to identify your audience. Generally, B2B marketers are going to have the most luck hitting their constituents during the day, while B2C marketers might have the most luck during the evenings. This is simply because consumers are more likely to check their email in the evenings, while workers are at their computers during the day.

With the rise of the smartphone, however, this is no longer as cut-and-dried as it once was. So throw out the old conventions when starting your testing plan and identifying the audience.

For testing, define your audience one segment at a time. I would recommend starting with your highest-performing segment or channel, so you’re sure to get the best response.

Split Your Segment In Half

Now that you’ve got a segment defined, split it in half. Most email marketing platforms will allow you to do this automatically through your software. If you’ve typically sent your email Monday at 9 a.m., send half at that time, then pick another time to send the remainder.

I’d recommend trying to send it either later in the afternoon on the same day or at the exact same time a day or two later. I’d recommend doing this at least three times before declaring a winner — and once you do, don’t stop testing!

Now that you’ve got a best time worked out between those two, figure out if a third time is better.
What To Avoid

Be sure to avoid a few pitfalls marketers can fall into when doing these time tests. One of these is trying to be on top of the inbox first thing in the morning.

Why avoid it? Because unless you’re geographically targeting your list, sending something at 9 a.m. Eastern Time means it hits Pacific inboxes at 6 a.m. Being based in San Francisco, I sometimes have as many as 50 promotional emails in my inbox when I’m able to check it around 8 a.m. To be honest, I rarely have the time or patience to check those emails, so they usually get ignored.

The same thing goes for sending something after about 8 p.m. Eastern time. If you don’t want your email to be ignored, do not send it after people have put down their phones and computers for the day.

When deciding what time to send your email, think about your own personal behavior. When are you most likely to click on an email? When are you most likely to pull out your wallet and pay for something? When are you most likely to read an email offering a new service to your business?

If you aren’t sending your email at that time already, try it. Chances are, your behavior is not unlike most of your subscribers.

Once again, timing is everything, and you want to make sure you hit it right.

Source: Marketingland

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Top Performing Email Campaigns Generate 1 Forward For Every 21 Emails Opened

Email analytics company Litmus analyzed 400,000 email campaigns to identify benchmarks around email virality based on foward-to-open rates.

According to a newly released email study focusing on forward rates, top performing email campaigns earn one forward for every 21 emails opened, while more average-performing campaigns generate one forward for every 370 opens.

Email testing and analytics company Litmus analyzed 400,000 email campaigns that earned, at minimum, 500 opens between January 2013 and March 2015.

While the testing period was unusually long, the study was able to identify benchmarks around email virality based on foward-to-open rates, as well as determine what email components helped drive more email forwards.

Of the 400,000 email campaigns analyzed, five percent failed to generate any forwards. For the 95 percent of emails that did initiate forwards, the top-performing emails – those in the 99th percentile – generated one forward for every 21 emails opened.

Median emails – those in the 50th percentile – generated one forward for every 370 opens. Emails in the 75th percentile were 2.4-times more viral than the 50th percentile, and the 95th percentile were 7.9 times more viral.

Beyond determining forward-to-open benchmarks, Litmus also found email campaign audience sizes greatly impacted forward rates, with smaller audiences generating a higher number of forwards than campaigns sent to larger audiences.

“This makes perfect sense, as smaller audiences tend to coalesce around narrow interests,” claimed Litmus, citing that email campaigns to small audiences were 150 percent more viral than email campaigns to larger audiences that generated over 50,000 opens.

Source: Marketingland

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Mobile Now Accounts For 22% Of All Email-Generated Revenue & 45% Of All Email Clicks

Yesmail’s quarterly email report finds email revenue continued to rise even after last year’s holiday push, up 12% in Q1 2015 over Q4 2014.

Mobile email revenue is continuing to rise, up 12 percent in Q1 2015 over Q4 2014 according to Yesmail’s latest quarterly email marketing report.

Analyzing billions of marketing emails sent during the first quarter of this year, Yesmail found that the proportion of mobile email clicks increased ten percent between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015, with mobile now representing 45 percent of all email clicks.

Yesmail claims the quarterly growth between Q4 of last year and the first quarter of this year highlights a permanent shift in consumer behavior. With mobile email revenue maintaining its growth, even after 2014’s holiday push, the company predicts mobile revenue could reach as high as one-third of all revenue generated via email by the end of the year.

“Marketers are starting to provide customers with a better mobile experience year-round, and the numbers reflect that,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, “The lack of post-holiday drop-off in mobile activity means marketers are recognizing that the mobile trend isn’t seasonal.”

