Customer Experience News & Trends

Improve email ROI: 5 marketing must-haves

As more companies vie for customers’ attention, email marketing’s become an increasingly delicate art form. And as a result, improving performance requires a laser-like focus on at least one of five areas:

1. Timing. While studies have published different opinions on the best time to send out emails, only you can determine the best time to hit “send” to reach your subscribers.

In the meantime, here are three tactics with regard to timing that have been proven to work:

  • Following-up quickly. Whenever a customer takes an action, it’s always best to follow up on that action as soon as possible. If a customer signs up for your newsletter on Tuesday, they won’t want to wait until Monday for the next issue. Send them your most recent issue upon sign-up.
  • Checking open times. Most people check their email around the same time each day. Therefore, it’s best to send them an email around the time they’ll be checking their inbox. Example: If you notice a customer always opens your email around 4 p.m., it’s best to send him or her your next email around 4 p.m.
  • Focusing “hyperlocally.” This involves an intense focus on creating business within a small geographical area. Example: Right before a snow storm, a car repair shop might send out promotional emails encouraging all their customers within a 20-mile radius to come in to get their tires checked. It’s an effective technique, but will require some detailed data collection.

2. Deliverability. If your IP address has a poor “sender score,” you’re missing out on a large portion of your target audience, as many email service providers automatically block emails from IP addresses with poor reputations.

Three things that typically harm IP reputation are:

  • Hard-bounces — the server rejects the message. Reasons include “Account does not exist” and “Domain does not exist.”
  • Soft-bounces — message is processed, but is returned to the sender. Reasons include “User inbox full” and “Server temporarily unavailable.”
  • Spam complaints — when recipients mark your messages as spam.

To help prevent these issues, focus on creating your own email list — not buying or renting one — and cleaning your list regularly. Cleaning involves removing addresses that have produced hard or soft bounces, and addresses that are inactive — those that haven’t opened or clicked through one of your emails in the past six months.

Reason for removing inactives: They’re clearly not interested in your messages — making them likely candidates to mark you as spam.

Also, if you share an IP address with another company, you’re putting part of your sender reputation in its hands. The best way to avoid this issue is by using a dedicated IP address. However, dedicated IP addresses are usually only recommended for businesses with at least a few thousand subscribers.

3. Data cards for mailing lists. We don’t usually condone using third-party email lists for marketing campaigns (it’s typically better to build your own), but if you decide to use one, we recommend finding a list with a data card that best fits your target audience. The more receptive your list is to your messages, the less likely you’ll be to damage your IP address reputation from being marked as spam.

4. Image optimization. Many email service providers will automatically block images, so it’s important to include ALT text in the event that your images are blocked. The ALT text will tell recipients what they should be seeing, and also include any links that would have been in the images.

Also, keep in mind that if the image-to-text ratio is very high, some spam filters will automatically block the message.

5. Landing page segmentation. If you’re still figuring out your target audience, you can use a landing page to learn more about it. By segmenting the page, you’ll be able to collect demographic data on prospective customers. Consider segmenting the landing page by:

  • Need. Example: Provide links for the different needs your products or services can fulfill.  If you’re an insurance company, you might provide separate links for automotive insurance, health insurance, and life insurance.
  • Place in buying-cycle. Example: Provide calls-to-action for customers at different stages in the buying-cycle — like those who are in the research phase, those who are ready to request a quote and those ready to speak to a sales rep.
  • Business size. Example: Provide links for specific business sizes, perhaps one for businesses with less than 200 employees, one for businesses with 200 to 400 employees, and one for businesses with more than 400 employees.

This sort of varied marketing technique can help you learn more about your audience while creating a more personalized customer experience.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.