As digital marketing continues to expand with new capabilities, new technology and new methods, it’s perhaps somewhat reassuring to know that email marketing continues to sit comfortably at the top of the charts for engagement, conversion and ROI. Of course, that’s not to say that email is not being driven and developed by exciting new technology and practices. At the Figaro Digital Email and CRM Seminar on 31 October, five email marketing experts took to the floor to share the latest facts, figures and inspiration on how email is continuing to deliver top-notch results.
Viki Park, Account Manager at Communicator, was joined by Rich Collins, Marketing Manager at Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment (TMDR) to present their case study of email personalisation within the recruitment sector. Recruitment is a notoriously challenging industry, with short windows of opportunity, a flighty user base and a constantly changing and evolving clientele. In such a competitive and crowded space, it follows that content similarity, and content fatigue, are high. So how could TMDR stand out? The recruitment industry battles with lower-than-average levels of brand loyalty. “Jobseekers are fickle and tend to use more than one job site in their search,” says Collins. “We need to make sure that what we do one email stands out against our competitors. Maintaining the calibre of jobs onsite and focussing on the timings in our email lifecycle are two areas where we try to add value.” With users so easily swayed between sites and services, Trinity Mirror carefully monitors the behaviour of its diverse user base to make sure that its email strategy is conducive to their needs. “There’s a fine line between an email being helpful or annoying, and this is something we’re constantly testing, by monitoring any drop off in engagement. Our stats currently suggest that most jobseekers look for a new role during office hours, hence why abandonment emails are sent quite soon after leaving the site.” Find out how Communicator achieved a 75 per cent increase in opens and a 35 per cent increase in click through rate.
Phrasee’s CCO Stefan Britton has a lot to say on the misconceptions of AI. While the projected capabilities circulated in the press might seem fantastical, overhyped or even a little apocalyptic, Britton reminds us that from a business perspective, AI is only worth considering on a case by case basis, if it can provide real value for your business. With this in mind, it makes the prospect of pitching an AI solution to a board a little less daunting. “Firstly, do you even need AI?” asks Britton. “Agree on the problem first, then determine the solution. Don’t buy tech and then look for a problem to solve. The ‘deal-clinching’ points for AI are the same as any platform – you’ll need to be able justify the need and the benefit to the business.” So what kinds of arguments can convince the brands who are not among those early adopters to get into the AI space? “If used correctly AI can solve multiple problems with minimal effort. AI can make decisions and test its own hypothesis based on your rules and needs. AI covers so many areas that most companies already have some AI in their tech solutions and they don’t even know it. Our advice is to understand your problem and the see if AI is the correct solution. Remember: the software doesn’t get promoted for doing an awesome job – you do.”
Sharing three steps to improve email marketing conversion, Kath Pay, CEO & Founder of Holistic Email Marketing, and how these key processes, must be nurtured as well as each other to deliver results. By optimising across the key pillars of ‘open’, ‘click’ and ‘convert’, marketers can be sure that there are no gaps in the marketing strategy creating bigger discrepancies further down the funnel. By allowing a customer-centric, human view to guide these decisions, email marketers can be sure that the psychology of their message is meeting the expectations and needs of the consumer. With this being said, we asked Kath to share what she thinks are the biggest misconceptions email marketers have about their consumers, and why these might be. “I think the biggest problem is that we tend to simply push our messages and our objectives out to our consumers. This isn’t necessarily because email marketers don’t want to deliver relevant and valuable customer-centric emails, but rather they are limited by the lack of budget and resources allocated to email marketing as a channel.
“As email marketers we spend more time creating the email and deploying it than we do analysing the results and performing meaningful, robust tests. To a certain extent, this means that we are working blind as to our consumers’ needs and wants and are only really fulfilling the brand’s needs and wants.
“It’s only when the brand fully values the contribution email marketing makes to the bottom line, that budget is given, and time and resources can be allocated to analysing and testing and therefore, identifying how best to serve their consumers’ needs.
“It’s a fact that today’s consumer do not like to be sold to. But they had an objective when they signed up. They may want information, have a desire to be educated about your product, or want to buy a product or service from you. This is where customer-centric marketing steps in. Whilst people don’t like to be sold to, they loved to be helped. The more you know about your consumer, the more you can help them. And the beauty of this is when you help a consumer achieve their objective, they help you achieve yours. Everybody wins.”
Adestra’s Head of Customer Success, Danielle Woolley, shared four in-depth case studies revealing the elements of successful cross-channel marketing campaigns. While it’s easy to be taken up by the new and exciting technologies available, Wooley reminds us that it’s really the human element which will set your email communications apart. Key to a successful campaign is the collaboration between different specialties of the digital marketing team, so that any communications can be informed by the best insights and data and are appropriately tailored to the consumer. Danielle shares three tips with us for helping to break down silos to produce more informed campaigns:
- Look at how your team is structured and targeted. One person looking after email, one looking after social, etc. isn’t going to help break down silos. Think about structuring teams around customer segments instead. Have somebody who owns the customer journey.
- Audit your existing customer journeys /touchpoints across channels. Is it a good experience? How can you make it better? This will help you understand what data you need to bring together and what tools you need in order to facilitate the improvements you want to make. Align to your overall marketing objectives
- Don’t wait for the elusive single customer view before getting started. Look at what you can do with your existing tools. Start small and build on it.
Elliot Ross, CEO of Taxi For Email, offered some inspiration for email marketers finding themselves bogged down in the basics of their day-to-day. As email is such a direct channel, it’s easy to be taken by its attractive ROI and high conversion rates. But with the process of email becoming so complicated, it’s clear that the current practice has a few fundamental flaws. The resources required for an email campaign are numerous, the cost can be high, and an out-of-sync team is inefficient. But through auditing your current process, working from a master template and empowering your team to make creative decisions, email marketers can simplify the convoluted campaign creation process and invest their time in putting together the tests and research which will genuinely impact the consumer and feed into email campaigns which really resonate with their audience. With this new efficiency in place, however, it’s important not to go too overboard with your communication and become an annoyance. “The best way to avoid appearing spammy is to be useful for the user – as long as what you are sending to users is relevant and helps them in some way (and of course is legal) then you should in good standing,” says Ross. “The key thing is planning your content. Drive this by exploring the user’s needs and requirements – do they need educating, or reassuring for example? Of course it is also useful to test, but the challenge around this is that engagement and loyalty can only be partially measured by the metrics we readily have access to, such as opens, clicks or even conversions.” The knock-on effect of this in-depth reorganisation is the ability to send more timely, tailored and top-performing email campaigns. Invest your newly freed time in creating campaigns that hit the sweet spot for your customers.