As mobile email activity grows, Yesmail found desktop email activity is dropping. The data showed desktop click-to-open rates were down 8.6 percent, while mobile click-to-open rates increased 8.6 percent.

Yesmail also found half of all mobile email revenue happened on a smarthphone during Q1 2015, with the proportion of purchases completed on a smartphone versus a tablet up 13 percent since the last quarter of 2014.

Source: Marketingland

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6 Dos And Don’ts For Lifecycle Email Marketing

Looking to expand your lifecycle campaigns, or just getting started? Columnist Jordan Elkind offers up these tips to put you on the right path.

The customer lifecycle refers to the milestones in a common path that most consumers tend to follow over the course of their relationship with a retailer. It’s the journey customers take — they sign up, make their first purchase, some turn into repeat buyers, and eventually, sad as it may be to see, some consumers eventually stop purchasing altogether.

Retailers increasingly acknowledge these paths, sending customers messages that are specific to different lifecycle stages — that’s lifecycle marketing. For online retailers, email is a key component of lifecycle marketing (with email as a channel driving close to a fifth of online orders year round — you can see more e-commerce stats here).

While lifecycle emails still encompass a minority of emails sent by a retailer (with calendar-based, daily, and transactional emails making up the bulk of most email programs), they are some of the most effective as they speak to customers at specific, important times.
Common Lifecycle Email Types

The following are some common lifecycle email types:

Early lifecycle
Welcome series
Member-to-customer conversion
Cart abandonment

Mid lifecycle
“One-time buyer” series
Cross-sell
Loyalty / Birthday
Replenishment
New product

Late lifecycle
Win-back

Perhaps you already have some of these lifecycle campaigns in place (plus more of your own design), or maybe you’re looking to get started.

Here are six “dos” and “don’ts” that can start you down the path of lifecycle email success. I’d like to start with the “don’ts” first so that we end on the more positive “do” section.

Lifecycle Email “Don’ts”

1. Don’t over-segment before you experiment

One of the deepest impulses that we see, especially for fast-moving, high-achieving marketing teams, is to put the pedal to the metal immediately — for example, to go from no lifecycle segmentation to a multitude of segments defined by complex series of logic. The output of this rapid ramping up often ends up being difficult to maintain and borderline unusable.

Always start broad, and then let the data dictate where your team should be digging deeper. Expand your segmentation efforts via experimentation and iteration.

2. Don’t let assumptions dictate your testing/marketing strategy

For example, there’s conventional wisdom in the marketing community that the only effective win-back program is an “escalating call to action” (i.e., each win-back offer should have a progressively larger discount).

We find this is true some of the time, but some retailers we work with have seen better results by leading with a larger promotion early so that shoppers aren’t as compelled to go elsewhere earlier on in the relationship and subsequently stick around for longer.

Avoid rigid, preset assumptions. What works for one company might not work for yours, so it’s worth testing tactics out for yourself (within reason).

3. Don’t worry about over-engineering the process on day one

For example, don’t go from sending zero win-back messages at all, to trying to send a win-back campaign the second you think a customer might churn, or go from universal discount codes to individualized serial codes right this minute.

The most important step a retailer can take for any initiative is the first one, so don’t unnecessarily delay sending a new campaign type out the door — start simple, get something out there, keep learning and refine as you go. There’s plenty of time to get fancy once you’ve laid a strong foundation.
Lifecycle Email “Dos”

1. Do explore experiential/non-financial incentives

This is probably the single biggest piece of advice we can offer to retailers. Even if you’re a bit skeptical since you think you’ve trained your customers to expect discounts, try it out.

Try something like free shipping upgrades, sneak-peek access to new products, or a consultation with a personal shopper. (We’ve seen that example work particularly well for an NYC-based apparel retailer.) Test away until you find what works best for your customer segments.

2. Do create a burning platform

This is especially important for call to actions in lifecycle marketing messages (reactivation, replenishment, and so on). Time and again, the most effective asks are those that have a short shelf-life. Encourage customers to act via short-window promo codes or limited-time offers.

3. Do track KPIs

Last, but far from least, be sure to track your key performance indicators (KPIs).

If you’re doing a cultivation, customer loyalty, or reactivation campaign, you want to measure the incremental impact on customer lifetime value and conversions to effectively measure the impact of those over time. To do that, you need to maintain a holdout control group. Then you can get insight into conversion, profit, revenue, and so on relative to that control baseline.

