It’s estimated that there will be over 333 billion emails sent and received daily by the year 2022 (Statista, 2018). That’s a LOT of email. So how do brands stand out in the inbox? By delivering the right message to the right subscribers at exactly the right time. But getting it “right” requires an ongoing focus on testing and optimization.
Expert Email Optimization Tips
If your brand has an established email marketing program, you’re probably already mailing basic behavioral triggers such as Welcome, Abandoned Cart, or Post Purchase, but if you haven’t been updating these triggers for optimal performance, they might be underperforming.
Read on for steps to improve these key automated campaigns for maximum impact.
The average open rate for a Welcome email is more than 4x that of all other marketing emails (GetResponse, 2017). It’s the perfect opportunity to begin building a relationship with your new subscribers, introducing them to the most important aspects of your brand or product, and enticing them to make their first purchase. You have their attention, so take advantage of it.
- Give an incentive. If you’re offering an incentive for email sign up, be sure you’re reinforcing the promo throughout the Welcome Series to encourage the first conversion for contacts who didn’t complete checkout. Testing the incentive can generate a lift in both new email acquisition and revenue from the series; try percentage vs. dollar off, free shipping, or gift with purchase to find the perfect promo to drive list growth and revenue.
- Make it a series. You probably have a lot of messages you want to include in your Welcome email. Rather than creating one email that scrolls forever, break your messaging up and spread it over a series of emails. Prioritize the most crucial points for the first send (incentive, unique value proposition, product assortment) and follow up with additional emails over the next few days.
- Include customer testimonials. Don’t underestimate the power of a customer review when you want to reaffirm the value of your product. If you don’t collect reviews on site, pull comments or positive testimonials from social channels or emails to your customer service team.
- Segment and personalize. You’re probably acquiring subscribers from a number of different sources, but are you sending them all the same message? Whenever possible, personalize the experience based on where they opted in and what preferences or behavior data you already have.
Bargain hunters shop multiple sites to find the best deals, and it’s not uncommon for online shoppers to use their cart as a wishlist. While an Abandoned Cart message offers a timely reminder for the items shoppers have left behind, it’s also an opportunity for you to include additional information like customer reviews, shipping incentives, or return policy details to remove friction from the conversion process and motivate purchase.
- Make it a series. Sending 3 Abandoned Cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email (Omnisend, 2018). Add urgency in later touches by speaking to the cart “expiring” or being emptied out.
- Remind them what they left behind. Utilize dynamic content in your emails to display exactly what the contact left in their cart, including an image, product title, and star ratings if it’s a top-rated item.
- Include an offer. Price is a common reason users abandon their carts. Everyone loves a discount, but it’s best to hold off on providing an incentive until touch 2 or 3 of the Abandoned Cart series to avoid losing margin on purchases that would be otherwise made with a gentle reminder.
- Cross sell. This is a perfect opportunity to show potential customers additional items that may complement the ones they’re already considering. Use a recommendation engine to personalize these based on previous browse or purchase behavior.
- Consider other obstacles. Think about all the things that may prevent someone from completing their purchase and try to address them in your emails. Confusing checkout process? Include a number for customer service. Do you offer free shipping or easy returns? Make sure shoppers know that.
Post Purchase emails have the highest read rate of any email type at 44% (ReturnPath, 2018). While typically not huge revenue drivers, they’re a great opportunity to build on that relationship you’ve started with your customers and turn them into loyal fans and advocates. In addition to standard transactional emails, you should be sending any helpful product education such as user guides and how-to videos as well as requests for product reviews and referrals (but be sure to give them enough time to actually use the product before you ask for a review).
- Make it a series. Again, you may be tempted to include many different messages in a single post purchase email (user guides, review requests, cross sells, etc.), but it’s better to spread them out to keep your customers engaged, provide a clear call to action, and avoid overwhelming the reader.
- Cross sell. This is another opportunity for you to show customers additional items that may complement their purchase. Just make sure to personalize them and time them accordingly. Utilize dynamic product recommendations based on their previous purchase or create a few static versions of the email that cover top-level categories.
- Think about future orders. Does your product require replenishment? If so, send customers a reminder when they should be close to running out so they can easily re-order. If not, consider a bounce-back offer at the end of the series to get that crucial second purchase.
- Celebrate anniversaries. One year reminders are standard, but consider any other significant milestones that your customers may experience and celebrate them with an email (and possibly a discount).
Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns but you shouldn’t just ‘set it and forget it’. Test, test, test. There is no one size fits all rule when it comes to email. Consider testing content, cadence, timing and offers to find what works best for you.
By continuously testing and optimizing, you can maximize the engagement and revenue potential from these heavy-hitting emails and really create a personal relationship with your customers that stands out in their inbox.