For even the most digitally-savvy businesses, email is still the best way to reach prospects and customers. But to have the highest positive impact, email campaigns need to include the right content and email lists need to include the right addresses. In this article, we discuss strategies for ensuring you have both.
Email messages that work hard
When setting up emails to achieve the intended effect, there are a few considerations that stand out immediately:
- Always view emails as part of a campaign. That doesn’t mean mass broadcasting your message to hundreds or thousands of prospects or customers and waiting to see what works. It means gaining a true understanding of where a customer is located, right now, in the “sales funnel”—the progression from initial awareness of your product or services through all the steps to buying (and then repeat buying). There is a world of difference between an email to a new list (a “cold call”) and sustaining the engagement of an existing customer. Craft the email accordingly.
- When you reach out to customers somewhere in the “sales funnel”—you may prefer the term, “the buyer’s journey”—think of each email as a sales call. The email subject line should get the same creative attention as an advertisement header. Test various subject lines to learn what works best for your offer and audience. Personalize your subject lines when you can and review articles about subject line approaches that work, like this article.
- The body of the email should speak to the specific relationship you have with the customer. That is why you need to think of emails in terms of “campaigns.” A campaign means that certain email messages are sent to a certain customer segment, such as potential prospects, actual prospects, engaged shoppers, or existing customers. The body copy should be clearly focused on the segmented part of your audience. For example, customers who have shown increased engagement with your website do not get the same message you send to a newly collected lead from a tradeshow. Use your customer relationship management system to help you identify and target your various customer segments.
- When crafting appropriately focused content, work within the context of your brand or distinctive selling point. Although each email may have several “jobs” (objectives), one of those is always to reinforce that brand or selling point. Sometimes that may be part of the body content. Sometimes it might be up near the headline or down in the automatic signature line, but it should be somewhere.
- Don’t overlook the potential of marketing automation software to automate email campaigns. Many good brands are available, and most offer subscription-based services, even at monthly rates. If you have carefully strategized and developed different responses to customers at different stages (for example, the message a customer should receive who responds to a coupons offer), automated systems can take a lot of routine work off your hands. They are not too difficult to set up, but they are no better than the content that you put into the system and the accuracy of your email addresses.
- No content that you craft can achieve its intended impact if you don’t reach your intended audience. Unfortunately, many email lists need a lot of improvement. Derived from multiple sources–such as web lead forms, sign-up sheets, billing databases, system integrations, borrowed or swapped lists, and a host of other sources—email address lists that have not been verified can fill your inbox with bounce-backs. Worse, by the time you recheck and resend, the sales or other opportunity may have passed.
- It is crucial at the earliest point possible to ensure that your growing email list is verified, with checks you perform regularly, and clearly segmented. Some of your email campaigns will be general, perhaps with a subject line like, “Our Best Sale of the Year Begins Now.” But others will target different stages of the sales funnel, perhaps with a subject line like, “Giving Our Regular Customers Advance Notice.”
It all begins with accurate email addresses
At Validity, we have solutions that can transform the quality of addresses in your databases, including our BriteVerify API that verifies email addresses in real-time (such as at the point of sale or on web lead forms) and email list verification. We can also help you ensure customer data quality in its many forms with CRM data quality solutions like DemandTools. And we offer Validity Trust Assessments, a first-of-its-kind data quality assessment that evaluates customer data quality on demand, provides a detailed report on the impact data quality has on key business segments, and a step-by-step remediation plan to quickly resolve the issues uncovered. Contact [email protected] to learn more.