In business you have to get advanced sometimes.
Football is the most popular sport in America.
The best teams have the fundamentals down. They practice them. They do them over and over and that helps those teams win.
But most NFL coaches will tell you that the simple concepts, while important, just aren't enough. That's why those coaches develop complex schemes to make sure their teams have an edge.
In terms of email marketing, you have the basics:
- Monthly Newsletters
- Weekly Promotional Offers
- Signup Forms On Your Website
You have to do those well and continue to improve them, but if you really want to go to the next level you need advanced tactics.
Here are 10 that can help you get to the next level.
1. Personalization + Blasting
For the last twenty years or so the blast email campaign has been the norm. And it's worked great and will continue to work great.
But you've probably heard the term "big data". In terms of email that means that we now have access to and the ability to understand a lot of data.
With email, that means that you can get really personalized with your email.
An advanced technique that many businesses are already doing is setting up automated email campaigns that trigger based on actions that customers are taking.
An example might be the cart abandonment email. A customer puts a specific item in their cart at a specific time. If they don't purchase after a specific amount of time it triggers a personalized email to remind the person about the item in their cart. Maybe it even makes an offer to encourage the purchase.
This is just one of many examples.
Another quick one is using purchase history or even browsing history of people on your site and using that to choose the merchandise you send to the person in the regular weekly (or however often you send) email.
Blast emails still have a place. But they work best in tandem with more personalized emails.
2. Reusing Content
In social media is a best practice to reuse or to re-share content.
Think about your Twitter or Facebook feed. You probably follow or are friends with a number of people. If a person shares something at 8 AM and your at work all day and don't have time to check your feed until lunchtime or later then you'll probably miss their update.
When you share something on social media it's likely that many people miss the message. the same is really true in email.
What are your open and click rates?
10%? Maybe 20%? Maybe less?
Even at 20% you're still seeing that 80% of the people aren't even paying attention to your content.
It's probably because they're busy looking at other emails. Or they're not interested right now.
Reuse the content. Maybe change up the subject line and use the same design. Or switch it around and use a previously successful subject line with a new style of design.
Reusing content allows you to increase frequency without adding a ton of extra work.
There is a balance, though. You don't want to spam your subscribers the same content over and over.
3. Repurposing Content
Building on the last one is the idea of repurposing content and by this one I mean using content across channels.
Let's say you have a successful piece of content on Facebook. Why not reuse that at least in part or in some way on your next email?
The marketing world is very fragmented right now, but it doesn't mean that you always have to treat each channel individually. Some things, probably many things, can be repurposed and reused across channels.
Maybe you create a top ten list for shopping. You create an image for Facebook. You create a video for YouTube. You create a board for Pinterest.
And you create a unique design for the same list that goes out in a few emails.
4. Ideal Time Broadcasting
Do you know when the best time to send your emails to your customers is?
Maybe it's different by where they're located in the world?
More companies today are running continuous tests based on send time to see when they get the most opens and clicks.
If you open your email right now what is the first email you see?
It's the one that is at the top of the list. That's usually the most recent email. As a business, you want to be as close to the top as possible. That means being at the top when your customers open their inboxes.
Every business has unique customers with their own habits and routines. It's your job to test to find out when the best time to send is.
Maybe it's 6:30 AM. But remember that this could differ by timezone. You can send everyone an email at 6:30 AM Eastern Time. By the time people on the West Coast open their inboxes at 6:30 AM your email will probably be buried by the other emails sent in the last three hours.
5. Meet My Colleague…
In the business world nothing is better than getting an introduction to someone you want to reach from someone that already knows them.
In a business-to-business situation maybe you're selling some kind of business software. You have an ideal customer in mind. You know the person you want to reach, but you don't know them. They don't know you. It would be a cold outreach.
But now you check your connections and you have a mutual connection. You reach out to that person and ask if they could make the introduction.
Now you have an in.
The same can work in many ways for many businesses.
Here is one of my favorites that I see once in awhile, but not too often. I think it's underutilized.
Let's say you sell shirts. You reach out to a business that sells hats that are a pretty good match for what you sell. You're not competing, but you do share the same customer base.
Put together a campaign where you send an email introducing them to your customers and they do the same to you.
It can be a win-win-win for all involved including the subscribers.
6. Content Promotion & Outreach
More businesses are creating content.
Guides, ebooks, cheat sheets and more. All kinds of stuff. Even ecommerce companies are creating content, which is great.
You will send this to your regular subscribers. You'll probably send it to them more than once and in different ways.
Let's flip this a little bit and get into outreach email. This would be you or your marketing team reaching out to popular blogs, bloggers and industry sites to introduce them to the content you've created.
You can do this in a couple different ways.
You can approach it as, "Hi - I see that you've been publishing a lot of content about...here is something we created that we think you'd be interested in. We'd love to hear what you think!"
You'll get a lot of no responses, but you'll also get some responses and some shares and it will get more exposure for your content.
7. Name Drop Emails
This one kind of builds on that introduction strategy above, but it's a little different.
This one is using big names, recognizable names or brands to get people's attention.
This can be pretty straightforward in ecommerce. You have a popular brand and you promote it in the subject line and really call it out.
You can also build on this in a few other ways. You can hire a popular industry influencer to provide some content and you can tap into their audience and get the attention of your subscribers that are fans of that influencer.
8. Recency Segmentation
My background is in catalogs and that industry has decades of success with segmentation. One of the big ones was recency and it was how recent had customers purchased.
I worked in the footwear industry and it was always surprising to me that the best customers were the most recent buyers.
We looked at it as people that had purchased in the last 6 months and 12 months. Those were the best customers.
You will find this to be the case in email. You'll probably find that you can send your most recent customers more emails more often. They're ready. They're engaged. They want to buy.
Don't lump all recent customers together. Someone that bought last month is a much better prospect than someone that bought three years ago.
9. Free Stuff Offers
Throw your subscribers something fun once in awhile. Give them something for free. It can really be a good way to boost engagement.
Let's say that you sell shoes. If your factory had some leftover leather have them create 2,000 4-packs of coasters or something.
Send out an email letting your subscribers know that the first 1,000 customers to visit the site and claim their free coasters will get them.
Then send out another email a few days later saying that you have another thousand for others.
It's just a little way to get some engagement and get people looking at your emails even if they're just paying attention for sweet deals once in awhile.
10. Buyers vs. Inquiries
One more on segmenting and it comes down to buyers vs. inquiries.
Do you separate the people that have purchased from you and the ones that have just inquired or signed up to receive your emails?
If you're investing in email, which is a great investment, take the time to market to these two segments differently. Send them different products in the emails. Maybe send the inquiry more emails more often to see just how interested they are. Try to figure out what they're most interested. Send them a survey. Ask them their interests.
Maybe not all of these are advanced. Maybe you're doing some of them already, but hopefully this has given you some things to work on to take your email program to another level.
It's certainly about the fundamentals with email. You never want to forget those, but if you have a solid foundation then you're in a position to take things to another level with these advanced techniques.