Enterprises have unique challenges when it comes to creating and executing email marketing strategies. When you’re sending out tens of thousands or millions of emails, any tiny thing that goes wrong can cost you a lot of money or even customer loyalty. But what are some of the key pain points in enterprise email marketing today and how can brands overcome them?
Movable Ink spoke to six different experts about the kinds of obstacles bigger companies face today and which kinds of enterprise email marketing strategies are most effective:
1. Segment, Segment, Segment.
Email personalization isn’t always easy. But, if you segment just right, you can accomplish much of what contextual marketing can do on a far more individual scale. Many companies still rely on batch-and-blast communications to sell the most product possible, but that can lead to impersonal emails and, consequently, fewer conversions.
“Segmentation is crucial in communicating the right message to the right people at the right time,” says Benjamin Wang, Vice President, Target Direct Marketing. “Having this process in place will help teams gain email responses by using better calls-to-action and targeting.”
2. Create a Plan for Your CRM System.
Customer data is crucial for delivering customers the most targeted and important offers. But integrating data with a CRM system can be a very manual and time-consuming process. The first step is to come up with a plan.
“Teams need to look for solutions that have prebuilt integrations or make it easy to build APIs to move data,” says Steven Mintz, Founder of CLM Prescriptives. “Specify your needs up front in detail and build to specification. Invest time building a detailed test plan, taking into account the different scenarios occurring with your data to ensure the system works as specified. It’s much easier to do the work up front than to go back and correct or grapple with flaws in integration and development.”
3. Offer a Frictionless Experience.
One of the bigger email marketing challenges for enterprises is getting customers to convert. Even if you’re sending great responsive emails, that won’t matter if the email sends customers to a website that isn’t optimized for mobile purchases.
Mobile shoppers often abandon their carts, because it’s just too hard to complete a purchase. To fix that, enterprises should focus on creating as frictionless an experience as possible.
“A huge reason for shopping cart abandonment is friction – there are often too many keystrokes and clicks involved, not to mention hyperlinks to the web, required usernames and passwords or even app downloads,” says Meagan Rhodes, Digital Marketing Lead for @Pay. “Transactions via email are quickly becoming the newest email marketing trend. Gmail has created their own solution, and @Pay has invented another that allows repeat customers to purchase in two clicks – without ever leaving their email inbox.
4. Keeping Data Current.
It’s a given that any enterprise with a robust email marketing program is going to have a lot of data. But how do you make sure that email database is current and accurate?
Hugo Angelmar, head of demand generation at Bluenose, explains that there’s one quick and easy way to do this – LinkedIn.
“Having the right contacts and their titles means better performance from a marketing standpoint, and better delivery from an operations standpoint,” Angelmar says. “The best system of records for this kind of data is
LinkedIn, and unfortunately it is a closed platform. Luckily, many people have found that using Google you can collect a lot of that data because LinkedIn drives a lot of traffic through SEO.”
5. Embrace the Long Form.
When enterprise email marketers are trying to collect email addresses, they’re usually wary of scaring off customers with forms that have too many fields. While they might gather first name, last name, and email address, other fields – like job title or phone number – often go uncollected.
But for enterprise teams that need as much customer data as possible, that can prove to be a problem later down the line. Email Marketing Specialist Nicole Magnoli of US-Analytics suggests that enterprise email marketers shouldn’t fear the long form:
“The more information you ask of prospects up front, the more granular your list segmentation becomes and you can craft highly targeted messaging for your campaigns,” she says. “Planning for these demands in the early stages of your marketing program is key because it’s a challenge to find and collect the information you need after the fact. You’ll waste less time cleaning unqualified leads and bad data from your database and spend more time on creating quality content for your audience.”
6. Bridge the Silos.
Enterprise email marketing teams often operate within a silo – both when it comes to customer data and marketing programs. To really optimize your enterprise email marketing strategy, though, this has to change.
“The enterprise email marketing teams that consider their email marketing as an independent funnel often fail to achieve an optimal organizational marketing mix,” says Vaibhav Diwanji, Digital Marketing Strategist at e-Intellgience. “It would be ideal if they could trace the correlation between their email marketing efforts and social media optimization initiatives, landing page conversions, or new client acquisitions. Comprehensive marketing software could help this integration to take place.”
Turning Email into a Contextual Marketing Engine
Enterprise email marketing is becoming as much an art as a science. When we talked to these experts, it was clear that the most important thing in email marketing today is customer data.
While many brands are trying to personalize emails, they’re not quite sure how to integrate the data they need from across different systems and teams. But with the right contextual marketing technology, it’s actually possible to personalize emails without doing too much heavy-lifting.