No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts
It’s almost 2022. If you haven’t adapted your marketing strategy to include multiple channels—beyond email—you’re missing opportunities to connect with your consumers and drive brand loyalty.
Omnichannel marketing takes multi-channel marketing a step further by integrating multiple channels (email, ads, social, site, SMS, app, etc.) with customer data to deliver unified and personalized messages across various channels to create seamless shopping experiences.
That doesn’t mean email marketing is obsolete, or you should quit sending emails. It means no more sending emails in a silo. It means learning how to take a step back to consider all of your customers’ engagement points and ensure all of your messages complement each other—especially when it comes to email.
This month, we asked email experts from dotdigital, Benchmark Email, Email Uplers, iContact, emailmonday, Netcore Cloud & BEE to share good examples of how email can work in a strategy with other channels like SMS, direct mail, or push notifications.
Here’s what they had to say…
Email—Used in Tandem With Other Channels—Delivers Success At Scale
There’s no argument that email is the best channel for marketing ROI: $47 for every $1 spent. What’s more, it’s so measurable. You can literally see how much you get for what you put in.
It’s no wonder that email has been at the center of the marketing universe since its inception. But nowadays, consumers have more choice and demand more choice–so it’s become pivotal for brands to adopt an omnichannel strategy.
That doesn’t mean ditching email–far from it. Email should be at the core of your strategy as you slowly build out other channels around it.
Start with SMS for quick transactional updates, then move to conversational channels like live chat and push.
Dotdigital’s customers, for instance, use email together with SMS to deliver amazing experiences.
One of the most effective ways of using email with SMS is for events. The non-profit organization, Action for Children, a Dotdigital customer, utilized SMS because of its zero-design requirements and high read rates.
Since events are fast-paced, it’s not always viable or best for the customer/recipient to deliver all information via email–so SMS worked as a perfect, complementary channel for things like competitions, prize incentives, and celebrity announcements.
Converse, a stateside Dotdigital customer, is using email in conjunction with live chat to not only keep customers happy–but acquire new shoppers through data capture.
Embedding data-capture forms within live chat opens up new sales opportunities and connects website visitors to the brand’s extensive email program.
Nearly 30% of the company’s marketing lists are now captured via live chat–often perceived as a standalone customer service tool.
Such great experiences have helped slice the purchase window from 19 to 13 days.
Email’s role is still super-important, though. Campaigns like abandoned cart reminders continue to convert newly acquired contacts faster. And repeat purchase rates have tripled too.
Email–when working in tandem with other channels–delivers successful marketing at scale. If you want to find out more, check out this ultimate guide to omnichannel marketing.
Email Marketing Complements Every Channel
Omnichannel marketing offers a seamless marketing experience across various channels and approaches.
To execute omnichannel marketing successfully, you need to fully understand your audience’s journey on each channel. Understanding this journey goes hand-in-hand with understanding your audience.
And, since at the core of successful email marketing is its ability to be hyper-personalized to your audience’s needs, it’s a great tool for capitalizing on the traffic and leads you’re generating from the other channels of your strategy.
Email marketing should act as the foundation of every omnichannel marketing strategy and is even more powerful when you factor in email marketing automation.
By automatically tracking user data and behavior, you can reach your audience directly, push specific promos, content, and offers tailored towards their needs, and complement any channel extremely well.
For example, let’s say you send an SMS notification alerting subscribers about a special discount your retail company is offering on outdoor clothing.
This leads to a customer clicking on the promo link and adding a winter coat to their cart.
Perhaps they get distracted and don’t complete the purchase, so an abandoned cart email is sent to them, reminding them about the item and the discount.
Or, for instance, a customer is visiting a hardware store and purchases a new power tool. A week later, that hardware store could send an email with a discount on an add-on component for the tool.
Email marketing can complement every channel you use to market your product or business. It’s a scalable, personalized approach and should assist every channel in your omnichannel marketing strategy to maximize results.
Omnichannel is Set to Redefine the Future of Marketing & Email Plays a Big Role
The world is highly connected today. Customers switch between devices and channels so often that there is no option for businesses but to be there everywhere.
Moreover, prospects now expect a unified experience across channels.
No wonder 86% of senior-level marketers feel it’s essential to create a cohesive customer journey across all touchpoints and channels.
To keep up with the new-age customers’ expectations, 2 marketing approaches have evolved in recent times—cross-channel and omnichannel. Both these approaches (a little different from one another) help to provide an ultimate customer experience.
Let me take you through a cross-channel marketing example first.
Revolve, a next-generation fashion retailer offers a unified experience across all its channels – website, email, app, and push notification to promote its sale.
Suppose a customer named Jeni buys a pretty dress during the sale on the Revolve app. She enjoys a great shopping experience as she gets timely email, SMS, and app notifications about her order status.
