Segmentation, personalization and automation – a few words about the less and more obvious components of effective B2C email communication.
Only 2 years ago, it was considered as one of the most valuable marketing channels. After the entry of General Data Protection Regulation, email marketing was dethroned by social media. Currently, it is returning to favor again. This time in a slightly new version, in which mass communication has been transformed into a personalized, yet automated process. During the current changes on the e-commerce market, email marketing may prove to be one of the most effective tools for online shops. A properly designed email marketing strategy will allow not only to gain new leads, but also to build a network of loyal customers and regularly maintain their commitment.
Email marketing strategy 2020 – what does still work and what to beware of?
- Less is more: consistency between the title and the content of the email
The golden rule of effective email marketing is content and maximum shortening of the message. An email with an “offer” in the title is intended to lead the customer to a tab or entry directly related to the offer. Presenting special offers in a roundabout way – i.e. throwing a subscriber on the home page or on the shop’s blog – is a simple recipe for a failure. A message about a free sample/service has to contain a set of conditions which a consumer has to meet in order to get this free sample or service. A customer encouraged by CTA and redirected to a landing page should make sure as soon as possible that the offer exists and is tailored to his or her needs. Offers which are unclear and have an extensive list of additional conditions (checkboxes, necessity to register) which have to be met, will be rejected immediately and the reader may feel cheated. Possible negative consequences: such email will be marked as spam, and the shop’s address will fall in the reliability ranking.
- Pop-up with a newsletter: effective timing
From the point of view of UX (user experience), pop-up is still one of the least liked types of advertising messages. Websites which attack a customer with a newsletter within the first few seconds of entering the site, are perceived by the user as being pushy. A simple analogy is an overzealous salesman who cannot sense the customer’s needs and instead of letting them “making themselves comfortable” in the shop, returns repeatedly with a question: “May I help you?”
A newsletter should appear at a specific time and place on the page, e.g. on one of the tabs or after scrolling through the home page. The issue of a free gift for subscription is still very important. Start-up discounts, special offers, free ebooks, online tools – everything that will bring a specific value to the customer and give the store the function of an “expert” who is worth returning to regularly.
- Segmentation and marketing scoring
A dynamic element of the strategy, which requires regular analysis, amendments and testing. It is respected in every shop which focuses on consumer loyalty. Even a basic analysis of customer preferences (favourite categories in the store, activity time, frequency of visiting the site) will quickly separate less and potentially more interested in the offer. Email marketing specialists recommend the implementation of scoring, i.e. a system of awarding points to customers, depending on the level of interest in the offer (source: report “E-mail marketing oraz marketing automation” 2019, Interaktywnie.com). For the needs of the most dedicated customers (e.g. fans of the shop’s social media profile) it is worth to create a personalized email. Inactive leads should be regularly removed from databases in order to optimize the costs of subsequent campaigns.
- Email retargeting, which hits the target
Personalised email information from the store is only effective if it brings value to the customer. Too obvious attempts to close the shopping path can be perceived by customers as “disciplining” (“Your basket is still waiting for…”, “Go back and check…”) and will be rejected by them. Instead of typical sales content, it is worth putting emphasis on information, help or advice. If a product has been abandoned, customers may be informed about the available discount, combined special offers (with the product mentioned) or a new, attractive range of products from the same category. Any advice or articles such as “shopping inspiration” or (“Summer Collection in style of …”) will be helpful. The message has to meet the customers’ expectations – solve their problem, interest them or redirect them to a more advantageous purchase option than the one they previously abandoned.
- Direction of the future: marketing automation
Automation of email marketing campaigns is a direction that most online stores will follow in the near future. In order for the email marketing to translate into sales, it has to reach a strictly defined group of customers. Continuous targeting, personalization or segmentation of leads from marketing novelties have become a necessity – also in case of small, niche shops. The mailing strategy is a continuous process, operating a dynamic, constantly changing database. Automation is an obvious direction, providing necessary information, saving time and budget for the campaign, which is confirmed by the latest research:
Marketing Automation technologies allow us to reach the right people with the right message. This allows us to raise practically all the key business indicators, such as: ROI from marketing investments, monthly revenue (MRR) or customer satisfaction (NPS) and others. Comprehensive solutions, which assume that all 3 key departments of the company (marketing, sales and customer service) work on one tool, allow businesses, which decide to implement such a system, to grow steadily (report “E-mail marketing oraz marketing automation” 2019, Interaktywnie.com).
In case of failure: back to the beginning
If subsequent email marketing campaigns do not bring the desired results, we return to the initial assumptions. It may be necessary to redefine persona, communication, graphic style or audit basic technicalities. Even the most original campaign may be plunged by simple mistakes.
Popular errors in email marketing of a store:
Among the most obvious, email marketing “mistakes” are still mentioned:
- Low aesthetic level of the newsletter (poor quality of images or infographics, not suitable for mobile devices),
- clickbait-style email titles,
- errors in message personalization (“Mrs/Mr”, wrong age category),
- a message that is overwrought or too general,
- the abuse of marketing “newspeak”,
- no balance between content and graphics,
- not visible, clearly separated CTA (“call to action”) button,
- no or poorly visible opt-out information.
In case of failure, it is worth considering a site audit or investing in a mailing system with extensive activity reporting functions. The amount and quality of returnable data combined with the time of solution implementation will determine the most valuable leads.