Email marketing is a tried and true digital marketing channel. As other marketing trends come and go, email marketing remains a steady source of traffic and conversions. Digital marketers know the power of email marketing to deliver results at lower costs than most other channels. But because most of us have been doing email marketing for so long, it can be difficult, at times, to drum up inspiration for new ideas. Over time campaigns become flat, content gets stale, and email performance begins to suffer. In order to keep that from happening, you must constantly innovate and evolve. To help get the wheels turning, here are 10 ideas to inspire or improve your next email marketing campaign.
1 - Personalize
It seems like everyone is looking for ways to personalize the web experiences of their users. While personalizing website content can be a complex and daunting task, personalizing email content is quite straightforward by comparison. There's no reason not to be personalizing your emails to at least some degree. You can go as simple as including the user's name in the email subject line, or as in depth as customizing content, offers, and distribution times for specific user groups.
2 - Include video content
Showcasing video content in your emails is shown to increase user interest and engagement. Videos help your emails perform better, and email can help your video content reach a wider audience -- it's a win-win.
3 - Include GIFs
Another way to enhance the visual appeal of your emails is to include animated GIFs as part of your design. Animations are a reliable way to capture a user's attention when he or she opens your email. They can also be strategically employed to draw attention to important content or elements within the body of the email.
4 - Focus on cart abandoners
Decrease your website's lost sales or leads by targeting abandoners with strategically deployed emails. Abandoned cart emails will help put your business and products back at the top of the user's mind. Reiterating product benefits and/or offering an incentive to complete the sale (free shipping, free samples, a complimentary consultation, or a discounted or free trial of your service) can help win back customers who might otherwise never have returned.
5 - Overhaul transactional emails
Transactional emails are the unsung heroes of email marketing. While they aren't necessarily the most exciting or innovative part of an email campaign, they're still critical to success. Transactional emails help set a tone and establish a relationship with a customer or subscriber. Customers also count on transactional emails to keep them updated about important information like order status, returns and exchanges, and billing matters. But just because the purpose of a transactional email is to impart information, doesn't mean it can't also showcase brand personality. If it's been some time since you revisited your transactional emails, it's worthwhile to revamp them, optimizing for function and form.
6 - Test image types
It's a good idea to test as many different elements of your emails as possible (not all at once, of course!) One good place to start is with images. It's easy to get into a rut with imagery and not give much thought to which types of images ultimately perform best. For example, is there a difference in user response to images of products in use versus products on their own? What about between photos of models versus real customers or clients? Photography versus illustration? Experiment with different types of imagery to find the ones that work best for your campaigns.
7 - Showcase social proof
There's no better marketing than word-of-mouth recommendations. Take your email marketing to the next level by using it to feature and promote rave reviews from actual customers. Testimonials can be nicely integrated into cart abandonment emails, transactional emails that get sent early in the subscription process, and in emails targeting anyone in the consideration phase or likely to be ripe for an upsell.
8 - Create habits
Turn your users into a rapt and engaged audience by teaching them what types of content to expect and when to expect it. Podcasters have adopted this tactic for keeping audiences tuning in week after week -- new episodes are released according to a set schedule and many users are ready and waiting, listening to the new episode as soon as it's available. If your content is interesting and your distribution is something that can be counted on, users will come to expect and anticipate your emails. They may even start actively looking forward to the moment your content hits their inbox.
9 - Implement a referral program
A referral program is an effective way to get users to spread the word on your behalf. Plus it also incorporates that word-of-mouth component mentioned earlier. Referral programs obviously need to be run through your website, but you should promote them via email, use email as a means of referral, and include referral reminders in the transactional emails you're already sending.
10 - Revisit your segmentation
How up-to-date is your list segmentation? Is your segmentation serving your distribution needs well, or are there more useful user attributes you could be focusing on? It's important to maintain your distribution lists and segmentation in good health in order to get the best results from your email campaigns. Allow users to self-segment at signup by asking them for some information about themselves, as well as what types of content or products they're most interested in. Email is a powerful channel with the potential to deliver conversions at relatively low cost. In order to see results, however, you can't allow your email campaigns to stagnate. Innovative content and reliable delivery is key to keeping users tuning in to your brand despite the noise and clutter generated in the digital space.