Ever get an email from a brand you loved, and they spelled your name wrong? Or called you by someone else’s name? It kind of hurts, doesn’t it? You know they didn’t put the email through a proofreading process before they sent it. If it’s a brand you don’t even remember signing up to get emails from, you probably laugh and hit Unsubscribe. But if it’s a brand you like and want to hear from, it can be hard for them to undo the damage.
We all agree email marketing is one of the top drivers of customer engagement, yielding the highest potential ROI of all marketing channels. We continue to see enterprise businesses investing more and more into email marketing, but are they optimizing their email efforts to improve deliverability?
With ReturnPath’s studies on email metrics, they show that read rates continue to drop annually and more messages are hitting the spam/bulk folder. Contrarily, they also found more consumers were marking promotional email as “Not Spam.”
Most ISPs (internet service providers) utilize machine learning to determine how they should filter inbound mail. Their primary goal is to ensure their users are happy, by delivering “wanted” mail to the inbox and keeping everything else out — whether it’s never delivered or filtered to spam. So it’s not necessarily that users aren’t engaging with email as often, but rather that ISP filters are becoming more aggressive — often filtering messages that users want to see in their inbox to the spam folder.
So as a sender, what are some best practices to follow to ensure your marketing emails are hitting customer’s inbox?
Talk about finding the right subject line or font type all day long. Fuss over the arrangement of content, the size of the box in the header, and whether or not that shade of red in the call-to-action is too bold. All of that can have an impact on click rates and conversions, thus affecting the success of a campaign. In the end, though, what we’re talking about is triggering emotion. Do it consistently — even, sometimes, negatively — and your email marketing is going to see significant results. Fail to do so, and it’s likely you’ll wonder why your email ROI isn’t matching your competitors.
Every online retailer is challenged with converting shopping carts left abandoned by shoppers. In 2016 alone, e-commerce businesses lost $4.6 trillion worth of sales to abandoned carts during the buying process.
These happen for a variety of reasons. In some cases, an obstacle was thrown up in front of the consumer, be it an unexpected shipping cost, the requirement to create an account, or a site crash. Maybe the site wouldn’t accept their preferred payment method, or they just got distracted by something. Perhaps they were just doing some wishful thinking, never seriously intending to make a purchase.
Many eyes in the banking and financial services industry are looking at a swarm of Fintech (aka “Financial technology”) startups that have new approaches to how they do business, and how they engage with customers.
While much of financial marketing over many decades has been based upon the idea that consumers want the companies that control or advise them on their money to be stable, trustworthy and, to a certain extent, boring, these new companies aren’t playing by that old book. Buoyed by a recent rash of scandals in the banking industry, new players are looking to pick off disillusioned people who want a better, more personal experience with their bank.
As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in your own world when it comes to email marketing. After all, you’re writing the emails. You’re probably gathering the analytics. You’re crunching the data, building audiences, crafting the perfect subject line, determining the right day and time to send. It’s your baby you’re putting out there into the world, hoping that click-throughs and accolades will rain down upon you. Nothing against your I.T. team, but what do they have to do with it anyway?
The answer is “everything.”
Opens, clicks, and subsequent online conversions are some traditional metrics email marketers use to judge whether or not a campaign was successful. We’ll run a few tests to find the right subject line or content setup, and then pore over the numbers to see how well the campaign performed. Turning these numbers into visually interesting graphs can make us feel good (or bad) about the direction of our email programs and help us focus on hitting a few key goals (especially important for the bosses upstairs).
When you’re grinding away in your cubicle day after day, running A/B tests, segmenting your audience, poring over deliverability metrics, you know the reality of email marketing. You know what’s working and what isn’t. It’s your job to know. You’re in the thick of it. Boots on the ground. Every day. You’re not part of the C-Suite; you’re an enterprise email marketer. This is your world.
Whether they’ve realized it or not, enterprise marketers have had limited options for years when it comes to email marketing solutions:
- Option A: Commercial email service providers (ESPs). These essentially come in two flavors — Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or on-premises. Obviously, SaaS dominates in this industry, with many vendors rebranding in recent years as “marketing clouds.” Traditional on-premises solutions are hard to find nowadays but still exist.
- Option B: Custom in-house solutions. Many companies, particularly larger senders, have developed their own custom email marketing solution in house for a variety of reasons. These businesses then typically utilize a cloud-based email delivery solution to get messages out the door.
As email volumes rise into the tens of millions each month for many larger brands, new challenges in multi-channel marketing emerge. This is particularly as it relates to the increasing demand for personalized, real-time messaging. Consumers expect relevant communications in real time, but the very infrastructure of email marketing is based on a series of time-consuming tasks, such as data mapping, file transfers, synchronization, and batch delays. Each step introduces another delay, and that can quickly turn a real-time marketing opportunity into a missed opportunity. How can marketers keep up with growth and improve their ROI?
Here are three things major brands will need to start tackling in order to communicate more effectively with their customers.