Among consumers, patients, professionals, and caregivers of all ages, email continues to be a highly effective use of a brand’s marketing budget. But in many ways it’s often overused and misused. How can we use email to create deeper customer engagement?
People are as connected to their email as they are to their text and social platforms—but all three platforms are competing for the same window of time. While we know that emails drive ROI, we still need to walk in the shoes of the email recipient and understand what they need and how best to use email to creatively engage with them.
Competing with a never-ending bombardment of emails
We all receive dozens of emails a day. Go into a meeting for two hours and you can easily find 50 emails awaiting you that require some level of attention.
If an email is work related, you likely evaluate your role in responding to it:
The same goes for personal emails. They can be family related (be it kids or parents), health related (where you receive information from your medical community or about your medication), or something as simple as where to go for dinner, even a sale at your favorite online store. Emails matter.
You’re competing for attention in someone’s life, so understanding that immediacy and relevance in offering up content that’s worthy of your audience is key.
What makes your email matter?
You’ve created, curated, and syndicated content to make your email matter. Now you need to think about how you serve up your communication. Is there an opportunity to rethink emails where you share content and lifestyle topics that the user chose? And can you bundle it with an offer, a call to action, or something differentiating about your product or service? It’s not just about being witty on the subject line, but referencing a past interaction with your customer—to continue where you left off, whether it was online, on the phone, or another brand touchpoint. So you must think about how best to compete in that saturated message market and make a difference by responding and evolving that last conversation.
Think “mobile first”
With many—if not most—people reading their emails exclusively on their phones, designing and developing emails for mobile must be a primary consideration today. And while it puts constraints on images and data size, a mobile-first focus opens up new possibilities of linking videos that open up in embedded players and linking to creating landing pages that are highly interactive by leveraging the native OS.
Thinking of mobile-optimizing emails as teasers of content rather than content itself opens up new possibilities in email engagement. Even something as simple as a linked phone number in an email that connects directly from the mobile phone is game changing in reducing the response rate and immediacy of action inspired.
Measurement, retargeting, and personalization
The basic email metrics are sends, bounce rate, delivery, open and click rates, unsubscribes, and marked as spam. But within these metrics lies a finer layer of detail that can shape and refine ongoing communications.
Understanding the value of an email engagement cannot stop with email metrics. It’s important to tie it to unique but not personally identifiable metrics (such as site visits) and actions taken (such as downloads and calls) to get a full picture of the impact of timely and personalized email engagement. But a smart starting point is to allow self-selection and increase relevance of content through personalization, rather than through “blanket” emails such as newsletters. Because email marketing is simply an ongoing conversation.