After a few days, she also receives a feedback survey email for her purchase. Upon filling out the survey, she gets a discount coupon in an email to use on her next purchase.
Now, let’s see how omnichannel marketing goes one step further.
After a week or so, she visits the Revolve website on her desktop to check if she can buy something interesting using the coupon.
On the website, she is greeted with a personalized dashboard with recommended products that pair perfectly with her last purchase. There are also products suggested based on her browsing history.
Do you see how all the channels – website, app, email, and SMS have served each other to deliver a truly unified experience to Jeni? That’s what omnichannel marketing is about.
And email especially plays a significant role in delivering a great omnichannel experience, as it helps to collect valuable customer data and can be easily integrated with other tools to deliver personalized communication.
An omnichannel approach helps you constantly delight customers with great experiences, making it a worthy investment. And with customers demanding a personal touch, accessibility, and flexibility in how they shop, omnichannel is all set to redefine the future of marketing.
Email is a Collaborative Channel Not Competitive
Email marketing is the darling of the show. It is table stakes. Some say that it is long in the tooth, but the thing is that it is still very effective and affordable. It also plays nice with other channels.
Email marketing can help improve important SEO metrics like bounce rate and time on site. The more time a customer spends on your website and the less often they “bounce” or leave the site immediately after arriving, Google will rank you higher.
If you are creating really awesome content, you can share that content via email and expect to see bounce rate and time-on-site metrics improve from email clickthroughs.
Email metrics can also help your SEO by helping you choose keywords and content to place on your website because the email platform can tell them which links are clicked on most.
By adding SMS to workflows to complement email marketing, you are truly able to reach your audience when and where content matters to them.
They did not open or click an email? Send an SMS! Did prospects and customers opt into SMS? Ask them to sign up for emails!
Email and social media can be seen as a two-way street. Marketers can add social links to their email campaigns to get exposure and followers while embedding posts, tweets and more as social proof and testimonials.
Marketers can ask their social audience to sign up for emails and SMS messages by linking to a form or landing page in social media posts. This tends to work very well.
Email and direct mail have one powerful item in common, which is data. Both channels allow for precise targeting. By using collected data, marketers can send digital and print communications to a highly targeted audience to increase conversions.
Consumers and customers might actually like receiving something tangible in the mail since we live in a more virtual world. Just make sure that what you send is relevant and valuable.
One thought to leave you with. Omni-Channel marketing is collaborative rather than competitive. Go out and spread the love.
Pick Your Battles (Channels). You Don’t Have to Do It All
Oh yes, often marketers have this little voice in the back of their minds saying, “I should be omni-channel.”
“I have to do everything in every channel my customer is in and bring together all the data, behavior and centralize it into a 360 customer view.”
I am here to say: Pick your battles, and have some fun while doing it.
It is much smarter to see where your strengths and the opportunities are and build that out. Take the major campaigns and see how you can use different channels to acquire new contacts and customers, nurture them and retain them.
And it is not just email. SMS statistics say that only 39% of brands are texting their customers and audience, despite being a valued channel with some pretty spectacular engagement.
SMS marketing is often cheaper than paid customer retargeting or paid social media marketing. And with the right marketing platform, it is easy to coordinate those into campaigns and get started with SMS marketing.
One of my favorite examples from cross-channel campaigns was from HelloFresh. The food box subscription service uses many channels.
Through the use of a Customer Data Platform (CDP), they were able to coordinate and do cross-channel campaign testing. They tested several different combinations in communication and channels.
Sending an email teaser ahead doubled ROI and Conversion Rate of their lost customer reactivation direct mail. It makes sense that the results are better than a single Direct mail, but also much better than an email discount and direct mail. This makes a case for A/B testing different scenarios.
Another beautiful channel that is underused is the point-of-sale system. It makes a lot of sense to use your retail store or other places where your customer completes a transaction to combine it with email list growth signups, loyalty and membership program.
I have seen, for instance, a small touchscreen along the waiting line or near the register where I’ve been asked to sign up for an email newsletter. You get a very smart email incentive: a direct discount into your mailbox for your next purchase (if within 2 weeks). Getting the opt-in that way, you can stay in touch after the purchase, stimulate repeat shopping and take a single channel relation may have been only offline to multiple channels.
Email is the Anchor to Hold Your Omnichannel Ship Afloat
Omnichannel marketing increases purchase frequency by 20% and has a 90% higher customer retention rate.
The crucial part for any omnichannel strategy to succeed is maintaining a consistent customer experience across channels. (email, SMS, social apps, whatsapp business, etc.)
Email is far from dead and has stayed relevant with the evolving marketplace.
Email has much higher conversion rates than social apps. With email marketing, marketers can reach a larger audience with relevant and personal messaging.
In my opinion, email is the main anchor that will hold your omnichannel ship afloat.
