Monday Catch-up: Re-engage Your Email Subscribers, Lift Click-Throughs and More

Happy Monday morning, marketers! We scoured the web for the latest news and information about email marketing so you don’t have to. So, grab your coffee and dive right in. Have a great day and week!

Clear goals and personalization seen as keys to re-engagement

“When it comes to understanding customer data for a brand or company, re-engagement, or the process of connecting with inactive consumers, has become an essential tool of any marketing campaign,” writes Alexander Neely at DMN, who offers ten tips for email marketers to craft successful re-engagement emails.

Neely writes that all re-engagement campaigns should with the endpoint in mind: “The most important, and perhaps least covered tip, for creating a re-engagement marketing campaign is that brands should establish goals. If not, a brand may fall into the trap of creating too many or too few emails, convoluting the process, and thereby hurting the campaign of reconnecting with consumers.”

He also sees personalization as another critical success factor, noting that “the best way to reach a consumer is by catering to their personal needs. Who is the consumer? What are the consumer’s interests? Based on analytics and information inputted into the system, a brand should recognize a consumer’s needs and tailor the marketing campaign toward them.”

Additional elements of crafting successful re-engagement campaigns, according to Neely, include tailoring the frequency and content of campaigns to customer-engagement levels and ensuring that all messages are optimizing for mobile. He also suggests that developing campaign themes (e.g. around holidays or birthdays), conducting surveys, holding competitions and offering product recommendations can help boost re-engagement.

Tips for increasing click-through rates

“It’s never been more difficult to get an email delivered successfully to a subscriber,” writes Brad Smith at Business 2 Community. That’s despite the fact that “email marketing is still one of the best performing digital channels, beating out Facebook and Twitter by 40X according to one study.”

The problem, as Smith sees it, is how challenging it is to get consumer attention: “The number of emails that our subscribers are getting continues to balloon. Billions are already being sent daily, and the average person will get about 140 daily emails in a little over a year. That means we’ve never had more competition than ever before. And it gets worse, as email service providers like Gmail are trying to reduce the amount of promotional emails that actually hit someone’s inbox.”

But there are steps email marketers can take to cut through the clutter to ensure their messages are not only delivered, but read and acted on, Smith writes.

He suggests that increasing your click-through rate (CTR) begins by “pruning” unengaged subscribers from your lists. “Chances are, your current email list is full of old subscribers that have little-to-no engagement. They haven’t opened an email from the last few campaigns, or over the past few weeks, and by continuing to send stuff to them, you’re risking high unsubscribe and spam complaints that will only further jeopardize your deliverability.”

And although it may sound counter-intuitive, Smith suggests that making it harder for people to subscribe can also help boost your CTR, noting that requiring new subscribers to use a double opt-in sequence has been seen to result not only in higher engagement, but also lower spam rates. Techniques like this “should help you disqualify those who’re ‘on the fence’ and make way for the ones who’re eager and ready to get started (i.e. the quality vs. quantity argument).”

In addition, Smith advises segmenting campaigns instead of broadcasting them, keeping subject lines “short, sweet and punchy,” and experimenting with sending emails on different days of the week, as timing has been seen to affect CTR.

“And last but not least, make your emails as personable as possible (from the sender address to the subject line and preview text). Because after all, whether we’re talking email or the phone or Twitter or Facebook, people want to connect and hear from other people – not nameless, faceless corporations,” Smith concludes.

Keep those mailing lists ‘squeaky clean’

“Similar to personal hygiene, email list hygiene must be a priority for marketers,” writes Seamas Egan at MarTech Advisor.

Egan shares an infographic that offers suggestions for email marketers who want to keep their lists “bright and shiny.” It includes removing duplicate and invalid email addresses, old contacts who are inactive, “alias” email addresses such as “sales@company.com,” contacts who did not opt-in, hard and soft bounces, unsubscribes and disengaged subscribers.

But he also advises proceeding with a degree of caution. While you do want to ensure you remove unengaged subscribers, before doing that it’s wise to “give them one last shot…with an email that’s part of a reactivation campaign to remind them why they were attracted to your brand in the first place. If they still don’t interact, remove them promptly.”

Keys to maintaining a clean list include providing easy and clear unsubscribe forms, letting subscribers edit their email settings, continuing to send re-engagement messages, sending a welcome message to new subscribers and segmenting all campaigns.

“A list comprised of valid subscriber email addresses is critical to deliverability and click-through rates. Cleaning up your list regularly is a sound strategy to ensure inbox delivery, campaign success and fresh ROI,” he concludes.

Use email marketing to maximize ecommerce success

Sarah Peterson, writing at the Huffington Post, has a simple message for ecommerce companies who are not yet leveraging the proven effectiveness of email marketing to engage consumers: what are you waiting for?

Peterson cites three major reasons that ecommerce companies that are not currently using email marketing should reconsider their strategy: it can increase sales, decrease cart abandonment and help those businesses conduct effective market research.

“If you’re not emailing your customers, you’re relying on them randomly checking your website for new stock, or stumbling across your shop through social media sharing,” she writes. “It’s highly unlikely they’ll do so at the frequency you want them to.” She suggests that adding email to the marketing mix can increase sales by at least 25%.

And without an email address, there’s no way to prompt would-be customers to follow-through on incomplete purchases. Shopping-cart abandonment “used to gobble up a lot of potential sales and customers, but email marketing has made it more possible to change that script,” Peterson writes. “When you have your customer’s email addresses, it can help you both identify and communicate with the customer, so you can remind them what they have in their cart without having to hope they return back to your website.”

And Peterson posits that email marketing makes conducting effective market research much easier, and less expensive than ever before. With only email, she writes, marketers can conduct the same “pro level” of market research that not too long ago required the services of a market research agency, as well as focus groups and phone surveys.