While multi-channel marketing campaigns will drive the richest and most effective customer engagement strategy, email is still a huge part of the whole. B2C marketers that connect with customers through automated emails see conversion rates as high as 50% (eMarketer).
Ensuring you are running the right email campaigns to engage, inform and expand your customer base will help you scale your marketing, enabling you to grow into an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that yields maximum return. Email is most companies’ foray into customer engagement. Below are nine types of email campaigns you should be implementing to best engage your customers, increasing their loyalty to your brand as you prepare to reach them on new channels.
1. The Welcome Email Series
Did you know that taking too long to contact a new email subscriber can lead to higher spam scores? The communication delay can cause subscribers to forget they ever opted in. Beyond that, retailers that send a series of welcome emails achieve 13% more revenue than those that send just one (Internet Retailer 500). The welcome email series is a chance to start building a relationship with a new subscriber and educate them at a time when they’re most open to hearing from you.
Send a series of emails that introduces your brand, invites subscribers to connect with you on social media, and helps you get to know them (i.e. asking for their birthday, asking about email preferences, and asking how they found you). Keep in mind, the best welcome emails will wow your customers, showcase your brand and give thanks to subscribers.
2. The Standard Promotional Campaign
Chances are you're receiving promotional email every day, and businesses that spend time and money on email marketing find them highly effective —provided they can stand out among the noise.
Sending one-off emails promoting your products is no longer effective because your customers expect you to know them. They’re quick to opt out when communication feels misaligned or inconsistent. Understand your audience and how often they like to receive emails from you.
Think through a unified customer journey that strategically builds, and find a hook for your communications that lets you stand out. Examples include provoking emotion, using humor, adding mystery, offering a free product or using design elements that grab attention.
3. The Seasonal Campaign
Branching off the promotional email campaign is the seasonal campaign. Take advantage of the time leading up to and after a holiday to spread some good vibes — from the New Year to National Women’s Day. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales account for 20% of all retail sales. In the U.S. alone, those sales were worth more than $84 billion. It’s a prime time to capture an audience.
Choose holidays that make sense to celebrate with your audience, considering location and other demographics. This is a great way to segment your list. Email volumes spike during the holidays, so reach inboxes early and stay top of mind. Match the theme of the holiday in your design and language, and make sure the communication aligns with your brand voice. You can offer an exclusive discount for the holiday to nab more attention. Email communication is fleeting, and holidays provide a natural deadline. Offering limited time deals helps your customers make quick decisions to spend their money with you.
4. The Triggered Email Series
Exceptional email marketing automation allows a user’s action to trigger a series of targeted and relevant emails at precisely the right time for the individual recipient. And according to the DMA’s 2013 National Client Email Report, more than 75% of email revenue is generated through triggered campaigns, compared to one-size-fits-all promo campaigns.
To make the most of a triggered email series, it’s important to have a 360-degree view into your customer data. This will allow you to automatically send a relevant email to someone who has just viewed a page of your web site, or remind a customer that it’s time to replenish their supply of your product. You can also use customer behavior to inform exactly when a customer is entered into a drip campaign.
Email triggering is a powerful tool for relationship and loyalty building. Conversion happens when customers feel understood.
5. The Post-Purchase Drip
This is your chance to turn a new customer into a loyal customer — a customer who is 9x more likely to convert. The post-purchase drip campaign is an email series that’s meant to follow up after purchase, provide assurance and nurture your relationship with your customer.
After a product is purchased, a brand can follow up with a purchase confirmation email that includes a way to track shipping information, creative ways to use the product or similar products a customer may want to purchase. After some time, a brand can follow up with a request to review the product or a special deal for another purchase.
Delivering value after you’ve already made the sale builds trust, delights customers and provides a chance to upsell and cross-sell when it makes the most sense.
6. The Connect-Via-Social Campaign
The connect-via-social campaign is an important opportunity to get out of the inbox and into your subscriber’s social media networks. This type of multi-channel engagement is especially useful for brand awareness.
Fashion retailers might use this type of campaign to encourage subscribers to share and tag photos of themselves wearing the brand’s clothing. Home brands might ask subscribers to share and tag recipes they’ve created using their equipment. Others may use social media contests to encourage cross-channel engagement.
Think about how a customer may want to use your brand on social media and provide a way for them to be recognized. The organic opportunity for your brand to live in a customer’s social media network results in broader reach, social proof and creative applications of your products. Execute thoughtfully and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
7. The Newsletter
An easy way to stay top of mind with your audience is to communicate on a predictable schedule. An email newsletter or digest allows you to keep in touch with customers in perpetuity and become part of their routine.
The key to this strategy is to provide value every time. Keep your audience in the loop about product updates, educate them and entertain them, but don’t sell to them. Look at email newsletters with a fanatical community — like theSkimm— to get inspired.
Providing a valuable and steady stream of content will help you build brand loyalty and reach new subscribers when your content is shared across networks.
8. The Abandoned Cart Series
Digital shopping carts are abandoned constantly. Whether the shopper was comparison shopping and not yet ready to purchase or frustrated with the checkout process, sending a series of email follow-ups can help you recapture their business. According to Experian Cross-Channel Marketing’s Q3 2016 Email Benchmark Report, customers who received multiple abandoned-shopping-cart emails were 2.4X more likely to complete a transaction than customers who received only one.
Abandoned cart emails should always highlight the value of ownership and encourage a sense of urgency. The goal is to close the sale.
9. The Re-Engagement Campaign
The two reasons to run a re-engagement campaign are to recapture the attention of your inactive subscribers, and to determine if a subset of your email list needs cleansing. Email list churn rate is 25%-30% per year, but sometimes this is simply because people change their email addresses or companies change names. If subscribers are not opening or engaging with your emails, they could be getting flagged as spam. Cleansing names of inactive subscribers can help you avoid this.
A great re-engagement campaign will acknowledge that the subscriber hasn’t engaged in a while and ask them to confirm they still want to receive emails from you. If not, cleanse your list and focus on your engaged customers.
Email is still the primary medium for keeping customers connected with your brand, but the rules of engagement apply no matter what mix of campaign strategies you use. Before sending a single email, make sure you understand your audience deeply, adjust your approach based on a recipient’s action and optimize your send times for the individual.
Optimizing your email marketing with these nine strategies and taking these steps will mean the difference between the delete button and seeing a return on your investment. By perfecting your email strategy, you will get to know your audience and increase customer loyalty. This will help you set the stage for scaling your customer engagement to new channels, maximizing return to help you grow your business.
Jay Miller is SVP Marketing at Maropost. He brings over 20 years of SaaS marketing experience to the job, with a focus on scaling customer-centric companies. Responsible for spearheading Maropost’s next stage of growth, he is building Maropost’s marketing team and go-to-market strategy to broaden its global customer base. Prior to Maropost, Miller was VP marketing at LearnCore, where he built a data-driven B2B marketing engine. Prior to LearnCore, he helped establish Workiva’s Wdesk platform as the de facto standard for complex business reporting. Miller holds a BS of Computer Engineering and an MBA from Iowa State University, and has achieved additional executive and marketing education through the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management.