Want Better Email Engagement? Stop “Blasting” Your Subscribers

April 21, 2016 Nicole Klemp

Once upon a time, I consulted car dealerships on their email marketing efforts. There was one particular dealership that insisted on sending weekly promotional emails to their entire database of over 20,000 subscribers. Whether these individuals were prospects, people who had come into the service center, or a customer who just bought a car from them last week, they all got the same sales email. Despite my best efforts, there was no convincing this dealership’s marketing director that this was a poor practice. Nevermind the single digit open rates and unusually high unsubscribes; the only metric he cared about was that after emailing those 20,000 recipients, 3 of them came in and bought a car — so it must be working!

Remove email blast from your vocabulary — and your strategy

Steve Jobs apparently hated the words “marketing” and “branding.” (Which makes me chuckle — I mean the guy branded the Apple.) So I definitely don’t agree that marketing is a bad word, but I would like to add “email blast” to the naughty list. Nothing about the word “blast” says personalization and customer engagement. Sending the same message to thousands of email subscribers is the old “throwing spaghetti at the wall” method. The messages that don’t stick won’t be effective, and can even cause you to lose valuable subscribers for good. Effective email marketing is about delivering high-quality content based on the the solutions, products, and services your subscribers most need and want. Don’t think of email as a one-and-done communication; it’s one of many interactions customers will have with your brand. Which is why it’s so important that messages be personalized and relevant to the individual customer journey.

Increase ROI with personalization

According to Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing report, 80 percent of marketers agree that email is core to their business, and 79 percent said it directly generated ROI this year. But although most marketers agree email is essential, some are using it more effectively than others. The email marketers that personalize customer emails are seeing better ROI. In fact, Salesforce found that high-performing teams are 4.2 times more likely to leverage personalization tools like predictive intelligence and data science than underperforming teams.

Those high-performing teams that Salesforce surveyed are also twice as likely to trigger personalized emails in real time based on events — like my birthday. As soon as this month began, I started receiving those “Happy birthday to you!” emails to recognize my mid-April birthday. My favorite retailers and restaurants, hair salon, and even my dentist’s office are eager to wish me a happy birthday. (I can’t believe you remembered!) I love getting those emails, and I’m not alone; birthday emails have a whopping 179 percent higher click rate than run-of-the-mill promotional emails, and generate 342 percent higher revenue per email. So what is it that makes them so effective? It’s the personalization factor; the feeling of getting something special. And it’s a simple way for marketers to show customers that they’re unique and valued.

Make it personal with Marketing Cloud

Email segmentation used to be based on demographics, and marketers created messaging based on brand value instead of personal value. To engage customers today, marketers must embrace a more human, customer-centric approach. With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, marketers can design, build, and manage data-driven email campaigns that align with social strategies and meet mobile customers in real time. Drag-and-drop segmentation allows for data consolidation from multiple sources to gain a deeper understanding of customer attributes and behaviors. With this knowledge, marketers can send emails that reflect customers’ behaviors and actions — like past purchases or recent web browsing activity. These super-targeted messages can improve customer engagement and increase ROI .

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