Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
As we approach another new year, let’s not give up but continue refining our marketing efforts. Persistence is a key factor in marketing success.
It takes time to strategize, test, and implement an idea that fits your brand objectives. And once you move past the early stage, then the game is all about updating and adjusting your strategy.
With time, you will understand more and more about your target market and audience, which helps you fine-tune your email marketing campaigns.
Here’s the thing—although email marketing is an extensively researched subset of marketing, there still are unknown variables and uncertainties surrounding the very term.
For instance, there are no clearly defined factors that connect user behavior and CTR, or maybe there are too many data points to consider while understanding how a customer approaches marketing emails.
That being said, the idea of this article is not to assure you marketing success in 2021 but to guide you away from the outdated strategies by proposing some ideas that have shown to be effective currently. Now, if you don’t have a holiday email marketing strategy or haven’t begun creating one, our Holiday Readiness Guide is a great place to start.
Email Marketing and K-shaped Recovery from Covid Pandemic
According to Chad S. White—the Head of Research at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting and author of “Email Marketing Rules”, “Email marketing trends in 2021 will be driven by the K-shaped recovery from the pandemic that has seen some companies excel while others struggle”.
While Grocers, e-tailers, tech companies, digital entertainment providers, etc, that have done well during the pandemic will continue to invest in better personalization and automation, airlines, hotels, cruise lines, traditional retailers, and other companies that have been hurt will focus on improving business efficiency, and optimizing their process, A/B testing and data to try to adapt to the changing customer behaviors.
Additionally, considering investing in the right technologies and solutions would become paramount to business success.
Tim, the founder of email marketing consultancy Zettasphere and EOS Implementer at Traction Six said, and I quote “After the AI hype, the trend is back to strategy first and then finding the right solution fit, rather than buying something because it has an AI technology sticker”.
Marketers must focus on strategy-fit solutions and technologies. As we approach 2021, let’s make a New Year’s resolution that our core driving factor behind choosing a solution should be our marketing strategy and not because everybody talks about it.
The Newfound Love for Text-only Emails
Don’t take this the wrong way, but text-only emails give a personal touch to your marketing efforts. For instance, you don’t send an image-heavy email to your close friends or family, because they are too fancy and may seem promotional.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use email marketing templates with gifs and eye-catching images. What we suggest is to mix up; use text-only emails along with your other designed and templated emails.
Here’s an example of a text-only email from us.
As you can see, the use of plain text in this email makes the message much more personal than it would if it were filled with animations and images.
Authentic, Meaningful Personalization is the Way to Go
To start with, hyper-personalization is data-oriented. That being said, if you collect customer’s purchase history online and offline, track online behavior, track stores visited offline, then you have what you need to personalize your emails.
Tracking customer’s behavior is time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Here’s how Grammarly uses hyper-personalization in their weekly report emails:
This kind of specific and detailed personalization helps users understand how productive or inactive they were during a particular period.
Your business model and process may be different from Grammarly, however, you can remind your users what pages on your website they visited, what articles they loved the most or what products they have bought in the past.
Introduce Customer Experience into Email Marketing
Again, due to COVID-19, customers expect considered communications and customer-centered digital experiences from businesses. No hard feelings but, the days of hard selling are long gone. Email recipients just like website visitors, demand to be considered as valued contacts.
That said, brands that don’t put their customers at the heart of their strategy will miss the boat. On the contrary, brands that focus on CX will make strides.
In fact, studies by Salesforce reveal that 88% of customers expect brands to improve their digital initiatives due to this year’s events.
Kath Pay, the CEO of Holistic Email Marketing says that a great customer experience is about optimizing the tone of voice and messaging, as well as assisting customers throughout their journey with you.
As you can see, there’s an element of empathy in this email. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, purpose-driven brands that aspire to advance should have to exhibit social responsibility in their messaging and programs.
I believe this is a trend that will not only stay throughout 2021 but will hopefully stay for good.
Learn how to review and improve the effectiveness of your New Year Email Campaigns, focusing on optimizing various aspects of email marketing.
Welcome to the age of data privacy. As we approach digital maturity, email marketing is becoming more and more complicated, especially with the introduction of digital privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.
If you’re planning to launch an email marketing campaign, you must be aware of data privacy laws that apply to your business; failure to do so could cause significant financial penalties and damage to your brand reputation. While this may sound intimidating, if you are a credible business using reputable email marketing software, chances are you are already complying with the rules.
The following is a simple list of practices marketers can follow to ensure their email marketing campaigns are in compliance with all the laws.