The following are 4 ways email marketing will fly your omnichannel strategy:
Email cuts through the noise and offers relevant conversations
Consumers today need to know if your brand can fulfill their expectations and not just send a ton of impersonal emails. Relevance plays an important role in deciding to go for a purchase or unsubscribe and head to Amazon. No wonder 70% of millennials are tired of receiving irrelevant emails.
Email is a non-intrusive channel. Unlike social media, you can decide the viewers for your email copy. Email allows you to send personalized communications to the sending audience you wish.
A good segmentation strategy based on location, past interaction, purchase behavior can help you tailor the message to each subscriber. Due to such focused efforts, consumers can feel a personal connection with the brand.
Unlike other channels, email has a conversation mindset that fits perfectly in any omnichannel strategy. Just keep the tone and overall message in line with your other channels.
Email helps in targeting customers based on their interactions
A retail study showed that 60% of consumers prefer brands providing them with personalized offers. This implies that consumers are fine with sharing their personal data for a better shopping experience.
A good automated email strategy makes it easier to target customers based on their own actions. With the advent of AI-powered tools like predictive segmentation, email targeting has become intelligent.
This provides marketers with a low-cost, time-saving option of interacting with customers at relevant touchpoints. AI tools can now analyze customer data to provide propensity scores so that marketers can target certain products that attract better purchases.
Email makes complicated behavioral targeting easier and maximizes engagement and revenue.
Interactive email offers an improved visual experience
With Apple’s MPP changes, email interactivity will be center-stage to gauge customer intent. Email technologies and standards have evolved in the past few years to stay relevant to the changing user preferences. Technologies like AMP for emails bring dynamic content inside emails, making it a visually improved experience.
Interactivity inside emails continues to help with the evolution and relevancy of email. Animations like GIFs, videos and annotations allow you to personalize the customer experience and deliver highly targeted and relevant content.
Interactive emails will engage customers and move them forward in your lifecycle funnel.
Email integrates seamlessly with other channels
What other channel besides email can do all of the following?
- Drive clicks and website visitors
- Drive store visits
- Confirm order deliveries and shipping confirmations
- Ask customers to leave product reviews or feedback
- Generate user content on social media
- Create buzz about your brand’s campaigns
- Optimize content for viewing on different devices
- Support loyalty rewards programs with regular communication
Email has the supreme ability to communicate with the customers at different milestones in their journey and get them re-engaged with your brand. It’s this flexible quality of email that makes it plug and play in your overall omnichannel strategy.
Suppose you are an online store using an omnichannel strategy to re-activate customers. A text message sent to a dormant customer could be missed. But a simple text email sent 24 hours later can do the trick!
The following email from a grooming store checks all the right boxes.
✓ It asks for feedback on their products/service.
✓ It asks for the reason for not purchasing with them yet.
✓ It prompts a reply on FAQs from the customers.
In such cases, email can help get valuable feedback from passive users and turn them into re-engaged buyers.
Your omnichannel strategy should have email at its center. Email provides the kind of flexibility and ability to personalize and target based on customer behaviors.
It also helps you to increase conversion rates so that more subscribers turn into regular purchasers.
So, understand your customers’ preferences and integrate email marketing if you haven’t yet.
Best decision you’ll ever make!
Email & Social Are Perfectly Paired
Email and social are a match made in heaven. Email is a homebody. It enjoys a good night in, perhaps baking pie or rearranging the furniture. Social, on the other hand, is the life of the party. Social goes out and makes friends, then brings them back to the cozy abode that email has so carefully created.
If you’re not catching my metaphor, let me speak plainly. Emails have a hard time finding an audience without an external source. There’s no “liking,” “following” or “DMing” in email. Unless you’re going a not-so-recommend route, you can’t even find a person’s email without their consent.
If you’re doing email right, you have to go and convince people to subscribe to your mailing list. This might be via website traffic, apps or big ol’ signs that say “join our mailing list here.”
But socials do something that most other mediums can’t. They allow you to create bite-sized pieces of content and form a relationship with recipients before they ever get an email.
Blogs are great but time-consuming. SMS and push notifications, in their current state, are a little impersonal. But social. Social done well is a portal that connects you to real human beings in real-time.
Polls, contests, discussions, parties, debates, events. Almost anything you can think of doing can be done through socials. It gets to the core of good marketing, which is to create an experience for the customer. It’s a relationship-building device that connects communities and gives brands a voice.
Wait. If social is so great, why does it need email? Great question. The downfall of social is that it’s rented. You don’t own it.
When a platform goes down (like Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp did this year) or ceases to exist altogether (RIP Vine), you lose all your followers, all your likes, and—most importantly—all the relationships you’ve built with those customers.
While relationships may start on social, they need to continue on a mailing list by linking followers to a landing page where they can opt-in to newsletters or promotional emails. That right there is why emails and socials pair so well together.
More No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts Coming Soon
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