Regardless of your industry, audience size, or level of sophistication involved with your email program, it never hurts to experiment with new email marketing ideas that will help you drive growth. That’s why we’re proud to share some of the hot tips and email marketing ideas our very own Jaina Mistry, Senior Email Marketing Manager at Litmus, shared on the recent Salesforce webinar “8 Email Best Practices for 2022 to Drive Growth.”
To catch the full webinar on-demand and get access to two free Litmus guides that will further elevate your email marketing, click here.
Don’t assume you know each customer journey
Segmenting your subscribers and digging into your data are the first steps to mapping customer journeys. The more you understand about how your customers engage with your brand and when, the better positioned you are to deliver messages that resonate.
But customer journeys are not linear. In fact, your ideal customer journey likely won’t be reality for every customer. “Don’t assume subscribers are seeing and reacting to things in your perfectly mapped out journey. Don’t refer to previous emails; they may not have read it,” says Mistry.
With that mind, Mistry does recommend giving emails a similar look and feel. “This can happen with a template, or using the same email structure or hierarchy with visuals and copy.”
Reimagine your preference center
Using form-protected content like ebooks, webinars, or white papers that sit behind a “gate” helps you collect first-party data. But don’t overlook the value of the preference center. It’s a way to collect more zero-party data–and find out what subscribers really want.
At Litmus, we’ve worked hard to improve our preference center. Now, we think of it more as a profile center. “It was a place to collect unsubscribes and opt into specific lists that matched up to our email program. We’ve moved it towards trying to collect more information about subscriber interests–like who they are, and where they work,” says Mistry.
To get the full value out of your preference center, be honest. Let subscribers know why they should give up their data, and what you plan to do with it. For example, if you ask for their birthday because you intend to send a free gift or special offer when the time comes–tell them so. “We let our subscribers know we can better tailor our newsletter to them if we know their interests and their role. It’s all about being transparent with the data you are asking them to supply,” says Mistry.
Dig into your unsubscribe rate
Trick question. Does a low unsubscribe rate mean you’re doing something right with your program?
Maybe. And maybe not.
Mistry explains that a lower than average unsubscribe rate might seem like a good thing. But when it’s combined with a low click-through rate, it can be a sign of trouble. It may indicate that your content isn’t resonating at all with your subscribers, or that your sending cadence is off. Ultimately, it could be a sign of general apathy. (In other words, subscribers aren’t even bothered enough to unsubscribe).
Instead of focusing on one specific metric and jumping to conclusions about its meaning, think about how several of your marketing metrics all work together. That bigger picture view can reveal a more complete story about what’s really going on in your email marketing programs–and may inspire new email marketing ideas you can try.
Invest energy into understanding engagement
Understanding how different segments of your audience engage with your email program–and other touchpoints–should be a key priority for every email marketer.
“Over the past year at LItmus, we’ve started to categorize our audience based on whether they are highly engaged, engaged, or not engaged. We also look beyond the typical email metrics,” says Mistry.
She explains that while we’ve defined our engagement category based on actions like form fills, webinar registrations, ebook downloads, website visits, and clicks on a weekly newsletter, the definition of engagement will be different for every business. “Our benchmark for a healthy email program is 20%. That means if 20% of our audience falls into that ‘highly engaged’ or ‘engaged’ bracket, we’ve got a program that can deliver the return on investment (ROI) we need from our email campaigns.”
When you understand how engaged your audience is and how that correlates to business cycles, you’re better able to monitor if you’ll deliver your target ROI for your email program. If it looks like you’re in danger of falling short on your benchmark, seize the opportunity to experiment with new email marketing ideas that may move the needle on engagement.
Don’t be afraid to let go
Why would an email marketer ever be willing to have a smaller subscriber list? Because a bigger list isn’t better if many of the addresses on them aren’t engaged. In all likelihood, those subscribers are not the ones that are going to lead to business opportunities.
For example, Mistry explains that Litmus examines what subscribers do in a 90 day period in our email programs. “In that amount of time we expect them to have opened, clicked-through and interacted with our email. If they haven’t engaged within 90 days, a triggered email gets sent asking if they still want to get our emails.”
The specific cadence at which you attempt to re-engage subscribers–and when you define someone as “unengaged”–will depend on your unique business factors. Consider elements like the length of your buying cycle, how many emails you send, the type of content in them, and any seasonality involved with your industry to arrive at a number that feels reasonable. Then, keep testing what that number should be as you learn more.
“It can be scary thinking that you could lose a certain percent of your audience. But, you can put them into an automated re-engagement cycle and let them self-select if they want to get your email,” says Mistry.
Be open to testing new email marketing ideas
Email marketing ideas span far and wide–from playing with subject lines and email design trends, to re-examining how often, when, and why you send mail to subscribers. Try these tips to see where you can find new pockets of growth that boost your email campaign performance, and its contribution to business goals.
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