If you come up with an audience segmentation strategy, you will be shocked at how much life it breathes back into your email campaigns.
As a die-hard email marketer, I'm getting a little sick of hearing about mobile. That's right, I said it. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not naïve to the fact that optimizing messages and branding for mobile devices is a necessary trend to get behind, but I reject the notion that email is dead. Especially when research proves that it is very much alive and well.
I've found through the years that companies and organizations have gotten sloppy with their email marketing as more and more attention gets focused on social media and mobile. But don't slack! Yes, Instagram is rad, but so is the old, reliable way of engaging countless people through their inbox. You just have to be sure you are targeting the right people. If you are flooding your lists with every update, every coupon, every news item that comes through, then yes, I don't blame your audience for preferring Facebook over standard emails. But if you come up with an audience segmentation strategy, you will be shocked at how much life it breathes back into your email campaigns. Here is my favorite suggestion that I have personally found to at least double (sometimes even quadruple) open and click-through rates.
Before you send an email, ask yourself, who on my list would be interested in this topic? And if you're not sure, then you need to start categorizing the origins of your subscribers more effectively. For example, if someone purchases a cat litter box on your website, then they should be tagged with a "cat" interest and an "online shopping" interest. That way, when you send future emails that are related to cats or trying to drive purchasing traffic to your site, this person may be an ideal candidate based on their history. However, if you have a sale on dog beds, then this person should probably be skipped. This strategy is not only effective in short-term results, but my research has shown that it also greatly improves overall engagement of your subscribers. If someone is only receiving emails based on topics that they have proven to be interested in (and therefore not receiving emails that don't interest them), they will begin to trust your brand more and be more likely to open messages and interact further with your company on a long-term basis. It seems so simple, but this idea is often ignored in an industry that's constantly being overshadowed by the newest and latest. If you're not following this strategy, you may be hurting your engagement efforts on the mobile/social media sides of your work, too.
Many of the main complaints that consumers have about email marketing can usually be attributed to a watered-down approach from companies that send everything to everyone. Once this has been addressed and your approach goes from overarching and generic to targeted and personalized, then you can dust off your trusty Gmail account, chill on the obsessive tweeting, and get back into the email saddle for a long, reliable (and successful) ride.
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Christine Doré is an e-mail marketing manager at PETA in Los Angeles. As part of the Marketing Engagement team, she focuses on email strategy and optimization. Her team's innovative tactics for audience segmentation and online advocacy have been twice awarded at the national level and continue to be trailblazing strategies for the non-profit community.
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