By Magan Le
Email continues to outperform other marketing channels by a long way. According to Litmus’ State of Email survey results, email marketing ROI is $42 for every $1 spent. It makes sense: You’re marketing to people who raised their hand and want to hear from you. These are your most valuable customers. Don’t you want more of them? To attract a larger audience, you can use insights from your email marketing program to fuel your cross-channel strategy.
Leveraging email insights to make better decisions in other channels
When I was managing the email marketing program of an ecommerce brand, the marketing channels were siloed (sound familiar?). I dove right in and started creating more comprehensive and thematic email campaign strategies. Then I used their success to help make email the driver of the products we pushed and built the narrative around them. So email became the center of the company’s cross-channel strategy, bringing together all marketing channels to tell and reinforce a single-story consistently.
Want to know the secret to this email-first marketing strategy? Read the steps below.
Step 1: Create the most effective email campaigns possible
You want to repeat the goodness of your successful email campaigns, right? So how do you create effective emails in the first place? Great emails require a solid foundation to drive results—and what happens before you hit send affects how your subscribers will perceive and engage with your brand. If your pre-send process is flawed, email results suffer.
Fine-tune your email pre-send process, including:
Email conception and planning: Think through your email’s objective, goal, content, and audience—and make sure all stakeholders are on the same page. This helps minimize last-minute changes which can lead to frustration and mistakes.
Copywriting: Treat your subscribers like humans, not numbers, and write with empathy. This way, you create a genuine connection with your audience.
Graphics and design: Have brand guidelines in place to design emails faster, giving your subscribers a consistent brand experience. Inconsistency can dilute trust and make your subscribers mistake your email for spam.
Coding and development: If your emails aren’t accessible or don’t work the way they’re supposed to (looking at you, Outlook), your subscribers may not be able to take the intended action. And bloated code may load too slowly or not at all. Gmail remains in the top two in email client market share and is notorious for clipping!
Data logic and setting up in an email service provider: Ever accidentally send out an email too soon or to the wrong audience? How about calling someone FIRSTNAME instead of, you know, their actual first name? Oops. Been there, done that. These mistakes can negatively impact your relationship with your subscribers, so making sure you have the right checks in place is critical.
Testing and troubleshooting: The email landscape is constantly changing. Avoid email fails, and catch costly errors such as display issues, typos, broken links, and inbox placement.
Reviews and approvals: Speaking of catching errors, having at least one other person look everything over is a great idea. If you’ve been in the weeds, it’s easy to miss something.
So your emails are set up for success. Now what?
Step 2: Uncover insights to improve future email campaigns
Learn and optimize. Find out why your email campaigns are effective and what makes your subscribers click and convert. Gut feelings are prone to bias and are often wrong. The data doesn’t lie! Be sure to track email activity from your email service provider as well as deeper, engagement-level metrics using Google Analytics or a tool like Litmus. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, after all.
Armed with the right email analytics, you can uncover insights to improve:
Email segmentation strategy: Are you sending emails to the right people? Tweak your targeting, and consider a win-back or reactivation campaign for your inactive subscribers. If an email campaign didn’t do well, look into the people who did engage. Use this to create lookalike audiences and resend your email to them.
Email content strategy: Are you giving your subscribers what they want? Use what your audience has engaged with to deliver more of that type of content or nurture them with the appropriate next step. You can even start building preferences for more complete subscriber profiles.
Email design and development: Are you making it easy for your subscribers to engage? Dig into specific design elements and layouts to see what has your audience clicking. Maybe they react more positively to photos of people versus illustrations. Or you may find that most of your audience reads on Outlook, so you’ll have the pleasure of making sure your emails display properly there.
Step 3: Share insights across your entire marketing team
Once you’ve dialed in on the right audiences and the content that has them loving your brand, it’s time to bust out of your email silo and use your email insights to fuel your company’s cross-channel strategy. Say it loud, say it proud! Share your learnings and collaborate across teams by implementing routines like these:
Make email reporting dashboards accessible to everyone
Write up what campaign learnings might be interesting for other teams
Set up recurring meetings with leaders across marketing channels
One example we love to share at Litmus is about a blog post on an email design trend that got incredible engagement in our newsletter. We shared this with our social and advertising teams, and they turned around and created social and paid media campaigns on the same blog post. It more than doubled our average click-through rates in those channels! And now we have an ongoing blog post series about what’s trending in email design. That wouldn’t have happened without email. And there are tons of other ways to use email insights beyond email, too.
Remember, your email subscribers want to hear from you. They’re the most loyal to your brand, and whatever attracts them will attract other people like them—score! As you reach out across other marketing channels, you’re reinforcing a cohesive story and consistent brand experience, nurturing your audience with the right message in the right way along their personal customer journey.
For more resources on email and cross-channel marketing, please check out:
- B2B email marketing – Oracle Eloqua
- B2C email marketing – Oracle Responsys
- Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Service Providers, Q2, 2020