What if I told you there was a way to make your email efforts go even further? By setting up your email campaigns for success from the start and taking time to find insights about your audience, you can use what you know about subscribers to help your marketing team make informed decisions across the entire marketing mix.
That’s a lot to process, so let’s break it down. We believe a successful email-first program has three pillars—Pre, Post, and Perform. The first pillar, Pre, is everything that goes into creating the most effective email campaigns possible. The second pillar, Post, focuses on uncovering insights that are useful for improving future email content, personalization, design, and more. The third pillar, and the one we’ll focus on today, is Perform.
In the Perform stage of the email process, you share insights about what is most engaging your email audiences across your entire team to improve overall marketing effectiveness. Breaking out of silos empowers email teams to pass on what they’ve discovered so other marketing groups can make data-driven decisions for their specific channels.
We understand that cross-team collaboration may be new to some or even seem a bit abstract, so we’ve rounded up examples of what the Perform pillar looks like in action.
How Litmus uses email insights
You didn’t expect us to talk the talk and not walk the walk, did you? We believe in this strategy so much because we’ve seen it in action, firsthand. Here’s a real scenario, as shared by VP of Marketing at Litmus, Cynthia Price:
A blog post we featured in an email generated incredible engagement. We used this insight to inform our strategy and featured that topic as a call-to-action in a social and paid media campaign. The result? We more than doubled our average click-through rate!
By using content or messaging that has already gotten results with an engaged segment of your audience—your email subscribers—you can apply what you know to stand out amongst potential customers. After all, your subscriber base is a representation of those people you’re trying to reach with the rest of your marketing. What better way to see what’s breaking through the noise?
10 ways to use email insights beyond email
Every marketer is looking to make data-driven decisions for their respective channel or program, so they can get the best possible results—and chances are that your entire marketing organization will benefit from subscriber insights. Here are a handful of scenarios where you could share subscriber insights across your team—and even across other departments—to help with strategy.
1. Improve targeting
Getting your message in front of the right audience is as important as the message itself.
The email team can identify the most engaged (and high-spending) customers via revenue per subscriber and lifetime value. From this segment, your paid ads team can create a lookalike audience to target more efficiently.
2. Prioritize content
In addition to choosing topics, your content team needs to consider format and distribution. Want to know what potential customers want to see? Look at what current users enjoy and interact with the most. For example, let’s say your emails that touch on some of the “soft skills” your subscribers are trying to learn have engagement rates twice as high as other content. Realizing that these are compelling topics, your marketing team can create a panel discussion or video series on those challenging topics that is designed to generate new leads or subscribers.
3. Tailor sales approaches
The sales process is an art and a science, but having data to support methods helps the sales team work and test more effectively. A/B testing could reveal that there are different upsell messaging winners among each customer segment. With this information in hand, the sales team can tailor their approach to different customer types.
4. Adapt promotion strategies
Promotions come in all shapes and sizes, and finding the best offer may require some testing. However, the email team could share that forward rates are higher on refer-a-friend emails when the offer is cash back, but the program yields more high-value referrals when exclusive access to new products is on the line. Knowing what drives quality over quantity can help the team running promotions tweak their strategy.
5. Uncover product opportunities
Customers send signals or feedback about what kinds of updates they’d like in the future, including through email. For example, you could find customers that showed a higher interest in a particular feature in an email have higher retention rates. Noting this connection, your product team can put more attention on that critical element during the in-app product tour.
6. Optimize for preferred devices
Knowing what devices your subscribers prefer helps the email team prioritize testing. How can other teams benefit from device insights? For one, it can help your company understand how users move between devices for different types of tasks. The email, product, and web teams can compare notes on which devices and browsers are most common for their channel. Are the same devices used between channels? If so, is there a consistently excellent experience across all company touch points on that device? If the top devices aren’t consistent, what could that teach you about how customers interact with you?
7. Spot changing customer preferences
While some email subscribers will come and go, as a whole, email is a consistent and measurable channel. This means it’s a gold mine for tracking trends and preferences over time, particularly with the most engaged subscribers. For example, as a segment matures, the email team notices the cohort isn’t as interested in a content topic as they were before. By passing this insight onto the C-Suite, leadership can launch a customer research campaign that reveals customers are evolving, and an altered strategy is needed.
8. Influence design
Email engagement times let marketers know what’s most compelling to subscribers. Imagine engagement times on emails with photos of people are higher than illustration-forward campaigns. Other teams can apply this information to update website design and social media imagery.
9. Create global messaging
If your company has a global audience, you should be using email insights to learn about regional differences. For example, your email team can use location-based segmentation or dynamic content to test positioning in different areas. After they find out messaging that overperforms in one country fails in another, they share what they’ve learned with other teams. With this information, the web design team creates dynamic headlines based on location to improve the visitor experience and increase conversions on the site.
10. Understand the buyer’s journey
What does it take to qualify a lead or move a prospect from browser to buyer? You can use email sequences to understand how different journeys affect conversion and retention. For example, email testing reveals that conversions are higher when an ebook is shared early in the lead nurture sequence. This information is shared with the sales team who uses the topic in prospect discussions, and with the content team who considers how that compares to the buyer’s journey they assumed.
Sharing email insights across the entire company has a lot of benefits. It puts real, customer-driven data at the center of strategies, helps each team use their budget most effectively based on proven insights, and increases communication so everyone can work towards common goals.
A few essential components need to be in place for the Perform pillar to be effective, though. To start, the other two pillars need to be in place. A streamlined pre-send process ensures teams can increase output while reducing mistakes. Also, post-send analysis tools equip email marketers with the information they need to continually improve. A company also needs organization-wide buy-in and collaboration to realize the benefits of sharing these insights.
Set Your Email Campaigns Up for Success
There are three crucial elements to building a state-of-the-art email program—and we break them down one by one. Dive into the first pillar and learn how to optimize each step of your pre-send process, so you’re armed for success.
Whitney Rudeseal Peet was a Digital Marketing Specialist at Litmus