There’s no if’s or but’s about it, email is an extremely effective marketing channel. It’s no wonder that email is effective for direct marketing, seeming that almost half of the world’s global population has an email inbox (3.7 billion people to be exact).
Email marketing gives you direct access to a wide audience, whilst marketing automation helps to increase your reach, recipient engagement, and therefore conversions and overall ROI.
Email marketing alone has a median ROI of 122% (4 times higher than other marketing channels, including social media). Automating email marketing further boosts ROI by 32.9%! Clearly, these two belong together.
As a business owner, what you care about is the bottom line, and as we’ve established, the ROI of email marketing automation is entirely compelling. But what else can your marketing and sales teams be doing to continuously improve your ROI?
Here’s our guide, with tips and tricks, for optimising your email automation ROI.
Use trigger based emails
You’re not the only business who leverages email in their marketing mix. The average person receives 88 emails a day. It’s easy to have your campaigns lost in the noise of your recipients’ busy inboxes.
The key to standing out from the crowd is to send emails when they are most relevant. That means, publishing emails to the right person, at the right time.
Setting up emails with behavioural triggers is a great way to utilise marketing automation tools to give your email marketing campaign that much needed boost.
Emails using behavioural triggers have a 624% higher conversion response (across the same number of sends compared to batch sent campaigns).
(Source: VentureBeat, 2016)
What are trigger based emails?
Behavioural triggers allow you to set up an email campaign which will send to a specific recipient when specific actions have been undertaken.
For example, you may have an ‘abandoned shopping cart’ email which sends to contacts who almost made a purchase on your e-commerce site, but didn’t. The behavioural trigger would be “added items to cart” but didn’t “make purchase”.
With a good marketing automation platform which records all sorts of behavioural data across multiple marketing channels, the options are endless for behavioural triggers.
Trigger based emails are extremely relevant, and that’s why they’re absolutely invaluable when it comes to email marketing automation. Your ROI will undoubtedly improve the more relevant your brand’s communications are.
Utilise dynamic content and personalisation for greater relevance
Again, let’s sing the praises of email marketing relevance. If you’re looking to see higher engagement rates, and better conversion volumes, then using automation tools such as dynamic content and personalisation is a great way to do so.
Dynamic content tools allow your marketing team to configure email campaigns with template and content variables, which display – or not – depending on the unique data of each recipient.
For example, you might have several intro options on your e-newsletter which display depending on a contact’s home state. The intro which talks about weather in Sydney would show for any contact who resides in NSW. You get the idea.
Dynamic content helps to encourage a more trusting brand-recipient relationship, as your emails will be valuable and custom-targeted.
Personalization refers to personalisation merge fields, which are a staple functionality across most – if not all – email marketing automation applications.
Personalisation enables your marketing team to insert ‘merge fields’ into text content which self-populate with the relevant data for each recipient. For example, any time you’ve been referred to by your first name in a marketing email – that’s a first name merge field.
But it doesn’t stop at first name greetings. Any data you collect (with consent) from your contacts can be used in email content.
Valuable, creative ways of using personalisation include:
- Membership renewal reminder emails which use merge fields to display unique member numbers, and date of renewal
- Promotional emails which refer to previous purchases made by the recipient
- Event invites which refer to the last event the recipient attended, or missed
If you’re looking to increase contact engagement, and improve conversion rates – then make sure you’re using Dynamic Content and Personalisation to further improve your marketing relevance and value.
Ensure your communications are all mobile optimized
More and more people are checking their email on mobile devices. On one hand, this has been a godsend for companies looking to gain access to more attention from their contact base – as people are now reachable no matter where they are. On the other hand, however, it has meant that emails which are not optimised for mobile often suffer from lower click through rates, and even lower conversions.
If you’re looking to capitalise on your mobile user base, whilst increasing your overall email ROI, then ensuring that the user experience of your mobile users is as easy, seamless, and attractive as possible is a number one priority.
Hopefully your company is using a Marketing Automation platform which ensures mobile responsiveness across any communications you create using their software. If your Marketing Automation treats mobile optimisation as an afterthought, it might be time to shop around for a better platform.
To make sure you’re not losing out on your large (and growing) mobile user base, do the following:
- Check how your campaign looks on mobile devices before publishing
- Design your CTAs with mobile users in mind (easy to mash buttons up high in the email content)
- Make sure any landing pages you link to are also optimised for mobile
- Focus less on complicated graphic laden templates, and more on short and sweet, valuable text content (easier for mobile users to scroll through and digest during that train commute home)
Score engagement to predict behaviour, and target accordingly
As marketing automation platforms become even better at collecting, collating, and analysing marketing data – your company can leverage reports and scores to predict which prospects have become leads, and which leads are ripe for conversion.
It’s obvious, but your marketing automation flows should act as funnels to drive pre-qualified leads into the arms of your sales team. That’s where the email automation ROI really kicks in.
Using Engagement Scoring tools – available on some marketing automation platforms (such as ours, Swift Digital) – gives you valuable insight into the engagement levels of your contact base, and as such, can be used to tell apart the prospects from the leads.
In this example, engagement is scored based on behaviour. You might custom assign 100 points to the behaviour of opening your brand’s emails, whilst attending one of your events garners a contact 500 points. These points are tallied up for everyone on your database, and gives you the chance to separate the highly engaged from those needing more warming up.
Engagement scores also help your marketing and sales teams to predict where in the funnel certain leads are. You can segment your leads based on score – giving you the chance to target leads based on where they are on their journey, making closing sales that much easier.
Consistently reflect on reports, and adapt your campaigns on the go
The wealth of data collected on a multi-marketing channel automation platform is mind boggling. Consider this: when you manage events, conduct surveys, blast out both email and SMS campaigns, and build web pages from the one platform, the data you’re able to collect gives you insight that would, traditionally, be impossible.
By using a marketing automation platform, your marketing and sales teams have access to publication reports, event attendee lists, behavioural and contact data – to name just a few sources. To further sweeten the deal, collecting and analysing data is as easy as clicking on the right reports and contact profiles. Say goodbye to human error, and the easy loss of data when carrying out marketing strategies offline. Say hello to superior sense-making and strategy-building based on real information, rather than instinct.
Having access to all this data gives your marketing team the head space and knowledge to adapt their campaigns and strategy on the go, depending on what their data analysis reveals.
For example, by comparing your latest email publication reports, you might realise that you get higher engagement rates with contacts opening emails in the evening, rather than in the morning – when your team has previously been publishing. Changing your publication times based on this insight instantly boosts your open and engagement rates, which has a flow on effect on your overall email marketing ROI.
If your company is not used to reflecting, analysing, and changing strategy on the go, it’s well worth having a look at our ‘Agile Marketing in a nutshell’ article.
As a business owner, it’s the bottom line that counts. Marketing automation may save time, money and resources, but does it deliver on ROI?
The quick answer is an emphatic yes. When it comes to manually carrying out your email marketing strategy, vs automating it, there’s a clear winning choice. Automating your email marketing not only means freeing up time for your marketing team so that they can focus less on daily grind, and more on the big picture – it also means gaining access to the data and tools your company needs to compete in the highly competitive world of email.
The only way to get a good ROI from your email marketing efforts is to automate them. Marketing automation will give your company the edge it needs to stand out, and thrive.
Ready to stand out, automatically? Talk to our marketing automation experts at Swift Digital, and find out how Australia’s leading Marketing Automation software can work for you, and your business. Call us on 02 9929 7001.