Research has shown that when it comes to customer engagement, email still reigns supreme. Email marketing generated the highest ROI for B2C companies in 2014; 91% of Americans report liking receiving promotional emails. But knowing this is both a blessing and a curse for marketers: it’s a surefire indication that you should be investing in awesome emails, but it also means every business out there is going in that same direction.
It’s gotten harder and harder to capture and keep consumer attention, and trying to win clicks through discounts can lead to a slippery slope of wasted profit margins. Don’t train your customers to click only when there are deals to be had; instead, use the below tips to make sure your emails cut through the clutter all on their own.
Here are five ways to up your email game — and keep customer attention focused on you:
1. Focus on relevancy.
This one’s a no-brainer, so we put it at the top of this list. Not all customers are created equal, and all communication should be geared to provide the most relevant messaging for each user. This means going past just featuring different products for men and women, and focusing on advanced segmentation of your customer base based on user attributes and other data. Understanding what your different segments expect or enjoy from your brand is crucial to communicating with them, and will define the kinds of content you create.
2. Try new formats, but keep quality high.
Today’s audience is increasingly visually oriented (think Instagram, YouTube, even Snapchat), so use images and videos to offer a different spin on the traditional marketing email format. Retention Science clients who used videos in their emails saw an 18% lift in conversions over the average; one client’s video template accounted for 53% of the revenue generated for that cohort. However, glitches can destroy any edge new formats give you, so make sure your image links aren’t broken and that the videos load properly. Quality is key.
3. Polish content and brand voice.
Speaking of quality, the importance of content quality can’t be overemphasized. Don’t put all your work into creating a nuanced segmentation strategy and have customers click away because of shoddy or boring email messaging. A significant portion of creating engaging and high-quality content is by developing a brand voice. Everything you say, from the subject line to the final call to action, should be a reflection of your brand. Building consistency through voice that spans all channels makes you recognizable and memorable, which in turn builds brand recognition and loyalty.
4. Think mobile-first.
Responsive design is now the bare minimum standard for mobile, yet companies still get it wrong. 53% of emails are opened on mobile phones and tablets, according to a study by Experian. From messaging to videos to even social media share buttons, every component of your email must be optimized for mobile viewing. Think mobile-first instead of mobile-friendly: shorten subject lines to show up better on a smaller screen, and make sure any external links are also mobile-optimized. And if your emails are mobile-first, your site should be too; consider creating a mobile app to make the process even smoother. Finally, remember to test, test, test on any and all devices you can get your hands on.
5. Build the customer journey.
Email marketing is clearly an area worth investing in, but the key to customer retention is recognizing that your email strategy doesn’t end with click-through and open rates. Instead, email is a key component of building a customer journey that goes beyond the first conversion and into nurturing a long-term relationship. More than the perfect subject lines or the ideal pixel ratio for your call to action button, invest in building an experience for the customer that is memorable, smooth, and valuable. And repeatable.