What’s really working in email marketing?
Is your email marketing best-in-class, or do you need to up your game? Adestra’s new Email Strategies for Success report will help you benchmark your efforts. We surveyed 85 marketers, both B2C and B2B, to help you understand their challenges, opportunities and successes in order to help you define your own strategy. We’ve also got some tips for sleuthing to find out exactly what your competitors are actually doing.
One important finding is that email effectiveness has improved significantly for most marketers.
Let’s look at more survey results to see why.
Getting to First-Person Marketing
We found that improving email personalization was the most important goal for our respondents, at 64 percent.
We were glad to see this at the top of marketers’ priorities, because personalization is a critical factor in email marketing success. Your personalization strategy must go beyond the person’s name or location. Ideally, you include content that appeals to individual recipients, such as care-and-use information about a recent purchase or an article about a localized topic.
Collecting and using rich data on customers is another excellent way to achieve what we call First-Person Marketing. A good example is Adestra customer Naked Wines, a subscription wine service operating in the UK, US, and Australia. Naked Wines uses variables including account balance, basket contents, and number and percentage certainty of wine recommendations to deliver profile-driven calls to action. The results were:
- A 40% conversion rate
- A 5.2% increase in site conversion from customers who click through the email
- A 7.2% increase in total conversion to order
- A 7.9% increase in gross profit per customer, or 8.5% uplift in contribution per customer
This example also points to the value of enriching contact data quality, the second goal on our marketers’ lists. If you don’t know your customer’s age, number of children in the home, income, or location, then your segmentation will not be as complete or as accurate as it could be.
It’s noteworthy – and heartening – to see that customer retention ranked higher as a goal than customer acquisition. A relentless focus on acquisition can lead to email lists that perform poorly. (Our recent Consumer Survey found that almost half had a separate email address used exclusively for emails they rarely intend to open.)
Personalization: Not so easy
While marketers’ top goal was increasing personalization, the tactics for achieving this were considered among the most difficult.
Individualized email messaging was considered the most effective tactic, at 45 percent. And yet, 39 percent considered individualized emails to be among the most difficult to execute, along with social media integration and personalized landing pages.
It makes sense that, if First-Person Marketing is so effective, marketers want to make sure they have great data. And yet, our survey respondents identified enriching contact data quality as their biggest barrier to success.
Certainly this is not because good data is not available. Tools for acquiring data in-house are plentiful, as are third-party data sources. The challenge may come not from access to data but rather from an inability to use it effectively.
First, valuable first-party data may reside in multiple internal databases that are not connected, such as online and in-store purchases. Second, it may be difficult to understand how best to make use of some kinds of data. When increasing your internal data-collection efforts, it’s best to focus on data that you can act on. Otherwise, you can get overwhelmed by the immense quantities of data available.
Finally, the difficulty may reside in the email marketing platform being used. While modern email platforms are extremely robust and allow for the merging of data from third-party providers, some are so complex that most of their functionality remains unused.
If this is the case, it’s time to sit down with your ESP for training and possible customization, so that you can unlock the value of the platform. Alternatively, you may opt to find a provider whose service is easier to use.
Benchmarking against your peers
Every child in Lake Wobegon is above average, right? Well, according to our survey, that’s also the case with email marketers.
There’s only one way to really know how your marketing compares to competitors’: stalk them. Subscribe to the email programs of your closest competitors, using at least two different email addresses. You may want to develop multiple personas, with different demographics and a separate email address for each. Register online, click links from within emails, order merchandise or engage services via each. If available, also fill out a variety of preference forms with different names and email addresses.
Track whether and how emails to the different addresses or personas differ. You may find that your supposedly above-average competitor sends the same email to everyone – or you may learn some tricks to improve your own First-Person Marketing.
To download the full 2017 Email Strategies for Success report, click here.