The email inbox isn't going away, but you need to keep it fresh for your subscribers and effective in meeting your marketing goals.
Forrester's recent report, "How US Marketers Use Email," had some sobering statistics: although 71 percent of B2B firms use email, 33 percent don't clean bad email addresses out of their lists, and only 22 percent delete users who haven't recently opened or clicked on messages.
Further, few marketers coordinate email with search marketing or allow users to select message preferences at registration. Just over six of 10 B2B firms (65 percent) are keeping their budgets flat in 2011. It's no wonder that less than half of marketers (43 percent) still think that email marketing will become more effective over the next three years.
Although email might be the oldest channel in your digital marketing arsenal, it has plenty of potential to grow if you invest in the channel.
Consider the following strategies as you tune up your email program to supercharge your results:
1. Segment using email analytics. Using email analytics is one of the most effective methods you can use to segment your list. Segmenting based upon the links the subscriber is clicking on offers key information for what they are "in-market" for.
If you categorize your links, you can track key data such as what product categories or subcategories subscribers are interested in or whether they engage with your social links.
Clicking on the "view mobile version" link is a good indicator that subscribers are reading your email on mobile devices. Classifying your links as "buy now" or "more info" will help you determine where they are in the customer decision-making process.
Once you collect the data, use it to follow up with segmented mailings that provide more details about the product or service or include dynamic content modules that address what they are in-market for to boost content relevancy.
2. Clean your list regularly. Focus on the quality of the recipients on your list instead of the quantity of recipients on your list. A list uncluttered by incorrect, outdated, or inactive addresses drives better email campaign results. Focus on the recipients that want to receive your emails and have a chance to respond.
A clean list also enhances your sender reputation, which is the main criterion that ISPs use to determine whether your email will end up in the inbox or the bulk folder.
Start by cleaning up your list and reputation:
Next, monitor how your subscribers are engaging with your email:
3. Freshen your content. B2B marketers often include similar content in their email newsletter month after month. Why? "That is what we always have done."
But is that content what your subscribers are interested in? Subscribers' preferences are ever-changing, so it's imperative to stay on top of what content they prefer. The following three tactics can help drive this strategy:
The Last Word
As Forrester pointed out, the email inbox isn't going away. However, as with any strategy, you need to keep it fresh for your subscribers and effective in meeting your marketing goals.
Invest some time and effort in your email analytics. Keep your email list clean. Focus on content that is relevant to your subscribers. Incorporate social media into your email programs. Just a little effort will ensure that email remains a strong and viable channel in your digital marketing arsenal.
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Mike Hotz is a senior strategic consultant for Responsys, working with clients to design, develop, and execute cross-channel digital marketing strategies that contribute to their cross-channel digital marketing success. As an industry veteran, Mike has worked in e-mail marketing since 1998, designing, building, and executing e-mail and multichannel direct marketing strategies focusing on increasing customer engagement, nurturing leads, supporting sales organizations, and driving revenue for companies such as CDW, OfficeMax, Grant Thornton, and Digitalwork.com.
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