Who Really Engages With Your Email Messages?

You want your customers to engage with your email messages, increasing your ROI. What could stop them?  Email automation, (or in this case the program your list subscribers use to block out that unwanted email – the SPAM FiLTER), is only as smart as the programmer. – And limited by the instructions that come with it.  That and the fact that successful email campaigns have a time limit and a lifecycle, you might wonder which is a bigger menace to your ROI, email automation or over-emailing?       penguin

In an ideal world, all your subscribers will engage with your messages,  SPAM filters are perfect and there is no such thing as over-emailing. This is not a perfect world. Over-email, you lose subscribers.  if you continue to over-email you might be considered a SPAMMER, your messages are just deleted or filtered into oblivion.   Over-emailing can lead to lower engagement, lower conversion rates, and definitely lower ROI.

Lower ROI is not the goal.

You want members to engage with your messages, therefore view email as the best marketing tool since the traveling salesman; same personal one on one communication delivered right to the door. (or inbox in the case)  However, unlike the salesman, email is easy to exploit and squander. Email does not give you the opportunity to overcome objections or dazzle them with your personality and charm. And it does not engage your subscriber in an ongoing conversation.   In most cases, you’ll never need to see or talk to your list member: the impression you leave with your subscriber is limited to the email you send to them.  It then becomes important to understand the type of person who engages with your messages.

How do you determine who your subscriber really is  – collect the general demographics, age, and gender and expand the data to include the type of content your subscriber engages with, the links they click on, the day and time they read your email to the hat they purchased and the friend they referred.   Use this knowledge to send triggered, targeted email – if you know, for example, a customer purchases an oversized shirt and funny shoes every October, you expect they will be purchasing this October. Be proactive; leading up to October send them an image of oversized shirts and offer a discount on another purchase if they refer a friend.

Use your collected demographics to target people who live in NYC in the dead of winter, by offering wool gloves and warm hat combinations while in warmer climates, the offer is changed to straw hats and cotton gloves.  It’s so easy to personalize each message as you’re targeting a specific group at a specific time.  Segmenting your list with essential personal content will yield higher ROI as deliverability improves with list engagement.  How do you know it’s working, measure your success!

Just how do you measure success?

Measure any metric you deem important, such as how did the customer engage with your message, what time was it, where are they, did they click on all links or just open the email and delete it.  Did they forward your message to a friend or save it for themselves to open later?

Barring the subject line, which you have tested with segment emailing, is your only measurement, email opens and website visitors – is that really enough?   What other factors can you measure to let you know your email campaigns are more or could be more successful than you think?

  1. Confirmation email, did they confirm? If they did not confirm, should you rewrite the synopsis of the signup URL, or should you rethink your offer in exchange for their email address?
  2. Have you lost subscribers after your initial Welcome letter? The most important email you’ll ever send hasn’t changed, it’s still the Welcome Letter.  Whether you are offering a service, selling retail or running a nonprofit organization, the goals are all the same.  Increase the customer, client or member base and keep them happy and interested.
  3. Format: you changed the number of images and people unsubscribe. Are the images optimized for mobile and PC?  How many people did not like that change?  Test any changes first.
  4. Do you track your customers from the day they joined your list, to their first purchase to the time it took for their first purchase to the number of emails to get their next purchase? When did they lose interest in your messages, what did you change?
  5. Do you know what device they use to read your messages? Is your email readable and configured correctly for the mobile crowd, the IPad user and laptop?  Does it render well in all browsers for all devices, if not, people may leave?
  6. What time of day are your messages read and just where are your list members? Are your emails being neglected because you are in the grass seed business, emailing people who live in downtown Chicago? Do you send Monday Emails to people who work at night?  A profile page and some analyzing may reveal a better time to send out that weekly newsletter and correct the mailing to target homeowners instead of city dwellers
  7. Are you sending a book instead of a newsletter? Is there an ideal limit on content, longer or shorter? When you run tests, which one has better results?
  8. What is unique about your company, do you capitalize on your customer service, fast delivery, speedy checkout and money back guarantee? All these are measurable, and if you don’t know the answers, send them a survey.

And don’t forget to continue to use the same metrics you always have: Delivery rates, bounce rates, click-throughs and open rates.  They are all important measurements to be successful.