- Get consent from recipients before you send out email campaigns (It could be implied or express permission).
- Avoid misleading header information. Details such as “from” name, subject line, and reply address shouldn’t be incorrect or composed specifically to trick recipients to open the email.
- Disclose your email as an advertisement if your objective is to promote a product/service. Here’s an example email from us.
- Include a valid business address in all your emails.
- Make it easy for subscribers to opt-out of receiving future emails from you.
Grow Your Email List Organically
One of the biggest mistakes businesses often make is taking the easy route to build their subscribers list. However, the truth is there are no shortcuts, or at least there are no shortcuts that work in the long-term.
For many early startups who aspire to establish their presence among the big players in the digital arena, the most obvious choice is to purchase an email list.
While it’s comparably easy, the problem is that sending emails to people from whom you didn’t get the consent, is considered spamming— not to mention illegal.
Since these people didn’t opt-in to receive emails from you, they will likely mark your messages as spam. This will result in lower delivery rates; ergo, your emails will3eDd go straight to spam folders where they will never get seen or open.
Now, back to the most important part! How to grow your email list organically? There are several ways to get people to sign up for your email.
- Use paper sign-up sheets and offer rewards to those who sign up. This works if you have a retail store or brick or mortar location.
- Allow your Facebook fans to join your mailing list..
Take a look at how Full Spectrum Power helps its Facebook followers sign up to their email list without hassle.
- Have a signup form on your website. Your website may be the first point of contact for many of your customers.
- Use lead magnets( Ebooks, whitepapers, free guides) to get details from your website visitors.
- Collect email addresses when people sign up for events.
Just to be clear, TargetBay, among other reputable email marketing service companies, does not recommend you to import a purchased list.
Preview and Test Your Emails
I know this is stating the obvious but can’t stress this enough. Test your email before pressing “send”. In fact, I would recommend you to set up a pre-flight checklist, where you can cross-check all aspects of your email to make sure it’s optimized for your target audience.
Send a test email to your colleagues or yourself to check for the aforementioned elements.
- There are no spelling mistakes or silly grammatical errors.
- The email is rendering perfectly.
- Images are not taking too much time to load.
- Have alt text for the images on your email.
- Hyperlinks and CTAs are working perfectly.
- The email is looking good on multiple devices.
If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It
As I mentioned in the introduction, email marketing success isn’t something that you can accomplish in a day or even in a month.
It takes continuous evaluation and data-centered optimization strategies to skyrocket your email ROI. Suppose that you’ve done everything by the book, but how do you know your marketing tactics are working? By looking at the data, in other words, tracking email marketing metrics and KPIs.
Here are the most important metrics every marketer must measure:
Email Open rate: Open rate is simply the percentage of people who opened your email. This metric is particularly important because every conversion through email begins with recipients opening it. The sender’s name or identity and subject line are the two most influencing factors.
How to Calculate: Total Opens / Emails Delivered
When to Track: Weekly
Click-through Rate: Click-through is the percentage of recipients who click on a hyperlink or CTA inside your email. Often this is the main goal of an email campaign. Some factors that impact your email open rate are the anchor text, placement of the CTA or the link, quality of the copy that leads to the link, etc.
How to Calculate: Total Clicks / Emails Delivered
When to Track: Weekly
Conversion Rate: Your conversion rate depicts the percentage of recipients who completed the defined goal of your email campaign. It’s hard to point out the factors that hinder conversion actions without knowing the nature of your conversion goal. However, 6 out of 10 times, it’s about not properly optimizing your landing page.
How to Calculate: Total Conversions / Emails Delivered
When to Track: Monthly
Unsubscribe Rate: As the term suggests, the unsubscribe rate is the percentage of subscribers who opt-out of your email campaign. The reason why your recipients unsubscribe can be anything from being too promotional to lack of personalization.
How to Calculate: Total Unsubscribes / Emails Delivered
When to Track: Weekly
Campaign ROI: This is the total return of investment on your email campaign.
How to Calculate: ($ Sales generated – $ total investment) / $ investment
When to Track: Monthly
That’s it! In this article, I’ve shared with you 8 important email marketing strategies to take into account when creating or improving your email marketing plan in 2021.
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and examine the state of your email marketing campaign and start optimizing by following the ideas that I shared above.
Finally, you can establish some objectives for improvement and keep track of your progress on a weekly and monthly basis!If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out our Promotions And Marketing Strategies For Holiday Season, as well as our Complete Guide to Email Design.