The Secrets about Email Marketing No One Tells You
Great email marketing has the best ROI in the business, most marketers know. The return on investment can be nearly $40 for every $1 spent, according to Adobe Systems.
Despite an onslaught of new marketing technologies, including the growth of social media marketing and mobile applications, the big news from a just-released report is that the importance of email marketing continues to grow.
60% of marketers in a new survey said that email is a critical enabler of products and services, and 20% said it was the primary revenue source for their business. These findings come from the 2015 State of Marketing report from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
In the same survey, nearly 3 out of 4 marketers agreed that email marketing is core to their business. However, as any data-driven marketer knows, the real proof is in the measurement of performance.
An example of measured email marketing success is the astonishing revenue growth at global women’s apparel retailer BCBG. In the last year, the major global brand re-focused its email marketing efforts with tactics that improve the customer experience both on digital platforms and in-store.
By putting the customer at the center of its strategy, BCBG’s revenue from email marketing grew 20% in just one quarter, according to Direct Marketing News.
Email marketers can be eager to build templates, opted-in contact lists, establish campaigns, content, frequency, timing, and metrics goals. All of these are important to an email marketer.
BCBG does all of this too – but they also know the value of being customer-ready in their engagement and communication.
What email marketers may not know is that the customer journey begins with great contact data. If you aren’t measuring the quality of your contact data, your email campaigns will not reach their potential.
Here are a few ‘secrets’ about email marketing and contact data that you don’t hear about often, but every data-driven marketer should know.
Up to 30 percent of your contacts’ email addresses change each year. What’s that hissing noise? That’s the air being let out of your email marketing plan. Everyone talks about the best practices for acquiring new contacts for your email lists, but what about taking care of the lists you have? It’s essential for marketers to validate their lists on a regular basis.
This can be done via email verification software and asking your list to opt back in on a regular basis. Asking for an opt-in after someone has been on your list for as long as a year (or more, depending on your audience) helps you know your message is welcome (reducing the chance it will be marked as spam) and re-establishes you in your customers’ minds.
Poor sender reputation can affect anyone and everyone who sends emails in bulk. Having a low sender reputation is similar to having a low credit score. If your credit score is low, you will be limited on what you can do in the financial world. In the same way, a low sender reputation limits what you can do with your email marketing campaigns.
This is a threat that you want to deal with before it happens. Many marketers only learn about the consequences after it happens – and they can no longer reach their audiences. Sales and customer satisfaction suffer as a result, and it can be a costly and time-consuming process to repair your sender reputation.
What are some of the things that affect sender reputation the most?
- Sending to email addresses that are no longer in use.
- Complaint rates (being marked as spam).
- Spam traps (email addresses created specifically to catch spammers). As Return Path has found, sending to even one spam trap can destroy your sender reputation.
You can check email lists before you send to them – in fact, that is the best time to do that. But it’s not enough to verify a list once. Verify email addresses more than once over time, as email addresses that previously were fine one day can become invalid or malicious.
Urgent changes are ahead for email marketers. A major new prediction from Gartner is that companies in all industries will have to primarily compete on customer experience by 2016.
Email marketing holds great potential as a revenue driver, and will continue to be an important channel for providing a great customer experience. 33% of customers surveyed said that email is the best method for building brand loyalty, according to Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Read more about how customer experience is becoming a bigger part of marketers’ jobs in this new white paper, “The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.”