Four ways to integrate email marketing campaigns into mature or developing digital strategies.
Fair warning: toward the end of this post I am going to use the word “synergy.”
Recently, I was given some valuable professional advice: “If we aren’t moving our clients’ marketing forward, we’re moving backward.” Rather than seeing this as a daunting aspect of online marketing, I hope we can look at it as an exciting opportunity to try new things, measure our progress, and change course when necessary.
When it comes to marketing online, there is no perfect plan and there is no foreseeable end point. We’ll never get there, because the path is always changing, and we stay on course by not letting ourselves fall behind the pack. On terrain that’s constantly in flux we are forced to get creative, a luxury not always afforded in business, to innovate and improve our clients’ digital marketing efforts. In that spirit, I think it’s time to take another look at email marketing.
Maybe in the last 30 days to 3 years you’ve added or considered adding email marketing to your marketing mix. Your marketing initiatives are all tied to one another and connected to the overarching goal, so adding another piece in without careful planning can throw the system out of balance. Instead of slapping it on, you want to gracefully integrate it with existing marketing campaigns.
Here are 4 interesting ways to do that.
1. Start blogging and tie content to email marketing.
These tips barely skim the surface, but hopefully it’s a start to get you thinking about ways to integrate online content into your email campaign:
- Send alerts and teasers to your email list when you write a new blog post and link to it.
- Announcing a new product or promotion in your email blast? Dig up an old related blog post and include it in the email, or write a new one. For example, if you’re running a promotion on ergonomic keyboards, write a blog about the risks of carpal tunnel.
- Create an email list opt-in in your blog footer.
- Send an email including three recent blog posts and use your email metrics to determine what your audience segments are most interested in.
2. Think mobile.
We should always be thinking mobile these days, and your email marketing is no exception. After running numbers for just five of my clients in different industries, I found that compared to March 2013, the percentage of traffic coming in on mobile has increased by:
- 87.6% — medical device manufacturer
- 52.1% — house cleaning service
- 25.3% — casino
- 17% — construction company
- 40.7% — independent book publisher
If that’s not compelling, take a look at the March 2014 data from Litmus displaying mobile vs. desktop traffic for the past year:
As demonstrated above, it’s crucial to reach the booming mobile market and cater specifically to mobile users. Here’s a brief checklist for email marketing mobile optimization:
- Write an impeccable subject line. There are lots of tips and tricks that relate to this; in fact, Unbounce.com wrote a great post on it. Once you write the perfect opener, test it like crazy and watch your metrics carefully. Your audience segments are unique, and by watching analytics over time, you’ll know more about them than anyone.
- Optimize images so they load quickly when enabled.
- Make all your links large enough to be tap-friendly. Smashingmagazine.com recommends finger-width, which is about 45-57 pixels wide.
- Think about where your links are directing. Your landing pages must also be optimized for mobile! If they are not, we can help.
- View your email on different mobile devices. To start, Nimrod Flores offers eight resources to ensure your emails look great on mobile.
- Watch your mobile audience grow over time and learn how mobile users behave in analytics. Adjust accordingly with every send.
3. Drive your social campaigns.
Here’s a short checklist for integration:
- Include social icons in your emails and make embedded information easy to share.
- Create an email newsletter opt-in form in Facebook Tabs.
- Run a promotion or contest via email marketing and promote it on your social sites, or vice-versa.
- Send a dedicated email blast asking people to join your social networks. If you’re providing useful and relevant information, then you’re helping your user base, not desperately trying to be liked. It is imperative to explain the user value of joining your social network.
- Repurpose your content from blogging and email marketing, but don’t duplicate it.
- Dig into audience segmentation – promote your LinkedIn network for B2B emails, send millennials to Facebook or Instagram, and use studies like this to determine ways to reach different segments.
4. Turn on your drip campaign.
Email marketing campaigns that do not take advantage of “transactional,” “automated,” or “triggered” message tools are missing out on a massive opportunity to reach an important customer base. A drip campaign is an automated process to communicate with your sales leads or customers via email throughout the sales cycle. If you need help getting starting, Pardot has a killer drip marketing infographic with benefits and best practices.
MarketingSherpa also posted a set of triggered email open rates, and cites that an order confirmation email has a 40% open rate. That is email marketing gold and a crucial touch point in the sales cycle, especially given how hard we work to make a one-time customer a long-time customer through loyalty marketing.
So how can we use these emails to maintain a customer relationship and nurture future sales? Here are four quick examples:
- Make sure there is a new call to action in the order confirmation/thank-you email. Some examples are requesting feedback on your order process, providing a targeted recommendation, and asking again if they’d like to opt-in to your newsletter.
- Wait a short period of time, variable for different industries, then send an email repeating all the suggestions in step (i). Once the customer has had a little time to use the product or service, request feedback on the product or service, provide a targeted up-sell and/or cross-sell, and ask again if they’d like to opt-in to your newsletter. When you ask for the opt-in, show a screenshot of one of your newsletters, or give them some typical subject matter.
- Offer a freebie! Give customers free shipping on their next order, a discount coupon, or exclusive content.
- Track everything. Email marketing metrics warrant a whole new blog post, so feel free to call us in the meantime if you’re curious. And again, I’m really just skimming the surface here. The email marketing opportunities are endless!
When it comes to your website, no marketing activity is done in a silo. Social media ties back to your blog, which ties to your website, which ties to your email marketing campaign, which ties back into the blog, and so on. I’m sure there are a thousand infographics out there portraying this concept. And there’s a word for it. Here it comes. Yes, it’s Synergy. It’s okay, I punched myself for you.
Synergy aside, as an account director who works closely with the client, there is nothing more exciting than learning the business, getting to know your company, and coming up with the right marketing strategy. Adpearance team members collaborate on a regular basis to build each client an editorial calendar so we never lose sight of the bigger plan, which makes us highly organized and also highly flexible.
This industry changes every day and keeps us on our toes, but with planning, organization, and ongoing innovation, we’re here to help you out anytime.