Additionally, many teams have found that traditional email metrics like clicks, opens, immediate conversions, and others are not always the best way to measure the impact of lifecycle marketing campaigns (especially without a control group to compare results).

Final Thoughts

Lifecycle marketing is a great addition to any marketer’s playbook. But, like any strategy, it requires diligent experimentation and iteration. Good luck, and let us know if you’re able to put some of these “dos” and “don’ts” to good use.

Source: Marketingland

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Mobile Email Conversions Jump 70% YoY In Q4 2014 With Mobile Delivering 20% Of Email Generated Revenue

Report claims responsive design helped drive a 40% increase in CTO rates over non-responsive marketing emails.

Using the same set of email marketers to compare mobile email conversion rates between Q4 2013 and Q4 2014, email marketing provider Yesmail released some eye-opening stats around email-generated revenue growth.

According to its recent mobile email benchmark report, not only did mobile email conversion rates – purchases resulting from an email click – jump 70 percent between Q4 2013 and Q4 2014, but mobile revenue accounted for 20 percent of all email-generated revenue.

During the same time period, Yesmail claimed desktop conversion rates declined four percent.
Mobile clicks now account for almost 40% of all email clicks, a 10% YoY increase.

Yesmail also evaluated a number of other mobile email metrics including, clicks, average order values and click-to-open (CTO) rates from more than 6.8 billion marketing emails sent by B2B and B2C clients across 18 different industries.

Overall, Yesmail discovered mobile accounted for nearly 40 percent of all email clicks in Q4 2014, a ten percent increase over Q4 2013.

Mobile average order values were also up, growing 28 percent – double the increase for desktop average order values. The data showed that the average revenue per mobile click equaled $0.40, more than double desktop’s average revenue per click which amounted to $0.19.

Mobile click-to-open (CTO) rates climbed even more, up 20 percent year-over-year between Q4 2013 and 2014, while desktop CTO rates were up only 6 percent during the same time period.

Yesmail claims much of mobile email marketing success resulted from more marketers using responsive design. The report found 37 percent of mobile emails sent during Q4 2014 were created using responsive design.

“Implementing responsive or mobile-friendly formatting is the bare minimum marketers can do to cater to their mobile audience,” reports Yesmail.

According to its data, email marketers using responsive design saw a 40 percent higher CTO rate versus non-responsive marketing emails.

When drilling down into purchases per mobile device during Q4 2013 compared to Q4 2014, Yesmail found the number of purchases made on a smartphone grew by eight percent, while the number of purchases made on tablets dropped seven percent.

Source: Marketingland.com

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How Welcome Emails Help Predict Future Subscriber Engagement & Value

Sending welcome emails to new subscribers is considered a best practice among most email marketers today. At the very least, it helps confirm permission with the subscriber, sets expectations and provides a greater chance of achieving a conversion — whether you want recipients to download an app or redeem an exclusive discount for new subscribers.

A recent study by my employer, Return Path, looked at the top 100 retailers’ welcome emails for trends and insights and found only 75 percent of retailers sent welcome messages and performance lagged for those didn’t.

Subscribers that read these welcome emails were also far more likely to read future promotional emails and to buy from these retailers. Those who didn’t read the welcome emails were extremely unlikely to read any future messages, but, interestingly, they still showed high value.
And The Winner Is… Engagement, For Better Or Worse

A look at two million email subscribers’ interactions with brands’ emails, including welcome emails, showed that the welcome email is the best time to reach subscribers. It’s the ideal time to achieve reach and grab readers’ attention, and it can also help you weed out bad addresses and improve your list quality — something that can help prevent future deliverability issues.

The vast majority of welcome messages were simple emails welcoming, thanking, or confirming a subscription, and perhaps a lost opportunity. Only a quarter of welcome emails seen offered some promotion in the subject line, providing another opportunity for subscribers to convert.

The response we observed to welcome emails showed that subscriber attention was front and center for these brands, as subscribers read welcome emails 42 percent more often than regular, promotional emails. However, with such a small number of these retailers using such offers, we can assume there was a lost opportunity to engage these new subscribers and grow revenue.

Welcome emails were also two-and-a-half times more likely to receive subscriber spam complaints — when a subscriber marks a message as junk or spam in a webmail interface — than future promotional emails (.26% versus .10%). But the higher complaint rates didn’t appear to affect inbox placement rates.

Welcome emails at AOL, Gmail and Yahoo, in total, reached the inbox 93% of the time, and future promotional emails were delivered to the inbox 91% of the time. While there’s room for improvement, there wasn’t a dramatic decline in placement either.

