by Brittany McSorley
Guys, it’s me. I took another webinar, because like I said, I’ve been chasing the incomparable high of rigorous academic pursuits since May 21, 2012.
Oh, college. You flighty temptress! Assuring me that sweatpants are appropriate attire for lectures, letting me eat fries pretty much whenever, then abandoning me to face a strained economy and slowing metabolism all on my own. But try as I might, I can’t stay mad at you.
Anyway, Constant Contact, provider of many a helpful webinar, recently offered one entitled “Three Email Marketing Trends for Small Businesses in 2019.” And I was like, “Hang on a second… Our small business clients use email! For marketing! And 2019 is now!” It was destiny. Here’s what went down:
By 2020, an estimated three billion people will use email. I guess this wacky trend is here to stay! Email is one of the most useful marketing tools around in terms of ROI. Businesses get a return of around $38 for every $1 spent on email marketing. I find this very impressive. I’ve probably never turned a dollar into nearly forty. (I am incredible, however, at turning totally manageable midday hunger into a relationship-ending argument. It’s kind of my specialty.)
The first marketing trend explored was the use of targeted emails. Your email marketing efforts should be providing relevant, timely information to your subscribers; results can be diminished if you repeat content or send out overly generic material that applies to too broad an audience.
Constant Contact recommends using their segmentation tools to form specific contact groups based on demographics or activity (such as which subscribers are consistently opening and engaging with your emails already).
There are countless ways to group your subscribers. A B2B email campaign may have different groups for prospective clients and an already-engaged audience looking for hints and tips, or groups for each of the business’s provided services. A B2C campaign may split their subscribers up according to business locations, or send out weekly specials to those most likely to engage. A nonprofit may have groups for new donors, current donors, volunteers, or different giving levels. If I had more free time, I might send targeted emails to relatives I’ve proved wrong during political arguments, friends whose babies are sort of weird looking, or any man who has ever upset me even a tiny bit. You get it.
CC offers several tools to encourage action in your emails, such as e-commerce apps and integrations to make purchases and donations as easy as possible. And if segmenting your email audience seems like too much work, their “dynamic content tool” allows you to write one basic marketing email, then add specific content for selected groups. For example, all of your followers get the same email update, but customers with children see an additional family-specific blurb, and those who have made a recent purchase see a personalized thank you message.
To make targeting easier and more impactful, you can collect more info about your subscribers by encouraging them to click the “update profile” button at the bottom of your emails.
The second trend was utilizing automation, which is becoming standard in email marketing… and every other aspect of our lives. B2C marketers are seeing up to 50% conversion rates on their automated content. This is especially helpful for establishing nurtured leads, which make 47% larger purchases on average, and for sending out welcome emails to new or potential clients, which can lead to 33% more long-term engagement. So many significant percentages!
Consider using CC’s automation tools to send customers birthday emails, remind them of an annual milestone with your business, or deliver seasonal re-engagement content. Making people feel remembered and important can do wonders for your business, and it only takes a few clicks to do so. It’s the “Facebook told me it was your birthday so it was easy to pretend I cared even though things have been weird between us since I yelled at you in a Hot Topic in 2006” of the marketing world.
Another invaluable tool is Constant Contact’s “automated series” capability, allowing you to send a series of emails tailored for a specific outcome. An action series can be triggered after a purchase or sign-up, for example, and may include a “reasons to use our product” email, followed by an email highlighting a specific aspect of your business, and closed out with a fear-of-missing-out message to encourage more engagement. An onboarding series may include an email about getting started with your services, followed by some educational info, and finished up with a request for feedback or a review. An anticipation series can be used to prepare and educate customers before a big event. I may use an automated series to tell my brother in an increasingly frenzied manner why he was wrong about that thing at Thanksgiving and should definitely apologize to me. You get it.
You can easily boost your email open rate by using the “resend to non-openers” tool in CC. People have seen up to a 30% increase in their open rate just by doing this, but be sure to apply it only to the most important emails you send out, and change the subject line to avoid seeming spammy.
The final trend was all about providing value to help your business grow—in other words, getting others to spread the word for you in order to increase loyalty and encourage repeat business. In my life, I accomplish this by saying things like, “Oh my god, I’m feeling kind of weird about this blog post I wrote for KDC. Is it even funny? Can you like, check?” to people who know damn well that I have the self-esteem of Kanye West and the flawless comedic timing of a UTI. Then they’re all, “Brittany, stop it! You are the voice of our generation. I’m sharing that post on my Facebook page.” Dance, my puppets.
Providing value is key because landing a new customer can be up to 25 times more expensive than keeping an existing one. In addition, people are around 84% more likely to make a purchase if a product or service is recommended to them by friends or family. And finally, around 47% of consumers engage with three to five pieces of marketing content before ever communicating with a sales rep.
All of this means that you want your business to come across as one that people know, like, and trust. Your content, therefore, should be friendly and approachable, and it should solve a problem for your audience. In writing your email content, try to answer FAQs before they’re asked to establish your brand as knowledgeable and reliable. If your business has a blog, link to posts in your emails. Consider interviewing an expert in your field to establish legitimacy, and whenever you can, share news, infographics, or curated influencer content from trusted sources, with a side of your own valuable perspective. (Feedly is a great app for saving curated content for later use.) Try to use video as much as possible, and make your emails visually compelling for maximum conversion. Last but not least, make it easy for your subscribers to share your content by adding a social media block to your emails.
Incorporate these methods into your email marketing efforts for more engaging content and higher conversion rates. But remember, informative webinars don’t have the jokes. I have the jokes.
…I have the jokes.