When sending email marketing campaigns, the objective should always be to deliver messages to people who want to read them. This may seem obvious and like an easy task, but it can often be challenging to remain relevant. This is especially true in retail.
The key to keeping subscribers engaged is by giving them content that excites and delights them. This requires a level of discipline to deliver messages that your audience actually want to receive. If you don’t have a sophisticated approach, you’ll run the risk of decreased engagement rates and lots of unsubscribers.
Here are five recommendations from me, to keep your retail email marketing relevant and engaging!
Respect customer preferences
One of the biggest mistakes brands make is overwhelming customers with too many emails or giving them content that isn’t relevant. Respect customer preferences and give them the option to say what they want from the start of the relationship. If you don’t meet your audience’s needs, their reaction is likely to be to ignore your emails or even to unsubscribe.
To better retain your subscriber base, consider incorporating both explicit and implicit preferences from the start. If someone wants fewer emails or only messages about a specific topic or category, then give them what they want. This will outweigh losing them as an email subscriber.
Amazon gives email subscribers the opportunity to select notifications from products of certain categories in their email marketing. This is a great example of a brand offering self-segmenting in their preference centre.
Always personalise your emails
According to our friends at Campaign Monitor, emails with a personalised subject line are 26% more likely to be opened. That's a massive uplift. If you personalise email marketing messages, then you’ll have a much higher chance of your audience opening and going on to click and purchase.
Peronalisng the content within the email with dynamic, relevant content can generate 30% more revenue for brands and only 3% are doing this correctly. If your brand can get personalisation right, then this will result in a more engaged audience, leading to higher conversions.
One example of strong personalistion within email content, is Spotify. They include user interests in the messaging to build a stronger connection with each individual subscriber. The copy shown in this email is particularly powerful because it makes the recipient feel as though they're being rewarded for their usage of Spotify. For example, they use words like “top listener” and “be the first to get access”. Such phrases give customers a feeling of exclusivity and importance.
Test for greater success
If you want to remain relevant, then you need to continuously test every part of the email you’re sending. This includes testing images, subject lines, links and content that’s above-the-fold.
You can do this by A/B testing email batches and comparing what drives the best results. This often involves asking the right questions. For example, does one subject line generate more clicks than another? Track your progress and use the best-performing emails to optimise your future campaigns.
SitePoint tested images in the following emails and found that this actually decreased conversions. This is because their subscribers were distracted from the content.
The only way to know whether your images or copy are working for you is by A/B testing. In some instances, they may work in your favour while in other instances you should leave them out.
Get your timing right
The timing of your email marketing matters. Is it possible that you're sending email campaigns at the same time and day each week out of habit rather than testing and learning? If so, read on...
Experian’s email marketing benchmark report shows that Monday had the highest transaction rates and revenue per email compared to other weekdays. Also, that Sunday was the highest performing day on the weekend. Again, doing your own testing and research is key to understanding the behaviours of your customers, which will help to find out the most effective times to send your email campaigns.
Timing optimisation can also involve having campaigns in place for simple events like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Ted Baker does a great job sending subscribers an email on their birthday with a discount code, making them feel valued and catching them at a time where they might be more likely to buy. Seasonal and timely emails can have a real impact on your conversion rate.
Optimise for mobile
If you haven’t already heard, consumers are interacting with marketing messages more on their mobile more than desktop. According to EcommerceWeek.com, over half of the traffic to retail websites is now coming from smartphones and tablets, with mobile commerce accounting for 36% of UK ecommerce sales.
With the rise of mobile usage, brands need to anticipate that emails will be viewed on mobile rather than desktop and this also means making sure emails are optimised for mobile. You can do this by applying mobile-ready templates, shortening your subject lines, writing compelling preheader text, optimising the ‘from’ name and balancing the image size and text. There are lots of ways to make your emails more mobile friendly – and great tools too, like Litmus
When optimising for mobile, you have less characters to play within the subject line. With desktop you can display upwards of 80 characters in the subject line, but with mobile you have only 30 characters.
In this example, you can see how Virgin Atlantic’s subject line is too long for mobile devices, while Birchbox has it just right.
The key to great-performing email marketing subject lines, is to keep them honest, accurate, concise and compelling, to intrigue your recipients to open.
Summary: stay relevant for higher engagement and conversions
Staying relevant requires regular evaluation of what your customers want and need from you. Take customer preferences into account to craft powerful messages that will resonate with your audience and increase purchases. A little consideration of your customer needs, combined with a sophisticated approach, will go a long way with email marketing campaigns!
Enchant is a leading UK digital marketing agency, based in London. We specialise in email marketing, CRM, inbound marketing and paid social advertising, enabling brands to reach their full potential with innovative customer lifecycle marketing strategies. Get in touch with our world-class marketing consultants to see how we can supercharge your performance!