To develop a successful email strategy it’s crucial to understand who your customers are, what are they looking for, and when is the best time to reach them.
Broadly speaking, an email strategy framework can be divided into 5 big steps: segmentation, personalization, timing, engagement, analytics.
Without further due, I will jump straight to it.
When we refer to your audience, segmentation can be done on multiples levels.
For example, an experienced digital marketer won’t benefit from a beginner’s guide; and a newbie won’t appreciate as much an in-depth case study.
Segmenting your audience helps you create tailored content for multiple categories of audiences.
Performing audience research or using data from google analytics or from your ESP (email service provider), you can segment your audience based on different criteria:
- Demographics (gender, age, education, geography).
- Job role, industry, company type.
- New subscribers and existing customers.
- Purchase history, their web traffic, groups they are part of.
- Email clicks and opens.
- Changes in their behavior, interests.
- Or at what stage they are in the customer’s journey-link. (e.g. you don’t want to send a discount offer to an existing buyer who got the same product at the full price.)
Sending emails using the receiver’s name is a small personalization element that helps to better connect with your audience.
However, personalization is not just about that. Many sites, especially e-commerce, take the idea of personalized email to the next level.
In the example below Amazon is recommending me via email some products that I might be interested in. What Amazon does is personalizing the email based on my behavior on their website.
Sending the right email to the right person is important. The third important factor that determines your email open rate is timing.
Factors that determine email sending times
1. Do you want your email to be opened on the desktop or on their mobile?
This can be determined by where they are: at the workplace, or after hours.
2. What is the optimal day of the week to send the email?
This can be determined by what type of business you have. Is it a B2B or B2C?
3. What is the optimal hour to send the emails?
This is determined by the recipient’s time zone and other factors such as their commuting times.
Providing value in your emails is important. But the language style you use to communicate is important too.
Here are some tips to generate engagement from your email subscribers.
- First and foremost you need to be honest. Specify in advance how often they will receive emails from you and what type of emails to expect from you.
- Be clear upon the value they get by signing up for your newsletter.
- Make your emails simple and concise. Don’t overuse call-to-action buttons, heavy text, and images.
- Test your audience periodically and adjust your segmentations. Just because they are interested in something today, doesn’t mean they will be the same person next year.
Engagement is highly dependant on the quality of the email. Read this blog post where I share the best practices for all of the five email components: subject line, email copy, email design, CTA’s and images.
A strategy is never written in stone. This final stage of the strategy is about gathering actionable data and adjusting your strategy accordingly. Did this call-to-action get more clicks? Did this type of subject line generate more open rates?
The best way to test your emails is by performing email A/B testing to find what works best for your audience in terms of subject lines and other email components.
Do that in perpetuity adjusting your email strategy based on what works best for your business and your subscribers.
These are guiding points rather than rules to follow. But they are a good starting point to develop and plan your own strategy.
In a nutshell, you need to understand your audience, provide valuable and personalized content, and based on the data, rinse and repeat.