BEST PRACTICE: Best performing marketing channels – email marketing tactics

We have heard it already – email marketing is dead and now it is the time for social media. However, the stats show quite the opposite – email marketing remains an essential tool for attracting and retaining customers, being the most efficient, reliable and cost-effective, writes Sabina Jasinska, Global Marketing Director, StoneShot.

For example, only 2% of posts are seen by the company followers on LinkedIn or Facebook, while over 90% of emails reach the intended mailbox.

Email marketing as a tool is not dead, however, some practices are, such as sending impersonal messages, violating GDPR, ignoring user experience, and not tracking engagement. This article covers some insights and shows how email can generate revenue as the #1 client acquisition channel.

My company, StoneShot is a marketing agency specialized in email automation technology and works with asset management firms whose clients are high and ultra-net worth individuals. Although email marketing is a huge channel for the financial industry, firms mostly meet with clients in person and organise exclusive premium events in lavish hotels. However, this year they had to redirect communications to email as events were put on hold. Email was the quickest channel enabling them to react to market conditions, address customer concerns and reassure investors.

In the report published in May, we analysed some interesting insights from millions of emails sent by StoneShot globally during the pandemic. As a result, we could see that all our clients increased the number of emails sent from once per month or quarter to multiple times per week. Despite this increase in communication, engagement remained very high with record-breaking open rates (up to 88% in March) enabling firms to win additional customers despite the pandemic. Surprisingly, unsubscribes were going down despite a six-fold increase in email lists. One of our clients, a top Canadian bank mentioned that some of their customers had decided to move all their financial assets to them because of their timely communication.

GDPR

However, an important legal constraint to note is GDPR.

In a B2B content, legitimate interest means that you can email contacts without receiving their permission in advance until they tell you to stop. You can prove legitimate interest if you send it to people that you believe should be interested in your services. For example, if you specialise in life sciences translations, you can contact any pharma company. If you work with the HR department of Zara, you can contact the HR Department of H&M. Furthermore, to prove it is a B2B context, make sure you do not use any personal emails.

Some geographies like DACH and Romania have local regulations stricter than GDPR. In these regions, contacts need to first sign up to a list, get a confirmation email and click on the link. While terrible for your distribution lists, it protects you from spam addresses. Some spam emails are used by robots to sign up for lists. If you add them to your mailing lists, your email can end up in spam folders or your email ranking will go down. This is done discreetly so you will not be made aware. Thus, it is important to never pre-click any boxes and consent needs to be given freely.

Finally, we are ready to talk about email marketing tactics. The most effective is a combination of the right messaging targeting very specific personas, supported by automation and solid reporting functionalities.

#1 Personalise!

Use smaller more targeted distribution lists, and do not send the same message to all contacts. Messaging should be segmented around buyer personas (people who buy from you). Build client and prospect profiles – for example using the form on the screen – according to role, responsibilities, goals, challenges, and needs so you can tailor your communication.

An example of a successful personalised campaign that I had managed at Donnelley Language Solutions as identifying a niche group of compliance officers working on a very specific type of compliance. After creating a list of 200 people, we sent a very targeted email saying that we can help with their niche task and got almost 100% opens and the first job booked within a week for a Danish bank.

Personalisation is a spectrum, so below you will find a maturity model with various stages to follow and progress from.

It all sounds like a lot of hustle but it can all be orchestrated with the right technology. Personalisation is important because of the impact on revenue. High personalisation gives you 120% better impact on revenue than generic emails. With manual work, you are losing money overall.

#2 Use 12-16 Touchpoints

10 years ago, we had to be in touch with our prospects 3 to 5 times before they took a buying decision, either by meeting them in person, calling them or sending them a message. Nowadays, it is 12 to 16 times that we need to reach out to a prospect before they can take a decision. It is even more complex in B2B context when we have many people involved in the decision-making process, which makes it impossible to do it manually.

If you are not using the right technology, you will soon lose out to competitors. For example, a sales technology, Outreach, reminds you to send an email, call or reach out on LinkedIn. Conversica, an AI technology, sends emails on your behalf based on a persona. Advanced email platforms allow you to create workflows, where you set up a trigger (for example website visit or whitepaper download) and build a sequence of emails they receive containing various content. You can set up different rules, i.e. sending a message every 2 days at specific times of a day or sending from the relationship manager. You can also set up automated notifications that your sales team will receive each time a prospects opens, glances through, reads or forwards an email.

#3 Craft your content

The first rule is keeping it short. Place the most important part of your message and important links in the top left corner. If the text cannot be condensed into 150 words, link it to a landing page.

The best performing messages are simple but look like an outlook message without simple branding and an engaging subject line. In the image below you will find some tips on creating a subject line that compels people to open.

 

#4 Make use of reporting and analytics

With so much effort put into your email marketing, you should monitor if it reaps the intended results. More advanced email marketing tools also show how your email campaigns contribute to your web traffic aside from email statistics like opens and clicks. They will track every individual activity for each client or prospect whether it is on email, website or specific pages etc. If you are serious about your digital marketing program, you should invest in a tool that offers you this visibility.

Finally, here is a comparison of different options for your email marketing program and their associated costs.

If you are interested in learning more about email marketing or learn more details about any of the tactics mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally. In the meantime, I wish you great success with your email marketing programs!