Five signs your email marketing needs to evolve

by Lizzy Funk

posted on 02-08-2019

Year after year, email proves it’s the channel to beat when it comes to customer engagement and conversion. In fact, results from our 2018 Consumer Email Survey suggest that more consumers prefer to interact with brands through email than any other channel, and DMA research shows email campaigns have a median ROI of 122 percent.

However, much of today’s email marketing isn’t as effective as it could be. Many emails aren’t targeted to individuals or personalized with meaningful messaging. And delivery isn’t always made at the moment of maximum impact.

How does your email marketing stack up? We’ve identified five signs that can help you determine if it’s time to retool your program.

Sign #1: You’re sending email blasts rather than engaging in customer dialogue

Customers are savvy. They don’t want to be blatantly marketed to, and they’re getting better and better at screening out mass emails. However, customers are willing to engage with relevant content, and they’re willing to build relationships with companies they like and that approach them in the right way. Engaging in a relevant customer dialogue takes the ability to nurture your customer relationships patiently and moves them through their purchase journey over time.

The first step in making email blasts engaging is to map out workflows, but it’s important to note that the workflows must be adaptable to customer actions, responses, and behaviors. This is where marketing automation comes in. Without it, marketers are limited to “batch-and-blast” email campaigns that won’t allow them to get relevant content to customers when it matters most.

Sign #2: You’re building email campaigns manually

Marketers who rely on manual email campaigns have to work much harder to nurture customer relationships than those who use marketing automation. Manually analyzing data, creating lists, and setting calendar notices in order to simulate personalized, ongoing engagement for every customer is cumbersome and time consuming. And without marketing automation, email marketers can’t easily adjust a campaign to quickly respond to consumer behavior, say, if a customer clicked through to get more information about a product or service. Needless to say, manual email processes also limit marketers’ ability to scale any kind of meaningful engagement.

Sign #3: Your email marketing exists in a silo

It would be awkward to walk up to a customer in person and start a conversation without referencing the last conversation you’d had with them — yet that is exactly what happens with most marketing emails. When email marketing is siloed, different departments within the same company run the risk of sending emails with competing messages to the same customer. In addition, email marketing platforms that are divorced from the web marketing arm of a business can result in disconnected messaging when a customer clicks through an email and lands on a site. Companies leak opportunity when email marketing is unrelated to other marketing.

Sign #4: Your segmentation and targeting are missing the mark

This is arguably the most important of the five signs. The ability to precisely micro-segment a database and target a list of leads and contacts is a crucial part of any marketing campaign. The more targeted and relevant the message, the better the response rates — and the higher the returns. Good targeting today means using both demographic and firmographic filters. In other words, marketers should know who the target is and, if necessary, what company the target works for.

In addition, behavioral filters — such as which websites a customer visits, what keywords they click on, and what they say on social networks — are key metrics. It’s also important to know where your customer is in their journey. Are they an early-stage prospect? An active lead? An engaged customer? Without a way to segment your customers according to where they are in the buying cycle, you can’t send the right message at the right time. A MailChimp survey found that marketers who segment their email campaigns see a 14.31 percent higher open rate and a 110.51 percent higher click-through rate than marketers who don’t.

Sign #5: You can’t respond to customer actions in real time

Visits to your web page. A form submission. A change in a prospect’s lead score. All of these activities create an opportunity for you to engage customers with relevant information in real time — but only if you have the ability to follow up immediately, say with an email or a sales call. In fact, the classic Lead Response Management Study found that following up within five minutes of a customer interaction can dramatically increase your likelihood of qualifying leads, while waiting decreases the odds by 400 percent.

Take your email marketing to the next level

If your organization’s email marketing program exhibits any of the above signs, it’s time to invest in a new solution. Marketo, an Adobe company, delivers marketing automation tools that can help you automate your customer relationship efforts at scale. With the Marketo Engagement Platform, you can generate and prioritize leads, send personalized offers and messages, and optimize campaigns — at exactly the right time.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Email Marketing

Products: Marketo Engage