One reason to send welcome emails, some marketers argue, is to improve chances for long-term engagement. In this analysis, it was found that those that read the initial welcome message were far more likely to read subsequent messages from a brand. While messages being read by subscribers dropped dramatically after the first welcome email was read, future messages were read at about a 50% rate for 180 days after.

Subscribers that didn’t read the initial welcome message were extremely unlikely to read any future messages either. These “unengaged” subscribers read future promotional emails at an average of less than 5%.

As mentioned previously, very few of these retailers, 29 in fact, were choosing to include offers in their subject lines. For brands that did mention discount offers, six different amounts were seen with an average read rate of 20%.

Not only was the read rate for these messages lower than the average welcome email read rate (34%), but they were also read at a slightly lower rate than future promotional emails (23%). The discounts used ranged from 7% to 40% with the 20% discount being read the least (16%) and achieving the lowest inbox placement (95%).

Not only was the read rate for these messages lower than the average welcome email read rate (34%), but they were also read at a slightly lower rate than future promotional emails (23%). The discounts used ranged from 7% to 40% with the 20% discount being read the least (16%) and achieving the lowest inbox placement (95%).

Discounts of 25% in welcome emails were read at a staggering 53%, but only one brand was observed offering this type of discount — The Gap — and it’s unlikely the subject line alone was the reason for the high read rates.

Inbox placement rates were quite high for all of these messages including discounts, so it can be safely assumed these types of offers are not something marketers need to worry will be caught by spam filters.

So, is using a discount in the subject line a bad thing, then? Perhaps, but we have too little data to really declare this practice detrimental. For one, only a small set of brands were observed using this practice. Secondly, some brands already offer the same discount on their website after the subscriber signs up, so it is unnecessary to open the welcome email to use the discount code.

Knowing that The Gap was more successful than other brands at getting subscribers to open the welcome email hints that done properly, discounts can be effective.

As mentioned above, if a subscriber doesn’t read a welcome message, it’s unlikely they’ll read any future promotional messages. Should one remove these subscribers from their file? Isn’t conventional wisdom that continuing to send to these “inactives” will cause the ISPs’ engagement filters to cause more deliverability issues?

Not so fast. While the ISPs may look at how much email was read or ignored in these filtering decisions, it would be a bad move to purge these addresses. By looking at consumer intelligence data, namely e-receipts, the group that didn’t read the initial welcome message, and consequently future promotional messages, still proved to be valuable with average total spend during the 180 days at $1,628 across these top retailers.

It’s likely these individuals are using a secondary email account for purchasing things online and receiving marketing messages. Suppressing them from future marketing messages may not hurt anything, but it’s also not necessary either.

In fact, for brands sending a series of welcome messages, what messages they read in that series could predict future value. If no welcome messages were read in the series, only 5% of future promotional messages would be read.

If they read one in the series, they would read an average of 18% of future messages. Reading two messages improved the odds they would read subsequent messages (40%), and reading three proved to be even better with 69% of all future promotional emails being read. This last group also spent 62% more than the group that didn’t read any welcome emails.
Return_Path_Welcome_Email_Study_pdf
What We Can Learn From Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are more valuable than just on-boarding new subscribers and setting expectations. Welcome emails can help marketers in three other areas:

Improving List Quality – Remember, welcome emails were about 2.5x more often than subsequent messages. As long as marketers are enrolled in feedback loop programs, marketers can tell who is complaining and unsubscribe these users from future messages and help reduce any future deliverability issues. Not only that, it allows marketers to remove any “unknown users” — email addresses that do not exist and bounce — which can cause reputation and deliverability issues. Even more advanced marketers will monitor their welcome emails for spam traps — decoy email addresses used to catch spammers — and isolate and remove suspect addresses.

Increasing Conversions – Hands down, welcome emails are read far more than other type of promotional message that subscribers will receive. Marketers can take advantage of this attention early on in the relationship. Focus on testing offers in the welcome emails, and also consider sending more to these users early on as before their attention fades.

Optimizing For Revenue – Welcome emails and series were shown to predict how much a subscriber will spend and how much they’ll engage with future emails. Those that read most, or all, welcome emails are far more likely to spend more than those that didn’t read any email messages. Since we can also see that the “unengaged” group is still valuable, but somewhat difficult to reach via email, other tactics can be tried to reach these subscribers, like using their email address to re-market on social channels.

Source: Marketingland.com

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